You know those little moments in life where decorum goes by the wayside? When you accidentally say what you’re thinking instead of what’s right? Yeah, me neither. I never do that.
This piece is based on a Quora question. Link on the last page.
1. Whine and dine.
I used to work in a restaurant. One night, four women came in. We let people bring their own wine and they had done so. When I poured a glass for one of them, she took a sip, swallowed it in disgust and said, “This stuff is heinous. You should give it to the staff.”
Without thinking, I said, “Maybe the people who work hard for minimum age cooking your food dont want to drink your heinous wine. Did you consider that?” I just left them in silence, and the next time I came back to their table, they were effusively polite, like they were trying to make up for it.
2. I prefer Old Hampshire.
This was the night I met my first mother-in-law to be. I put my hand out, she put hers in her pockets and said, “So. You’re from New Hampshire. Nobody who matters is from New Hampshire.” Then she turned on her heel and walked out. She did not say a word to me the rest of the weekend, and we were staying with her.
Linda J. McPhee
3. My desk is in the gutter.
I had an annoying co-worker who unfortunately sat next to me. He viewed me as a threat to his career because he assumed I was vying for the same job he was (I wasn’t, but lunkhead wouldn’t accept that). Thankfully, he did eventually move on to another job in another company. (Hooray!)
He would spend some of his time criticizing the way I worked. I had ADD and what works for me is to spread my work out across my desk so that what I need is always in front of me. I also adorn my walls with funny things, pictures, etc. whereas Lunkhead was always showing off his spotless desk.
One afternoon, as a dig at me, he walked past and made a “tsk tsk” noise and then quipped “Cluttered desk, cluttered mind.” I didn’t bother looking up, I simply replied “And your desk is empty.”
He made a disgusted noise and walked away.
4. Eyes on the prize.
I used to have a lazy eye. My left eye was pointing inwards. It made me insecure. I would sometimes joke about it, but mostly I hated myself for it. I always made sure to talk to people from certain angles, so as to keep them from noticing.
Of course they noticed anyway. Everyone knew. Most people just didnt comment on my lazy eye. Most people were decent enough to be polite. Most people.
Except for my boss.
I was a skinny 18 year-old and I got a job as a food runner at a restaurant. Since I was interacting with hundreds of people every day, I was very self-conscious about my lazy eye. My boss was a 30-something, loud-mouthed guy. Cocky. Big fella. But, he was well-liked.
I was cleaning some dishes in the kitchen while many of my co-workers were scurrying around. The boss enters, and out of the blue, he makes this remark for everyone to hear:
“Can you read two books at the same time? You knowbecause of your eyes?” He then cackled in my face.
My reaction was immediate.
I put the dishes down. I grabbed his arm as hard as I could. I escorted him to a quiet area. I looked him in the eye, and as firm and calm as I could, I said to him:
“You can make fun of me for many things. But you never make fun of my lazy eye.”
I guess he was quite stunned to have a small teenager stand up to him. It really shut him up. He was very embarrassed. And he apologized.
After that incident, he got immense respect for me. We became good friends actually. He was a good guy. Just too cocky sometimes. So I was the one who had to put him in check.
Petter Brennan Rian
5. The key part is the “ex”.
My ex-father-in-law had very strong feelings about any non-white race. I am Japanese-Latvian-Dutch (and I’m sure a bunch more!). Growing up in Japan, I was a foreigner, an American. Growing up in the US, I was a “sushi lady” so racism was nothing new to me, and it takes a lot to get me upset.
I was eight months pregnant with my first child and we were visiting for Christmas. I was talking about the upcoming birth. He said, “I thought you people just squatted down in the rice patty and went back to work.”
I said, “No. Now my people take maternity leave.”
Christine Homola DeAngelis-Webber
6. Just plane rude.
My wife and I were flying back from New York to Seattle with our 8 month old son. Before boarding the flight we learned that he had a 101F fever. Now, for adults that might be manageable. For a baby its quite different.
About an hour before we reached our layover in San Francisco the baby started vomiting pretty badly.
Throughout the whole ordeal there were many, many people who realized that this was a painful experience for us. The airline folks made whatever changes we needed without any extra charges. The passengers offered help with luggage. The paramedics took my wife with them to the hospital when we landed. But there was one person
When my son was trying to scream unable to do so because of fatigue and dehydration and when my wife was frantically cleaning up the vomit, a guy in the next row turned to his companion and said loudly, “remind me never to have kids, and if I do, never to bring them on an airplane.”
In his place before becoming a parent I probably would have felt the same way.
But saying it loud enough to make sure that other passengers and my wife heard it, as if to make a point about our terrible parenting, was absolutely callous. He said that to a mother whose baby was in critical condition in front of her eyes while she was utterly helpless.
I hope he does have kids and loves them enough to realize that parents dont really prefer being in those kind of situations.
7. Almost famous.
When I was a supervisor in a restaurant, I once had a (relatively minor) celebrity say to me: “Do you know who I am?”
In return, I bellowed out to the whole restaurant: “Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, this man appears to have forgotten who he is. If anyone could help him find out who he is, could they be kind enough to inform him please.” He called me something very rude and left. Mission accomplished.
Andrew Michael Roberts
8. Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
I work front desk at a hotel. A random man came into the hotel asking to speak to my manager. She was on a business call and couldnt come to the front to talk to him so I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him out. Usually, Im able to help most people without even getting a manager involved.
He started talking really softly, telling me that he was out of gas and had no money and that he needed to borrow just $5 or $10 from the hotel. Could I please help?
I apologized to him and told him I had no cash on me to help him out because I only carry a debit card. Also, it was 2 days before payday and I was pretty broke myself at this time.
He immediately looked infuriated by my response to not be able to help him and said, “let me talk to your manager you stupid girl.” I once again told him she was on a business call and couldnt step away at that moment (especially for a random man asking for money).
With rage-filled eyes he looked me straight in the eyes, pointed his finger at me and said, “Im going to hurt you one day, you little red headed b*tch!” He picked up a potted plant on the desk, threw it into the wall, and calmly strode out the front door.
He wasnt a guest. Wasnt even trying to stay at our hotel. Just randomly stopping by to borrow money. Probably for drugs, in retrospect.
9. Game of phones.
Back when I worked in retail, a lady came to the counter with some stuff she wanted to buy.
She was on the phone, so I spoke quietly. “Can I help you?” I asked, when she didn’t hand the goods over.
She covered the receiver and looked at me like I’d kicked her dog. “Im on the phone! Sorry about that, Hannah”
So she finishes her conversation gets off the phone and hands it all over. “$24.98, please,” I said.
She froze. “Ive got, uh” she hands a small mound of coins over, and when I’m done counting it, she’s short.
“I need another five bucks,” I said.
She doesn’t reply for a second. “Well,” she said, knocking everything off the counter, “Then you better clean this crap up.”
Many years ago I fell in love and wanted to ask the girl of my dreams for her hand in marriage. I felt it was proper to ask for her parent’s blessing.
I was young, nervous, and quite intimidated sitting there across the room, trying to eek out the request.
As soon as I uttered the request, her mother cut me off and said, “You will never, ever have my blessing to marry my daughter. No.”
The rest of the discussion didn’t go any better. There have certainly been many awkward moments over the past 30 years as her son-in-law. However, I think after all this time my mother-in-law probably regrets that reaction. At least I hope she regrets it.
When a young man recently asked for my blessing to marry my daughter, the whole experience from my youth passed before my eyes. I vowed never to make the same mistake, and we now have a new member of our family. Who says we don’t learn from history?
11. What’s in a name?
At an airport, I saw a man get stopped.
Security: Excuse me sir, What’s your name?
Security: As in Saddam Hussein?
Hussain: No, as in Barrack Hussein Obama.
12. Bye Felicia.
I was eating lunch with my friend Felicia back when we were in college.
I ordered a set meal with chicken and eggs, a healthy portion because I was really hungry.
That was when she said: Why are you eating so much? You are already so fat, you should really cut down on your portion, you know that?
My only response was to smile, and keep eating my delicious meal. I left the table once I was done, and I have avoided people like her ever since.
Life is short, I should be able to eat what I like whenever I want, especially when I am hungry, when I am able to, without being judged harshly.
13. Maybe keep some stuff to yourself.
My wife and I married when we were relatively young: 23 and 18. Rather than a “congratulations” or “best of luck”, a co-worker decided to get super honest.
He said “It probably won’t last”, then changed the subject as if he said nothing of importance. Stunned, I responded with hidden shock but apparent indifference, knowing that my alternative was to say something which would get me into trouble.
I walked away without confrontation and then realized my co-worker was a 40-something, single, minimum-wage earning security guard who never hid the fact that he was a miserable human being. I didn’t need to be offended; honestly, I felt sad for the guy.
14. That’s just awful!
I was pregnant and started hemorrhaging. I went to the hospital and while there I miscarried. I was extremely distraught over losing my baby and during the procedure the nurse said “Oh, calm down already. Its not like you lost a real baby.”
As for my response, I was simply to distraught with the death of my baby to deal with that imbecile who had no couth or compassion.
15. Encyclopedia Brown.
It was said to my mother, but I was there. When I was about 10, Mama reluctantly agreed to hear a sales pitch from a door-to-door encyclopedia saleswoman because a mutual friend had asked her to. The woman came in and sat down. I walked into the room and she said, “Well, that one certainly hasn’t missed any meals.”
When she concluded her presentation Mama said she didn’t think we’d be interested in buying anything. The woman jumped up and said, “Well, don’t blame me if your children grow up ignorant! I tried to help you!” and stormed out. I cant imagine she got a lot of sales that way.
16. Why you gotta be so mean?
I am a home schooled student. My parents opted out of standardized testing until I was ready for the ACT. In sixth grade, my aunt told me I was stupid because I didn’t go to real school. I responded at the time by retreating behind my book and crying quietly. I later responded by scoring in the nations top 3% in standardized tests.
Now I’m double majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering on full ride scholarships, at one of the only schools in the world with a better engineering program than MIT, after turning down 6 Ivy League schools. That woman deeply hurt my self esteem and caused me to develop an inferiority complex that lasted for years. Now, I think I’m justified in saying I proved her wrong. Don’t let other people’s rude comments bring you dow, let them build you up.
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