Thursday, January 11, 2007

What Are People Thinking?

Many of the phone calls that come in to my home are telemarketers. I don’t like these calls. If I can identify on the Caller ID that the caller isn’t someone that I want to talk with, or if I don’t have reasonable curiosity about the call, I either don’t answer the call at all, or, I answer, and if I don’t hear a voice on the other end within about half a second, I hang up. It happens multiple times every day.

This afternoon the phone rang. I was busy. I didn’t want to talk with anyone I didn’t know, or with whom I was not expecting a call. I looked at the Caller ID; I decided to answer the phone.

According to the Caller ID, on the other end was the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Office, and a young Marine politely greeted me and asked about my daughter. Was she home? No, she is at college. Did I think she might be up to the Marine’s demanding regimen? “Probably not,” I said; “at least not until she graduates.” He thanked me for talking with him.

After the formalities were out of the way, I asked the Sgt. how the recruiting effort was going? “Pretty well,” he said, “although of the calls I’ve made recently you are the most polite and friendly person that I’ve talked to.”

“Really,” I said, expressing mild-to-moderate disbelief. In southwest Virginia and neighboring southern West Virginia, people are not only generally polite and respectful, but they honor our military personnel for what they voluntarily give to their country.

“Yeah. Most of the time I get cussed out or hung up on,” he said.

We talked a little more, I thanked him for being a Marine, he thanked me for being civil to him, and we both moved on with our respective business.

I am continually baffled by how easily some folks abandon common civility these days and resort to in-your-face nastiness. But what really galls me is that some people, many people, would treat our military recruiters with anything less than total respect, and their behavior begs the question, Why do they behave this way?


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