Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Merchants of Shame

Jan-Jun 2003 Archive

Jul-Dec 2003 Archive

This happened just recently and jeopardized the health of a family member.

My cousin's eighteenth birthday took place on a exceptionally freezing day - I'm talking 18 degrees Fahrenheit excluding windchill factor. My cousin's health is not that great and usually when it becomes too cold or too hot for her, her body goes into shock and as we were waiting for the bus, she began having some trouble. The bus at that time was nowhere near sight and apparently wouldn't come for the next hour or two. So we decided to call XXXX, a Russian car service that my cousin knows of and uses frequently.

So I call. And I tell them our exact location and what was going on. Nicely. Then, they tell us to wait 20 minutes and that they didn't know where we were - the street we were on was near a very popular mall. Then they ask for my number.

It was a bit of a red flag, but I give them my cell.

We waited their 20 minutes. Nothing. And my cousin was steadily getting worse. So I call back and give them the street address of the veterinary hospital outside which we were standing. They still don't know where we are.

My cousin would deny this, but I could tell you she was seriously becoming blue-ish in the face - and the car service was nowhere in sight. By this time we were waiting about 40 minutes and in the street, there was a cab every 5 cars or so.

Not bothering with them, I come up to the window of one cabbie and ask him for his fare rate - it was also a car service, and he, seeing my cousin's face, just opened the door and told us to hop in. His rate turned out to be only a dollar's difference from the XXXX service. He got us there in about 10 minutes. I called XXXX to tell them we reached the destination safely. Luckily - or unluckily - my phone then lost reception.

An hour later, I check my voicemail on the cell and it's the dispatcher from XXXXX leaving me the following voicemail, quote verbatim.

"NEVER call XXXXX. We will NEVER send a car for you again."

My jaw hit the floor. They didn't know a street which is a hotbed for cab-flagging, they knowingly jeopardized the well-being of a customer and then, they have the nerve to leave me that message on my cell. People.


About five months ago I met a really great guy ("Steve") We met through a mutual friend and started dating.  There was one problem, we lived about three states away from each other.  His family lived where I did so he came home every other weekend so see us.  

One weekend, I found out I had the weekend off from work, so I decided to go visit him for a change.  So I did and had a great time, so great in fact that I ended up staying the entire week!  When that week was up, he decided to drive back with me and visit his family.  This is where it gets good.  

We stopped at a fast food restaurant to grab dinner.  We ordered our sandwiches and everything was fine. The girl working the counter asked us if we wanted combo meals with our sandwiches, "Steve" said "Yeah," and we waited for her to hand us out cups and chips.  She rang up our order took the money, and went to help someone else.  After standing there for a minute trying to figure out if we had to get the stuff ourselves, we finally got her attention.  I politely told her that we wanted the combos, and we needed our chips and drinks.  She proceeded to argue with us on whether or not we did so.  We convinced her that we had said yes to the combos and she rang up the extra costs for the change.  

Then, just as we thought everything was fixed, and AFTER we had given her the extra money she walked away AGAIN!  We stood there for another minute and then got her attention again, she rudely asked "What do you want now?!"  And we told her again.  She said, " Well hold on a minute I need to help some other customers," in a very hateful tone.  After that we left with our sandwiches and waked to a convenience store that was next door and got chips and drinks then walked back and sat down in the restaurant to eat.  We live together now and we drive back to see his family often, but we have never stopped there again.


The worst etiquette I've encountered was that of my boss at my first job as a clerk in a gift and wrapping paper shop.
The store was small and family-run; it had been around for some time and built up a clientele in the neighborhood.  Around the time I was hired, the original owners passed the store on to their daughter Ethel.  It was her mission to convert the quiet card shop into a trendy, teeny-bopper place selling bright pink underwear, kid's jewelry, cards with dirty jokes, etc.
Unfortunately, the people who frequented the store were generally reserved middle-aged people, but Ethel never let that stop her from making a sale.  The most egregious incident occurred one Valentine's Day, when a rather panicked seventy-year-old man hurried in soon before the store closed to buy gifts for his wife and fifty-year old daughter.  He was clearly bemused and dubious about the store's new stock, but Ethel quickly bulldozed him into purchasing a "Hot Kitty Bath Kit" for his wife (a tin box covered in pink fluff and containing a bar of soap and some shampoo; $70, marketed at teenagers) and something similar for his daughter.
A while later, a major sale was announced, with a 40% discount on some of the store's most expensive items.  A few hours before the sale, Ethel summoned me to calculate how much to raise the prices of these items so that, when the discount was applied to them, the price would be the same as before.
I was quasi-fired a few months later (my sales tactics weren't sufficiently aggressive- read, I didn't want to tell customers about fictitious friends who had bought and loved the items they were considering).  The store has now gone out of business.


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007