What’s wrong with people?

By Beth Milligan | August 22, 2022

What’s wrong with people? This is a question that people have been asking for several years now. Stories of customers being rude to local business staff, community members punching journalists in the face and people being shot while putting their boat in the water seem to have become the norm. (Okay, those last two only happened once, but still.)

So seriously, what’s wrong with people? A 2021 article in TIME says “Reintegration into polite society is proving a bit bumpy… Americans seem to have forgotten their intricacies, especially with those whose job it is to help them.” Slate speculates that a mixture of pandemic stress, social isolation and violent political rhetoric has pushed people over the edge. Amy Alkon put it bluntly in a track for psychology today“We modern humans are a bunch of catchy, self-centered morons, like the generations of humans before us. It’s just that there are fewer constraints than ever on our catchy, self-involved jerk.

Unfortunately, all of these theories seem to contain nuggets of truth. And the people who’ve seen it all are working on the front lines at your favorite restaurants, which are already understaffed and dealing with soaring food costs and supply chain issues. Some people have tried to take a soft approach, reminding customers to do their best. Others had to take more drastic measures.

In this week Northern Expresssister publication of The ticker, local hospitality representatives explain what’s going on and how they’re trying to best protect their staff while providing a welcoming experience for guests. Plus, Shilo Smith, professor of psychology at Northwestern Michigan College, explains why acts of meanness are becoming more common…and why there might still be reason for hope.

The Northern Express is available to read online, or pick up a free copy at newsstands at nearly 700 locations in 14 northern Michigan counties.


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