The one with a sense of entitlement

The reasons for this post have been rattling around my brain for some time. This weekend watching a film, going shopping and having a conversation over lunch seem to have brought the rattle to fruition. And I warn you now it’s a somewhat ranty fruition.

Whether it’s the recent changes to our economy, the gradual shift of generations or the inevitable manifestation of an individualistic capitalist culture but it appears to me on occasion that the degree of individual entitlement that some people display is high.

There is no better testing ground for this assertion than a trip through London. If you travel into and through London on a regular basis as I do, you will observe people behaving with little or no consideration to others. The pushing and shoving, those pushing to get to the ticket barrier first, those jamming themselves into carriages ahead of those who’ve been waiting and my absolute personal favourite – the roller suitcase.

Saturday afternoon saw me as a guest of Neil Morrison and I must confess we had a 5 minute mutual rant about those who wield the roller suitcase. Let’s get one thing straight – a roller suitcase DOES NOT have human rights. It doesn’t invite the consideration that a small child would and ensuring it doesn’t cause absolute chaos IS the responsibility of the person dragging it. In the past fortnight alone I have been bashed, knee charged and had my feet run over on at least 4 separate occasions with no apology and no seeming embarrassment.

To me the unspoken understanding of public transport (and one of the reasons I love my car) is that you are in a public space, that everyone needs to get somewhere and that we need to observe the rules of polite human behaviour in trying to get everyone to everywhere they want to go as easily as possible. You are entitled to be part of that but it is NOT all about you.

Not that public transport is the only arena where you see this behaviour – on the roads, in supermarkets, in office buildings and as I found to my horror at outlet shopping villages. Herself and I braved Bicester Village on Saturday and although we only spent an hour there the lack of consideration both for the retail staff and other customers I witnessed absolutely astounded me. If it were a race to get the last loaf of bread to feed your starving family I could at least understand it but I am fairly secure in the statement that nothing contained in the Ralph Lauren store is life or death!

Working backwards in time, Friday night saw us crashed out on the sofa watching “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (charming film). At one point in the film Tom Wilkinson, playing a retired high court judge is asked why he loves India and he responds “The way the people see life as a gift, a privilege — and not a right.” It’s a nice line and has stuck in my head the whole weekend.

Yes we all have individual rights and yes we all have individual needs. I need to get to work on time, I need to buy food in order to cook dinner, I need to get to the M25 in order to get to the M4 BUT (and this is a huge BUT) other people have rights and needs to and none of us exist in a vacuum. Whether it be on public transport, on the roads, in a meeting or in a shop if we could all realise we are part of something NOT the centre of something then maybe life on a daily basis would just be that little bit nicer.

And if you do drag a roller suitcase BE AWARE OF IT!

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The one with a sense of entitlement

  1. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country… what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

  2. I’m delighted to hear your encounter with Mr Morrison was so joyful 🙂 I agree with you absolutely about the importance of being a part of something, not the centre of it. In part, that is why I feel so uncomfortable with the car as a mode of transport. Being encased in your own toughened metal shell does not seem to create a sense of being part of anything except perhaps for a sodding great queue. The car is isolation in extreme and though I have no evidence to back this up, I’ll wager pretty much all ‘road rage’ type incidents are between one car driver and another.

    I don’t cycle as much as I used to but I still see it as a useful and enjoyable means of transport. And though there are an abundance of red light jumping wankers on bicycles (I don’t know why the police don’t set up camp on busy road junctions in London and spot fine their asses off, they’d raise a fortune in fine revenue), I think we’d all be better off if cycling was an integral part of the driving test (which itself should be renewed every few years). I don’t think that many motorists act in anger towards other road users, I think they act in ignorance, borne of a lack of experience of what it is like to travel outside the car.

    I’m sorry your shopping experience was so awful. In the past few days I’ve enjoyed perfectly acceptable (even friendly) shopping experiences in Dorking, Sutton and Wallington. There is hope 😉

  3. Rob, as one who is often derided as “old fashioned” by the famille Smith, you’ve touched the “manners” nerve with this one. By the way, my personal hate, which to my mind is marginally worse than the roller suitcase is the roller briefcase which is even easier to trip over. I console myself by thinking of these people pulling their toy boxes along like truculent 5 year olds.

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