Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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A few years ago, my husband took me and our two daughters to Red Lobster for my birthday.  A bit hokey, true, but I love their food.  A particular favorite is their Fisherman's Platter.  It's pretty fattening, but on this occasion I thought, "What the heck, it's my birthday."   I had to visit the washroom, and my husband said he'd order for me if the waitress came back while I was gone.  Sure enough, she did - my husband placed all of our orders, and we sat back.  Our meals arrived a little while later, but I was surprised to see that my  meal was NOT the Fisherman's Platter.  I pointed this out to the waitress, who said politely, "Your husband didn't order the Fisherman's Platter.  He ordered you this."  This was news to my husband, who protested that he had indeed ordered me the Fisherman's Platter.  The waitress, still polite, was very firm in her belief that he hadn't.   And you know how it is - sometimes, no matter how sure you are of your position, if someone tells you often enough that something isn't so, you'll start believing it.   My poor  husband was at least partly convinced that he'd screwed up my dinner order, and he felt terrible, saying, "It's your birthday.  You should get what you want today, of all days!"  

Now - even if he HAD screwed up the order, in my opinion (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), I think the waitress should have said, "If you like,  I'll bring you the Fisherman's Platter instead."  Especially when she heard that it was my birthday.  But no - she just smiled in satisfaction, sure that she was right, and left us to our meals.   My food was fine - it wasn't what I'd wanted, and I was disappointed, but I wasn't about to make a fuss and spoil everyone else's dinner.  After I'd finished it, the waitress came to take our plates.  She leaned over and said sweetly, "You know, I thought about it, and your husband was right - he DID order you the Fisherman's Platter.  Oops, sorry about that!"   I never thought an apology would make me so angry, but I was furious.    If she'd only said something sooner ... and she didn't even offer us a discount or a free dessert.  That was one of the few times we've left a less-than-generous tip.


I ordered and paid for a stove, refrigerator, and TV from a department store which also has a hardware and appliance store of the same name.  These were for a ‘new’ house, the previous owners took the stove and fridge with them, we left ours as part of our deal. The appliances were suppose to be delivered the day we moved in and we were given the time window of when to expect delivery.  I called the ‘delivery service’ number twice when ***** never showed and never called only to be told that ‘they are running late but will be there’.  They never were.  

I called the next day to find out what was going on as ***** never called.  I was told that a truck broke down and my delivery will be rescheduled, for five days later!  I explained I have no stove and no fridge.  Oh, well, they had a truck going out the next day but as it was already full, we are put on the back burner and have to wait until they can get back to us.  I tried for over 2 hours to either get a quicker delivery or get some sort of compensation for the expenses I have to incur eating out and losing the food I had in my old fridge that I was going to just transfer over.  No go.  They will however give me a $75 gift card to their store (which I now would not buy anything from).  

In talking to other people, I am finding many have had similar experiences.  One lady told me that she bought a higher end stove from ***** which included installation only to have the delivery people drop it off telling her they did not have the tools to install it and she had to call a plumber to have it installed, they weren’t going to install it.  She also had bought a fridge from **** only to have it make what she called a woodpecker sound.  When she called ***** repair, the repairman came out, looked at it and told her, “Didn’t you read your owner’s manual?  It will make noises.”



When I was in high school, I missed the bus to school one day.  I didn't drive yet, my mom had already left for work, and the school was too far away to walk, so I had to call a cab.  Our house was set back from the street, and it was a little tricky to find, so I gave very detailed directions (on the right side of the street, just past such-and-such intersection, brick planters on each side of the driveway, if you go over a bridge you've passed it) in addition to the address.  I also went out to the end of the driveway to watch for the cab. 

About an hour after I called, I saw the cab come over the hill and I got up and tried to make myself obvious.  Then I watched as the cab pulled off onto a side street, stopped for a moment, then came back out and started coming towards me again.  I waved my arms to try to get her to see me, but she drove right past, kept going until she got to the bridge, turned around, and finally saw me and pulled into the driveway. I was able to see the cab this whole time (and presumably she could also see me, if she had been looking.) So I got in and the driver began a tirade about the horrible directions I'd given.  Apparently she had been looking for a brick house on the left side of the side street I had mentioned as a nearby intersection in my directions.  The only part of my directions that was accurate was the part about the bridge.  

Okay, well, if that had been all I would have just figured that the dispatcher had garbled the directions and this story wouldn't be here.  But that wasn't all. Through the entire trip, she smoked (which is illegal in my town even if the passenger says it's okay, which I hadn't.)  She took a bizarre route which seemed to add significant distance to the trip.  She drove much faster than she should have for the winding roads, and erratically enough that I seriously wondered if she was drunk.  But even that might not have earned her a place in ehell. So what's the thing that convinced me to send her to etiquette hell?  Filling the cab, taking up the entire front seat and at least half of the back, were half a dozen baskets full of the cab driver's dirty laundry!



I'm half Chinese and half Caucasian. Once, when I was at a store, a clerk asked me "So, what are you?"

Huh? "A human female," I finally said. I mean, really. I think that it's rude to ask a stranger what their race is, but if he wanted to know that bad, a much better way to ask would be to say something like, "I'm curious. Would you mind telling me what your ethnic background is?", rather than, "What are you?"


I am constantly amazed at how often male sales staff do not seem to understand that insulting female customers is no way to increase sales. When I worked as a librarian at a very snooty rare book library in New England, we had a library products salesperson call regularly. We never bought anything from the guy – I didn’t know why since as a relatively new employee, I had never had occasion to work with him. Finally – with much smirking – my coworkers told me it was my turn.

Puzzled, I went to the lobby to meet the salesperson, a young man not quite thirty. Professionally dressed, with a  good product line, well spoken, so what was the problem…OH.   His eyes stayed glued to my breasts the entire time. Even when shaking my hand, he did not look into my eyes. As most women will do,  I shifted uncomfortably, moved, etc to try and juggle his eyes away from my chest. No luck. So finally, while he’s in the middle of his spiel, I slowly bend my knees and sink down until my face is now at chest level and say, “NOW can you look me in the face?” My coworkers burst into laughter (they had set this up because they knew that unlike them, I wouldn’t put up with this and were just waiting to see what I would do). The guy blushes and then gets defensive and yells, “I wasn’t looking at your boobs!” At which point everyone choruses, “Yes, you WERE!”   He kept insisting that he had not done that to me or to anyone and that we were all frigid old hags (I was 24) who were starved for sex and so were projecting our frustrations onto his innocent self.

At this point, I called his supervisor and told him that if this guy was the best they could offer, they should never send anyone back ever again. We never heard from them again.  



My BIL was a postal worker, a letter carrier to be exact, at the post office in my home town.  As has happened at a few other post offices across the U.S., there came a time when some of the employees where he worked became distressed to the point where they decided shooting people at work was the only way to get their point across.  Luckily he was away from the building at the time and was not hurt, although many others were.  It was very sad.

Some time after this BIL and my Sis were buying a new car.  There came a point in the signing of the papers where my Sis found a contract for insurance on the car loan.  She asked what it was and was told she had to sign the paper to insure the loan.  She stated she did not want to buy this insurance.  Car salesman told Sis that BIL had been talking to salesman when Sis was not there and did authorize the purchase of the insurance.  Sis repeated that she was the one buying the car and she did not want and would not sign for this insurance.

This is not car insurance we're talking about but optional insurance to cover the loan in case of a default.  Many believe this kind of insurance is totally unnecessary and some believe it is a scam.  Sis apparently felt that way.

Sis and BIL are sitting there with the salesman refusing to get past that piece of paper and finish with the sale.  Salesman chooses this time to lean across the desk and say to Sis, "Look ma'am, this isn't the post office where you can just start shooting when things don't go your way", or words to that effect.

Sis took that opportunity to shred the contract and walk out of the salesman's office.



Never again will I bring film to be developed at ******'s One-Hour developing thingy. Why? Because after my sister's wedding, when I had 2 rolls of undeveloped film of just candid shots taken of party goers (not professional shots, just snapshots), I took them to *****. I explained to the woman there that they were pictures of my SISTER'S WEDDING and they were important to me, and asked her to please take care of them. On the paper envelope for the film, I used a black marker and unquestionably selected the following: Single-print, 3"5", matte finish prints. What I got back? Double prints of 4"6" glossies.

I brought them back to the ****. I said they had messed up my selections. The woman looked at the paper envelope and said, "Oh, we don't offer 3"5" matte anymore.

I said "OK, So why didn't anyone tell me that when I left them off?" I was so angry! Not only had I said these were important pictures to me, noting the reason behind that, but I had clearly marked preferences on the envelope and nobody had even bothered to tell me those selections weren't available. I also pointed out to the woman that if the selections weren't available then their envelopes shouldn't offer them.

I asked for my money back right there. She said "wait, I'll try to redo them on 3"5" paper." When I came back a week later, she had the 3"5" pictures - They were completely messed up. Apparently once you develop pictures on a certain sized paper, they can't be developed again on different paper?? That's what she said. If it's not true, I wouldn't know. I just know it was a major nuisance and I was irritated about the mistake.

She said Oh, well I can try sending them back AGAIN. I said forget it, just give me the money back. She said Ok, well give me the pictures, and I'll throw them away, and you can have your money back. I refused to give up the pictures. I said "These pictures won't fit into the wedding album - That's why I ordered 3"5". Why would I give you the pictures just to throw away? I can't put them in the album, you didn't give me what I asked for, and clearly they can't be redone so give me my money back. Maybe I can take them somewhere to be professionally redone. It will be expensive but I can use the money you refund me towards it."

She said NO, Absolutely not. The ONLY WAY I would get a refund is if she could throw my pictures in the trash. And so began a four-week process of arguing on the phone with her manager, her manager's manager, and *****'s corporate office to get the money back for the pictures they ruined.

Conclusion: I got my money back, plus three total prints of these 4"6" glossy pictures that do not fit in the album but might look nice in a scrapbook, perhaps. The reason for this problem even beginning in the first place was ME - I should have never brought pictures I deemed "important" to *****'s One-Hour Photo. Though I don't see why anyone gets film developed unless it was stuff enough to take pictures of in the first place.


I take public transportation to work every day.  There are four bus stops in my town, the last one in the morning being right behind a new strip of small businesses.  The people who catch the bus at this stop park in the lot behind this little strip of shops, which is where they were told to park.

One morning in the dead of winter, when temperatures were well below freezing, the manager of one of the businesses confronted one of the ladies who rides my bus, and informed her that she couldn't park behind the building because it was for customers of those businesses only.  She responded that the spaces aren't marked as being reserved, and that being the case she could most certainly park there.  She got on the bus and went to work.

That afternoon when she got off the bus, she discovered that someone had SOAKED her car with water, which of course froze into an inch-thick layer of ice, requiring that she chisel her way into her car.  And as if this weren't bad enough, when she called the police to report this act of vandalism, she was told that they would not come out to make a report; she would have to come to the station to lodge her formal complaint.  Evidently her response that she couldn't even get into her car made no difference.  (And I since found out from a former police officer that if you ask for an officer to come to the scene of a crime, they MUST do so.)

The sad part is that there is no way of proving who did this to her car, but none of the bus riders will patronize that particular business now.


I went for an interview for a job last year with a company for a senior role, I had done all the correct things, make sure that I look smart, read up on the company and had a list of questions to ask the company etc.

Anyway, I went for the interview and started discussing the role, and I thought he was saying some strange things but decided that it was just the way he interviewed. About ten minutes into the interview he started talking about my past jobs. Except they weren't my past jobs, they were someone else's! I sat there shocked for a couple of minutes and decided to tell him that he was talking about the wrong person, he then realized that he had the wrong cv and looked at my cv, but complained that he preferred the first one, (well he was the person who decided to give me an interview, I haven't decided how thought that this was my fault) 

As it was clear I wasn't the person they wanted for the job and to stop wasting his time, I decided to cut the interview short, thank him for his time and leave. He then had the cheek to complain to the agency that I wasn't very forthcoming in the interview, gee I wonder why!!!

Revenge is sweet, I got a different job with a lovely company, and recently heard that the other company has now been closed down!




Page Last Updated September 15, 2008