I assumed that most everyone used these words as second nature. Fail. No, definitely not everyone.
And not even most everyone. Two things have made me realize this: different regions in America are not as polite as others (I am in no way talking about Vegas in this post, btw) and there are people in my life that don't use them at all or even very often. Over the years of adulthood, I became desensitized to it. I credited it to their culture, or how they were raised, or the kind of job they do each day. Over time, the rationalizations on their behalf have eventually become bitterness on my part.
I find that I don't have much tolerance anymore for a store clerk who is rude or people who try to walk over me and my kids while I'm out shopping. I realize this stems from feeling slighted or discounted in other situations that don't have anything necessarily to do with that particular offender. I don't know if it is because my girls are getting older and I don't want them to be women who take for granted others' feelings or if it's that I don't want them to be women who become use to people in their life talking to them that way. I am trying to find the fine line of teaching them compliance/being easy to get along with and then being taken advantage of. There is a difference and this is so hard!
In the south, women get a bad rap for being "cantankerous" or "rebellious" for being confident and self-assured. But I can say most definitely that it is not like this most anywhere else. So... I love the south, but I don't like the imposed and generational stigma that women are a bit less and therefore don't need as much in their lives to be content.
Cultures are definitely different; all have some good and some bad. But, I don't care what language you speak, or where you come from: Please and Thank You are universal. Stop blaming your culture for your mistake. The south is my culture, my home, my love...but I will stop blaming it for things that I have not made happen in my life because of it. I will take the good from the bad and never stop using polite words.
As much as you can.
Anyone in your life will appreciate you for doing it.
I use them and I expect my girls to use them.
Shame on you if you don't. It's only a matter of time before not using them stops working for you.