East Texans React to Rudeness Poll

Common courtesy is apparently not as common as it used to be. On the streets, in stores and anywhere people gather, someone is probably being rude to someone else right now. A new poll says nearly 79% of Americans say rudeness is a serious problem and should be addressed. And 62% say rude behavior bothers them a lot. 46% say they've walked out of a store because of rudeness.

Tyler resident Kristen Bracken agrees with the poll's findings. "You'll be standing there with an obvious question and they'll look the other way. You know, I don't want to waste my time."

"It's influenced where I shop," says Stacey Shirley. "I make it a point to go to the places that offer the best service. I find that important."

Retailers know rudeness is bad for business. Larry Edward manages the Target store on South Broadway. He says Target focuses special attention on teaching new employees how to be polite. "We know that people have choices of where to shop. Why would they want to shop someplace where they're treated rudely or indifferently."

Sometimes, getting to the store can be more aggravating than shopping. Stoglin Willie says he tries not to be rude on the road, but, "someone might cut in front of you, and you might say something you don't have no business saying."

So, if rude behavior is so bad and is such a big problem, what causes it in the first place? Doug Wall of Tyler has a theory. "I believe it goes to the fact people aren't getting enough rest at night. I think the demands on family and the things they have to do all day long they're just not getting enough sleep at night."

On the up side, Americans do believe we've begun to behave better after the attacks of September 11. But most think those good manners will be short lived.

The poll also found some specific areas of improvement. Those involved in the survey say minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and the Disabled are treated with courtesy and respect more often.