Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rude People

I was in line at the bagel place, and as always, it was full of suits, moms, and students. (I always giggle a little at the suits because they look so self-important in a place like that. I mean, it's not Starbucks, not by a long shot.)

When it's busy, the staff there have all they can do to keep the sandwiches coming. But they are always friendly, and when they get to know you, they'll joke a little - you know how it is.

So the woman at the register made a little joke to one of the suits - she said something like, "is it morning meeting time for you already? Don't you guys do any work?" Ha ha. Just kidding with the customer, making friendly conversation.

But the guy blew up at her: "It's none of your damn business! You're just like my wife!"

I regret that I didn't say anything to him. First, I was shocked, and I didn't really know what to say. In situations like this, the first words that come to mind are profanities, and while he certainly deserved them, I wasn't sure that would be the most effective response. Second, I didn't want to get her fired. It seems pretty unlikely that that would have happened, but I once had the experience of asking a barista if some customers were harassing her, and when she said yes and told me about it, she got fired. And third, I was so taken aback that I was sure I couldn't have heard him correctly - or else I thought that he must have been joking, even though her downcast eyes and forced smile let me know that he was serious.

I did tell her the next time I saw her what an ass I thought he was and why I didn't say anything.

But I wish I had turned to him and said, "Does that make you feel important, tearing down someone else like that?"

Or perhaps, "You must be having a terrible morning, to treat someone else so poorly. I hope your day gets better."


Carrie said...

When I see someone do something completely disproportionate in public like that, I file it under Nature's Little Warning Signs. Unstable personality, itchy trigger finger, stay clear! Unless someone's about to get hurt and you can prevent it, I think your instinct to stay out of that one was right on.

Anonymous said...

I don't have car, and a couple years ago I was sitting the lobby of WalMart waiting for a ride home(cab) had my shopping cart parked in front of me while I sat on the bench, there was no place else to park the cart where I could keep an eye on my purchases, and this couple came out of the store, with(of all things) the man was pushing their shopping cart, and he stopped directly in back of my cart and stood there, and I finally looked at him, wondering why he didn't move, and he said in a real superior voice "that's a real stupid place to park that." The first thought in my mind was to tell him to get a life, but when I looked at his face I decided to keep my mouth shut. He looked like he was having a major case of "road rage." The woman with him gave me an embarrassed looking smile. I guess it takes all kinds of people to make the world.

Green said...

I'm a big fan of telling whoever I'm on my cell with (because waiting in line is the perfect time to return calls) "Oh my god you'll never believe what this mean guy just did."

Then I'd tip the girl a little extra, so that even though she had something bad happen, she'd also have something good happen too.