Remember that all the people serving you and making your labor day relaxing and fun are… people. I tweeted about this last night, but wanted to share it here.
I went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, and the service was terrible and one of the servers was an actual asshole to me. It was weird because I did nothing to offend him and I go there quite frequently, although I did not know this guy. It kinda pissed me off, and you know how I handled the situation, you know what I did?
I did nothing. I ate my dinner and paid my bill, and tipped 25% and fucked off on my way and stopped at McDonald’s and got an unsweetened ice tea because they have the best plain old tea. People have shitty days, and maybe this guy was having one and it was not worth getting myself worked up because someone else is having a shitty day and acting the fool.
The only fucking thing I can control in this world is how I feel and act about things. It took me a while to get to this point where that is how I view things. But somewhere about 35 I made an effort to control how I react to things. My reaction and the way I respond to things can cause me far more trauma and emotional damage than anything someone else does to me.
So this week, me people, if someone is a dick to you and you feel the visceral need to react, just don’t. Come back when someone else is working. Just fuck off about your day and do something else.
Trust me, you get into the pattern of doing this, you are gonna be happier. And so will your friends and family, for not having you come home and bring all that negative shit with you and gossip about how wronged you were and make people think that is right way to react. It isn’t. Just walk the fuck away.
It’s not fucking worth it. And this is doubly important if you have young kids around you. They don’t need you teaching them that bullshit. Act like a fucking adult with a sense of perspective on life and a functioning frontal lobe. Please.
So keep that in mind this labor day.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Good advice, Cole
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
Words of wisdom, JC.
What exactly are you planning for us this week, Cole?
I always remind myself that I have NO IDEA what’s going on in the server’s world. Maybe they are dealing with asshole managers who are riding their asses in classist and often racist ways. Maybe they are dealing with a table full of entitled white people. Maybe they have family members dealing with serious illness. You just never know. It probably has nothing to do with you, the customer. And as you note: assuming the worst about them and punishing them for it is a supremely deplorable practice. Also, I really don’t want spit in my meal, lol.
Excellent post, JC. Happy Labor Day to us all.
This post is balm to the hyperventilating that might follow the special master ruling.
This is like the working-person’s sermon on the mount.
Thanks for the reminder, JC. I am such a reactive personality sometimes, it depresses the shit out of me. I’m fairly sure that it has a lot to do with my upbringing family
dymanicsdynamics, but still…you’re right, I get to goddamn well *choose* my reaction to things or people or situations that I get pissed off or uncomfortable or embarrassed about.
I usually tip around 20% but every once in a great while (like, every 2 or 3 years) i will get a waiter who is so negligent, inattentive, and/or infected with bad attitude that i will stiff them – but when i do so, i will usually take the trouble to find the manager and politely, but frankly and briefly tell them why the waiter got no tip. If the underlying problem isn’t that the owner/manager doesn’t give a shit about their customers, they appreciate knowing they have a problem that needs dealing with in whatever fashion they deem fit to address it.
New Deal democrat
Since no thread has been started on this, there has been a little, ummm, judicial “event” today.
On Saturday I wrote:
“Two things jump out from the hearing summary:
1. This judge really, *really* wants to appoint a special master.
2. This judge really, *really* wants that special master’s authority to include issues of executive privilege.
“… I see her issuing a broad order, including executive privilege, and under a rubric of “extraordinary circumstances” and “equitable jurisdiction,” essentially placing herself in the role of “supervising judge” overseeing anything having to do with this search warrant. She will have to avoid relying on the PRA; avoid enjoining the government from taking certain actions (because that’s appealable); and finding that this case is sui generis for purposes of avoiding Nixon as controlling precedent.”
This morning Judge Cannon granted Trump’s request and ordered the appointment of a special master to review questions over the materials seized at Mar-a-Lago. She also halted the use of the materials for “criminal investigative purposes” pending the special master’s review.
“Pursuant to the Court’s equitable jurisdiction and inherent supervisory authority, and mindful of the need to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented, the Plaintiff’s Motion is Granted in Part….
“The Court takes into account the undeniably unprecedented nature of the search of a prior President’s office…”
“The Court is not convinced that similar concerns with respect to executive privilege should be disregarded ….”
Thus concludes this installment of my mind-reading services.
As said by a famous ancient philosopher, Turn the other cheek.
And if that’s too hard, just let it go.
Note to self: take your own advice, especially on the road.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I would’ve cut the tip down to 18 or 19%.
Yup. I try to remind myself frequently when behind the wheel. Let. It. Go.
You remind me of something I experienced years ago. I have used a particular grocery store for years, no matter what city I lived in. At one point I got in a checkout line that was shorter than the others and quickly realized why. The woman checking us out was grumpy and very unfriendly. For some reason, I took it as a challenge, and I got in her line every time after that. I smiled at her and tried to have a quick conversation. It took quite a while, but she finally responded. I found out that she was working to support her grandkids when she should have been home taking it easy. Her feet hurt and she was working long hours for little pay. We became grocery store buddies, and she always had a smile for me and asked how my family was. When I moved to a different city, I missed visiting with her. You just never know how people will respond until you try.
We still haven’t heard anything about his project with the crows.
The Moar You Know
Actually, today is not Labor Day. Pet peeve. Labor Day is May 1st. This day is a made-up bullshit holiday specifically chosen to divide US labor from the world labor movement.
But the rest of it I agree with, and try to practice, 100%. I’ve got family that makes a point of noting everything that could possibly be considered a slight or an offense and do their level best to repay it tenfold, on the spot. Punching down wherever possible. I decided a long, long time ago I was never gonna be that person. The damage they do to everyone around them is incalculable.
Worst part of that seems to be those people always seem to end up living a long, long time. Not worth the cost of admission if you ask me.
I take out so many signposts that way!
I saw something the other day that might be relevant to this: Don’t be nice. Be kind.
@The Moar You Know: Try celebrating both Labor Days.
Good advice, JC. Excellent advice. I am trying to apply it, though the news this morning is giving me rage fits. Walk away, Laura. Go read a good book or pat the kittens. BTW my bathroom is full of kittens. I am trying to help a lady who went from one cat to thirty or more in one year and is on the brink of having and explosion of cats. There is only one low cost spay and neuter center here (“here” being a two hour drive away), so my role is to trap and deliver. I have a friend who is finding barn cat situations for the cats after they get fixed. There are starving kittens all over the place, so I grabbed some and took them home. A local rescue generously supplied me with kitten stuff. They are improving though they aren’t playful yet. All they do is eat, poop, and sleep. Still skinny but their innards are working. So…The phone rang and it was someone fundraising for Democrats so I told her about the one fifty a month I am already donating plus the one thousand plus or minus letters I’ve written and asked her if she wanted a cat.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
I do try to adhere to this way of thinking, particularly when it’s someone who is helping/serving me in some way. It’s a little harder the other way around. I’m a customer service rep for a mail order company, and sometimes……….a lot of times……..people can be rude as fuck over the dumbest little things. I mostly try to just let it roll off my back and ignore it, thinking, as you did, that they’re having a shitty day and unfortunately I’m the one they’re venting at. Where I draw the line and DO react is when someone is screaming at me or cursing at me or calling me names. I’m not putting up with that garbage, I don’t care if your dog just died, there’s no excuse for that kind of behavior. And I will give them the chance and say “If you cannot speak to me courteously, I’m ending this phone call” and if they continue, BYE BITCH.
I go through this routine a lot:
Other Person: “How’re ya doing?”
Me: “I can’t complain…”
OP: “Yeah, it doesn’t do any good, nobody listens anyway”
Me: “It’s not that- it’s that once I start complaining, I feel worse, and end up angry. Who needs that?”
That, or what my old 12step sponsor used to reply to “How’s it going?”:
“Well, I’ve seen bad, and this ain’t nothin’ like it.”
@UncleEbeneezer: Yup. In my “life” I’ve never had a server in a restaurant or diner treat me badly. Maybe I’m just lucky.
@Josie: That’s a wonderful story. I bet the cashier missed you even more.
Thanks for this, John. Excellent advice, which I hope I can take. Not in terms of service people, I think I usually treat them okay, but just in general. I have been letting myself get very stressed out over relatively minor things and it is harming me. Major things, like the risk to our country, but that matters and the smaller things really don’t. I need to start controlling how I react to things and not let them get to me.
Giant turtle washes ashore in Wisconsin.
Look out Wisconsinites, Godzilla is coming!
A waiter with a bad attitude is poison for the restaurant that employs them, regardless of what motivating personal issues are behind it, and they drive customers away from returning.
Owner/managers of a well-run place are usually pretty good at sniffing out from their interaction with you reporting the problem with the waiter whether the cause of the problem is much more you vs much more them – i.e. which one of you is the ass hole
Don’t get me wrong- i have worked in restaurants myself in my younger days, and so i am inclined to cut waiters slack, especially if the restaurant is busy, and tip decently, even for so-so service.
Gin & Tonic
@Omnes Omnibus: A while back I read that people in NYC are kind but not nice, whereas people in LA are nice but not kind. There’s a lot of truth in that.
Wish I knew this a few months ago…
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@New Deal democrat:
From what the lawyers downstairs are saying this “decision” will be appealed and an emergency stay put in place
I always leave a good-sized tip no matter what the server was like, I figure the miserable ones may need the money more than the cheerful ones.
Still processing the weekend-long visit from my sister (she and her family came in from Detroit for the big ice cream social in honor of Ohio Son’s community college graduation). Don’t have an adjective for her, she is the most tightly wound up person I know and I’m always afraid the spring is going to pop open on me. But I got off easy, she only said three weird things to me and I let them roll off my back.
Lots of post-party clean-up ahead but first more coffee.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Yea, but if its appealed doesn’t that mean it ends up with the Sinister 6 on the SC eventually? Even if Roberts isn’t insane there’s still not alot of hope the other 5 would care about law and precedent unless they want to hamper hair fuhrer’s future.
@Cmorenc: The mother of an ex used to tip a penny per person in the dining party for above-and-beyond bad service (the instance I was at was the server being aggressively rude, actively hostile, neglectful, and extremely slow, well beyond just-having-a-bad-day levels; server was also apparently the owner’s offspring ). She said that leaving no tip could be construed as just having forgotten, but penny a person made it clear that the tiny tip was intentional.
Thank you, John.
Yes, that was always my secret for safe driving. Let the other person be the asshole and stay the hell away from them if you can. Works for me.
@Gin & Tonic: Come to Chicago where you can get nice and kind.
@New Deal democrat: I think you need to swipe left >
I used to eat at restaurants and diners all the time. I especially treasure a pleasant atmosphere, and the occasional place that recognizes me and treats me like a regular. At one place, when I sat at the counter, my cup of decaf with cream on the side would appear without prompting.
Especially for breakfast, I will eat at a place that has just OK food if the service is friendly. I also try not to be a jerk.
Anyway, I will sometimes mention it to the manager if service is egregiously horrible.
I try to make sure to let the manager or owner know when service is especially good.
OMG…lol, and here I thought I didn’t want to be phone-banking this election season!
good for you John.
getting all worked up about shitty service isn’t worth your time, energy or turning an inconvenient hour into an entire fucked up day / evening.
Bless you John Cole. I saw that tweet and it made me think, especially in this pandemic time when so many are going through so much (often silently).
I was once a very shitty waitress. Rude, slow, annoyed with everything.
The thing was, I didn’t know what I was doing — seriously, I didn’t understand that my job was to be pleasant (or at least neutral) while taking and filling orders, which sounds very strange but I was kinda raised by wolves, meaning people with very little social ability. I never ate in a restaurant until I was about 13, and then very rarely after, so not a surprise that I’d be clueless about how it was supposed to work.
I think I thought everybody hated each other, and so what.
Sad, because it was just about the only way to make money for young women back then, and I did it a lot — even got to be good at it. What changed is that someone showed me there was a kind of art to it … always being alert to your tables, always trying to be ahead of what they would need by a few steps, managing all the details and making it look easy. That was a challenge. It transformed my “dumb job” into something that felt worth getting right. Also I got far enough from family to understand that hating everybody was not normal.
Thanks for this, John. Sensible, practical advice.
Words to live by. I started ignoring 90% of the rudeness and nonsense when I hit my late 30s, and I don’t miss the confrontations and smoldering resentments at all.
@hitchhiker: I think everyone should have to spend about a week working at a restaurant, snack bar, something like that. It’s eye opening. Service jobs are hard work – especially when people are hungry!
I’m reminded of a small scene in Schitt’s Creek where Catherine Ohara’s character is working with a young director and he’s majorly bummed at being in the middle of nowhere making a cheesy commercial for some washed up old former soap-opera star, is doing a bad job, doesn’t care, has no control over how things are going, and in general is setting himself up to destroy his future. She takes him aside and says something like “I used to be box-office gold as a serious actor on the big screen, and ended up working on a cheesy soap opera with crows that nobody ever took seriously. But I made much more money and had much more fun, and touched more people on that cheesy soap opera. It’s always important to do the best job you can, no matter where you are…”
So true. I have come a long way, used to curse people out in the car way more before cough having children who are learning words in my car…
But today, someone honked because I hadn’t turned left yet, which was because I hadn’t checked both directions yet, and I cursed a blue streak. And loud. Not proud of it. Windows closed, big rainstorm, no one could hear. But it was not a great moment.
A buddy of mine suggested something that usually helps, even though my first response was an ayfkm: pray for or well-wish the other driver, even through gritted teeth. “Okay FSM, grrr, bless that SUV driver with safe travels and a good parking spot. And me as well.”
YMMV of course!
And this thread may be defunct, but I was so glad to see I might not be the only one who needs a reminder.
John, you are the most grounded, sensible person and I really appreciate your takes on ordinary, daily life — which is 99% of life for 100% of people. Thanks for this.
This is such good advice, and very Stoic – control what you can control (your response). I wish someone would have told me this in my 20s. But I was probably too dumb back then to listen. I am definitely trying to model this behavior for my kiddos at least.
I’ll just throw in a folk tale here: http://www.rodneyohebsion.com/mulla-nasrudin.htm
(Scroll down to: “The tips”)
@Gin & Tonic: Yes, I have heard that, too. As a New Englander I think it applies through the Northeast, kind things done without discussion, you may get a wave and a smile. I only know about California by repute.
As an older woman in social spaces, I feel some obligation to push back on people being assholes, if I feel up to it. It’s better for my mental health and I feel that there is a tendency for people of all sexes to tread on women.
That being said, I am not always up to it, and I really mean a mild, “Hey, now, what’s up with that?”
Paul in KY
You are a mensch, John. Great advice for your soul.
Paul in KY
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: You poor devil. God bless you.