Ben Keenan: Manners - more than just a game

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Every morning on my way to work, I play a little game called ‘manners’.

As 11 miles of winding county road takes me closer to Bury St Edmunds, I pass the time by counting how many drivers raise a hand in thanks whenever I have to give way for them. The record is 23 cars in 13 minutes but the low point came last week when only one did.

You may think this is a strange way to pass the time just after breakfast but it’s one of my idiosyncrasies and a habit I can’t seem to break.

I was raised to respect that timeless old adage that good manners cost nothing and as I approach my 32nd birthday, find that I use the saying more times than I think I should have to.

Growing up, I learned more wonderful things from my family than I could ever list but the one about treating others the way you’d like to be treated really stuck with me. Working in the retail industry, exemplary customer service is the most fundamentally important business strategy so, for me, being polite is not something I have to practise but some people, and I won’t name any names, some people are just rude and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. I’d like to think that the minority of rude people are just out of practice and if we all make a big effort, we can really earn the right to be known throughout the world as the absolute pinnacle of a modern, well-mannered society. Isn’t that the reason why were known as Great Britain!