Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Are we digressing? The loss of manners in modern society

Tanya Kewalramani ’14

Staff Writer

Yesterday, my friend asked me to help him out with an event. His family friends own a restaurant that serves South East Asian cuisine and they were participating in some sort of festival. They needed people to serve the food and promote their restaurant. I was only too happy to oblige, and some good Indian food always cures a bout of my homesickness. The event was scheduled to take place for nine hours and all I could think about was how good it was going to feel eating some delicious naan, and wonderful butter paneer. Of course, how could I forget the samosas with different types of chutney, and pickle. It was going to be a real treat for my stomach. Little did I know, that I was going to observe the change in human behavior, and how as a society we have severely digressed.

The stall served three different kinds of dishes in a lunch box, which included naan, chicken tikka masala, kebabs and naan. All of it was for ten dollars, and it was mighty tasty. Despite the fact that I am a vegetarian, it did not stop me from eating the naan, and taking some gravy out and eating it separately. This was the only stall serving some proper meals and before we knew it, it was packed. The customers kept coming in, and I was slowly becoming more and more appalled. While I was serving them and in my breaks I was observing them, I felt like I was back in Kenya. Sitting and waiting silently, for the animals to do something, for them to make a move.

As soon as I had just finished help setting up, in came a woman who was decked out like she was at a wedding. Everything about her screamed bling. She was sparkling from head to toe, and she looked like her face had been caked with make up. I looked at my friend and we both burst out laughing. When that woman wore her clothes, she probably thought that she looked like she was filthy rich, but really she just looked plain tacky. She poked her nose around in everyone’s business, made sure people took pictures of her. All in all, she was plain awful. She was there to make a point, that she had money. Maybe in a way, she did not care what people thought of her. As long as she looked rich, that was the important part.

Everyone there was rich, and they looked it, too. However, there was nothing elegant about them. The room was covered in Louis Vuitton, Coach and Gucci. The women’s high heels were shiny, and their clothes sparkled in the light. Everyone had either an iPhone, a Blackberry or a Samsung s3. However, the sad part was, not only did they show off that they had a phone, they also covered the phones in glitter. Their makeup and hair was impeccable. The men there all wore expensive jackets but they severely lacked brain cells. Every single person was screaming at the top of their voices in that room, poking their nose in other people’s lives. They had no filter. One of the girls was eating dessert, and her relative came up to her and scolded her. In front of everyone! She made it so apparent. She kept telling everyone around her to not let her eat that.

The stall next to me was selling delicious deserts. Macaroons, chocolate cake, lemon tarts and so much more! It really was quite delicious. The person in charge of the stall was a woman with her daughter, who looked like she was around seven or eight years old. Towards the end, when everyone had to pack up, the young girl was running around with her friends, while her mother and her mother’s friends were loading everything back in their car. A woman came up to that girl, and scolded her in front of everyone! She was scolding her because that young girl was not helping her mother. That girl was so young! She was running around, having a great time with her friends, and the bags looked so heavy, she could hardly carry them. The funny thing was, it was only some of my friends near me that understood what had just happened. For the other people there, it was simply normal.

At one point, we had run out of food. The stall was so popular which was definitely a good sign. However, people had absolutely no manners when it came to asking for when the food was coming. Despite the empty trays of food, everyone kept coming up to us and saying how bad it was of us to not have food. They said it was a shame on us, and that it was our fault for making them wait because they were so hungry. They scolded us and there was nothing polite about it. All they had to do was wait! There were so many other stalls of food, and so many things to do there. They had absolutely no manners. It got me thinking that as a society we have all digressed. No matter how expensive the clothes and the technology we own today, we want everything done at a pace that sometimes is not possible. It is sad that we have lost basic manners and ethics and that we want everything done our way. One woman was scolding me about the lack of food, whilst she was texting. Everyone around me was hugging each other, whilst talking on the phone, or simply texting whilst deep in conversation with someone else. Is this what our society has digressed to?

When the second round of food came, all the customers went crazy. It was a stall, the idea was to stand in a line and wait for us to serve you. It was not a restaurant. People actually came up to us and asked why we had not reserved boxes for them. They kept telling us that they had been waiting for so long, it was our duty to save food for them. I almost walked out of there, and I’m sure my friend almost did too. It was a stall at a festival! Not a restaurant. It was first come first serve, which was really obvious. One of the men actually picked up the big serving spoon and started serving himself, when he knew he could not do that. He made me hold his box for him whilst he squirted lemon on it, whilst another actually walked behind a counter and started asking us questions about the food when he knew that there was a long line of people waiting for the food.

What I observed at the end, was really quite horrendous. Just as we were shutting down the stall, these two women came up to me, whilst I was putting the remainder of the last dish left into containers. They asked how much it was, and I said seven dollars. Quite frankly, for the big bowl of that curry, was quite cheap. They scolded me and said that since it was the last dish of the event, I should lower the price to five dollars. As soon as they said that, they both turned to each other, and said that they had spoons with them and whether it would be okay if they could put it in the big tray of food, and taste some. They actually wanted to put their dirty spoons in the dish, because they were not getting a bargain on food. I tried so hard to hold back my disgust.

While everything is advancing around us, society is digressing. They are slowly losing manners, and in a way, technology has no doubt, made us do so. We are addicted to wireless technology, and a need for everything to be done quickly. Sometimes we text, while our friend is in the same room, and we do not even look up to say hi to people when they are in front of us, because we think that the text or Facebook update we are reading is so important. No matter how rich people dress and accessorize themselves, that does not automatically make them better than other people. There is no problem in dressing rich, but be humble about it. At the event I saw women actually discussing their handbags, and about which one was more expensive, while both of their kids were texting. They could not even talk to each other. As a society, we need to fix this and set an example for the future.

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