How Rude!

More than two weeks into the new year and I’m still making good on one of my resolutions. I’m cooking on a pretty regular basis. The key, I’m finding, is not to be overly ambitious. I just try to think of one thing that would be really good and then add simple things to complement it. Yesterday morning I opened the freezer and pulled out a ham. It was just one of those heat ‘n eat kinda things. People in this house would be willing to eat that. And what goes better with ham than scalloped potatoes?

So the meal was planned,  which is the other half of the battle. I find I am much more ambitious about cooking when I have a plan.

So I had the ham. I checked the potato supply in my refrigerator. It was low. I taped ten dollars to the kitchen doorway with a note that said, “If someone goes to a store today, please buy some potatoes.” (Yes, the kitchen doorway is our message center. It works!)

Alas, no one bought potatoes while I was away at work. (Shocker.) I had the presence of mind to check on this before I left work and so I made a stop at the grocery store before I went home. I walked in, grabbed a bag of spuds, and headed to the check-out where every open register had a line of people waiting to pay. I assessed my options. The express lane was way longer than the regular lanes. I found one where the patrons ahead of me had relatively few items and I got in line to wait my turn.

Right about this time, one of the cashiers was ending her shift and closing down her lane. She was a girl of high-school age. As she stepped out from behind the register, she made a sweeping glance at the number of customers in line and stopped short with a surprised realization on her face. She then hurried over to the second express lane and removed the closed sign, calling out, “I can help someone over here!”

One woman headed her direction, and then another. I followed behind them. Each of the women ahead of me had only two items so we were moving along quickly. I waited behind a woman with red curly hair. She was purchasing two bags of potato chips. Her bill rang up to five dollars even and she was writing a check to pay for them. And as she wrote the check, she tilted her head to the side, and eyed up the cashier, saying in a very sarcastic tone, “The appropriate thing to do when you opened up this register would have been to say, ‘I can now help the person who was next in line.'”

She was apparently annoyed, thinking she had a right to be rung up first. The poor cashier could only look at the woman, clearly at a loss as to how to respond. She had opened a register when she wasn’t even required to do so in order to help get the customers on their way and she was being criticized for the way she had done it.

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Seriously? Why do people have to speak to others in that manner? I am so tired of arrogance. So tired of self-righteousness. So tired of the me-first attitude. When someone speaks to me with a biting tone and a snotty attitude, believe me, it does not make me willing to hear what they are saying. It only makes me want to slap the person and tell them to grow up and mind their manners. What is that saying about catching more flies with honey? Why don’t people get that?

As the arrogant woman bagged up her potato chip purchases at the end of the conveyor belt, the cashier began to ring up my bag of potatoes. I said to the girl, “I saw you close up your other lane. I appreciate that you opened up this lane for us. That woman was rude.”

The girl just smiled shyly and said thank you. She told me to have a wonderful evening.

Out in the parking lot as I walked to my car, I could see the red-headed woman flouncing off toward her own car. I wanted to run after her, grab her by the curls and throw her down on the pavement. I wanted to poke the heel of my boot into her chest as she lay on the ground and ask her who she thought she was. I wanted to ask her who writes a check for five dollars worth of potato chips anyway? I wanted to ask her if it had occurred to her that all she had accomplished was humiliating a poor high-school girl. I wanted to tell her that if she’d intended to teach the girl something valuable, she had failed because whatever point she was trying to make was lost among the heaping pile of rudeness she’d just dumped on that poor girl.

Instead, I startled an older gentleman who walked just ahead of me when I hit the unlock button on my key fob and the tail lights on my car lit up just as he walked behind it. He jumped about three feet back and I called out to him, “I’m sorry! That was just me unlocking my car!”

I felt bad for scaring him and relieved he hadn’t had a heart attack because of my actions. But the gentleman just smiled at me and said, “I thought the car was going to back up, but I didn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat!”

We both laughed. I got in my car and he continued on to his. As I was backing out, he was heading back toward me, on his way to the store again. He waved and smiled at me and I smiled back at him. I think he was there to remind me that there are still good and kind (and patient) people in this world.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people and I hit the gas pedal, roaring off to see if I could catch up to and run over the curly red-headed chick and teach her a lesson once and for all by leaving my tire tracks across her neck.

Not really. But it felt good to imagine it just for a second.

Oh, and in case you were wondering … the scalloped potatoes were fabulous!

24 thoughts on “How Rude!

  1. A couple of things here…..hopefully she will get chest pains from the greasy chips.

    It was a great opportunity to grab a quarter and hand it to her instructing her to call someone with that quarter that might just give a shit about how she feels. This technique never fails to neutralize a tense situation and always gives you the upper hand in pointing out just how useless the complainer is. It will invoke laughter from bystanders and it will give you the sense of personal satisfaction that you took control of a bad situation.

    Typically ( and I swear I have done this) I will hand them a quarter and say, “Go call someone who gives a shit.” Then smile.

    Oh it feels so good.


  2. No matter where you go, there you are always going to find these kinds of small minded people out there. I like Reggie’s idea for a response, but your suggestion of tire tracks seems way more satisfying.


  3. I agree with you Terri on all counts. I too get fairly violent day rages based on what I see others do. Maybe we should get together with Joe and have a rage fest :)


  4. Wow, what a great picture you paint of your retribution! Remind me to be really nice when we meet up :-)

    Watching someone in a checkout queue is a great way to see what they are really like. You see those who are happy to wait their turn, those who complain about how long things are taking, those who stride up and down trying to find the shortest/fastest line so that maybe they can get out of the store 30 seconds faster…

    I had a guy pushing into the queue behind me yesterday, in front of a frail old woman. He stood there until she said that she was next. “Oh, are you? Well I won’t be long.”

    The woman, the girl on the checkout and I just stared at him until he moved to the back of the line. A-hole!


  5. I agree with Rock Chef–watching people checkout at a grocery store tells you a huge amount about them. If fact, it’s one of the first things one should do with a person he or she is newly dating. You will learn a lot. Hope you have a great day, Terri!


  6. Glad you were able to turn a lousy situation into a bearable one with your kindness. I think rudeness is epedemic these days.

    And, I can relate to accidentally scary people. For some reason, I am always doing it. Twice during the past few weeks, I have started two ladies powerwalking at night. I walk our yellow buffalo at the same time and I guess they are just lost in conversation when we suddently appear. It has gotten comical.


  7. What?? A cashier noticed the crowd of people, and reopened a line to get them on their way? Where do you shop? That is my absolute biggest pet peeve about shopping in a major chain that I always go to. Every time I go, I stand in line and get more and more irked that the employees don’t seem to care how long we’ve been waiting, and I always mutter to myself “Why do I keep coming back here?” I am so impressed with your cashier for going above and beyond to provide good customer service. How unfortunate that the lady in front of you was so rude. I’m glad you complimented her. She deserves to be recognized.


    • You know what? You’re right. She does deserve to be recognized. I just went online to the store’s website. I was able to fill out a form and let the company know I received excellent service from one of their employees. I was able to select the specific store location and I gave them the girl’s name. I’m going to do this more often.


      • Too often people are quick to criticize, and will happily fill out a survey for something they don’t like. Even at my age I love to receive surveys where my name is mentioned in a positive way. She will be absolutely thrilled if that survey gets back to her! I think I’ll begin doing that more often as well! :)


  8. Ugh I hate rude people. You should have thrown one or your potatoes at her as you drove away! Seriously – who writes a check for $5.00? Unless you forgot your wallet and didn’t have any backup cash….but I don’t think that was the case. It sounds like her plan when she got up in the morning was to take her checkbook to the store to buy two bags of chips.


  9. Thanks for reminding me that I have a ham in the freezer!

    As for red-headed woman, ARGGH! I know all too well your temptation to take her down in the parking lot. BUT I think you made the right choice to instead, commend the cashier for going above and beyond. Miss check-for-two-bags-of-chips sounds like she probably has a pretty miserable life which fuels her need to pick on teen cashiers. There’s odd satisfaction in knowing that.


  10. I know how you felt — I hate rude people, too. Why is it so hard to show a little kindness and consideration to others instead of acting all uppity? Glad you were able to recognize the conscientious check-out girl, though!


  11. The mental image of “Terri Terri quite contrary” kicking a little rudeness ass, brought a smile to my face.

    Good for you for saying something encouraging to the cashier. I’m sure it took some of the sting out of the encounter and made her feel better.

    And how interesting that the woman who complained was in the express line WRITING A CHECK!!! Nevermind “who writes a check for $5.00 worth of potato chips.” Who writes a check for groceries, anymore!?


  12. Ugh… reading about the red-haired woman infuriated me. That’s exactly why I don’t work in retail anymore. People are the worst creatures on the face of this earth.

    I’m glad you made it a point to compliment the cashier. People readily jump at an opportunity to say something negative, but rarely take the time to give praise when it is due.

    Also, I love scalloped potatoes. :)


  13. Those folks are everywhere. I consider it my duty to try and smooth over the rough patch they leave behind, much like you did. And, I’m more and more of a believer in karma. She’ll get hers. One day. Maybe her potato chips will be stale…


  14. “I wanted to poke the heel of my boot into her chest as she lay on the ground …”

    Terri, are you and MLB related?? She would have said the same thing! This is great and too true about people’s manners. Where is Emily Post?


  15. Lol…you sound like my wife! I’ll add you to my prayers for her to learn forgiveness :D. You handled it beautifully, however, by blessing the girl in the wake of Hurricane Red-Haired Lady…


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  17. They say that in the brains of older folks like me, the area of the brain responsible for inhibition and restraint weaken and that’s why older folks are prone to outbursts. And I’ve noticed that to be true. Had I been behind that woman, I may have said what you were thinking. One day, you may surprise yourself!

    Letting the store know about the cashier’s good deed was excellent.


  18. That you commented to the cashier, thanking her for her efforts, really makes me proud of you! Rock on, Terri! And yes, I do think as we age we do -in many instances -lose some of our inhibitions about speaking up/out when we see things that really should be addressed -like the rudeness!


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