Author Topic: It never helps to be rude (long)  (Read 2979 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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It never helps to be rude (long)
« on: November 14, 2012, 02:27:39 AM »
I'm a library assistant working the front desk in a private business college that caters to mainly international students. This week has been flat out, as its first week of classes and we've been busy getting new students their ID cards and approving returning students for the new semester.

We've had to crack down a bit as some students have slipped through the cracks on paying fees (and cheating bit that is a topic for another day) so we have a policy that students cannot get their ID until they have the declaration which means they have paid their fees. Without the ID they can't access the computer or print, and as we disable accounts at end of semester students need to see us before they can use the computer.

But this morning we had a rare exception. One of the teachers is away so the students (about five in number) had to access e-learning before being cleared by us of they'd paid their fees first do they could do the work the teacher had left them. One student took this as an opportunity to print everything for free, before we could keep track of his printing. My manager tied to count how much he was printing so she could put it to his account later, but he kept on printing despite her telling him to stop. Then he starts ranting, saying that he had paid his fees and she was depriving him of his rightly entitled education. Another teacher who was in the room at the time tried to stop him from shouting, but it took one of the people in his class to call him out on what an idiot of himself he was making in front of his fellow students.

I didn't speak up, there were enough people in that argument and I didn't see the point if adding another, it would just make things worse. Besides, I had to run the front desk in the middle of him shouting.

But, an hour later he came up to the desk to get his card renewed he made a point of only speaking to me despite my manager trying to engage him in polite conversation, asking him nicely if he had stopped being angry. He pointedly ignored her, finally saying that he would speak only to me and started to blame her again for what had happened before. I sat through this, hearing his rant until I couldn't take it any more. I told him to that there was nonneed fir him to be angry, to stop shouting and that you do not talk to people like that, he tried to talk over me but I wouldn't let him and pointed out we were doing a favour for him to let him log in earlier and my manager added that it was oolong to limit his printing as we had to crack down on students not paying their fees.

Finally, when we checked his enrolment and my manager gave him the standard line that he would have access to his account tomorrow he said that we are making him angry again, and he started shouting again. I was actually going to suggest we cleared him now, to kind of sweeten the deal and get him away from the front desk, but after that I was wiling to key the policy stand as it was rewarding rudeness. But my manager cleared his account then and there and he went away with all smiles.

Most of the students here are male, and a majority are from central and south east Asia. I kind have gotten user to the fact that some of the male students will look down on us, that they are not used to dealing with women as equals and expect us to furnish their every need. My manager says its a cultural thing, and I agree Roth her to some extent... Except you DO find rude people everywhere. I used to be a receptionist in the insurance industry, I've had my share of people shouting at me.

It is reassuring when your boss has your back, telling you not to put up with rudeness and tiger them to defer to her. But I can't help wondering, how much of a cultural thing is it?

cicero

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 03:47:08 AM »
Most of the students here are male, and a majority are from central and south east Asia. I kind have gotten user to the fact that some of the male students will look down on us, that they are not used to dealing with women as equals and expect us to furnish their every need. My manager says its a cultural thing, and I agree Roth her to some extent... Except you DO find rude people everywhere. I used to be a receptionist in the insurance industry, I've had my share of people shouting at me.

It is reassuring when your boss has your back, telling you not to put up with rudeness and tiger them to defer to her. But I can't help wondering, how much of a cultural thing is it?
is this school in south east asia or in the US? because it's *not* a cultural thing for a student to shout at a library manager. in fact, i'm not from south east asia but i'm pretty sure it's not a cultural thing for students to shout at librarians at home either.

If they are exchange students, or foreign students specifially seeking to study in a different country, then they are most probably given parameters of acceptable behavior in their host country. they can't come to the US (or whereever you are) and plead "cultural differences" about *everything*.

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Ceallach

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 03:59:10 AM »
Being rude is not a cultural thing.  Rude people are rude. 

Yes, social norms vary, that is true.   However, a polite person will soon pick up on what is appropriate behaviour in a new situation.     I missed out on training in certain social graces as a child (due to my parents being a bit distracted by their own life drama), and certainly behaved badly at times because of it before I learnt better.  But I am a polite adult (I think!) who would never treat anybody rudely.   So attributing such extreme rudeness to background or cultural differences is unhelpful IMHO.   It doesn't excuse the bad behaviour, and it's unfair to those from the same culture who are perfectly lovely and polite to generalise like that.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 04:32:17 AM »
I'm in Sydney, and the college is one of many in the CBD that caters for foreign students.

Why is it that so many people think abusing the receptionist gets you somewhere?

otterwoman

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 09:13:25 AM »
I'm in Sydney, and the college is one of many in the CBD that caters for foreign students.

Why is it that so many people think abusing the receptionist gets you somewhere?

It did get him somewhere; you said the manager cleared his account, and he left smiling. He should have been escorted out by security, instead screaming got him what he wanted.

cicero

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 09:18:09 AM »
I'm in Sydney, and the college is one of many in the CBD that caters for foreign students.

Why is it that so many people think abusing the receptionist gets you somewhere?

It did get him somewhere; you said the manager cleared his account, and he left smiling. He should have been escorted out by security, instead screaming got him what he wanted.
exactly. and your manager "justified" this by saying "it's a cultural thing", meaning 'it's ok to act this way'.

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Twik

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 09:25:29 AM »
I would have a chat with my manager about what to do the next time something like this happens again. And if the manager's response is, "For heaven's sake, do something, ANYTHING, to keep him happy," you might want to look for another job, because your manager is The Amazing Spineless Biped.

Would your manager accept non-caucasian students being abused by students if they come from a background where it's normal to treat people of other races as less than fully human? If not, there is no reason to accept poor treatment of female staff because of a "cultural thing".
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Shoo

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 09:32:29 AM »
I'm in Sydney, and the college is one of many in the CBD that caters for foreign students.

Why is it that so many people think abusing the receptionist gets you somewhere?

It did get him somewhere; you said the manager cleared his account, and he left smiling. He should have been escorted out by security, instead screaming got him what he wanted.

Exactly. 

Sophia

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 10:53:59 AM »
Actually, it does help to be rude.  He got everything he wanted. 

WillyNilly

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 11:08:36 AM »
I must say i found your post extremely difficult to read.

But having muddled through it, I agree with other posters - being rude paid off perfectly in this case.  It wouldn't have helped him much at all to be polite - he'd be without his printouts and would have had to wait a day for a badge and access.

O'Dell

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 11:35:20 AM »
I think I get what you are saying about it being cultural, if what you mean is that some of the students are used to women being subservient and hope to intimidate you into being subservient too.

But even if that's the case, I see some "customer service" issues with what you describe.

But, an hour later he came up to the desk to get his card renewed he made a point of only speaking to me despite my manager trying to engage him in polite conversation, asking him nicely if he had stopped being angry. He pointedly ignored her, finally saying that he would speak only to me and started to blame her again for what had happened before. I sat through this, hearing his rant until I couldn't take it any more.

So he was ignoring her and trying to do his business with you? Sounds like she was needling him even if she didn't mean to. Best to just start fresh in that situation. Don't bring up him being upset. It's possible that starting afresh with you and no mention of the previous incident would have averted his ranting. I also think it would have been the polite thing to do...to ignore his original outburst and allow him to save face by starting over.

I told him to that there was nonneed fir him to be angry, to stop shouting and that you do not talk to people like that, he tried to talk over me but I wouldn't let him and pointed out we were doing a favour for him to let him log in earlier and my manager added that it was oolong to limit his printing as we had to crack down on students not paying their fees.

So you scolded him? That's pretty rude too. And it's not likely to get the results you want especially if there is the cultural/sexist issues you mention. In your shoes I would have asked nicely for him to stop shouting and to direct him back to why he was there and away from the first incident with him.

I get that he was a jerk and aggressive with his first run in with your manager. I'm not in any way excusing his behavior. But it also sounds like all three of you were beating a dead horse. When he came back later in the day, the earlier episode should have been glossed over if it were even brought up at all.
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Surianne

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2012, 01:02:16 PM »
I agree with what O'Dell said, as the same things stood out to me.  The second time, it seems almost like the manager was poking at the guy trying to get him to blow up again.

Pippen

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 01:43:16 PM »
I don't see why she felt the need to ask him 'if he had stopped being angry' when he was trying to deal with you on a different matter. That would make me annoyed as well.

I don't think it is a cultural thing as in most Asian cultures losing your rag at someone is seen as embarrassing. It could be that he was genuinely frustrated and didn't understand the back end processes you have to work with. He may have seen them as obstructive and really all he is concerned with is having access, not the administration of it. There are only 2 cultural things I can think of that may contribute here. Firstly Korean people will not 'see' you and can appear offhand and dismissive until you have been formally introduced. Once you have been introduced they are exceedingly polite. You appear within their frame of reference. Also I have a Chinese friend who had to sit me down and explain their style of communication. If they ask you a question or make a comment it is not necessarily because they want an answer on that particular topic, it is more of a lead in to developing a more intensive, sometime meandering conversation. A direct answer which is what I thought was a response to a question is seen as curt and brusque. Not sure if these are relevant but it is the style of the conversation that often matters more than the content.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: It never helps to be rude (long)
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2012, 03:22:31 PM »
I actually did try to be nice to him at first, well sort of. It was rather hard to do that while he was deliberately not looking her way and had a look on his face that said 'you are beneath me'.

Some of the students are entitled little so-and-sos, expecting us to bend the rules for them just because they ask. And some have no regard to academic rules. I've seen cases of plagiarism and cheating in exams. That student may (buy I am not sure) been one giving me death looks across the room when I supervised an exam as I toldvjimnoff for talking, on multiple occasions.

We found a textbook concealed in the bathroom that had been missing six months.

And there's students who have done the exams without even paying their fees...

Anyway, this is my first job in a library. I'm studying to be a library technician two days a week and working three. I'm not going to be in this job forever any my manager knows it.