Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Miss Manners Gets the Boot


Ah, that's better.

I'm friendly. I'm polite. I smile at people I don't know and chit chat with cashiers. I hold doors open for strangers. If I walk in front of someone I say "excuse me".

But apparently, that sort of stuff has gone out of fashion, along with corsets and parasols.

I made a trip to the library today. And yes, I had some things that were overdue. I'll agree, I am not the world's most responsible library patron. I got a card for my son so I wouldn't have to pay the fine on mine. And it took about 2 nano-seconds for me to rack up tab on his. I have lost a book...once. We always keep the videos longer than we should. And yes, there was that incident regarding Sister and a book in the bathroom. But after a Clorox wipe to the dust jacket, no one was the wiser.

In my defense, I keep that library afloat. They could build a new wing and name it in my honor with all the money I've given them.

They should roll out the red carpet for me.

But no. I get the cold, icy stare from the Library Nazi when I bring my hot, sweaty crew up to the desk with armloads of loot. "Would you like these all on one card?" she asks, in a monotone barely above a mumble. And that is all I get from her. She checks us out begrudgingly and silently. What is it about me that irritates her? Does she treat everyone this way? She hands me my long receipt with the names of the books and their due dates. "Thank you," I say, hoping for a smile, a grunt, an obscene gesture.


Next, the grocery store. That's always fun with hot, tired children. I am making my way down a longer, main aisle, next to the craft department at the Wal-Mart Super-make-me-go-insane-Center. Suddenly a speeding cart piloted by a grown man with three children zooms in front of me, narrowly escaping a collision. "Excuse me," I say, though he is clearly the one who should apologize. No matter. He doesn't even glance my direction. He's too busy pretending to be Mr. Cool Dad of the Year by turning the cart into a race car, complete with engine and screeching tire noises. And as if pulling right out in front of me isn't enough, he tries to run me over on his way down the aisle.

I seriously considered chunking my box of 80-count unscented baby wipes at his rude, obnoxious head.

I get through everything on my list and have one more stop. The deli. I've only had to say, "Stop that", "Don't touch that", "Don't sit there", "Don't run" about 700 times, so I'm really ready to go. I arrive at the deli counter and park my cart close to, but slightly behind the lady who was there first waiting for her order. There is about a cart's width between us. While I stand there, patiently waiting my turn, a sassy little twenty-something in a sports bra and gym shorts pushes her cart between ours and sashays her tight, little hiney right on up to the counter, in front of me. I don't say anything, thinking she surely will ask if I've been helped.

I mean, I'm standing right there.

I was there first.

I have three loud, hyper children.

I completely look the part of the tired, bedraggled housewife.

Have mercy.

Not today. When the lady behind the counter asked who was next, she piped right up and took my turn. My turn.


I push my cart out of there in a huff, hoping she notices, but I'm pretty sure she didn't.

That's it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I've got the Library Nazi's number. See if she gets another smile from me. No more holding open doors. No more "please" and "thank you". I'm through being nice.

And tomorrow, I might just kick the cat, too.


Shane said...

I came across your blog via Rocks in My Dryer and I'm so glad I did. I had a great time reading your posts. I'll be back soon!+

Mommy the Maid said...

Little Miss tight Hieny would have got a piece of my mind.

"excuse me honey, why don't you find a shirt that actually isn't meant for a 4 year old while you wait for you turn."

I am one of those nice people too, and there should be more of us out there. But you know what, we all deserve to speak our mind once in a while...or throw a box of wipes :D

Michelle said...

I, too, found your blog via Rocks in My Dryer. You have been blessed with wit and the ability to write! I thoroughly enjoyed this entry. After 45 years, I finally will say something to people who butt-inski in front of my fed-up-self. Especially if I have my 110th percentile-in-height-blackbelt teenage son with me!

me said...

bahahaha mommy the maid, or you could have directed her to the womans clothing dept.

i was just thinking the same thing this morning, i held the door at the gas sattion for a man coming in and he said ...nothing, walked right in like i was being paid to hold the door for him. nastiness from here on out!

Mama of 2 said...

Sounds like you could use a stiff drink...I know I could have after a day like you just described. It's hard to be a nice person in this day and age and it's a rarity as well.
I say don't let the naysayers of the world make you stop Supermom. Don't give them that much power. If you ask me being super sweet while you are reading people like you mentioned the riot act is the way to go!

Diana said...

How about the idiots who are waiting to get into traffic, and no one lets them in-but you do and they don't even lift a hand to say thank you. Those make me want to scream too, along with the bitches you encountered today!
They suck.

Kellie said...

When I pulled up to the check out yesterday at Walmart, I said 'Hi' to the girl, and she stared at me blankly and popped a piece of Hershey bar in her mouth and started chewing with her mouth open. She did not utter a single word to me the entire time she was scanning and then, handed me a receipt, turned and walked away from her post. How rude!

Anonymous said...

Your descriptions are so very familiar to me, mother of two preschool boys with a baby in the oven. No one gives a hoot about being polite to pregnant women these days, let alone being polite to others in general.

I've had "run-ins" with the librarians, other customers (young, old, both genders) in stores, and blank stares from cashiers when I was trying to be kind and friendly and upbeat with them.

I started wanting to fight fire with fire, but I decided these rudies deserved to be lessons for my children. . . When we get in the car, we discuss the bratty behaviour of children and adults alike that we've come across during our errands and outings including how these people make us feel or make others feel. And then we talk about why God wants us to serve one another and show love with joy in our hearts.

Not to be rude myself, don't know if you're Southern, but I didn't notice this kind of behaviour increasing in occurrence until the state I live in has incurred a steady stream of people from up north where this is apparently is common behaviour. "Look out for thineself" seems to be their motto, although, I do happen to know a few exceptions to the rule.


HeartsDesire said...

So sorry you had a bad day. Rude people stink! Don't worry, what goes around, comes around. It just sometimes takes a while. Keep being nice to the library nazi. I know it's hard, but we can't stop being nice. We're the only ones left.

Jen said...

I'm with you...I'm going to have to do my own post on rudeness one of these days... I've never seen such obnoxious (or ignorant?) behavior as I do in grocery stores!

udandi said...

I'm with heartsdesire, we have to keep being nice, yet politely and firmly speaking up as needed, so we're not drown out by the rudies who might take us for a doormat!

I'm from the library world and it saddens me people at our service points act this way, because it reflects poorly on all of us, but I do know it happens (just like with any customer service position that hovers slightly above minimum wage).

My suggestion would be to (politely) let the branch manager/supervisor know the library nazi could use some polishing on her customer service skills. In an ideal world the manager would know this and would be proactive, but sometimes they're putting out bigger fires and miss this stuff :)

Mom2fur said...

Sometimes I want to yell at people, "hey, am I invisible or something?" I have said, "excuse me, but I was next." Sometimes I just let it go. But you know what annoys me? People who cut in front of kids! Grrrr...
Did you ever see that movie with Kathy Bates (I think it was "Fried Green Tomatoes"), where these young chickies drive their car into the parking spot she'd been waiting for patiently? Fancy sports car, stuck-up attitudes: "face it lady, we're younger and faster." (Or something like that.) And Kathy rearends their sports car over and over until she's pushed it from the parking spot and her own car takes its place. Her line is a classic: "face it girls, I'm older and I have more insurance!" Nothing that would happen in reality, but a nice fantasy for us 'older and better insured' types. (Not that anyone else here is 'older.' I'm 50, but don't tell anyone.)

But Momma said...

The Library Nazi lives in a house full of cats, the Cool Dad-of the Year got a ticket on the way home and obviously Miss Priss was so hungry she had no choice but to cut in front of Mother with Toddlers in Tow. Karma.

Keep fightin the Good Fight!

Crystal said...

After reading Anonymous' post I have to chime in being that I'm from the North

I have never lived in a more polite place as Seattle. Seattle is known for their polite manners in public. (Seattle Times even did an article on it) People let me in on the freeway and let me go ahead of them in line at the grocery store. They see me coming with the double stroller and hold the door open for me. Quite the difference from S. Cal.
My 2 cents.

LOVED what you had to say about the library. We have parallel lives.

Heth said...

You should have chucked the wipes at him. And then at the librarian and the workout girl.

And the cat.

jjofar said...

you know shehopper has probably been described by many 7th graders as that 'nazi librarian'!! we know her and love her as the 'never caught dead with her hair in a bun new wave media specialist' i love it...they do sometimes tend to have a negative edge. why have a summer reading program if you can't stand the sweaty children?

C D said...

heaping coals of kindness on their heads.... doesn't satisfy my need for 'justice' ~ but yep, what goes around comes around, and so it will be with you >and< them. There are days when I'm certainly not a light, nor salt... and I don't write stuff on those days, so I really admire your humor and ability to view it with perspective!!!

And yes, I often think of that scene from Fried Green Tomatoes ~ and as I get older, it just gets better!! *hee hee!*

MoneyDummy said...

So . . . tomorrow's come and gone. Did you, in fact, kick the cat?

I can TOTALLY relate to the mean librarian. As a child, I had one at the local library. And since I went to the library about twice a day, that was A LOT of glaring. (You'd think librarians would love a kid who reads. LOL.)

I look forward to reading more!

Lucky Candice said...

Same thing happened to me at the deli counter once and I felt like a million bucks when I stopped them from helping the gal who butted in front of me and said, "actually, it was MY turn - I've been here longer." Then the tooty gal who cut me gives me a look and says, "oh right, SORRY." It was a grand day!