Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Friday, July 01, 2005

Pet Peeve Number Umpteen

I was window-shopping with Sage today when I heard the woman next to me say to the sales clerk, “Ikuha mo nga ako ng ganito.”

Which translates roughly as: “Get me one of these, SLAVE!”

Okay, technically, the word “slave” wasn’t actually spoken anywhere in that sentence--but it fuckin’ well sounded like it should be. It really, royally pisses me off when people are so downright rude to other people whom they consider their “underlings”--such as helpers, salespeople, drivers, and wait staff*. I consider it reprehensible and inexcusable. I will bet you anything this woman doesn’t talk that way to her boss, or her clients or colleagues or whatever. Would it really have killed her to say--instead of “Get me this”--“Please get me this” or “Could you get me one of these?” Does she consider service professionals--who are professionals, albeit not doctors or lawyers--so far beneath her that she can’t be bothered to exercise a little common courtesy towards them?

One of the most important lessons my mother ever passed on to me was this: “You should be good to people not because of who they are, but because of who you are.” In other words, your treatment of other human beings should not depend on their rank or station in life, but on the kind of person you consider yourself to be. Barring, you know, mass murderers and people who have just Done You Wrong in the past, if you think you’re a good person, you ought to be good to people, whoever they happen be.

Now I’m not saying I manage to do this flawlessly all the time. Occasionally (like when I’m struggling with Sage and several bags and packages), I’ll forget to thank my cab driver for the ride. But I feel bad when I do--because, yes, I did pay the man for the service, but I still think I owe him some gratitude for getting me to my destination safely and (hopefully) pleasantly. We pay our nanny for taking care of Sage and our household; but I do my best to say “please” or “paki-” when I ask her to do something, and I try to phrase it as a request, rather than an order. Of course, she knows and I know that she has to do it regardless, but it’s a small pleasantry that smooths our relationship and helps keep us--her and me both--just that tiny bit more human.

Because whether it’s the janitor in our building, or the president of our country, I believe that everyone deserves a little courtesy and a lot of respect. Well, nowadays, possibly not the president of our country ('cause she Done Me Wrong!)... but you know what I mean.
*Before any of you smarty-parties says something snarky about my husband and his notorious Restaurant Reputation, I would just like to point out that Dean is perfectly polite with waiters--right up until the moment when he blows his top over bad service. Even then, he is far more likely to say “Where is your manager?” than “Get me your manager”. What’s more, I feel confident that he would behave exactly the same way if faced with unsatisfactory performance from, say, a Catholic bishop. “Where is your cardinal?” he would demand...
Nikki bit in at 1:26 PM :: ::
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