Tea Kettle Philosophy — A Return to Good Manners

Lately, there seems to be a tendency more and more for people to be rude. Tea is a chance to return to gentility and display good manners, at least for the duration of the tea time.

Doesn’t that look civilized?
Doesn’t that look civilized?

We’re not talking about such trivialities as avoiding the pointing of the pinky when raising cup to lips (which also presents the possibility of poking oneself in the eye) nor the noisy intake of air along with the tea known as slurping (some professional tea tasters do this on purpose to better detect flavor nuances). It’s goes further than that. For example, I heard of an incident where a customer came into a store talking loudly on a cell phone about how the store was terrible and their products were worse (referring to a device she had recently purchased there). It turned out that she had neglected to keep the device’s battery charged up. Her frustration was understandable but due to her own actions.

That seems to be the crux of it. People get frustrated at themselves and turn that frustration outward to others. We’ve probably all done it at one time or another, but we are living in an age of “it’s the other guy’s fault” so this is occurring more and more.

Just imagine, though, if you always had a pot of tea standing by. Sharing a cuppa seems to be the answer for everything in British movies, so why not when dealing with rude people? If the store employee had had tea handy to offer that irate customer, the scenario might have gone like this:

Employee: “May I help you?”

Customer: (speaking into her cell phone) “…and make them fix this thing.” (speaking to employee) “Hey, here, fix this!” (tosses device at him and goes on speaking into phone) “Can you believe this place, selling such junk?”

E: “I’ll do my best, ma’am. How about a cuppa tea first? And a cookie?”

Customer stops talking into phone, looks at him open-mouthed for a second or two, tells the person on the phone “I’ll have to call you back,” and then says to employee: “Yeah, sure, great. Wow, what a nice place this is. I’m sure the problem is all my fault. Take your time fixing it.” Then, she sits back, nibbling on a cookie and sipping the tea daintily.

See, wasn’t that better?

This leads to the proposal to institute a global tea time to stamp out rudeness and save store employees from dealing with impatient and frustrated customers. We could also have a more pleasant time when calling up for phone support and having to listen to inane messages and strange music for a half hour or more only to be told that they can’t help with the problem; sipping tea while you’re waiting will make you less likely to hurl the phone at the wall (which can get kinda expensive if it happens a lot and you have one of those pricey new cell phones). Plus, unpleasant situations like going to the DMV or filling out tax returns, would take on the pleasant atmosphere of afternoon tea time at the local tea room.

Gee, I think I just solved all of the world’s frustrations: have tea!

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4 thoughts on “Tea Kettle Philosophy — A Return to Good Manners

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  3. Judy Trapp

    I always believed that the art of preparing and drinking tea is the last of the “civilized ” things we do. If we don’t continue to teach these things, manners, being polite and respectful, to name a few, they will be lost. Thank you for bringing these to light. As I have said before I really do enjoy reading your articles.

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Thanks, Judy, I am doing my small part to keep a bit of civilization out there. Seems like you are, too. Yay! 🙂

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