Just Say “Please”
- On April 19, 2016
I was recently on vacation in a cell phone-free zone. In the lounge of the hotel where I was staying, a sign invited me to leave my cell phone in my room. Its exact words were, If you want to use your phone, we invite you to use it in the privacy of your room.
A sign at my health club requests that I kindly leave my cell phone in my locker, which always makes me laugh and think, As opposed to beating it with a stick and leaving it in my locker?
In both cases, a simple please would suffice: If you want to use your phone, please do so in the privacy of your room and Please leave your phone in your locker.
I suppose we think that by inviting people to do something or asking them to kindly do something we sound less bossy, but these roundabout expressions are not necessary. After all, one of the first things we teach our children is to say please and thank you, so it stands to reason that that lesson in courtesy still applies to us as adults.
On the plane ride home, a flight attendant announced, We are landing in 30 minutes. If you have any last-minute business to attend to in the restroom, now would be the time to do it. I don’t think any of us would have been offended had she said, We are landing in 30 minutes. If you need to use the restroom, please do so now.