Being Polite Doesn’t Cost Extra

If you happen to visit Chaii Stop, a café in Preston, England, you’d better be polite when you order your chai, or the price may shoot up.

As reported in the Manchester Evening News, the café’s owner, 29-year-old Usman Hussain, has put up a sign telling customers that “Desi Chai” will cost them £5, “Desi Chai please” will cost them £3, but “Hello, Desi Chai please” will cost them only £1.90. And who knows, you might not pay a single penny for “Hello, Desi Chai please, you handsome man behind the counter.”

Hussain is certainly doing his best to avoid charging the higher price. When a customer says, “Desi Chai,” Hussain points to the sign and the customer always switches the order to “Hello, Desi Chai please.”

“I think it’s a nice reminder to use your manners, because unfortunately sometimes we do need reminding,” Hussain told the Evening News.

Yes, we do need reminding. Being polite doesn’t cost anything, but many people just don’t bother. Some never learned good manners while they were growing up. Their parents let them get away with anything, their teachers were too busy teaching them science and math, and their friends found it funny when they wrote “Yo mama so fat she got her own congressional district” on the restroom wall.

There are many ways to be polite, but here are five that I consider particularly important:

1. Greet people or at least acknowledge them. The greeting could take many forms, such as “Hi,” “Hello,” “Namaste,” or “Hey bruh!” Of course, an older man may not like to be addressed as “bruh” or even “bro.” And if he’s like me, he may not appreciate “gramps” either. Better to be safe and say, “Good morning!”

“Good morning” is a shortened form of “I wish you a good morning!” A lot of people just say, “Morning!” They may not be wishing you a “good” morning, but at least they’re wishing you a morning. Be polite and wish them a morning back.

When you pass people on the street, all you need to do is nod or smile in their direction, show them that you notice them. Of course, every situation is different and you need to exercise judgment. If you’re a young lady and you smile at the wrong man on the commuter train, he may get the wrong idea and think you want to have kids with him.

2. Say “please” and “thank you.” When you’re asking for something, it’s polite to use the word “please.” And when someone does something for you, it’s polite to say, “Thank you.” For example, if you are taking a tough exam, you’d be wise to pray, “Please, God, let me get a good score.” And after you get the good score, you’d be wise to say, “Thank you, God, for letting me sit next to the smartest student in the room.” (For inspiration!)

3. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. Everyone deserves to be treated well, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or job – even if their job is to play football for a team you don’t support. If you spot an opposing football player eating at a restaurant, don’t throw anything at him. Just find his car and throw a tomato at it. Disrespect the car, but not the man.

4. Accept your mistakes and apologize when you make them. This is the best way to avoid conflicts. If you bump into someone in a public place, say “sorry” before they have a chance to get angry. If you bump into Mike Tyson, get on your knees and say, “Sorry, Mr. Tyson. Please don’t punch me. Love that tattoo on your face!”

5. Accept other peoples’ mistakes and don’t overreact. If someone cuts you off while you’re driving, don’t automatically honk or show them the middle finger. They may have made an honest mistake. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Save your finger for someone who truly deserves it: the young guy who says, “Hey gramps!” to you.

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