Australians are officially pet crazy - maybe it's because people no longer have manners?

I like animals because they are not consciously cruel and don’t betray each other.
— Taylor Caldwell

Julie Power Sydney Morning Herald:

Australia is officially pet crazy, with about 2 million more pets than people. A new report - a state of the pet nation - also found owners trust their pets more than their friends.

That's pretty serious stuff! Pet owners trust their pets more than their friends. What does that say about us as people? Emily Post probably one of the most well known writers on etiquette would turn in her grave!

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.
— Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire (1899 - 1987) was born into an era where good manners were as common as taking your daily breath. The above quote has no date attached to it but it's pretty safe to say that Fred Astaire saw the tide turn - at what point did manners become passe is hard to say. But the fact that people trust their pets more than their friends is very telling.

With technology booming and becoming pre-eminent in our lives a whole new set of etiquette issues have emerged. When is it polite to use a mobile phone and when should we leave them in our pocket?

One shop in Mandurah has a sign the explicitly states customers won't be served if they are on their phones.

Simple staples of everyday life such as RSVPing to party, giving up your seat on a train or bus for the elderly or frail, even a please and thankyou have become relegated to a dusty old shelf labelled 'does not live here anymore.'

As my grandfather used to say - 'The more I see of people the more I love my dog'. Maybe pet owners are on to something. Animals are loyal, good companions and love you unconditionally if you treat them well. Perhaps it's time we took a leaf out the animal kingdoms book! You don't see dogs being unfriendly to one another they just sniff each other's butts and want to play.

Manners are cool. I don't care what anyone says. The fact that Emily Post has a family run institute in her name attests to the fact that manners are still important. So put your mobile phone away at the shop counter and remember, manners cost nothing!