Something I've learned from Bringing Up Bébé, by Pamela Druckerman:
In France there are four magic words that are taught to the children: s'il vous plait (please), merci (thank you), bonjour (hello), and au revoir (good-bye). Of the four, bonjour is the most crucial.
"Adults are supposed to say bonjour to each other, too, of course. I think tourists are often treated gruffly in Parisian cafés and shops partly because they don't begin interactions with bonjour, even if they switch to English afterward. It's crucial to say bonjour upon climbing into a taxi, when a waitress first approaches your table in a restaurant, or before asking a salesperson if the pants come in your size. Saying bonjour acknowledges the other person's humanity. It signals that you view her as a person, not just as someone who's supposed to serve you. I'm amazed that people seem visibly put at ease after I say a nice solid bonjour."
"Making kids say bonjour isn't just for the benefit of grown-ups. It's also to help kids learn that they're not the only ones with feelings and needs. 'It avoids selfishness,' says Esther, who dragged out her daughter - an adorable doted on child - to say goodbye to me. 'Kids who ignore people, and don't say bonjour or au revoir, they just stay in their bubble. Since parents are dedicated to them already, when will they get the sense that they are there to give, not just to receive?'.....Saying bonjour signals to the child, and to everyone else, that she's capable of behaving well."
I've noticed that many salespeople don't say hello or thank you. And mostly they're under the age of twenty.
I end up thanking them at the end of our transaction. Sometimes I want to say, Hey, you should be thanking ME for shopping here.
But I don't.
I'm not their mother.