Curmudgeon Public Service Announcement: The Thoughtlessness Radar

Don't do this

Image by Martin Deutsch via Flickr

Why is it that certain rotten behaviors reach, for some, a level of acceptability in their own minds? Why do certain behaviors blip off the courtesy radar into “Well, everyone does it! Why shouldn’t I?”  Daily I see thoughtless acts by otherwise good people because they have become blind to what they’re doing (or not doing).  Here’s a list I’ve been compiling of what I’m talking about broken down in to categories:


  • Not putting your empty shopping cart in the parking lot corrals…especially when the darn thing is five feet away!
  • Throwing your cigarette butts on the ground (and especially near MY car!), often within twelve inch radius of a disposal receptacle.
  • Not bussing your table at fast food restaurants or picnic sites
  • Leaving your clothes in the dressing room in crumpled heaps on the floor
  • Leaving your shopping cart wherever you like when grabbing items from the shelf or yacking with your friends
  • Talking on your cell phone while your groceries are being rung up…and beyond


  • Driving your car up on the sidewalk to get to the mailbox unit (especially YOU dear neighbor who almost ran into me as I stood there getting my own mail);
  • Idling and blocking traffic while waiting for me to vacate my parking spot when there are many other spots a few feet away.  Double GRRRR if you honk at me too;
  • Not having a clue what you want at a fast food drive-through by the time you get to the ordering station;
  • Idling your cars along the curb so your precious darling doesn’t get cold waiting for the school bus but making it harder for drivers to spot children who might dart out between them;
  • Sidling along in the left lane (not a passing lane) until the last second then insisting on being allowed into the slower moving right lane to make a right, no turn signal on, of course, because that would tip me off to your nefarious plan!
  • Parking your car in front of MY house instead of my neighbor’s whom you are visiting, especially if you’re facing the wrong way (Ok, so I’m VERY territorial!)


  • Urging your dog to pee in my yard instead of yours; double grr if they poop and you don’t pick it up right away;
  • Blowing your nose at the table;
  • Abandoning your laundry at the coin-op once you’ve gotten your clothes into the dryer; No, I will NOT fold your clothes if I get sick of waiting for you to remove your items (thank goodness I don’t use coin ops anymore!)
  • Texting during movies–those ads at the beginning telling you to turn off your cell phone?  They mean YOU!
  • Leaving your trash behind in the movie theatre (I must confess to being blind to this until I met my husband.  No more.  Pack it in; pack it out.)
  • Breaking the spine on a paperback in a bookstore while you peruse / read it then leaving it behind or grabbing a “fresh” copy to buy;
  • Insisting on bringing oversized luggage as carry on so you’ll get free gate check-in while the rest of us paid $20-25 to check ours at the ticket counter;

It’s this type of thoughtlessness, and I might add in some cases, sense of entitlement, that drives me bonkers.

People…please don’t do these things!  We must nip them in the bud and reinforce for our children’s sake at least, WHY these behaviors are rude and inconsiderate.

~A Public Service Message from your darkly romantic curmudgeon.

Your turn.  Please share in the comments any thoughtless behaviors that drive you bonkers.

18 thoughts on “Curmudgeon Public Service Announcement: The Thoughtlessness Radar

  1. Thank you for this PSA, Curmudgeon. Oh my goodness, I totally agree with all of yours. I might add–leaving garbage behind in the shopping cart you just used, like coffee cups, snack food wrappers, etc. It’s gross. If I don’t spot it right away, my child WILL consume that half-eaten cookie they found in the seat. *shudder* *Lysols children*

    • Yes! This too! Makes me wonder sometimes if they ate stuff and didn’t pay for it. ANOTHER of my peeves–people who eat stuff in the grocery store, especially fruit or anything sold by the pound and unpackaged, and don’t pay for it.

  2. Thank you for this. It drives me crazy as well. We have a trash can in front of our business. People will be sitting out front in their cars and instead of getting out to throw their stuff away, will toss it out the window. 5 steps to the can, people. Drives me nuts.

  3. Curmudgeon – could you come yell at the lady who works the deli counter at my local grocery store? She always acts like I’m interrupting her busy day when I try to order something. I swear, if she sighs and rolls her eyes one more time I’m going to smack her around with a half pound of the on-sale bologna.

  4. See? I’m not the only one, thank-you Claire!
    I agree with ALL of your points, totally.
    One of my peeves is people walk in a shopping mall the same way they drive, like they have no mirrors on the cars. They are all over the freaking place. I’ve taken to playing shopping mall chicken. I walk on the correct side of the ailse and if a crowd of four people abreast come towards me expecting me to move out of their way, they are in for a rude surprise. When they bump into me, I then say “Excuse you”. (200+lbs on a 6ft frame, more often than not, they bounce not me.;)

    • YES!!! I hate that. I’m a fast-paced walker and I hate people who stop abruptly and those who zig-zag in addition to the wall of people who seem determined to force you against the glass wall of the shops. Glad you stand your ground and take a stand. I salute you!

  5. WORD to your entire post, Claire, and a few of my own…

    Working retail:
    -People who talk on their cell phones-in their outside voices-throughout the entire store.
    -People who talk on their cell phones the entire time I’m ringing them up, then wait until *after* I’ve finished the sale to quibble over prices.
    -People who bring their dogs into the store (fine) let them do their business on our floor and then leave without owning up or cleaning up (less fine)
    -People who use our restrooms and leave them in a state more befitting a Cheapside back alley in Dark Ages London
    -People who complain about things being made in China but refuse to spend the money for a locally-made item (one of my favorites)
    -People who throw used tissues and gum into the food bank donation bin. Not a trash can, people! Come on!
    -People who come in at ten minutes till closing expecting to wander around our store for however long they have to wait for their movie to start at the theatre next door.
    -People who come in at ten minutes till closing and get belligerent because we aren’t open until all hours of the night like in big cities. Small town, small hours.
    -Certain coworkers who sit up front ignoring all of the customers until said customers come up to check out (all at once, natch) then disappear, leaving me to handle the line all by my lonesome, and reappearing only once the last customer in line has checked out.

    -Next-door neighbors who get up at 5 AM and shoot the breeze in their driveway at top volume, right outside my window.
    -Other next-door neighbors who’ve never introduced themselves or acknowledged us in any way but let their 6-yr-old daughter wander all over our property and even inside our house once!
    -People who spend more time dragging their shopping cart onto a curb or the cement divider between spaces than it would take to just put the damn thing into the cart corral.
    -People who block my way and walk r e a l l y S L O W. *snarls*

    (With a list like this maybe I should try for junior curmudgeon status!)

  6. I love these comments partially because I’m trying to think of something to add and realized I don’t get my panties in a bunch over much! If anything (and I hate to admit this) I just may be, no, actually I KNOW I am the cause of some individual’s rumbling.

    For example, I do idle on the side of the road, facing the wrong way, so that my middle school prince can get out of my warm car and board his bus in less than a stride and a half.

    and…Sometimes (only sometimes when its really cold or rainy or I’m just plain lazy) I do leave my cart next to my car after loading my groceries.

    Forgive me my curmudgeon friend for without people like me you wouldn’t have anything to grumble about. 😉

    • Oh tsk, tsk, tsk, Sandra. Shocking! See, I actually LOVE to return my shopping cart to the corral! I love to push it to my car from the store; NEVER let the baggers do it for me. I run behind my cart to get up a head of steam, then ride it like a musher. Sometimes I take my cart all the way back to the store instead of putting it in the corral. I like the loud bang it makes when I shove it into the cart in front of it. Sometimes…((looks around to see who might be staring over my shoulder, judging me))…sometimes I even organize the other carts in the corral, nesting them all nice and tidy so they don’t roll away and so there’s plenty of room for more carts. Bwahahahaha. How stupid is this confession here? I guess I have a touch of OCD. Ok, ok, I already know I’m weird, but this is also why I get so irritated at people who leave their carts to roam about freely.

      • I can’t count how many times I start to pull into a space only to realize that there’s a cart taking up a big chunk of it. Though I admit the laziness kicks in right about then and I just find another space instead of getting out and wrangling the cart into a more appropriate spot. So even curmudgeons have their lazy moments! 😉

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