Why Is Politeness So Rare That It Needs To Be Rewarded?

I visited the juice bar at the mall today. I got there at closing time and  the attendants were taking the final orders for the day and had started cleaning the machines.

I love nothing better than to boost my fruit and veggie juice with wheatgrass but today they had started cleaning that particular machine already.

The cashier called out to me with her hand outstretched. As I got closer I saw she was trying to give me money. It was the difference for the wheatgrass she couldn’t supply me with and the rest of the juice. She explained that she couldn’t give me wheatgrass because the machine was being cleaned for the day. I was ok with that, accepted the money and told her that it was fine. I worked as a cashier at department store in my student days so I know what it is like to face the public on a daily basis, not being sure how they will react to an unmet expectation.

She was quite surprised at my reaction (or lack thereof) and as she handed me my juice, gave me a voucher for a free wheatgrass booster the next time I come around. This surprised me because there was absolutely no need to do this.

“Oh, you don’t have to do this, I understand.” I said.

“But many people don’t, and you have been so understanding that I want to give you this voucher as a thank you,” she said.

I was touched by the gesture and upset that there are people who will argue over a small thing as not getting wheatgrass in their juice.

Being polite and considerate should be part of our default setting as human beings. Why is it so rare that it needs to be rewarded?