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Long before I spent 20 plus years in the service industry where customer service is king, I, along with my siblings, were taught to have manners and be respectful to everyone- especially adults- by my mother. So, I am really amazed by the number of times I am not greeted by sales clerks, not greeted when walking into an establishment, or not greeted in an email or text message.

When I worked in retail, not speaking to a client was not an option. I always equated working in a store with being on stage. Once the client entered my store, I was an actor and I had to perform, and that performance always started with a greeting and ended with a salutation.

Sometimes I would tell my staff if they are having a bad day they should clock out and go home because not greeting clients was never an option.

I made my exit from retail in 2007 but always still followed my rules of engagement pertaining to greetings. So, I was amazed when I received emails that contained no greeting (especially the first email of the day). What kind of people send emails without a greeting? Do you walk into a room without acknowledging people and just start asking them questions or start giving them duties without a greeting? Once I told a colleague that if he didn’t start greeting me in his emails, I would not answer them. Is it really that hard?

As I observed people, I saw that they could greet their spouses and significant others when they called, they could greet mayors and other executives in emails, but that they could not do the same for me. At that point I realized that it was a conscious decision people were making. I also decided that I should not accept anything other than civility and respect that I knew people could afford. Just because I work for you or because I don’t work at your level does not mean that I should get the same level of respect that you give to others. The excuse is always, “I’m so sorry I have so much going on” and I don’t buy it.

What kind of society have we turned into when we can’t treat each with respect and greet each other? A few good reasons to say good morning (written or in-person): 1) It is basic manners, 2) it’s free and painless, 3) you may brighten someone’s day, and 4) it is an icebreaker to meeting someone new and starting a conversation.

Let’s get back to basics and start the day off with a simple, hello! Let’s focus on what can unite us and not so much on what divides us!