Does anybody say "please", "thank you", or "excuse me" anymore? Well, 70% of North American adults say people are ruder now than they were 20 years ago.
But is that really true? Reader’s Digest decided to find out. They conducted their own courtesy test in 35 countries – from Croatia, to Canada, to the Czech Republic.
In the U.S., they picked New York City as their test market and sent two reporters out on the street – one man and one woman. The reporters performed 3 experiments:
- A "Door Test" – to see if anyone would hold the door open for them.
- A "Document Drop" – to see if anyone would help them pick up accidentally dropped papers.
- And a "Service Test" – in which they targeted Starbucks to see if the salesclerk would thank them for their purchase. In all, 60 tests were done, 20 of each type.
And guess what? In New York City, four out of every five people passed the courtesy test. 90% of New Yorkers passed the door test – holding the door open for someone. And 19 out of 20 Starbucks baristas thanked their customers. But only 55% of people tested helped the reporters pick up dropped papers. Why? The experts say people are less likely to help when it takes more time and effort.
So what’s keeping courtesy alive and well? The biggest reason given for helping out others was, "I was raised that way." The second biggest reason given, "You do what you’d want others to do for you."
So in which country do the most courteous people live? According to this Reader’s Digest survey. At number 3. Canada. Second: Switzerland. And the most courteous country, where more people helped out than any other? America. Want to test your own level of courtesy – ask yourself these questions:
- You’re in a crowded public place and your cell phone rings – do you answer it?
- You’ve got 14 items in your grocery cart – do you use the 10 items or less express checkout anyway?
- You see your coworker is on the phone – do you hover and wait for them to hang up?
If you answered "no" to all of those, you’re a courteous person.