I was recently walking to my car in the Whole Foods parking lot when I locked eyes with another fellow mom loading her groceries into her SUV. We briefly smiled at each other before finishing the task at hand. After I loaded up the car, I walked my shopping cart back to the cart corral. The other mom saw what I was doing and said, “Wow, you are so nice to bring the cart back. I usually just leave it here – ha!”
I felt rather pleased with myself. Not because I was recognized for doing the right thing, but because I thought my actions inspired someone else to do the right thing. As I pulled out of my spot, I realized that the fellow mom was in no way encouraged by what she saw me do. Her cart was directly behind the car next to her’s, creating quite an inconvenience for her fellow shopper who would be exiting the store soon. How rude!
As I drove home, I thought about simple common courtesies we all should extend to one another on a daily basis. Something as simple as returning a shopping cart to its rightful place makes life easier for others. Here are my other ideas:
1. Wipe the seat!
OK ladies: I know many of us like to hover over public toilets, but if your aim isn’t quite perfect please clean up after yourself. As a mom to little ones who aren’t quite big enough to hover, a public toilet littered with sprinkles is our worst enemy! Remember: if you sprinkle when you tinkle please be neat and wipe the seat.
2. And, speaking of bathroom behavior: wash hands! Every time! I regularly see people exiting a public restroom without taking care of this most basic of public health commandments. Ewwwwe!
3. Can we all agree on a time when texts and phone calls are not permitted? May I suggest 10 pm? I always try to turn my ringer off when I head to bed, but inevitably the nights I forget are the nights I get a text right at the moment I’m on the verge of falling asleep. Argh!
4. No more trash on the ground. This includes you, SMOKERS! Cigarette butts are litter. While they are unsightly to look at, they also contain all the chemicals filtered from the cigarette, which means as the butt sits in water or on land these chemicals are leaching into our water supply and into our earth.
And, this also includes you, gum chewers! I’m sure we’ve all stepped in a blob of bubble gum, and it’s just no fun.
And, this also includes you, pet owners! Pick up that poop!! If you’re out and the pup unexpectedly poops, go home, fetch a plastic bag, return to the scene of the grime, and pick it up. Really, it’s so easy!
5. Be a nice driver. Let that car in front of you merge. Slow down for pedestrians. Make room for bikes. Wave in gratitude when a fellow driver does any of the above for you.
6. Tip generously. I’ve often said that everyone should work in a service industry at least once so we could all appreciate the importance of tips. I strive to live a frugal lifestyle, but I will never cheap out when it comes to tipping folks who deserve it. If we can’t afford to leave a decent tip, we can’t afford to go out.
7. Smile. It feels so good when a stranger we pass on the street offers a friendly smile. A smile makes a big city like Chicago feel like a small community. A smile makes me smile. And we all look better with a smile!
8. Say please. And thank you.
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