You know what the problem is? I mean the real, root problem of the world?
I think it's over-population. I realise this may sound a bit like a Beeb headline ("New research has proven that over-population is causing world resources to be diminished...") but it goes deeper than global warming and traffic jams.
I think over-population is why people are so rude to each other and why there is no such thing as customer service any more (KLM). When there are so many other people to care about when pushing your way onto a train, a tram, or a ski lift, why even start to bother?
This week on the slopes, I noticed that our group attitude changed from surprise and shock at the shoving - to "well if other people don't care about me, why should I care about them?" The fact that his skis are over and across my snowboard indicates fairly conclusively that I was there first... but he is prepared to go over me to get to the chairlift three seconds earlier. So I feel justified by putting my backfoot on his skis, kicking his skipoles out from under him and pushing off.
Or something like that.
I also blame over-population for poor service. Customer Reps have a lot of people to deal with, most of whom will be complaining. And probably rightly so. So when you use the haughty threat of, "I'm taking my business elsewhere!", you get the same facial expression as I do from my pet fish in the morning (yes, Deaky is still alive). You might even get a shrug (from the rep, not my fish).
Did you know that in Venice, they sell bird food laced with contraceptive? They actually encourage people to feed the the pigeons, in order to stop them breeding. I love this idea, and I think it could be used with other species. Contraceptives in the water would cure all the world's problems. If you can afford bottled water, you can afford to have babies. For the record, I'd be drinking tap water.
Seriously, think about it. Why do people feel the need to kill themselves by diving in front of a commuter train? I think it's got less to do with a desperate cry for help and more to do with recognition. Yes, well done. Your bloody dismembered body parts have affected the lives of several thousand people. We still don't know your name, but YOU made a difference in a busy, packed world.
Why do those US pubes feel the need to kill as many fellow students as possible in one afternoon? Because otherwise, their teenage angst would be lost to the world, with so many other people/problems/teenagers with acne trying to compete for attention.
See, it all boils down to over-population. I like to think that in small rural (possibly very dusty) villages, people are still polite and offer some form of after-sale care. Call me idealistic.
I'm sure there are more examples to this hypothesis, but right now I have to get ready to kick a few small children and their teenage parents out of my way to work.