|The subject of politesse fascinates me. I plan on finding this book.|
My question: If as the new poster in the hall outside our physical therapy room declares that being polite is natural, why is it necessary to have a poster?
I asked (discreetly) around the establishment and the only consistent answer I found was something equivalent to “you’d be surprised.”
Since everyone here, without exception in my experience, is beyond polite and exceptionally kind I assume the message is not directed at the personnel. It must be for us, the patients.
Apparently it is.
Unless customs have changed in my absence, in the United States one is not required by politesse to walk into the waiting room of a doctor’s or an attorney’s office, a shop, a bakery or any other public place where there might be a collection of strangers waiting for their turn for something and say “hello” to the group. We just sort of slink in, find a seat or our place in line and maybe offer a tepid smile. End of story.
Not in France.
We must say a sweeping “bonjour madame” and “bonjour monsieur” before we sit down or stand to wait with the others. A smile is not necessarily de rigueur.
As is no doubt the case in every country in the world “please” and “thank you” are part of the social drill.
|Isn’t it interesting that a similar book for children in English would probably be entitled: “Please and Thank You” which we tell our children as a mantra: They are the magic words. You see here the importance of “bonjour” in France.|
The new poster features cartoon characters: a nurse holding a sign that says, bienvenue;a handyman with the message SVP (if you please) written on the bib of his overalls; and an adolescent holding a basketball that says merci. Then, if we don’t get the message, the final line says: “C’est important pour vous;c’est important pour nous.” It’s important for you, it’s important for us.
I should ask My-Reason-For-Living-In-France what he thinks about the message. Meanwhile I cannot help but wonder if adults need lessons in politesse. Then I reason, they probably do or the poster wouldn’t be there.