The Great Coarsening

"How dare you?!" cries the Biden administration.

I know I cannot state empirically that our societal and commercial interactions have taken on a somewhat coarser edge, but anecdotally, I can cite some recent experiences that seem to indicate our society has changed and is continuing to change, and not for the better.

The first happened a couple of weeks ago. We sold a condo we have owned for a decade, one where our daughter was living, and we hired a moving company to haul her things to storage until she finds a house she wants to buy. The condo is 1435 square feet with two levels and a loft. We didn’t move any appliances, those remained with the sale, and she already had all her stuff boxed up. I had broken down the beds (two plus a small daybed), so basically all the movers had to do was to haul the stuff to the truck and take it down to the storage facility in Salt Lake.

First, the company was a no-show/no-call. When my wife called after an hour, the person on the other end of the line said the driver had a fever and was sent home, and someone from dispatch was supposed to call and delay the appointment. Then they said they could get a crew and truck to our place at 11:30, two hours late, that one they made – but it took them 6 hours to load the truck with boxes, the furniture that was already prepped and get ready to leave. This was after my wife made two calls to the company to complain about the slowness and the frequent breaks the 3-person team were taking. Of course, they were getting paid by the hour, so the incentive to move quickly was non-existent, but the laziness and absolute lack of any concern for the customer was on full display.

My daughter overheard them calling my wife rude – but that was before I showed up and demonstrated that she wasn’t the rude one. I got there about 3 PM and told them to get their asses in gear and I would be at the storage facility to make sure the load got off the truck before midnight.

I saw them pulling out and my wife and I headed down to the storage facility to greet them but 6 PM passed and as 7 neared, they pulled in – telling us they took a break for dinner – without the courtesy of telling us, of course. My wife manned the elevator, and I went up to the storage space to stack – I was able to keep up with three of them unloading and we finished in two hours.

Two grand later and they expected a tip which, given their performance, was out of the question. That they even expected one was an indication that they were clueless as to the quality of their work and our lack of satisfaction.

The second instance was at McDonald’s yesterday. I was in a hurry and hit the drive-thru for a large coffee and as I pulled up to the speaker, a disembodied voice, absent of any emotion other than slight derision, said “We are only accepting exact change or credit cards, if you don’t have exact change or a card, please exist the line.” No “We’re sorry for the inconvenience”, no apparent concern for incoming their customers.

No doubt a small thing when taken individually, a lazy moving crew and insensitive fast food folks are not as rare as unicorns, but when I hear similar stories from friends and acquaintances, there seems to be something moving like a wave through our society.

We have all noticed the lack of manners in our youth – and that is not just some ancient guy saying that – that is coming from a person who has hired probably a thousand people over a 40-year career in business – I have witnessed the degradation in the quality of the conversations with candidates. Some younger adults even object to the honorifics of “Ma’am” and “Sir”.

What I witnessed in these two situations over the past couple of weeks wasn’t just a lack of manners and a sense of propriety, it was just that they did not seem to give a damn. Not one little bit – and perhaps the most interesting thing was they did not care that they did not care.

I got the idea from their behavior they were more concerned about how events affected them rather than how those same events impacted the customer – the very person paying them. The moving guys were grousing about how they were expected to work rather then the non-productive hours for which we were paying. All the McDonald’s employee cared about was her situation.

Politics holds such a commanding position in our social activities these days, it is impossible not to notice that same attitude in our government, generally in the Democrat elected officials but especially in those in the Biden administration. I got the same vibe from Pete Buttigieg and his paternity leave in the middle of the greatest transportation and supply chain disaster in modern times – the message that I received was that everything in the nation had to take a back seat to Pete’s bonding with two babies he and his partner purchased on Amazon.

Biden, Harris, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the Biden Cabinet exude the exact same Greta Thunberg “How dare you?” attitude when challenged about their performance in office.

That does not mean they caused the change, but as the old saying goes, the fish rots from the head. It is not unnoticed what the leadership does, and their Greta Thunberg acts give tacit permission for others to act accordingly.

America has changed, and not in a good way.