Tag Archives: Politeness

Is Chivalry Dead?

Are men chivalrous anymore? 

The answer is largely “no.”  The reason: women’s behavior.

“Chivalry is a quaint word dating back to the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, referring to gentlemanly behavior towards women.  We think of Sir Walter Raleigh gallantly spreading his cape down on a street so Queen Elizabeth of England could walk across a puddle without getting her feet caked in mud. Over the centuries it manifested itself in such common courtesy as opening the door and letting a woman enter before you, pulling the chair out so the man’s date could sit down, or helping a woman take off her coat.

It’s hard to believe now, but in the early 1960s John and Jackie Kennedy era, chivalry was a huge part of our culture, along with men wearing suits and hats to baseball games and women wearing gloves, hats and mink stoles. Then the whirlwind of women’s liberation swept over the land the next three decades.”

Now first off, I want to make it perfectly clear that I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with women having equal opportunities.  If they have the ability, then the opportunity should not be closed to them.  That goes for everything – gender, race…whatever.  If you have the ability, you should not be denied the opportunity.  That’s basic civil rights, and I am very big on that.   All I’m saying is that women shouldn’t automatically have the opportunity just because they are females.  For example, if a certain number of push-ups is required for a particular job, then the number of push-ups that male and female applicants have to complete should be the same.  If a woman can’t do what a man can do physically, then she can’t be a firefighter.  You can’t have quotas for things just because it seems fair.  We promise equal opportunity in our country, not equal outcome.  I mean it’s silly – should you really be allowed to get a job just because you want it?! 
And it’s this feminist attitude that has made respect and admiration between men and women take a nosedive.  Women’s studies programs teach women that when men act graciously, they are attempting to control them and keep them down.  They encourage women to be hostile, become major ball-busters, and think they can have babies without men because kids don’t need a daddy.  If you listen to them, they say just about every woman is beaten, raped, and cheated out of everything (just read Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers if you think I’m nuts).  And when these women dress like pigs, talk like pigs, and act like pigs, it is a little demoralizing for men to put them on a pedestal, take them out on dates, and treat them like they’re special.  Think about it.  Chivalry has to do with respect, and we don’t see women behaving with much dignity when they hook up and have multiple sexual partners.
Although chivalry is dead, there are still nice guys out there who would act chivalrously, but they simply don’t know what the hell women want.  Today’s men are very frustrated and scared because they accept women’s equality, but they are afraid that if they act romantically, they will come across as sexist and offensive.  I don’t blame them.  I mean it’s just the stupidest stuff that makes women angry with men.   

For example, when I was just starting to date boys, my dad was very clear with me: “If a fellow opens his car door, then go out on the date with him.  If he doesn’t open the car door, turn around and come back inside the house.  Don’t have a conversation about it, don’t argue, and don’t demand anything.  Just say thank you very much and wave goodbye.”  However, if a guy tries to open a door for a woman today, she tells him, “No, I can open it myself.” 

All I can say is if you’re a guy and a woman behaves obnoxiously like that on a date, just let her open the door herself.  In fact leave her there.  Tell her she can call a cab herself too because she’s equally competent to do that.  If a woman acts in an ungracious way, dump her.  Don’t waste your time, money, and effort on her.  If you go out of your way to be chivalrous, kind, and thoughtful, and she doesn’t behave in a way that shows she respects, admires, and appreciates it, she’s not a woman – she’s just a female. 

It makes a man feel good to be protecting and taking care of a woman, and it should make a woman feel good to know that a man is being respectful and thoughtful of her.  If I walk into an elevator and a man lets me walk in first, I turn around and say, “Thank you very much.”  Most of the time they look utterly surprised to get the compliment. 

We’ve lost something beautiful and it’s something so essential in a love relationship.  If you treat your husband like he’s a man, you’ll get more manly behavior.  If you treat your wife like she’s a woman, you will get more womanly behavior.  The polarity between men and women actually means something despite what social trends say.  I don’t care how big of a feminist you are – we are still hardwired. 

Women should expect men to provide, protect, nurture, and love them.  If they don’t want to allow that, they are going to miss out on a lot.

How to Get Better Customer Service

No matter what kind of business you have, customer service is important.

For example, part of my radio program is a business.  When one of my peeps answers a phone and talks to someone, they know they’re representing me.  And I want to be represented as someone who gives others respect.  If people have the interest to make contact or if they have any need or question, we have to fulfill the need or answer the question as best we can.

Now, of course there are times when people call and are obnoxious and rude.  It’s rare, but it does happen.  Some people call up very angry because they can’t have what they want, how they want it, and have it five minutes ago.  But it’s amazing how even when that happens, a customer service rep (even if they’ve been having a bad day) will usually respond nicely.

I deal with a lot of companies to get the “ingredients” I need for the pieces I create for Dr. Laura Designs.  I’ve been working with a company called Rio Grande Jewelry (I’ll give them a plug because they’re always so great) for years.  They understand that as a business, the whole point of your existence is customer service: taking care of customers so they will be loyal.  I would say over 90 percent of the equipment I get, I buy from Rio Grande because if there’s ever a problem, I know they’ll take care of it. 

One week, I ordered a mold to work with powdered glass, and it was delivered cracked.  I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to using it over the weekend. So I called them up and asked for help (by the way – the minute you say to somebody that you need help instead of ragging on them, they’re already more likely to want to help you).  I didn’t sound upset.  The person on the other end of the phone didn’t crack the mold, and the company they work for didn’t either (they’re just an intermediary for the company that made it and probably forwarded it to me cracked).  She offered to pay for the mold to be returned and sent me new one.

Because the phone call was so pleasant, I started asking her about an engraver machine I had with some lowercase letters missing.  And after we had some fun communicating the letters that I needed to each other, – “‘B’, ‘P,’ ‘T’…’B’ as in ‘baby’…” – she helped me get replacements.  The interaction was just great.

The goal of customer service is to make sure your customer is satisfied and loyal.  Feeling disrespected is the primary reason customers don’t come back to a restaurant or a store.  Nobody should tolerate being treated rudely when all they’re asking for is help. 

There are a couple of things I especially loathe when I call up a company asking for help.  One of them is that stupid tree of “press one for this, press seven for that…”  I won’t work with companies that have that.  You go through the whole tree, and you end up nowhere.  At that point, you’re left banging the phone down on the table several times.  Companies ought to have people answering the phone instead of putting customers through the obstacle course of that automatic menu. 

However, sometimes you might be the one contributing to the reason why you’re not getting great customer service.  Here are some tips to avoid getting lousy customer service when you’re calling and asking for help:

  • Don’t be yelling at your kids, pets, or spouse in the background.  There is nothing more unpleasant for the person helping you to hear than you threatening your kid with a beat-down and then morphing into a sweet, polite person.  Keep the household or work drama out of the situation because that just gets the person on the other end tense.
  • Don’t demand an immediate solution or interrupt them.  Don’t bully or make threats: “If you don’t help me right now, I’m going do this,” or, “If you put me on hold, I’m going to sue you!”  (I think at the very worst, you should say that you’re going to tell their mother). 
  • Explain your problem thoroughly.  On my program, I work really hard helping people explain their problems clearly and linearly so I can get a complete picture of their dilemma.  I try to get them to speak calmly and explain their issue in the least amount of sentences possible.  I tell callers not to rush and just give me what I need to know in order to help them.
  • Be patient and give the person time to fulfill your request or give you some kind of alternative solution.  Have a magazine, book, iPad, Kindle…whatever…sitting next to you.  Instead of pounding the walls, just do something while you’re waiting. 
  • If you’re not getting help, politely ask to be tossed upstairs.  Ask to speak to a manager or a supervisor.  
  • If worse comes to worst, you can write a complaint letter to the company’s owner or a higher-level executive.  You’re more likely to get your complaint satisfied by somebody who has more power.  A lot of times the people who answer the phone just don’t have the authority.

Always remember this: remain completely calm when interacting with customer service agents and managers because employees are more likely to help if you are level-headed, reasonable, polite, and patient. 

A little sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. 

To Complain or Not to Complain?

Recently, I took three of my lady friends and husband out to lunch at an amazing soup and sandwich place (by the way, my husband handled being surrounded by four women very well).

When the food arrived, the salads and sandwiches were great, but the soup was horrible.  It was watery, had no flavor, and the vegetables were not cooked.  The lady who sat us came over and asked how everything was, and I said the sandwiches were incredible and the salads were magnificent, but the soup was not very good.

Not three minutes had passed when the chef arrived at our table asking what was wrong with the soup.  Now, I felt kind of bad, but I thought, “You know what, I’m paying and this is a service, not a favor.”  So I told him we have soup there all the time and it’s always been really good, but today was a fluke.  He said, “I appreciate you’re telling me that,” and offered to make us some dessert.  As we were finishing up, the manager also came over.  He said, “Thank you very much for telling us.  This is the kind of feedback we need.  We are very busy for a reason, and we try to take care of the customers and make the very best food we can.  So thank you very much.”

I got thanked for complaining!

We have an innumerable amount of complaints and dissatisfactions during a day, but certainly not all of them are important to discuss.  Women in particular tend to have a little a-tisket-a-tasket basket in which we accumulate a million little irritations throughout the day.  We often call our friends and bond by bitching about the things in the basket.  And when our husbands walk through the door, we start in on them.

When considering whether or not to complain, the first rule is don’t complain when you’re angry.  Calm yourself down, or else you’ll look like an idiot.  And you’ll look especially stupid if you get crazy about something that just happens as a part of life.   For example, if you go insane when you go out to the parking lot and find a little ding on your car.  You know, it’s actually sort of good when you get your first little ding because then you don’t have to be neurotic about the car anymore.  You need to remind yourself that things just happen, and if you stay crazy and irate, the only person you’re hurting is yourself.  The problem with complaining is if you just want to complain, you’re going to annoy a lot of people and make yourself sick.

The bottom line when considering which complaints to voice and which to let slide is you have to think through the full implications of leaving the problem unresolved and the long-term impact of solving the problem.  You have to learn the difference between something you can change and something you can’t.  It’s all about solving the problem.

For example, let’s take something trivial that happens at home.  Your spouse finishes the roll of toilet paper and doesn’t replace it.  Instead of complaining, just get a cute little basket and put some rolls of toilet paper in it.  Then you can just say, “Sweetie, I know it’s a big pain in the neck to schlep all the way across the house, so look what I got.  This makes it very easy to put a new roll on.”  When you’re thinking about bringing something to your sweetie’s attention, think about what the resolution could be and offer it.  Maybe they’ll have an even better idea about to resolve it.  But either way, make the problem something to be resolved rather than a fight to be had.

So, the next time you’re thinking about complaining, ask yourself the following questions I found in the article titled, “The Squeaky Wheel”:

1. Would leaving the complaint unresolved affect the health or mental health of anyone concerned?

2. Could leaving the complaint unresolved erode the relationship with the other person over time?

3. Do you find yourself thinking about the issue frequently? Has it nagged at you over time?

4. Is the frustration, hurt, or disappointment you feel about the issue substantial?

5. Would resolving the complaint improve your quality of life?

6. Would resolving the complaint improve your mood in the short or long term? (then it’s worth dealing with)

7. Does leaving the complaint unresolved make you feel powerless and helpless?