Skip to comments.Why Do We Tolerate Awful People?
Posted on 06/02/2004 5:40:46 AM PDT by Maria S
So I'm waiting at the airport gate for a plane to the West Coast, when I learn it's just been delayed a minimum of two hours. I go up to the airline agent to find out if there are alternative flights to the same city.
"How should I know?" she blasts.
"I don't know," I answer, "maybe because you WORK HERE?!"
I guess I was stunned by her rudeness. But I shouldn't have been. I see it more and more.
Those sympathetic to this airline worker might say it's the hours, the pressure or the industry itself. I don't buy it. After all, it's not as if I can just pop on my show and be rude if I've had a hard day.
My dad was a big believer in treating people well, oftentimes even when he himself wasn't well. His theory was, "It's not the other guy's fault you're having a bad day."
But something has happened in this country today where the behavior that stands out is the smile, the laugh, the extra service. It's sad that we have become so accustomed to bad service that we're shocked when we get good service. My parents' generation taught me the customer is always right. These days, it seems the customer is wrong, too.
I guess there's something to that . . . that we all become so frazzled, so angry and so short-tempered that we act frazzled and angry and short-tempered. What's remarkable to me is how this permeates whole generations. The other day at a drive-through, I reminded the teenage girl serving me that she forgot my drinks. She looked at me, hissed, rolled her eyes, and then took her sweet time getting me the sodas.
Now keep in mind I never yelled at the girl, never snapped at the girl, never did anything to make her the pill she was. I never told the girl, "Hey, you idiot . . . you forgot something here!" I simply reminded her of an oversight. All I got was 'tude.
It's the tollkeeper at the bridge, the woman who serves you coffee at the shop, the computer help desk guy on the phone. It's all of these places, all of these venues and all of these professions.
Some might argue it's the pay in some of these professions that keeps the employees rude. I don't buy it. What could explain the bank branch manager who couldn't be more indifferent or the CEO who couldn't be more dismissive? Believe me, I've seen rich jerks and I've seen poor jerks. Trust me when I say that jerkery knows no financial pedigree.
What's happened in our society is that we have stopped caring about our society. We forget the little things, so it's no wonder some of us screw up the big things. Me? I try to work hard on the little things. I know it's not much, but on the 27th of each month, every month, every year, I do something special for my wife - a small gift, a dinner out, I don't know. It heralds the first day of our first date. And we've been doing it now for more than 20 years. Trust me, I don't break the bank for the occasion, but I do mark the occasion. Because that little date is a big thing to me.
And trust me again when I say I can be just as short-tempered as the next guy . . . I am of Italian descent, after all! But I try not to start out that way, and my days at work are much more constructive and pleasant when I am not that way. That's the idea - to look at the good ideas, the good possibilities and the good results.
My mom was prone to using a lot of overrun phrases. One of her favorites was the old "honey" over "vinegar" line, that we can get more being nice than being nasty. She was right then. She's right now.
Part of the problem with service in this country is we don't honor it like we once did. There's nothing wrong or evil about having a bad day. There's everything wrong with making others have to have it . . . with you.
I heard him yesterday on Sean Hannity's radio program. I knew that Mr. Cavuto has MS...I did not know that he was also a cancer survivor! A wonderful attitude about life...what a guy!
I didn't know he has MS, and I am so sorry to hear it. He is a wonderful man.
After years of working in the 'service' industry I left because customers are just way too abusive and there's only so many times one can be insulted. Some people feel it is their god given right to heap abuse on those of us who do work in the service industry, call us bitches, call us ethnic epithets,etc.
Your airline security has been federalized. Next time you have to wait in line for two hours maybe you will vote your congresscritter out of office.
I don't know where he's hanging out, but my part of the country sure isn't like that. Down here, it's the occassional rude person who stands out!
I was visiting New York City once and had a great hamburger at an outdoor stand. I told the cook that he really made a great hamburger. His reply (in thick NY accent): "Whaddya? Some kind of wise guy? You don' like it, get oudda heah?"
We're becoming more of a rude society. Also I think poor management allows rudeness from their employees because you don't see it equally everywhere.
Sounds as if she was a typical left coast Rat.
Exactly. This is reflected in many ways, gratuitous rudeness among them.
Rude....I take my money elsewhere.
Nope. The sheeple will tolerate anything to fly in that plane. It's crazy.
In most areas of the Country, people are not serving friends and neighbors anymore. We are just a number, a faceless warm body to them.
The Bottom Line (screw the worker, save a buck, make yourself look good) and PC (you can't tell jokes, they might offend someone)killed the rest.
You just are not supposed to have fun at work, or have pride in your job.
Ain't progress fun?
There certainly is that! My first computer technical job was as an across-the-counter tech in a retail chain store. I sure learned a lot about how the buying public treats people. There were numerous incidents that would appall most people if related.
I remember having an incredible, agonizing infection in my jaw once there. I was doubled over and moaning is pain, clutching my jaw with both hands. The customer who had stopped me with a techhie question kept right on asking it, and clearly expected an answer. Can't you answer my question, and then die?
There is, no doubt, a lot of unjustified rudeness on the part of service industry employees. But, it is a two way street. People treat retail folks like s**t. Glad I am not doing that anymore.
My wife and I just came back from Japan for her sister's wedding. It was my first experience there, and the level of professionalism, politeness and accomodation was overwhelming. My wife had to go to the Japanese Family Court to have her maiden name changed (since she didn't get it done in the first few weeks after our wedding in the U.S., a court trip was necessary). The clerk, not a manager, at the court was very polite and expedited a 30 day process into a single afternoon! I could not believe that a government worker could be so nice to us. Everyone there always smiled when we met them. It was a remarkable culture and the level of self respect and mutual respect was something I have not experienced. Upon returning to the U.S., the contrast in attitudes was significant. Anyone that had even the slightest bit of power over you, from the gate agents, the immigration and security people and even the waiters in the restaurants all seemed to have a chip on their shoulder. It seemed like many people here had something to prove or was instinctively postured to be adversarial at the first presented opportunity. WHy do so many people throw upmtheir own roadblocks in life by being this way when being mutually accomodating gets everyone even more than by being b!tchy.
While having a meal out at a local Mexican Restaurant we were practically ignored by the waitress. Granted, the restaurant was busy. But it had been busy before and we had decent service. I would watch this waitress go out of her way to help out the group of police officers sitting behind us. Which is great, except she still ignored us. Even when one of our children spilled, a busser was the one who came over to help out refill our drinks, and generally help out. Toward the end of the meal I made a comment about our service. I did not know until I turned around that the waitress was standing behind us. Suddenly, she asked if there was anything else we needed. Being done we did not. In the end we left no tip for the waitress, but pulled the busser aside to give her a $10 tip.
One of the worst things about our modern economy is that most companies are in a rush to market their products and services to an ever-growing portion of the public. The problem is that you end up selling things that used to be considered luxuries -- like airline tickets, SUVs, dinners at nice restaurants, etc. -- to people who are nothing more than ignorant peasants in their outlook, manners, etc. The flip side of this is that reducing your costs often requires you to hire people who are nothing more than ignorant peasants in their outlook, manners, etc.
Verrry nice. How's yer boyfriend, dearest?! ;-)
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