Why did Covid make us rude?

By Bailey Compton 8 Dec 2023

This week, I was sitting in a burger joint. Yes, I know burgers are not good for my waistline, but I like them. A gent, sitting at the adjacent table, leant over and asked if he could give me some advice. I felt that, this was not an optional request, but was a rhetorical question. I nodded my approval; I wish I hadn’t!

He proceeded to tell me that my face looked red. He said that I obviously spend too much time in the sun and need to protect myself against sun cancer. I advised that I just spent an hour with the physio therapist and my face was red due to being pressed to a hole. He said it doesn’t look like that, and by the way your face looks like you will die of sun cancer.

That wasn’t all, he decided to say that I put on some weight lately. He said that you definitely are at risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

This would have affected most people enjoying their burger, but not me. As he mentioned my potential heart attack, I took a large bite of my burger. Nothing creates a mental barrier between me and my food!

Two minutes later, I heard him jump on the phone to the reception of a magazine where he is a subscriber. I know that that magazine was called The Spectator. He abused the girl, not quietly, about the magazine being three days late. He said “I’m not a happy camper, and you need to rectify the lateness”. Good luck with that with Australia Post in Christmas. He wanted his next magazine to arrive on time on the 25th of the month. This girl is in for another bagging as the next 25th is Christmas Day.

I couldn’t help myself: I indicated that there were bigger issues in life than a late magazine. He said “No one puts shit on me. I bawl anyone out who dissatisfies me”. I may have said in closing, “Is there anything nice you do for anyone?”. I received no response.

Unfortunately, during and after COVID, rudeness is seen to be a mark of the day. It is a convention, almost an approved mode of conduct, that being, being rude to our fellow person. So why has this rudeness grown since COVID?

One of my staff members came up with some theories:
1. During COVID, people were trapped in their own personal jail. They didn’t have to relate to anyone. It was all about them and not about others. Therefore, they came out of COVID just looking after themselves.
2. Some children had only ever done schooling on the air. This meant that they have not learnt to relate in the playground to other kids.
3. The pivoting after COVID has become confusing for everyone. This confusion has led to people lashing out at others.

I have no theory except I know that rudeness has prevailed in all parts of our business, all staff members are getting grief from customers, who in many cases, have nothing to be concerned about. I also hear from my clients that they are receiving exactly the same situation.

This newsletter is published on the 8th December, 17 days before that fat man slides down the chimney. That fat man is not me! It is a time where we are heading towards the holiday and some joyous time. We are going to party with friends and colleagues and hopefully enjoy family towards the end of the month. Let’s hope that this December and the joy that it brings provide us with reason to be nice and not nasty.