Manners maketh Man.
A well known expression credited to William Horman, headmaster to Eton School around 1600 who wrote ‘Vulgaria’ a book of expressions and sayings of the time, so it is likely that particular idiom belongs to someone else. Nevertheless it has been used for centuries in an effort to remind us that good manners and politeness are the building blocks of humanity and civilisation.
But try as I might, living by this virtuous standard and other than the occasional slip treating everyone with the utmost respect and regard, given the behaviour of some, I have come to the conclusion that manners are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
However it would seem there is another ‘m’ word that does it for many…
Money maketh Man
Let me state my case; at the moment we are keeping our head above water. With some exhausting and wild underwater activity going on, we have stopped ourselves from sinking without any help from anyone. During this time we would doubtless have been entitled to all manner of financial support in the way of income supplements and benefits, but if we pulled in our belts and were sensible we knew we could cope.
At over £25billion, housing benefit is one of the fastest growing areas of the welfare state
It just didn’t seem right to claim financial help when we could manage, you could say it would have been ‘bad manners’ and I like to think we are setting a good example to our sons.
Also during this time we have been beholding to the different letting agents we have had to deal with during our 12+ years of renting, and I say “beholding” because that is how we have always been made to feel by every agent, bar one.
For instance, the letter telling us our tenancy was up for renewal in three months so it was decision time and by the way that’ll cost your £96. Cheque sent and cashed by the agent, three months later we are told in another letter that the tenancy has renewed and the £96 fee is due immediately.
When I pointed out to the agent they had already been paid, their reply was “the letter was merely confirmation that the tenancy had renewed” and yes, they had received my cheque. When I pointed out the letter also demanded the £96 we had already paid they didn’t even bother responding.
Rude, unprofessional and discourteous in my humble opinion #BadManners
Then there are the banks, building societies, credit card companies etc who won’t touch you with a barge pole unless they can either a) make some money out of you, or b) see you have masses of the stuff that you might want to invest with them.
Of course if you move from the lowly loss-maker to the highly profitable prospect, I will guarantee you every one of them will be clamouring to reach your door.
Suddenly your poor pariah status of yesterday is forgotten and they welcome you with open arms.
57% of 18-34 years olds have had their credit application turned down (Feb 2015)
Over 50% of business employing 50 or less have been turned down for a bank loan (Sept 2015)
So here we are, people who have managed to keep going without turning to the welfare state, paying what is due and keeping our head above water #GoodManners
However, it seems without that other ‘m’ word, no matter how good our manners, we are still not worthy of so much as an accurate letter from our letting agent, or for that matter, an acknowledgement from Lloyds Bank who incidentally have still not responded to either my original letter or the chaser.
I just wonder, if I suddenly came into a large sum of money, large enough to buy a property outright, do you think their manners might improve?
I have seen several properties in my area that are either empty, run down or looking very dated perhaps because the same person has been living there for the past 50 years and I just wondered whether it would be bad manners to drop them a line, just a short note enquiring if they ever thought about selling, would they get in touch. But I’m just a bit wary of doing this in case the person takes offence at my direct approach and they may think it bad mannered of me.
Perhaps that explains why Lloyds Bank haven’t bothered responding, but then I can’t imagine they worry about good manners too often.