Waiting for the soft close toilet lid to go down, I noticed that the toilet roll had not been replaced. This notwithstanding the fact that there was a stack of new rolls within easy reach. More than that, a pristine roll had actually been placed on top of the empty cardboard inner. It was almost more work to balance it there than change the roll.

It made me think there are two kinds of people in the world: those that consider others, those that don’t. The former are the kind that park across the white lines and take up two places, don’t fill up the kettle after they’ve used it, drop litter. The latter are exemplified by a friend who was applying for a nursing job. Asked to sum up her character in one sentence, she said, “I’m the kind of person who takes back my supermarket trolley.”

Our thoughtless friends and colleagues are unlikely to change their habits no matter how many Take Your Litter Home and Leave As You Would Like to Find It signs you put up.  They clearly accept stoically having to fill the kettle or wash up a cup before they can make a cup of tea.

It’s not that these selfish people are evil. They probably wouldn’t do anything actually harmful but somewhere along the way they didn’t develop that empathy for others.

Does any of this really matter? Even as I read what I’ve just written, I find myself thinking, “This guy is so anally retentive.” Maybe so but I think we are part of society and a willingness- not just in theory but in practice- to consider others makes for a much better society.

Anyway, the seat has closed and I’ve replaced the toilet roll, so I must get on.

This blog was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the Winchester based marketing consultancy Seven Experience. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn