DEAR MISS MANNERS: The customer ahead of me still had groceries to be rung up, so I waited until her order was clear before placing my items on the conveyor belt. When the cashier began ringing up my items, a woman behind me began pushing my cart against me in order to get her items on every last inch of the conveyor belt. Finally, I said two things to her: “Stop pushing this cart against me. You’re old enough to know basic courtesy.”
She didn’t reply, but the assault stopped. In the same situation, how would Miss Manners have reacted?
GENTLE READER: Your success does not deter Miss Manners from deploring the way you achieved it. If she were not terminally polite, she would say to you, “Stop pushing people around. You’re (presumably) old enough to know basic courtesy.”
But she would never do so. Responding with rudeness only doubles the amount of rudeness being practiced. Also, it rarely works, which is why Miss Manners is surprised that you were not then rammed by the cart. It shows that your attacker had a sense of decorum, and suggests that her offense was inadvertent.
At any rate, you should have treated it as such. “Excuse me, but your cart is pushing me,” would have allowed even a deliberately rude person to retreat without further rudeness.