Would a "Thank You" be so hard?

I love New York City as much as the next guy. So many interesting people; so much opportunity for interaction.

Now I was brought up to believe that being polite is a requirement in our society. I am not talking about getting stuck holding the door for thirty people, or even walking old ladies across the street. These are the optional do-gooder deeds that help to make the world a nicer place, but I am not saying these are madatory actions. I just want to know when the concept of saying "please" and "thank you" went out the window.

I've always thought of myself as a good person, but how good do you have to be to use common courtesy in today's world. With the Internet removing so many elements of human interaction these days, I fear that as a society we may be forgetting some of the fundamentals.

Daily, I walk into one of the thousands of NYC bodegas, and while I stand patiently in line waiting for my turn to order my morning bagel and coffee, I listen to the "everybodys" in front of me not so much ordering coffee as ordering around the guy behind the counter. "Give me a large coffee", "Let me get a Bagel with cream cheese", "I'll take a muffin and an iced tea". Never a "please" besides the ones I mutter under my breath to myself in each instance. And of course, when the guy behind the counter, truly working quickly to move the line along, passes the food and drink over the counter, there is never a "thank you" in sight. God forbid their is something not perfect about the hand-off.

Holding an elevator door open for someone, letting a departing diner know that they left their keys on the table, ordering anything from anyone, picking up your dry cleaning, paying the cashier at the grocery market...these actions all deserve a simple "thanks". It is so easy. And I swear, not only will it not hurt, but you will feel a little bit better than you would otherwise.

I'll bet in this country, someone once got shot for not saying "thank you". Until we can figure out how to solve the gun problem, let that be your motivation. Whatever motivation you need, just be concious. I bet you can remember a number of times when you were deprived of a well desrvered "thanks".