It was New Years Eve and we were traveling home from our annual Christmas vacation, after a few hours on the road- we stopped at the halfway point to use restrooms, buy some food and fuel up the car.
As my diet is limited- fast food is off limits to me so my husband took our kids to one such place to buy lunch. I chose to wander elsewhere to pick myself up something small and ‘not deep fried’- to tide me over.
The line was long where I was and the restaurant was surprisingly understaffed for such a big travel day. That said, I was actually grateful that the line wasn’t as large as I had witnessed it the previous year, but I digress.
This man comes to stand in line behind me, and while I wasn’t exactly in a conversational mood- he proceeds to contentiously attempt to chat my ear off. All while complaining about the line, the staff and everything else.
When I made a comment about how it wasn’t as busy as last year, he scoffed.
When he asked where we were traveling too- I told him:
“Home, after a long week away….”
….and before I could really say anything else, the tone in my voice must’ve triggered him. He proceeded to cut me off by saying that people shouldn’t ‘fucking bitch’ about traveling for the holidays, delving into a lecture about how I should count my blessings that I have places to go- essentially telling me to ‘shut up’.
Yup. A real class act that one.
In situations like these, I like to assess who I am talking too before I continue to interact.
In just a few short minutes of listening to him drone on, I had already come to the conclusion that this man was someone who always had to be right, didn’t care about political correctness or being polite and certainly was looking for the negative- if not for a chance to ‘one up’ or create ‘conflict’…even if it was with a stranger in line.
I decided to go back to not talking.
He would keep trying to converse with me, my answers stayed short or became jokes. It was clear- He didn’t like my sense of humor and certainly didn’t have one of his own.
Mercifully, after about twenty minutes -it was finally my turn… and as I waited for one of the staff to come take my order, this guy sees the staff member approach and in the Blink of an eye, swiftly cuts me off before I can step up to the register!!
Did that really just happen??
This man, knowing that it was my turn- completely ignored me, started to place his order AS he stepped around me! I was stunned at his audacity! The staff member seemed to be oblivious that he had cut me off so she started ringing in his order. The guy just oozed with negativity and after listening to his toxic crap for so long, and trying to be polite- I was torn between saying something equally rude about cutting me off… or keeping my mouth shut and letting karma sort that out.
Since he had already proven to be a bit on the nasty side- I decided he would be safe from my wrath… after all- he had already placed his order. My telling him off wasn’t going to make him ‘self aware’ or ‘change his tune’ He already knew he was a jerk and didn’t care.
(Look at me trying to be the bigger person)
Polite people don’t cut in line.
While I ordered, I heard him berating the staff member who was passing him his food. He was now passing on his complaints and displeasure about having to wait, the food etc… The guy behind the counter dealt with him well and as the line jumper went to leave, he finally had the guts to look at me and say:
“You have safe travels miss!”
I shot him a nasty look and didn’t respond.
I was so angry at him that I actually didn’t trust myself to speak.
As I stood waiting for my order, fuming about the nerve of that guy and kicking myself for taking the high road for once in my life… I suddenly heard another commotion behind me!!
I thought for sure it was that guy, but as it turns out it was another customer and HE was losing his mind at the staff.
Where I thought the line jumper had been rude, this other guy was above and beyond, screaming his displeasure at the staff- so much so that the staff started raising their voices in defense… to the point one of them actually screamed back- which was causing heads to turn.
Now, I have been in situations where I have been a customer and jumped in to rescue the staff from these types of abuse from another customer… after all, I have worked with the public enough in my life to know what it is like when the customer is wrong (and they certainly can be) however, this staff did NOT need any help from me or anyone else.
There is a reason that I am not naming where I was, or directly quoting anything… because that staff deserved a medal for standing up to the abuse they had been suffering!
I don’t think people realize that those people behind the counter- They aren’t the ones making the schedules and choosing who will be working on what day. They aren’t the ones who make the rules about what time food can be served until or dictating what is on the shelves. If they are being poorly managed, that is something to be taken up with the management, owners and the corporation- NOT the staff on the front lines.
Yelling at them and abusing them because you can’t handle waiting in a long line, or the fact they are out of the product that you are after is ridiculous!
At that point- Why aren’t you yelling at the people IN line for being in your way? Not to mention that HE was now the reason the line was getting longer and the staff were unable to do their job. Are the people now stuck behind this guy now allowed to yell at him for holding up the line?
How are the staff supposed to keep the line moving if people are too busy complaining to order?
The guy was just embarrassing himself.
The worst part? He was doing this in front of his kids.
I found that both of these rude men made me incredibly mad- so I got out of there before I started spewing off at the guy for how he was treating others. I can’t even tell you how the story ends inside that restaurant, but mine? I jumped into our car and my husband asked:
“Wow- What took so long?”
“Just drive- too many crabby-ass people about and now I am one of them!”
There seemed to be a dark cloud hanging above that place and the bad mood was contagious.
I stewed for a good hour or so- again, going back and forth between wishing that I had said something- but also proud of myself for not adding to the conflict.
It was an interesting end to our holiday.
I will end this story on a high note:
After we arrived home, I needed to quickly run to the grocery store as I needed to restock the fridge. I was not looking forward to how ‘peopley’ it would be out there… I had already been exposed to enough crabbiness for one day.
I went to the cart area, and the young man who had walked in before me, grabbed a cart- turned me and smiled as he removed a cart from the rest:
“Here Ma’am, Please take this one….Happy New Year!”
I flashed him a bright smile and felt all that irritation from earlier lift off my shoulders.
My faith in good people was once again restored.