Miss Manners, Dead at 10

Certainly a cheery title.

For those of you who don’t know, Miss Manners is the pen name of journalist, Judith Martin, an author and authority on etiquette.

She would have been astonished this morning in the check-out line at Morton Williams, my neighborhood supermarket.

We all know manners have gone south in our present day, but today took the cake, or bran muffin in this little lady’s case.

She was ahead of me in the process of paying for it. A chubby preteen, with a Prada wallet no less I hoped belonged to her mother. At her age, I had a Micky Mouse change purse with a polka dotted Minnie gracing the inside.

I say good morning to Stella, the cashier I see every day who looks agitated I guess because the kid is taking so long counting out her change.

She tries to help by counting it as it’s rolling off the counter, but the kid snaps, “I’ll do it,” clearly embarrassing Stella.

I say, “You okay there?” In case the reason for the snottiness is because she’s short, more than happy to chip in.  However, if looks could kill, I’d be in frozen foods.

After she rudely throws a million coins like it’s Vegas, Pollyanna in residence says, “Stella, do you have a napkin for this young lady?”

Before she can even answer, the kid whirls around and says, “I don’t need a napkin. Shut-up and leave me alone.”

The entire store stops what it’s doing. The bread man making a delivery. The woman fixing herself tea. The fruit man stocking pears drops one that rolls in the aisle, I’m guessing in protest.

Even Pollyanna is too stunned to speak.

But then good old Susannah shows up.

“Hey, I’m your elder, so is Stella, and that’s not how you speak to us. Do you understand? We’re just trying to help you.”

“I’m telling my mother,” she said with a nasty sneer.

“Good, want me to call her? Because I’d love to tell her what a rude daughter she has.”

No, little Damea didn’t cry, but takes a bite out of her muffin leaving crumbs all over her fat, overfed face before schlumping out.

Stella shakes her head, I pay for my walnuts and beet salad, and commerce continues.

In 12 Step they remind you to mind your own business, but for me, that boundary breaks when it involves a kid or an animal.

All I know is, our youth, not to mention the world’s future, is it in mighty big trouble.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Family, food, grace, humanity, kids, New York City, parents and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Miss Manners, Dead at 10

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    So was this a case of a kid or an animal?
    Save us from little snots that are only going to grow into bigger snots. When I’m teaching, unfortunately it’s the snot that is remembered from a room of twenty; which is probably what he/she wants.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. robprice59 says:

    I’m torn between two interpretations. On the one hand, I’m with you one hundred percent. I so mourn the demise of good manners and dread what the future holds. And then I’m presented with young folk going the extra mile or bending over backwards to make a positive impact on their world. I guess there’s a pepper and salt mix in there, same as there ever was.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    I am so glad you spoke up. Children need to be corrected when their behavior is inappropriate and if the parent is unavailable or unwilling to do it then another adult should do it. Apparently this one needs more direction and hopefully she is an exception. It is scary to think that this is our future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you reprimanded the awful snot. There are too many grownups modeling her behavior. I’m happy to say I usually see well-behaved youth, and that is encouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dale says:

    That little ill-mannered, ill-brought-up girl needs a good setting straight. It’s a good thing she doesn’t represent ALL of today’s youth. But a sadly large population.

    I like to think her mother would be appalled by her daughter’s actions (that optimistic part of me)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorryless says:


    Good for you, she deserved to be given a talking to. I’ve a feeling she doesn’t get many (any) of those. As a parent, I didn’t care what my kids grew up to do and believe in. Political affiliations, jobs, preference in mates . . none of my business. I just wanted them to be respectful and good peep who made the world a little better with their presence.

    Shame on this little snot’s parents for letting her believe the world revolves around her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eilene Lyon says:

    A shame she had to beam her black light all over the store and make everyone’s day. Good on you for speaking up. No one’s doing her any favors letting her get away with behavior like that. It’ll bite her on the ass big time some day. Fortunately, she is a minority, if my experience is valid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    I’ve got the feeling the girl learned the behavior at home … oh boy …. reasons to be thankful for the youngsters that will be good with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have met many of those “children” in life; especially, teaching where I taught. And, you are right, surprise often takes the cake. I had a small kid, about 2/3 my size, walk by me once. I smiled and said, “Good Morning”. His response was none too kind. I said something like, “You should not talk that way.” He backed with “What? You wanna fight? You some kind of great fighter?” There are times when my mind runs off on its own. I calmly said, “No, in fact, I am so bad a fighter that my good friend taught me how to pull off someone’s ear if I ever got into a fight. So, you will, most likely, beat me up badly, but I will pull off your ear because it’s the only thing I know.” He looked at me and said, “You are f… weird,” and walked off. My thought, only in my mind was, “but, I didn’t have to fight you, did I?”
    Quick and solid thinking Susannah – we are older and smarter…


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