Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Manners Maketh Man and Sainsbury's

One of the by-products of living in the Nanny state, wherein self responsibility and the consequences of our actions have been eradicated by the state, is the general lack of manners that pervades society; manners after all indicate that we have empathy and respect for others, and that we are cognisant that our actions and words affect others.

Thus is is interesting to see the debate that has sprung up over an incident in Sainsbury's Crayford the other day, where a checkout lady refused to serve a customer (Jo Clarke) who was talking on her mobile phone. Sainsbury's, at the time, sent the customer a £10 voucher along with an apology. However, as sometimes happens with "small" incidents, the story has rather gained traction and the BBC has gained sight of a letter from Sainsbury's:
"It is clear this story has touched a nerve as the weight of comment shows.

However, we are also pleased that this specific story is leading to a wider debate on politeness....

...the discussion this has created leads us all to think twice before reaching for our mobile phones and to recognise the great job the many thousands of sales assistants working across retail do.."
Seemingly the Sainsbury's worker told Ms Clarke that it was company policy not to serve people who were occupied with their mobile phones, but that was denied at the time by the company.

I have a simple view on this, it is rude RUDE to talk on a mobile when interacting with another human being.


There is a certain type of person who seems to regard shop assistants, waiters etc etc as second class citizens who do not deserve to be treated with the same courtesy as others. At this point we can all come up with examples of rude sales staff, waiters etc. However, that does not mean we should tar all staff with the same brush.

Manners are there for all, whether you are royalty or someone who is down on their luck sleeping on a park bench. Treat people with the same courtesy and respect as you would wish to be treated yourself!

Miss Clarke's response to the furore:
"I think everybody’s been guilty of it (using a mobile at a checkout) sometime in their life – that’s how it is.”
Well I haven't, have you?

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  1. Totally agree Ken:

    I have never used a mobile phone at a checkout nor in company. It is, as you say, rude to do so.

    The British were famous worldwide for their manners however, now we are famous for the opposite.

  2. speaking from the other side of the checkout, as someone who worked for 3 years in a service station shop, i can vouch for the extreme rudeness of people!

    one more than one occasion when serving people who are on the phone, i have been scowled at by the customer when trying to treat them the same as anyone else by engaging them in the standard exchange- greeting them, stating how much the items cost, and thanking them when they leave, all with a smile on my face (albeit a forced one) - as if I were purposefully interrupting their conversation

    on the odd occasion however, people will finish their conversation and apologise profusely for having been on the phone which is refreshing after the many that dont!

  3. I agree Ken. When this story first appeared in the local paper she took a right kicking in the comments. Everyone thought she was extremely rude and Sainsburys should have backed up their staff member.

    When I worked in pubs I did the same. I wouldn't offer a reason though, I would just completely ignore anyone on a phone and move to the next punter.

  4. Anonymous3:17 PM

    I never use the cell phone in public. Never. I would have the damn thing at all if I didn't have "on-call" responsibilities at work.

    Almost everytime I am in church, someones phone goes off. This is triple annoying and everyone goes diving for their purse in the hopes it is NOT their phone.


  5. What the checkout person should have done, in my view, is to have halted operations, stood still, and looked the rude customer straight in the eye (if she could manage to discern which of the latter's faces was directed at her, if either was). On facing the inevitable challenge from said rude customer, if the customer could tear herself away from her mobile phone, which would have been, "What the [xyz] do you think you are doing?", to which the answer could have been, "I am waiting until you were in a position to verify that I was properly checking in the items that you had selected, so that there was no possibility of misunderstanding. Clearly that was not going to be possible while you were on your phone."

    Needless to say, I am firmly on the side of the checkout operative.

    The customer has said that she will not be going back to Sainsbury's. Instead, she will be going to Waitrose. Does she not realise that Waitrose expect a better class of customer?

  6. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Oh the irony. Bloody mobile phones drive me mad, the number of times I try to engage the girlfriend in conversation only to find I'm being ignored as she's on her phone checking out what her vapid "friends" have posted on facefook. Anyway the ironic part is that a shop worker should take exception to a rude customer, considering the number of times I've, and I suspect many others, have been ignored by such. They're usually too busy gabbing to one another to pay much attention to the customer. I think they would do well to learn from their American counterparts. So is it surprising that customers will find ways to pass the time while being ignored?