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CARROLL: Maybe bribe people to do the right thing?
David Carroll
David Carroll is a news anchor for WRCB in Chattanooga, Tenn.

I have long been an advocate for character education in schools. Unfortunately, many children get little training in good behavior at home, whether it be from poor role models or the anger-tainment “news” channels blaring in the background.

In elementary school, I recall more punishment for kids who acted up than I do rewards for those who obeyed the rules.

Maybe we need to start bribing people to do the right thing. A police department in Colorado rewards motorists who obey the law by handing out gift cards. The next time I drive by a radar trap and I’m under the speed limit, I want a cop to pull me over and surprise me with a free cheeseburger.

But before we start handing out prizes, we should address those who need remedial training. We see them every day on the highways, in the workplace, and the grocery store.

Topping the list are those who don’t return shopping carts to their parking lot corrals. It is frustrating for disabled people to attempt to pull into a handicapped space that is blocked by a buggy in the grid that is marked for chair lifts.

I can also do without the people who comment on what’s in my shopping cart. Sure, it’s loaded down with boxes of Moon Pies and Swiss Cake Rolls, but maybe I’m providing snacks for the office party. For all they know, I may have plenty of organic kale and spinach buried underneath those sweet treats. Unless, of course they really know me.

Also, if you think you want a carton of ice cream, and then change your mind twenty minutes later, it isn’t nice to leave the ice cream on the bread shelf. Your mama taught you better.

As a customer, if I’m fortunate enough to get a human cashier, I just want my items to be calculated and bagged properly. I’m really not interested in listening to employees complain about their schedules, or how late they stayed up last night.

I’ll blame this next one on the customer AND the cashier. Have you ever stood in line for ten minutes, because there are not enough checkout lanes open? As you slowly work your way closer to the checkout, a new cashier opens another register, and yells, “This lane is open.” Immediately, the person who just arrived in the back of your line dashes to the new lane. That’s not nice. And to the cashier: Please announce that you’ll take “the next person in line,” and no one else.

(I recently approached a young man stocking the shelves. I asked for help finding the Cheez Whiz. When he didn’t reply, I realized he was wearing earbuds, with the music cranked up loud. I could have tapped him on the shoulder, but that would have startled him. I realize I shouldn’t be eating Cheez Whiz, but a little customer service would have been nice.)

And why would anyone just drop a fully loaded disposable diaper in a parking lot? I understand the challenges of transporting a cranky baby, and no one wants a stinky diaper in the car. But garbage cans are nearby, and no store employee (or customer) should have to handle your baby’s number-two.

Now to the highways. Please don’t toss your cigarette butt out of the car window. Not only is it littering, it is also a fire hazard in dry weather.

Then there are the drivers who think that their time is more important than yours. As we patiently await the light to change to green, they turn in front of us, long after their light has turned red. They know we won’t ram into them. To them, a red light is merely a suggestion. If you blow your horn, they are very offended. After all, they have somewhere to be.

Finally, I can’t leave out cell phone etiquette. You know who you are, talking at full volume in the doctor’s waiting room. We know it’s an important conversation. You’re probably closing a major deal with Bill Gates. But please, step out in the hall. If your name is called, we’ll come get you. It is the nice thing to do.

David Carroll is a Chattanooga news anchor, and his new book “Hello Chattanooga” is available on his website, You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at