Rudeness in the World

MCMWednesday, December 13, 2006

Violent Acres has a great post about how the concept of "the customer is always right" is destroying the world. It's so damn true. I can't express how many times I've been in a shop, watching an underpaid employee getting ripped to shreds by some moron customer over something that is NOT worth worrying about. It's absurd that people forget that the folks that serve them their food or ring in their purchases are human too, and have bad days like everyone else. I mean, RUDE servers are one thing, but the majority of the nastiness in this world is directed at people who are making honest mistakes.

The thing about coupons is driving me mad, too. The other day some woman scooped in and accidentally took my coffee as it was called out and left before the barista-type-person could stop her. It wasn't even what she ordered, and she'd probably be back to complain, but hey. But then the barista tried to give me a coupon for a free coffee over it. I said, "How's about I take the coffee she left behind and we call it even?" and they actually argued that I HAD to take the coupon. It's not that I didn't want the coffee, but seriously: why do I deserve a freebie for a mistake made by a non-employee? Boggles the mind.

Unrelated yet similar story: In Victoria, when you get off the bus, you always call out to the driver: "Thank you!". This threw me when we first moved here, because in Ottawa you only call out to the driver when he's missed your stop or is refusing to open the doors. After a while you learn to say it too... simple appreciation for the safe ride. It's a nice feeling. The other day I get on the bus, the driver sounds French, so I ask him where he's from. Gatineau! Small world, I say. He's on his first day here, but I tell him it seems very laid-back, nothing to worry about. About five minutes later a kid is getting off the bus, calls to the driver: "Thank you!" just as the doors are starting to open. The driver slams the bus into park, looks around angrily and yells, "WHAT did you just say to me?"

The kid's distraught, doesn't know what's going on. He mutters, "I said thank you?". Long pregnant pause. The driver finally gets it, opens the doors and turns back around, says, "You're welcome".

Anyway, the point of this is: what kind of screwed up world do we live in where bus drivers instinctively assume someone's telling them to f*** themselves when they are shown basic respect? No one's fault, but probably everyone's fault.

I shall endeavour to post more often once my brain stops being torn apart. Next year? :)

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