Everyone has terrible days – days during which you feel like you stink and have nothing going for you. When I’m having one of those days, I have a simple solution: I take a stroll over to 2025 F St., known to your average Colonial as Package Services.
Package Services you ask? Wouldn’t the long lines and musty basement only sink me further into depression? Quite the contrary. After five minutes of standing around waiting for a package and seeing the way my fellow GW students treat the workers there, I am restored in my faith that I am a good person. Simply stated, the way that many students treat the people who serve them is detestable and needs to change.
The same way some people can watch shows like “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and feel comforted by the fact that they don’t have those skewed values, a trip to Package Services makes me feel grounded and reminds me I have a good head on my shoulders. The things I have heard fellow students say to workers in the mailroom, at J Street and most other places on campus that offer services are impolite, unclassy and just plain rude. At a school with many students from privileged backgrounds, it’s amazing to see that manners aren’t valued the same way that name brands and vacations are.
I can only imagine how many times a day your typical amenities worker at GW hears, “I pay $45,000 a year to go to school here!” A little secret that everyone at GW should be privy to is this: we all pay $45,000 to go here. That being said, why do some of us feel the need to remind the people who serve us daily? Are they impressed by our ability to attend such an expensive school? Do parents, leaving their freshmen behind in Thurston Hall, remind them to do well in school, not drink too much and give people a hard time?
I’m not defending the Package Services or J Street service, which can be slow and poor, but I am defending decency and decorum. I don’t think there is anything wrong with politely telling someone they could be doing their job better or that something hasn’t been done correctly, but using profanity and making a scene is completely unnecessary. As someone who has had a package misplaced, many a bagel at Einstein’s served with cream cheese instead of butter and Fix-it requests unfulfilled, I know how frustrating poor service can be. However, I can also assure my fellow students that being yelled at by a 19 year old isn’t going to inspire someone to help you better – it’ll probably do the opposite and only make you appear foolish and bratty.
We are all entitled to good service, and a separate column could easily be spent addressing the University’s failures in that realm. More importantly, we all deserve to live in a community in which a trip to J Street doesn’t make us cringe because of our peers’ rude manners. Thankfully, everyone at GW can take simple steps to help counter the epidemic of disrespect and snootiness.
Student Association Executive Vice President Josh Lasky’s “Hold the Door” initiative marks the first step taken by the SA with the potential to transform quality of life for everyone on campus. The idea is simple and clear – holding the door for people as you enter and exit buildings is just a polite thing to do. Think of all the other small things we could do to create a more polite campus, such as saying hello to people on the street and upperclassmen actually getting to know their neighbors in residence halls.
I may sound like an idealist to some, but I think that everyone has the ability to say “please” and “thank you”. Most importantly, no one has the right to be treated the way some workers at this school are. My hope is that people will take this message to heart, and truly reconsider how they relate with those who help us every day. Consider taking an extra minute from your day to thank the person who gives you your package. Let that person know you appreciate him or her. When such a simple shift in tone and frame of mind happens, I’ll be forced to find a new place to help me feel better about myself, and I think “My Super Sweet 16” is the likely place I’ll turn.
-The writer is a junior majoring in geography.