Rude Rules

May 19, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

People in the US are so rude, you could write a book about it.

That’s exactly what Nancy Friedman, an expert in customer-service training with clients such as Nordstrom and Wal-Mart, is planning to do.

The book will focus “on the experiences of irate customers nationwide”, according to the Newhouse News Service. Ms. Friedman says rude behavior is not the territory of any one group. “It’s everywhere – in cities, small towns… It crosses all cultures, all races, all religions.”

In 2001, a University of Michigan study said rude behavior in the workplace was having an adverse affect on mental health and productivity.

Moderator’s Comment: Is America a ruder place to live
and work in today than it has in the past? What has that meant for retailers
and consumers?

People are not even aware when they’re being rude.

On a recent Saturday night trip to a local emergency room
we were subject to a 90-minute wait before seeing a triage nurse. We understand,
from a former ER nurse in the same system, up to 15-minutes is considered acceptable
by the hospital’s own guidelines.

Following a less than five-minute history meeting, we
then waited another 90-minutes before being brought into the actual ER and having
a doctor see us.

When we questioned (as did many others) why there was
a three-hour wait, a staff member told us our wait was a mere hour and a half.
The hospital, apparently, did not recognize the time we spent in the waiting
room until they had started the clock with the triage nurse seeing us. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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