Avoid embarrassment: Consider your tone, actions

Earlier this summer, my husband, John, and I took a road trip out west through South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

Our goal was to see sights and landmarks we saw once before, but that was more than 35 years ago when we were children, and our perception of the world was less appreciative.

On day two, we stayed in Custer, S.D., at Roost Resort, only a few miles from Needles Highway and Custer State Park. Our home for two nights was cabin No. 7, a quaint, one-room log cabin complete with a fire ring and horseshoe pit out our front door.

I stayed here in the 1980s and enjoyed the glamping (glamorous camping) experience. The resort was exactly how I remembered it.

After settling in our cabin and meeting Lincoln, the pet boar, we chatted with the resort owners. Tom and Shelah do everything at their campground, which consists of a lot of cleaning. Roost Resort is a well-kept and well-run “Ma and Pop shop.”

I was curious how business has been for them since the pandemic. Tom sounded tired and cautious in his response. He commented that the most exhausting piece of owning a small establishment is the entitlement in people. Wow. I was shocked to hear this.

I have heard entitlement often, but it is usually connected to the millennial generation. I inquired further, curious if his clientele was primarily young people. It’s not. All ages, all genders, all people are bringing their entitled attitude with them on vacation.

After talking to other business owners, I hear that the entitled attitude is showing up in retail shops and restaurants.

Common rude, demanding requests and comments from patrons include:

• “I paid for a night’s stay. I can do whatever I want,” as they invite 15 friends over, trash the place and disturb the other customers.

• “Get me water.” “Get me a sample.” Where is “please?”

Is this what our world has come to — making demands and being rude? Enough is enough. My friend, Teri, says it best. “I am here to serve you, but I am not your servant.”

Another motto to live by is “assume the best.” When we truly have this mindset to assume the best in people, then we also assume that there is something that we don’t fully understand. This mindset will save us from future embarrassment.

At a recent grocery store visit, I was stuck behind a woman who abruptly stopped her cart in the middle of an aisle. In an irritated, huffy tone, I said, “Excuse me.” As I tried to squeeze around her, I noticed that she was gripping the cart, had her eyes closed and was taking deep breaths. She quickly realized my irritation and said, “I’m sorry. I think I just had a contraction.” Oh my, did I feel foolish.

Enough is enough. I am not repeating this only for you. I say this for me, too. How often do I demand things in the wrong tone of voice and rude behavior? I can be such a brat with my expectations and demands.

Imagine if we all assumed that every person works to make all lives better. Construction workers, restaurant servers, gas station attendants, emergency personnel — all of these professionals serve us. They make our lives better. I am very thankful for their work, but I am not entitled to their services.

Consider your tone. Consider your facial expressions. Consider the words you choose.

Remember, if you’re not assuming the best, you might look foolish when the reality of the moment is shared. Avoid this embarrassment by assuming that there is something you don’t fully understand yet.