Of Manners and Standards… and buttons worn by shop assistants

Can a Polite Pig help Bajans regain our lost culture?

by David Gittens

“But quite apart from his immediate political and economic agenda, the Prime Minister is concerned about the general direction in which the country seems to be headed.

In an exclusive SUNDAY SUN interview this week, Stuart, 59, pointed to falling national standards while using excellence as his benchmark for performance.”

… an excerpt from The Nation article PM’s Plan

All through the years I have had indigestion caused by the very very seldom outspeaking by local authority figures regarding the general slip-shodden approach to work and productivity, and the non-existence of basic, everyday good manners that once-upon-a-time were the hallmark of local ‘culture.’

Now it has even gotten to the point where there are huge bill board signs on the roadside and rosette buttons being worn by shop assistants and cashiers urging people to ‘let courtesy shine through….’ say “thank you” “excuse me” “Please” …

The interesting thing, in my observation is – the people wearing these buttons are patently unaware they are wearing them and their particular attitudes remain as blasé as they ever are.

I applaud the relevant Government department that is trying to invoke change, however a person’s manner is an ingrained thing, developed and ensconced in themselves since age 6 and onwards, where it is now habitual.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…

David Gittens

BFP thanks Barbados Today for the photo of Polite Percy the Pig.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues

16 responses to “Of Manners and Standards… and buttons worn by shop assistants

  1. Capt. Nobody

    Question: how a pig can teach you good manners? OINK !

  2. permres

    I take in private students for tuition in mathematics. I have given all parents a 3-page description of how I operate and what I expect. I list seven rules, one of which says: “No chewing!”

    You would not believe, but I am constantly presented with gum-chewing tutees, and the parents are paying for my tuition!

    I hate it when I go into a bank (LIME Customer Services is bad) or anywhere and the front-desk person is chewing.

    I must be getting old!

  3. Greg

    NISE is the biggest waste of money the island has seen in a long time. Somebody please tel me one thing they have actually done, for millions of dollars spent?

  4. Politically Tired

    My other half caught a bus from Bathsheba to Bridgetown (2pm) at Grantley Adams school there was a group of students at the bus stop. Bus stops & the drivers asks to see proof they are allowed out of school, the girls stepped back but one boy, about 14 years old, climbed onto the bus badmouthing the driver. The driver reversed the bus into the school drive, turned around & drove to the Police Station where the Police had to get on the bus to get the boy off, according to my other half, the boy gave the police ‘a lot of lip.
    When this sort of ‘manners’ is prevalent in our schoolchildren what hope do you hold out for the adults!


    Some public servants seem to think that it is their right to insult people doing legitimate business with their office . Not only insult but shout at; treat like dogs even curse them. I find that female public servants are loud and abrasive , behaviour which was honed on the minibuses that most of them took to go to school . As for the minibuses !

    Some mini bus conductors treat passengers bad with their loud noises and vulgar music. I saw one of them put out a sweet old lady only because she asked for the music to be lowered.

    There is a whole heap of indiscipline in the society and it manifests in many ways including the indiscriminate, excessive and abusive drinking of substances such as stouts and energy drinks, rum and brandy which is rum with additives anyhow, over eating of souse -every saturday—indiscriminate pork eating, fast food even on sundays. doing wheelies with motorbikes –all kinda o indispline acts including stealing-look at Hunte in the Sunday Sun–a man stealing his crops and he knows who the man is, -the man tells Hunte that he is coming -Believe me there are people that bold ! -a total dis-respect for other people’s property-INDISCIPLINE !
    What are we teaching these people in schools ? Women teachers in schools have pioneered a dont carish attitude ever since their numbers increased –More men needed. Women are just interested in the salay and building big houses for them and them alone –they dont even want a man in the house they built. Time was when a man would provide a house for he and woman. Women got money now but they puttin men outside. I t happen to two good friends of mine in 2007 and 2004. This is a form of indispline too
    When will it stop ? Meanwhile Barbados becomes WARBADOS

  6. browngal

    On Friday afternoon, I encountered a immigration officer that as long as I was standing there, he never looked at me, asked me a question, grabbed the documentations then pushed them back at me. No response to my salutations. I expected to be questioned, but not a word. He looked like if he or I said anything he would exploded.

    I travel all over the world, and to Barbados often, but the immigration officers in Barbados are the WORST. Does no one teach them manners or how to respond to visitors. I have encountered this behavior in the hotel and in the stores. I guess this is indicative of Barbados of today.

  7. How often do you see ppl get up 4 a pregnant woman in a crowded bus nowadays?

  8. jdid

    I dont want to lump everyone in the same basket. There are some folks in the service industry in Barbados that are excellent and its not always in places you would expect good service. But for the main part I can honestly say the pig is a good symbol for the hoggish behavior of service industry folks in Barbados.
    That being the case its rather ironic that we’ve put our eggs into the tourism basket where service can mean the difference between a reference to a friend or coworker or a customer returning to the island.

  9. Sentinel

    @Capt. Nobody
    November 28, 2010 at 6:56 pm
    Question: how a pig can teach you good manners? OINK !”
    My sentiments as well. We are using a hog to teach Bajans good manners! How hogriffic!

  10. Backra Johnny

    Well I for one have reached the stage (age) where I am not prepared to stand for ANY disrespect, ignorance or plain bad manners. I don’t give and I don’t intend to receive …. story done!!

  11. Pigmy

    I think we as ppl should call service ppl Percy when they display a stinking attitude to remind them of what is required.

  12. Mac

    @ Ian, too many pregnant women, you’d be up & down like a yoyo, might as well walk. But that’s another issue.

  13. Missy B

    Lolol! Laughing at some of the previous comments…too true! Obviously Polite Percy is not going to change a whole lot of deep rooted bad manners but I am hoping it will shame some customer facing service workers into at least pretending to have basic manners!
    To believe that we have to make ADULTS wear a badge with a pig on it to remind them to have manners is amusing to me! I would feel utterly ashamed as a customer service worker that anyone would feel that was needed!
    Before I start with the negative rant please let me first add that there are many professional, kind and friendly staff members out there who should make Barbados proud, but this is overshadowed by the rude, obnoxious, lazy and downright outrageous individuals who feel the need to work in customer facing roles and make other peoples lives as miserable as there own.
    I am sorry to say this but 99% of the latter are women. Why, I do not know. have tryed to work it out many a time but it has failed me.
    I wont go into the all the details of incidents that I personally have suffered at the hands of these ignorant people but suffice to say, they would be enough to get you instantly dismissed from your job or the police called in the UK, Canada or USA!
    I have been sworn at, called names, whispered about, ridiculed and had racial slurs made at me in various shops, banks, restaurants and hotels in Barbados. I am an extremeley polite person and have never once risen to this pathetic behaviour and have actually chosen to deal with it by killing them with kindness. Which I find the perpertrators hate even more!! Lolol!

    The only time I came close to snapping and reacting to this type of behaviour was during an incident a few years ago at a popular South Coast hotel. My middle aged mother was subject to a nasty incident whilst staying there whereby a beach worker exposed himself to her and commited a sexual act on himself in front of her, right on the beach outside the hotel. When my Mum who was quite shaken and worried about what this guy would get up to next reported this the female front desk worker, the front desk worker started giggling and then ran out to the back room…….obviously my mum was furious and asked to speak to the duty manager as this woman was incapable of doing her job. The duty manager then appeared and asked my mum to repeat what happened to her, during which time the same front desk worker started laughing again and went back out to the room. I wonder if she would have found it so funny if it had happened to her, her mother or other female relative.
    The duty manager refused to call the police and said that it was nothing to do with the hotel as it did not happen on their property.
    If it wasnt for the fact we love Barbados for so many other reasons then I think that would of been our last visit. I wonder how many first time visitors this type of incident has happened too, who have then never returned!?
    Barbados I love you so much and you are my other home but this type of behaviour HAS to stop.


    From Caribbean 360 today…
    “Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says residents must adjust to the times to get through the tough economic period.

    “During his message, he also called on Barbadians to strive for the highest standards, noting that the independence Barbados achieved from the British on November 30th, 1966 never promised only to confer rights on the people, but also involved the assumption of very serious responsibility.

    “If Barbados is to continue to satisfy the definition of being a great nation, we must continue to insist on the highest standards of parenting in our homes; the highest standards of performance at our places of work; the highest standards in how we relate to one another, both as fellow citizens and as members of the human family; and the highest standards of respect for and loyalty to our nation,” the Barbadian leader said.”

    Well – what do you know? 44 years on… we are being called to achieve higher standards.

    How ofthen have we heard these calls through the years? A dozen times perhaps? And NEVER from the unions, in my recollection….

  15. Anonymouse Not By Choice

    I can’t help but wonder……..yuh know that old saying that you “lead by example”? These clerks/salespersons in various stores, who act like they doing you a favour by even acknowledging your existence instead of a job they get paid for have supervisors and those supervisors have managers and those mangers have store/business owners. If the damn business owners can’t see that people like this are ruining their businesses and their profits, then who is to blame?
    In the real world, workers are subject to performance evaluations and are given the opportunity to improve their performance and those that can’t or won’t are fired! There are plenty of people in Barbados needing jobs and I say to all those business owners in Barbados, do your customers and yourself a favour and get rid of the rude slackers.
    Do business owners in Barbados actually do in-depth interviews of prospective employees or do they just hire based on who got the best botsy and maybe a chance to know that botsy bettuh?

  16. demathra@rogers.com

    I am reminded of the Sales Clerk on Broad Street who looked at a customer up and down before she accosted him rather rudely, “Wha do you? What ya stannin up day studdying me for?”
    The young man replied, ” I only want tree yards of dat yeller ribbon yonda, and I en studdying you, my lady, causin I bulls.”