Friday, February 6, 2009

Is It Just Me?

So, I don't know if it's just me, or if people are just growing increasingly rude. Now, I know, I've wrote about this before, but, well, I was just thinking about three instances recently that - when thought about - I come to the same conclusion.

I realize, I can be rude. I realize I can seek blood with my words. However, I typically only am rude once I have been wronged first. Perhaps I am too quick to judge, maybe those I encounter often times are just "having a bad day," but at the same time, why does their bad day have to be transferred through their actions to me? Especially when those being extremely rude are employees of an establishment I am frequenting - since when does the employee think they have so much power over the customer? All three of these instances refer to places I am going as the customer - and two of them are the same establishment.

As I said, it could "just be me," and if it is, then so be it, but I just feel it's an accumulation of everything anymore - those on the streets can't bother to watch their mirrors or the surrounding traffic, those that are too busy on their phones that they linger and stand in your way, those that are just plain rude, as if the world is owed to them. Like I said, I don't like being rude myself; I prefer to be pleasant, but increasingly, every one's stupidity is driving me quicker to temper.

The first instance took place at an eatery - Maggiano's Little Italy. Some of you may have been to this establishment previously, and may have had very pleasant experiences - I know I used to when this establishment was concerned. I am speaking of the Maggiano's in Oak Brook, Illinois, and it was a night my wife and I were planning on spending upwards of $150 in food and drink - such a special occasion for us that we decided to make reservations for 7 PM. At 6:45 that evening we arrived and checked in (even valeting our vehicle, which we have done exactly one other time, on my wife's boss' dime, in our life). The hostess told me "it will be a few minutes while we get a table set up for you," which is all fine and dandy, we were, after all, early. 5 minutes pass, and people are being sat all around us - some, seemingly having just arrived and checked in themselves - and then 10 minutes, and then 20 minutes. At 7:05 I approach the hostess stand and ask how that table is coming along (and I was very polite in my actions). I was told then, that it would be "another 10-15 minutes" because "we seat people 15 minutes after they check in, and since your reservation was for 7, we will sit you at 7:15-7:20." I was floored, but I held my tongue. I wanted to outright tell her "that's bullshit," but I did refrain. I go to my wife and tell her we still have to "wait" meanwhile, we are still watching people check in and promptly be sat - was it just us? My wife, who could see the hostess stand, said that the hostess "must have been talking about me" because she kept whispering to people and pointing at the back of my head, but what can I say and do, they require 15 minutes worth of "check in time," but what happened to the fact that I checked in at 6:45? Finally, at 7:15 we were called to be sat - not only did we no longer feel like having our special occasion after waiting 30 minutes to sit on a reservation, but we spent far less than planned, and will never go back to that establishment. We have been known to drop $150 at this restaurant previously, and were not opposed to doing it again, however, after this experience, we will never even go back - I'm sure there are plenty of other restaurants that will happily accept my business and my cash.

The other two instances occured at the Jewel Osco grocery store in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Now, in order to fully comprehend these issues, the set up of the entrance needs to be understood. There are two, single automatic doors set up side-by-side. Once you enter one of those two doors, directly in front of you, about 5 feet, is another set of side-by-side automatic doors. Between the doors is an "atrium" that houses the carts to the left - and to the extreme left is another "entrance" that employees use and carts should be brought from outside through, since the two, single double-door entrance is not wide enough for an employee to bring multiple carts from the outside into - especially, considering customers enter and exit through this area.

So the first instance at the Jewel Osco, my wife and I enter the left door from the outside air into the atrium. I turn left to get us a cart, in front of my wife is an employee (one I thought was the manager at the time). This employee walks in front of my wife a good 3 or 4 times - merely moving a sign around (why? I don't know). So my wife finally moves to the right door to enter into it, the door begins to open slowly, then stops, so she pushes it open and says a few words under her breathe about the ridiculousness of the situation. Meanwhile, I am now behind this employee with my cart. The employee enters the right "automatic" door and flips a switch - a switch I am sure makes the door actually automatic (they had been open for like 3 hours at this point, the door should have been "open" long before this moment). The employee (who again, I felt was the manager) then STARES at my wife as she walks halfway into the store. So I walk past him, watching him stare - and so I say simply, "you don't have to stare." That was it, I was calm, but just letting him know, that his staring was not appreciated (didn't your parents teach you not to stare and/or point? This isn't a new concept). So he says, and I quote, "I'm just trying to figure out what her problem is." There was no word of "I'm sorry, sir," or, "my mistake," instead, he was "trying to figure out what her problem is." Is he psychic? I didn't know he could read her thoughts by staring at her! Must be a rough life having ESP, of course, had he actually BEEN psychic, then he could have known I was merely looking for a word of apology at him STARING DOWN my WIFE! So I repeat my point, "you still don't have to stare," and again, he had the same response of, "I'm trying to figure out what her problem is." So finally, I tell him, "it's RUDE to stare, and if you hadn't been RUDE and in her way, then this wouldn't be an issue. If you are the manager, then you should definitely know to treat your customers with more respect" and I walked away, leaving him dumbfounded that he could be so stupid. Point of the matter is/was, he KNEW what her "problem was" because he flipped the switch that would make the door work properly, and besides that, how did he NOT know she and I had not just had a huge argument in the parking lot? Would it then be his business to "figure out what her problem is" through telekinesis? I think not. He was just being rude, because he felt he had a RIGHT to be rude, and thus, I gave him two chances to apologize before finally telling him, that as the manager, he is extremely rude. I thought I expected more from managers than from "regular employees," however, maybe due to this instance, the next one irked me as well, even though it was just a "regular employee," and only slightly lived.

This time, the same thing happened, my wife entered the store, and I turned left to get a cart. I turn back around to take my cart into the store, when what do I see? A cart man, coming for me! Yes, the employee that was getting carts off the lot was attempting to bring in about 6 carts through the aforementioned narrow passageway that should be used for customers (remember, to the extreme left is a wide open, employee only entrance where carts SHOULD enter via employee at). So I stop, as does the employee, so I decide, that's my cue to hustle past him. I begin to move, as does the employee - we again both stop, so I start to go again, and the employee says, "hurry up and move." I, of course, don't take kindly to such words, and I say, "you work here, I'm the customer, you don't have to be rude to me," and I walk into the store never looking back.

I know I am "quick to temper" about these things, but my thoughts are, if they "get away" with being rude, by not having a consequence from me (I am the wrong guy to mess with on this issue), then they will only continue in their ways. So, I guess it's up to me to change the world, one rude person at a time! If I can do that, then I feel my time on earth has not been wasted!

Okay, seriously, I don't know if it's just me. I don't know if I should ignore the utter disrespect people have these days, but I just don't know if I can. Like I said, I am pleasant most of the time, and I go out of my way to be nice (when is the last time you slowed down to hold the door open for that little old lady that is 5 steps behind you entering a store? Well, I am the one that DOES hold that door, because I'm never in such a hurry that I think the door just needs to be closed rudely in her face), however, it seems anymore, people are quick to "tell you what to do" without them thinking of their own repercussions, and that attitude irks me to no end.

It might just be me, but even if it is, I deserve to be treated with at least minimal respect, especially when I am the customer. In these economic times, shouldn't the businesses be held to a higher standard in an attempt to keep their customers? Okay, maybe not, but at the very least, I can expect to not be disrespected to the point where I wait 30 minutes to be sat for a reservation when everyone else is walking in, being sat promptly, or I have a right that my wife does not have to be stared down, or I have the right to not be disrespected by a bag-boy doing cart duty, and coming in the wrong door to boot.

It might just be me, but I guess I expect more of people!

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