Thursday Thoughts – The Rise of Incivility

It has been an interesting 24 hours in terms of comments I have received. Now, I am still, at 64, a pretty naive person. I believe in the good in everyone until I am proven wrong. In the past I’ve only had one situation where I was backstabbed in a job. Most times I can ignore unpleasant people, and I can work with just about anyone. Part of this ability, I am convinced, is the result of an alcoholic parent. I’m an adult child of an alcoholic, and as such I have always been concerned with keeping people happy.

Over the years I have come to see that this has been an asset for me in working with teachers. I listen to what people want and then try to make it happen, while always taking their needs into account. That said, I know that incivility is rapidly o the rise in this country, and I have been slowly eliminating blogs and such where the message is one of hate or discrimination or just plain nastiness. I was doing pretty well…

…until yesterday. Wow, I was confronted with two situations that really troubled me, as this is becoming the norm in dealing with people. Situation 1: I had sold a small art quilt in a specialty auction on Tophatter. I debated putting this piece up on line, as I really liked it, but I am trying to bring in some additional money. I put this piece up, description was accurate, price was good ($30 plus $5 in postage). I know a number of people would say price was way too low, but hey, my decision and I needed some money. And…the piece sold. I was thrilled and it went in the mail to its new owner.

Yesterday I went online to schedule some new items for auctions on Tophatter to find that I couldn’t schedule anything until I took care of negative feedback. Huh? We’ve sold on Ebay for 8 years and have 100% feedback. The closest we came to negative feedback was a neutral, and as it was, we refunded the money without even asking. Here’s what I read:

“What a waste of money! Don’t buy from this seller unless you want to just waste your hard earned money. I’ll make something 100X nicer. All he sent was a 9′ by 12″ piece of lousy fabric, hand sewn with metallic thread in a few spots, and had the gall to charge $35.00 for it. We, quilting night at my house, just laughed, and burned it. Must be VERY lazy. I will NEVER buy a thing from him again. What a RIP OFF! You should be ASHAMED to call yourself a quilter…what a joke.”

That “lousy fabric” was a piece of hand-marbled denim, which no one does that I’ve been able to see. This was a small art quilt, and it was billed as such. They burned it!

This was just vicious. Never emailed and said they didn’t like it. We would have refunded the money. We have an “on the wall” policy for folks who buy our art quilts. Put it on the wall for a week to be sure you like it. If you don’t, it comes back to us for a refund.

I have asked for resolution from Tophatter to get this feedback reversed. I had to respond to the person, and I did, nice and sweet…well, at least rational and no name calling. Over the years I have become less PMS-y when it comes to dealing with most people, except for politicians. If I call, they get the full brunt of my sarcasm. But I would NEVER even consider responding to someone this way.

So I pulled an item from an auction for today, same auction that the person bought from last week, as I just don’t need to deal with this.

So as I was slowly getting over this yesterday, I get an email with a returned newsletter that had just gone out. We use MailChimp, and every newsletter has a place to unsubscribe, and you are only getting a newsletter because you opted in for one. Here’s the email with this one:

“I am so disgusted with your narrow, small-minded attitude about GUN CONTROL that I never want anything to do with you or your products.  Take me off your email list. NOW. “

Okay……..You can certainly boycott me; I don’t have a problem with that. But I wasn’t aware I had this attitude. I have been very careful to keep my political posts as balanced as possible in this climate. The posts I do tweet or share are as reasoned as I can find. Such was the case with the gun post over the weekend. I can only assume that was what she was referring to. Other than that, I’ve never said a thing about gun control. Now, I am not a fan of Jason Alexander of Seinfield fame, but I thought his post over the weekend was well done and had good points. That’s what I shared.

A couple of months ago I posted in another Thursday Thoughts that I would really try to look for balance in politics. I am reading some hateful things in blogs in an attempt to understand what people are thinking. I’ve had to stop a number of those blogs, because they are just ugly. This also applies to both sides of the political fence. I found an article from Addicting Info that would have been so much better had the sarcasm been eliminated.

The headline is antagonistic, and it doesn’t need to be. A better, less inflammatory headline might be “20 Lies That Will Shock You.” You’ll probably get more people reading the article. Here’s a paragraph from the article, as is:

9) You don’t have a “right” to anything that other people have to pay to provide for you. Then you do not have the right to police protection, a fire department or even a 911 emergency line. You do not have the right to clean air or safe food. You do not have the right to a military to protect you from foreign invasion. You do not have the right to a single thing that is government-run. Oh? What’s that? You pay taxes so you deserve all of those things?

Exactly, you stupid bastard. If everyone else was not chipping in, i.e. “paying to provide for you,” you would not be able to afford all that nifty stuff. It’s called “socialism” and only very stupid people think they are completely self-sufficient.

Pretty inflammatory. I would rewrite this:

9) You don’t have a “right” to anything that other people have to pay to provide for you. That includes police protection, a fire department or even a 911 emergency line,  clean air or safe food,  a military to protect you from foreign invasion, or any single thing that is government-run. If everyone else was not chipping in, i.e. “paying to provide for you,” you would not be able to afford all that.

Probably would not sell as many articles, but a lot more civil.

So I will continue my own campaign, despite nasty, vicious people and all. I have to believe that the actions of one can make a difference. Thoughts? And be civil about it, or I will delete you…..

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