Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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I live in the Washington DC Metro Area and was shopping at a large National hardware store. I was browsing through the nuts and bolts area of the store trying to find an item, taking my time, and going up and down a particular aisle several times. I was in no rush and not put out at all that they might not have the item I was looking for. There was an employee in the aisle stocking, but I did not ask him for help since I was only there on a whim. Anyway, he eventually asked me if there was something he could help me with. I asked him if they had any of the item that I was looking for, and unfortunately they did not. No big deal, he was very friendly and helpful and that would have been the end of a very pleasant encounter, HOWEVER, this being "Etiquette Hell" he then asks, "So where are you from?" A question I am used to - as I am Asian, and the area we are in is right next to an Air Force Base (where my husband is stationed). I answer that I am from Hawaii, but not actually Hawaiian, I am Japanese. He then proceeds to give me the once over, and says, "Oh really? I always thought that Japanese people were more yellow." I could not process a response to that so I just sort of mumbled about it being summer and I have a bit of a tan. Then quickly found my husband and got the heck out. Seriously what are people thinking?!


A few years ago, I attended our local fun fair.  It had been drummed into my head to keep a wary eye on the carnies at this fair, because "they're a bunch of crooks and will rip you off any chance they get".  Well, I didn't believe that, and I still don't - naive or not, I tend to believe that most people are basically good.  I did have an encounter with a shady character, however - the kind that gives all carnies a bad name.   I needed some ride tickets, and I approached one of the ticket booths.  The girl sitting in the booth was very young - somewhere in her late teens, I'm guessing - and smoking.  I asked her for five dollars' worth of tickets and passed her a twenty dollar bill.  Slowly, in between drags on her cigarette, she slid over the tickets.  She then very slowly counted out five dollars' worth of change and stopped.  I waited expectantly for the rest of my change.  It wasn't forthcoming.  I looked her in the eyes and said "I gave you a twenty."  Wordlessly, she sucked on her cigarette and stared at me.    I said "You still owe me ten dollars."  Still no response (unless blowing smoke in my face counts).   I said sweetly "I'm not budging until you give me the rest of my change.  Now, hand it over."  With exquisite slowness, she counted out one loonie (I live in Canada) ... then another ... then another ... finally, a full minute later, I had all my change.  I'm certain that she hoped I'd get fed up with her snail-like progress and leave.   Hah!  I'm not my mother's daughter for nothing.



Last year I went into a plus-sized store (I am overweight, but an losing weight due to gastric surgery, the surgery was after the store visit). Anyways the sales girl was about 18 or 19, She seemed snippy and reluctant to even help me. Anyways, my friend who went with me kept bugging me to buy a dress I didn't like, but that's a different story, but as she was looking for other stuff, I tried casually chatting to the sales lady, when I mentioned that I would be getting gastric surgery, she snipped, "Oh no you won't, you have to pass psychological tests before they will even look at you" I couldn't believe she said that! She's never seen me before but said I wouldn't get it because I couldn't pass psychological tests? I was so shocked that I couldn't reply. 

Anyways the friend came back with a hideous dress that was $75 but marked down to $40, the sales girl was incompetent with the cash register, but managed to ring it up, at the sale price and so I left. A few days later I went shopping with another friend and wanted to bring back the ugly dress. I didn't want to see the snippy girl, so I sent my friend in with my ATM card for a refund. I didn't think anything about it, until I saw my statement and saw the XXXX store refunded the original price $75 plus tax. Normally I would go back and explain and give the extra money back, but I didn't want to see the snippy sales girl so I never went back to the store again.



Here is a story that has baffled pretty much every person I have told it to:   About two years ago, I had a very close friend who lived in another state who, unfortunately, passed away in an accident the day after I turned 21.  I was absolutely devastated because at the time I had never before lost anyone close to me.  To make things worse, there was no way I could make it to the funeral because of the distance.   Thankfully, he had a friend who was very kind and gave me the needed addresses, etc, so I went to this florist to see if I could send flowers along.  Since there was no way I could send them in time for the wake, I wanted to arrange for them to be sent in time for the funeral.  This particular florist (I'll call her "Denise") had been very helpful when my parents had wanted to send sympathy bouquets to friends, so she was the first person I called.   

During the course of this phone conversation, I tried to explain the situation without losing my composure.  After I was through, there was a silence, and then she proceeded to tell me (in a very short tone, no less) that I would have to pay extra to send flowers to the wake because (and I quote this exactly because I will never forget this) Catholic funerals don't have flowers.   That was it for me.  I ended up going to a different florist who was very patient and understanding with me (I was having a lot of trouble not bursting into tears while I was there), and the flowers turned out beautiful and my late friend's family was very grateful.  I didn't tell them what Denise had said for obvious reasons.  

I got a job a year and a half later and most of my co-workers happened to be Catholics, and out of curiosity I told them this story and every one of them told me that she had been full of it.  The best we could figure out was that she knew that I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind and she was trying to get extra money out of me.   Despite the good service she had provided in the past, no one in my family has patronized Denise's business since.   It has really made me wonder how many merchants try to take advantage of the bereaved.   (This is a small town, so I shouldn't tell my story on radio or TV)


Page Last Updated July 30, 2007