Why is Politeness Punished and Rudeness Rewarded?

I get incredibly annoyed when I am on time, or early, for conferences or presentations or media events which start horribly late. The reason? The hosts would rather make a plan to accommodate latecomers than show their appreciation for those of us who also have had to cope with bad traffic and other commitments – but did manage to get there on time. I was recently at a News Conference of the Minister of Economic Development which started almost half an hour late. The reason given: they were waiting for a tardy SABC crew which was looking for parking. And I once walked out of an FNB event 20 minutes after the scheduled starting time, as nothing was happening. It wasn’t the bank’s fault, as they were waiting for a very late dti Minister Rob Davies. I am also infuriated by some attempts to cope with this problem – when people give a starting time for an event which is half an hour before the true start, because they think this might enable the latecomers to get there before kick-off. But am I alone in this? What do our experts think?

Company Director Brand Pretorius:

I admire countries, societies, organizations and people that regard punctuality as a core value. Such a commitment to punctuality normally goes hand in hand with a similar commitment to professionalism, respect for all people and excellence. On the other hand, a lack of discipline in this regard tends to be symptomatic of an attitude that is not conducive to productivity, efficiency and respectful behaviour.

Jeff Osborne of Gumtree Auto ZA:

 To say “better late than never” would simply contradict my very sentiments where punctuality is concerned. Perhaps it’s my military background, or my upbringing, but I am obsessed with being on time. I believe it is not only respectful, but also basic good manners to be punctual. I know that with each successive generation, there is continual relaxation of convention and tradition. This is very evident where dress code is concerned, along with dinning etiquette and so on. Perhaps some of this relaxation is practical and sensible.  However, a non-observance of basic good manners is inexcusable and just downright rude. When the bell rings at school, it signals and dictates action. So why has punctuality suddenly become unimportant in business circles? But sadly, it has somehow become normal and acceptable for significant numbers of delegates to be delayed, for a variety of reasons. I see the same in meetings, where people arrive late and then proceed to drift in and out on their cell phones. This is unacceptable in my book. Perhaps the only way to remedy this behaviour is for seniors to start leading by example, to not mislead the juniors. This will set the scene and give bosses the right to insist on acceptable levels of decorum. Yow may call me old fashioned – but hopefully never late.

Journalist and Broadcaster Benedicta Dube:

It’s always amazing how some organisations consider certain media more important than others. The unfortunate part is that the very media that are placed on the pedestal have no respect for the very organisations that roll out the red carpet for them. Not showing up on time shows a lack of respect for the people that invited you – and those who wait up on them show an amazing level of sycophancy.

Chris Gilmour from Barclays Africa:

This is a pet hate of mine – rude and inconsiderate latecomers. Sure, we all have hectic schedules these days but most of us manage to be on time or at worst a few minutes late for meetings. Provided the participants have been given decent advance warning of the date and time of an event, it really shouldn’t be asking too much to expect them to be on time. Meanwhile, if they aren’t going to attend, they should at least have the decency to proffer a decent excuse or reason – either by email or telephonically. Not showing up is incredibly rude – but adding insult to injury by not apologising is, frankly, beyond the pale.

Business Report Editor Ellis Mnyandu:

Latecomers deserve to get no priority as their recognition undermines the time and value of those who make it a priority to be in time.



Better never than late.


Tweet of the Day:

Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow): What do you call a country made up entirely of spotted dogs? A Dalnation

dapper trapper (@dapptrap): to be fair, humans kill more cigarettes than cigarettes kill humans

Nein. (@NeinQuarterly): Somewhere an old man is walking into a bar, looking for the sea.

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