In this day and age, I think that this concept is somewhat outdated, but should still be looked upon as something of a guideline in the way one interacts with customers. Whether waiting tables, bagging groceries or working on commission, it is still important to treat the people (who essentially make your paycheck possible) with respect.
To me, this doesn't mean that as a customer I have the right to bully or belittle the people taking care of my business, but I expect to be respected.
Now some may not even find this offensive at all, but this afternoon while I was shopping for odds and ends I forgot at the grocery store last Friday, I put myself in the self-checkout line and started scanning. Overall, I had about 13 items and with my last item in mid-scan the lady working the front of the store stepped up to start bagging my groceries. Personally, I hate this. Usually I use green bags (which I unfortunately forgot this afternoon,) so I will often tell them not to worry about it if the store's not busy. Well, there were all of 19 customers storewide, and only 4 of the 12 checkout lanes had people in them. She was bored, I get that, but I don't like people to touch my groceries.
I politely told her not to worry about it, I was on my last item and would take care of it myself. She looked at me like I was Medusa and my snake hair was hissing venom at her. She then proceeded to start bagging my gallon jug of green tea... conveniently with a handle on it so it can be carried (did I mention conveniently?) So I tell her again in a very nice voice, "Hey don't worry about that, I'll do it. I'm done here."
You know the outside of a pomegranate? Well, that's what her skin looked like in color and texture thanks to her fuming rage, which prompted her to haughtily announce, "That is what they want us to do as our job, it's my job."
To which I replied, "Well, now it's my job because who puts a gallon jug in a plastic bag?"
It would have been okay with me if she had been polite or even sort of scared, like she was going to get in trouble for not doing anything, but she was nasty about it. So now I am calling the store and complaining to her boss about her attitude and feeling guilty because times are tough and I don't want to be the reason some grumpy lady loses her job.
With everything changing, lately it seems for the worse in a lot of cases, wouldn't a little human kindness go a long way. I realize everyone has bad days. I have them ALL the time, but I do everything in my power not to ruin the day of people around me with my bad mood.
The crazy thing is that it isn't even the holiday season yet, when people should be at their cheeriest, but are usually at their nastiest. I don't even want to imagine what November is going to be like if October 6th is already up mean creek without a paddle.