People can be so dang rude.

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

A prima donna plops herself in front of everyone standing in line at Fry’s.

A guy sitting next to his date is ignoring her as he furiously texts someone else.

A motorist who either forgot or did not bother to prepare for an upcoming turn cuts off three lanes of traffic just to make it work.

These are not hypothetical situations, but a few fine Tucson examples.

And discourtesy is not limited to the Old Pueblo, but instead rears its ugly, rotting head throughout the entire U.S. of A.

A full 69 percent of folks who answered an August Rasmuseen Reports survey of 1,000 adults across the nation said people are generally becoming ruder and less civilized.

A mere 14 percent, perhaps those who don’t get out much, said people were becoming kinder and gentler while 17 percent were “not sure.”

Maybe they were too busy texting during a date to give the question much thought.

Other poll results had 62 percent saying Americans were ruder to sales personnel than they were 10 years ago and, in turn, 57 percent saying the sales personnel were also ruder to customers than a decade hence.

We’ve come a long way baby.

So why are people becoming cruder, ruder and more barbaric?

We could easily blame TV and call it a day, since TV is already behind most of the world’s woes. Or we could play with a few other theories.

Technology could be to blame. Rudeness often comes from loud cell phone conversations, blaring ringing in the middle of meetings and yes, folks furiously texting or yapping on their phones while out on a date or in other social situations.

Cell phones can also indirectly lead to rude driving. Drivers blabbing on cell phones are perhaps not necessarily attempting to be rude but have instead become so oblivious to the road that they have no clue what they’re doing.

Entitlement is another possibility. Some folks today act as if they are entitled to everything, from being at the front of the line to owning last 50-cent sale item in the clearance bin. They will thus push, shove or steamroll others just to fulfill that entitlement.

Lack of manners can also stem from upbringing, with parents and schools feeding kids the idea that they can do no wrong. Children are applauded simply for breathing. They are gifted with new toys and cars just because they exist.

Such children grow up expecting the world, and everyone in it, to bow at their feet – or at least not blink an eye when they abruptly cut the Starbucks line.

So what should we do when accosted with such crude actions?

Only a slight majority of those surveyed – 51 percent – said they have actually confronted someone for the person’s rude behavior in public.

A full 44 percent let it go without comment while 5 percent said they were “not sure” if they’ve ever said something about another’s uncivilized actions. We’re not sure how people are “not sure” but wonder if they took a beating after the confrontation that could have clouded their memories.

Letting rude behavior slide might be the easiest thing to do, but it also threatens to turn us all into a stack of doormats, letting rude people claw their way to the top of the pile and continue to stomp.

Confronting the rude behavior in an equally rude manner may feel good, but it also brings us down to the other person’s level, a subterranean one that includes being a real jerk.

The best method for dealing with the behavior is to counter it with the sappiest, sweetest and most polite behavior of our own we can manage. This not only allows us to keep our dignity but can also work to make the obnoxious person feel about 2 inches tall.

Either that, or they will wallop us in the face, in which case we may not recall the confrontation any old way.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who likes blaming TV – for everything. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

What do you think?

What’s some of the rudest behavior you’ve witnessed around town?

Are you ever rude on purpose? Do you ever apologize?