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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Measuring Up

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson

I have been doing some thinking about interacting with others lately. It's so easy to love those who are pleasant and amiable. It's easy to get along with those who behave acceptably. It's easy to be nice to someone when you know you will get something nice in exchange.

But, it's a true labor of love to be good to those who won't be good to you in return. It's a true testament of character to be able to turn the other cheek when someone continually mistreats you on a large scale or small scale. It's choosing to be patient with that person while you allow the experience to smooth out your rough edges.

I'm always observing those around me to see how they treat others. I'm especially interested in watching those around me when it comes to their interactions with those poor souls who work in a customer service capacity.

  1. Nothing annoys me more than watching someone treat our waiter / waitress without respect. I cringe when I'm out to dinner with someone and they either act like the waitstaff doesn't exist (ignorning questions, ignoring drink refill offers, not stopping their conversation when it's time to place the order) or they act like the waitstaff are idiots who should have read their mind to know what they needed when they haven't made the request in the first place (EXCUSE ME! I NEED THREE RAMIKANS OF SALAD DRESSING - NOT TWO) Combining the two makes me never want to have lunch with you again. Complaining about having to tip or leaving less than 15% when the food and service was good is also a huge red flag for me.
  2. I think we can all agree that cell phone service in general can be a little pricey and that the companies overall look for ways to make extra money at every turn. However, being rude or condescending to those working the front line for said companies is misplacing your rage. 90% of the time, the person mistreating those at work is the person who would complain about having to pay tax dollars towards TANF, SNAP, and other goverment assisted programs for those who are NOT working. Instead of thinking about how this customer service rep is making an honest day's wage at a highly stressful job with little to no thanks and support from his/her customer base, that person thinks it's perfectly fine to yell and scream and holler and pitch an adult sized hissy fit "because I want the company to know how disgusted I am with their service!" If that's really how you feel, why not write a letter or call their headquarters? I can guarantee you that the person you just yelled at isn't going to take it on a company level and pass that feedback along to their higher ups. They are going to take it personally and eventually, they will either quit their job or they will become calloused and unpleasant, unwilling to do anything above and beyond the bare minimum of their job.
  3. Thinking you're more important that you actually are is another thing that annoys me, but this one amuses me at the same time. If I pull up to a valet restaurant in my 2005 Dodge Neon that's covered in dust and bug guts, I expect the person parking my car to be courteous and prompt and pleasant. But, I don't expect them to roll out the red carpet and gush all over me and make me feel important. They know as well as I do that the tip I'm able to give at the end of the night isn't going to be the same kind of tip I would give if I was driving a Bentley. Expecting people to drop everything and make a fuss over you everytime you exhale is going to cause me to limit my time with you. Especially if you expect me to make a fuss over you everytime I see you. Does this mean I'm not happy to see my friends? Of course not. I just don't make a lot of room in my life for high maintenance folks. I simply don't have enough time to invest in those kinds of relationships. 
So, what brought all this on? I was watching my son today. Watching him watching me. Watching P. And I was reminded that he is a mirror of what he is around everyday. If I want him to be respectful and treat everyone courteously, kindly, consistently....I have to be a good example. I have to provide that standard for him. And it made me realize that if I can be kind to those who will do no good to me, I can be kind to EVERYONE in my life at all times. And that is what I want J to see on a daily basis and that is one of the things I want him to remember about me when he is grown.


  1. Wow, you have hit right on one of my major pet peeves...people being rude to waitstaff. You can tell lots about someone by how they interact with a waiter. I would even go so far as to tell young people if they were considering a person for spouse material...after watching how they treat their parents and siblings, another great gauge would be watching them interact with waitstaff...VERY telling. This is a very insightful post, Mrs. G. There are some great examples of kindness and long-suffering around us. I've witnessed Lady P treated very inconsiderately & she was never moved from returning kindness. I desire that work in me too!

  2. It's also the perfect test for future in-laws! If you see your potential mother or father in law ordering staff around or ignoring waitstaff, it's a good idea to make sure you REALLY LOVE the person with whom you're thinking about spending forever! :)

    And Lady P is always, always an example for me. Ever since I can remember (which is about 23 years in the making now)