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Sticky Public Social Situations 101: what would YOU do?


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#1 metalfan

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 11:51 AM

So I was sitting in a very small sandwich shop today having lunch after the gym, whilst on my way to the market. This is a store that seats maybe 20 people tops. Most of the tables are 2 seaters in the front, but there is a back area where the tables are 'fluid" and you can pull them together to accommodate larger groups.

All the 2 seaters in front were taken but there was no one at all in the back. I took my lunch to the back and sat down at the table that was for 4 people, in a chair on the inside closest to the sunny window.

I had maybe 2 bites left of my lunch when suddenly from the front, I hear this loud female voice bellowing. "THESE TABLES ARE TOO SMALL FOR ANYONE TO SIT AT!

And before I know what has happened, this overweight girl comes up from behind me and grabs ahold of the table next to me and makes a huge show of jerking it across the floor to make a 4 seater out of another table. Then she grabs the chair that has my jacket and purse on it and pulls that off too! She stops when she sees my stuff in the chair and says (with her face all contorted and screwed up) "Is someone actually SITTING HERE or is this YOUR jacket?"

I reached out and took my stuff off the chair, and said in my calmest voice possible, because what I really wanted to do was get up and punch her out...

"You can have the table and chair, and yes that is my jacket, but I must say, you are just about the most obnoxious and rude person I have ever encountered. If you needed the extra room, there are 3 other tables and many other chairs back here you could have taken, instead of this particular one. But since you are so socially bereft of manners, go on and have at it."

Her face turned really red and she said, at the top of her voice, "Its ever MORE RUDE for one person to sit at a table meant for FOUR!"

I had seen this girl come in. She was pushing a baby stroller and had a guy with her that looked like he was, at best, 16 or 17 years old. He had remained in the front during this exchange, but, this shop is so small, everyone in the place heard everything and most of the other diners were just staring at this chick like she was from Mars.

So I finish my last bite of lunch and walk up to the front, where I stop to chat with this pig's boyfriend, husband or whatever. He was so embarrassed he could not look me in the eye. I said to him, in a calm and conversational voice loud enough that everyone in the place could hear me

"You know, you need to learn how to control your wife. One of these days, she is going to do something like that to the wrong person, and they are not going to say a word. They are going to either haul off and knock the holy crap out of her, or pull out a gun and shoot her."

He mumbled something under his breath that sounded like "Please don't do that!" and kept getting napkins.

What would you have done? Have you ever had anyone be so rude? I mean, all she had to do was say, "Is anyone sitting there, can we have that table and chair?" and of course I would have said, "Why no please help yourself!"

Why are people so frigging RUDE?

Edited by metalfan, 20 February 2009 - 11:54 AM.

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#2 palmislandRandy

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:03 PM

Oooooh, It must suck to be her husband. It probably went like this...."I'm pregnant and your gonna marry my fat a$$, so shutup". I'm just glad it wasn't me sitting in your seat! :rage:
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#3 paulgila

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:09 PM

the best thing to do is be insanely polite & pleasant.this will piss them off so much they will have an aneurysm in the brain & bleed out of their ears. :)
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#4 PiousPalms

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:35 PM

Why are people so frigging RUDE?

Because they don't have good role models
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#5 MattyB

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:46 PM

I understand completely why you had to say what you said. My wife would have done the same exact thing. She has to say something. Not in a yelling, combative manner, but like you, in a polite yet candid manner. That said, I usually don't say anything in situations like that. The reason being is that any rational human being would not be going off like that in the first place so why would my words effect them in any way? They won't. Also, growing up in "da hood" and dealing with lots of 'ignant" people (I guess they're everywhere, but...), I know that situations like that can get out of control real fast and that's how people get shot. Especially growing up as a minority, for some reason it's always my fault. Yes, I know I'm a white boy.
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#6 DoomsDave

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:03 PM

In general, I concur with Matty.

I'd have said it's my jacket, and your welcome to have that [expletive] chair . . . . .

(I wouldn't say where, however.)
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#7 waykoolplantz

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:22 PM

Yes thats my F***ing chair...and neither I nor my coat are done with it so grab another.
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#8 SunnyFl

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 04:05 PM

OMG - that's the kind of behavior you see in St. Pete!

Metal, you have more presence of mind than I would have had! And I think it's a d**n good thing you told the jerk off. My husband says, "just ignore it, why bother saying anything?" Well, because if people act like complete pigs and there's no social censure, then they'll go on believing it's acceptable, as will any who observe it. But it's not!
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#9 BS Man about Palms

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:09 PM

Nice one Gina! It varies what I would do, but I always think of better "zingers" after I've left! :lol:
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#10 metalfan

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:38 PM

I have to say it took a lot of self control for me not to radically tell this lady (I use that term loosely) off. But cooler heads prevailed.
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"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot
11/2008-- OBX Marathon Kitty Hawk NC 26.2--3:50
02/2009-- 5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:00
04/2009-- Boston Marathon Boston MA 26.2--4:38
10/2009--Marine Corps Marathon Washington DC 26.2--4:04
01/2010--Houston Marathon Houston TX 26.2--3:55
02/2010--5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:03
10/2010--Marine Corps Marathon--
02/2011--Austin Marathon--
05/2011--Big Sur Marathon--

#11 John in Andalucia

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 09:37 AM

My reaction would be shock and extreme politeness with plenty of Monty Python-esque sarcasm, depending on how many brain cells I can count in the backs of their retinas. I don't get angry with people who are so obviously past reforming their social skills, and as Matt points out, any kind of confrontation can be instant button-pressing for disaster.

I tend to get angry when "smart" people draw you into situations through no fault of your own, and try to make you out to be the culprit. This happened only today at my local petrol station. This little old guy filled my car, I paid by credit card. He used a machine that either swipes your card and you sign a print-out, or they insert your card and you enter your PIN number. So, excuse me Gina, the guy can't get my card to swipe, so he tries the PIN method, which I never use, and I don't know my PIN number. It turns out later that the machine is broken, but because I say I can't remember my PIN, he glances inside my wallet and says, "Oh, you can go and get cash out from up the road, if you have other cards." I explain that I never had to use the PIN method in 7 years of owning a credit card, but he makes me out to be awkward, just because he can't try the PIN method (and in doing so, realize that the machine doesn't work). So I don't mind walking to the cash machine, leaving my car on the forecourt, but he won't give me my credit card back, as if I'm trying to scam him, despite me saying I was going on foot. He has a big grin on his face like he is one smart cookie, yet when I get back, he is nowhere to be seen, and the other guy is one the phone to his boss explaining that the machine doesn't work. And he has someone else's credit card in his hand, as he is talking. If someone puts petrol in my car and they accept credit cards, but then can't bill me because their machine is broken, should I be expected to carry cash as a backup in the event of their system failure? The problem is unique, because you can't obviously put the petrol back. :rolleyes:
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#12 avb

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:00 AM

Don't get me started!
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#13 Jerry@TreeZoo

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:26 AM

I would have let her have the table but, if there were other chairs available I would not have let her have the one I was using for my purse and jacket ( or my manly man type of acoutrements). "Take that chair over there, I'm using this one."

Jerry
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#14 DoomsDave

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 06:07 PM

My evil twin would have cracked the chair over her thick 'ead . . . . .

"Oh, ma'am, I'm SO SORRY!"
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#15 oppalm

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 07:47 AM

People like this have been working at anti-social behaviors their entire lives. A 30 second rant by you does them no good and in fact reinforces their bad behaviors. My wife would have done the same thing you did. It is truly amazing how many people are idiots in public. I say walk away from them and put them in their place by not acknowledging them or engaing them in conversation of any sorts.
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#16 palmmermaid

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:34 AM

Gina,

I probably would have reacted the same way. Society as a whole is becoming uncivilized. Common courtesy has gone the way of the typewriter. I think it is because people think the world revolves around them. They seem completely oblivious to anyone else and are only concerned about themselves.

I see this so often at the airport. I travel for business 2-3 times a month. It has been almost 9 years since higher securoty has been in place. You know you must have your id and boarding pass to get through security. Why do you wait until you get to the first agent to start hunting for it? If you can't find it, get out of line. I always have everything out - id, boarding pass, PC, toiletries. I usually say something like this: "Was it a surprise to you that you needed your id and boarding pass? If you don't have it, why don't you do the polite thing and step out of line until you get it together?" Works almost never but I just keep saying it. Someone some day will get the message - maybe.

ANd don't even get me started on business men and their lack of manners while traveling.
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#17 SunnyFl

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:52 PM

Gina,

I probably would have reacted the same way. Society as a whole is becoming uncivilized. Common courtesy has gone the way of the typewriter. I think it is because people think the world revolves around them. They seem completely oblivious to anyone else and are only concerned about themselves.



I think that's exactly what it is. Total self-centeredness. These people are the ones who think they are the center of the universe and were likely raised by parents who never taught them the meaning of "consideration" and "respect." Oh, these folks demand that they be respected. They demand that their feelings be considered. But they refuse to extend the same to others.
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#18 metalfan

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 04:28 AM

I've noticed this too a lot when I am out running on the road around town. We have an extensive bike lane system (on roads that don't have sidewalks) because there are large numbers of cyclists here (probably because its a prime way college kids get up to campus) but there are also huge numbers of recreational cyclists. On the roads without sidewalks runners also use the bike lanes. On roads with sidewalks, we generally use the sidewalks.

The rule here is for runners to run against the traffic so that you can see what's coming at you. In the bike lane I ALWAYS do this. But on the sidewalk I sometimes go with the traffic.

You would be surprised how many people waiting to turn into a driveway or street will just completely IGNORE the fact that there is someone legally already IN THE CROSSWALK (many times, with a green light and a walk signal) and just turn anyway and cut you off. Or start their turn from BEHIND YOU where you can't even see them and come within 6" of hitting you. Many times these folks are on their cell phones and not paying attention. Other times they are just being flat out malicious.

I actually loaded the number of a well known accident and injury lawyer onto my cell phone, which I always carry with me when I run. If I do get hit and am able to punch the button, I have a lawyer on speed dial.

My husband and I made a pact a long time ago: If either of us are injured or killed by a negligent driver while we are out running, th eother will literally sue the pants off said driver in criminal and or civil court.
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"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot
11/2008-- OBX Marathon Kitty Hawk NC 26.2--3:50
02/2009-- 5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:00
04/2009-- Boston Marathon Boston MA 26.2--4:38
10/2009--Marine Corps Marathon Washington DC 26.2--4:04
01/2010--Houston Marathon Houston TX 26.2--3:55
02/2010--5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:03
10/2010--Marine Corps Marathon--
02/2011--Austin Marathon--
05/2011--Big Sur Marathon--

#19 Jerry@TreeZoo

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 10:23 AM

Gina,

Part of the problem in dealing with runner Vs vehicle is the speed at which both the vehicle and runner are going. A vehicle approaching a turn is often decellerating from 40-50mph, at which time he notices (hopefully) all other vehicles and pedestrians and quickly calculates if he should stop or continue on through his turn. Often a driver will note that a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, but he wrongly assumes that the pedestrian is walking at 3mph and not running at 9 or 10mph. This happens when the driver takes a split second snapshot of the intersection and then looks both ways for oncoming vehicles. When he turns his attention back to the intersection a split second later, both the driver and the runner have a Holy $***! momment. Gina, you might be in the right, but you might also be dead right.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me as a driver when bicycles approach from the wrong way. But don't get me started on rude bicycle riders.

Geraldo
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#20 metalfan

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:06 PM

Jerry, I kinda think your explanation here has a basic flaw.
When a car wants to turn, whether it is at an intersection with a light and a crosswalk or at an intersection without a light or a marked crosswalk, if there is a pedestrian occupying that space (the CROSSWALK or the intersection), it does not matter if they are walking, running, or just standing in the middle of that space doing NOTHING. It is incumbent on the driver of the car to stop, and wait until the pedestrian has cleared the crosswalk or intersection.

Drivers should never start a turn when someone is physically occupying the crosswalk. They should have already slowed down well before reaching where they wan to turn, to the point that if they have to stop to allow a person to get across, then they can stop safely, and thereby let the drivers behind them also slow and stop safely. As omnipotent and all seeing as all us runners are (LOL) we still do not have 360 degree peripheral vision and cannot see cars that are actually BEHIND us, who are about to turn into us and run us over. That is why we run against the traffic, so that we can see the ones IN FRONT of us before THEY run us over.

Florida law regarding bicycles is pretty clear as well. Bicycles are REQUIRED to go with the traffic when on the road (but they may travel in either direction when they are on a sidewalk, because when on the sidewalk they are considered PEDESTRIANS). (I know, they do not always follow the law. But they are SUPPOSED to be going with the traffic when on the road.) If you pass a bike in a bike lane traveling the same direction as you, and you decide you need to make a turn that will cross that bike lane, it is your responsibility according to the law to check your rearview and side mirrors to be certain that the bike you passed up is not about to cross the intersection you are about to turn into. If you don't, and you collide with the bike, the fault for the crash will be assigned to you.

Its all really about knowing what you are supposed to do, and being civil enough to do it. I mean, what's the big rush? Walgreens is still gonna have the 2 for 1 vitamins on sale, Starbucks wont run out of coffee before you get there, and Publix will still have a good supply of those BOGOS. Its not too much to ask for someone to pay a little attention to their driving and expect them not run pedestrians in crosswalks over because they think they need to get somewhere 2 seconds sooner.
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"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot
11/2008-- OBX Marathon Kitty Hawk NC 26.2--3:50
02/2009-- 5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:00
04/2009-- Boston Marathon Boston MA 26.2--4:38
10/2009--Marine Corps Marathon Washington DC 26.2--4:04
01/2010--Houston Marathon Houston TX 26.2--3:55
02/2010--5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:03
10/2010--Marine Corps Marathon--
02/2011--Austin Marathon--
05/2011--Big Sur Marathon--

#21 Kathryn

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:54 PM

Life is too short.
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#22 metalfan

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 04:58 AM

Not if you happen to run in front of a reckless irresponsible driver and make it through. It may get longer when you have their cash to stash in your pocket after the lawsuit, LOL. People around here (in this town) have gotten sick and tired of drivers who are 'distracted'.
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"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot
11/2008-- OBX Marathon Kitty Hawk NC 26.2--3:50
02/2009-- 5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:00
04/2009-- Boston Marathon Boston MA 26.2--4:38
10/2009--Marine Corps Marathon Washington DC 26.2--4:04
01/2010--Houston Marathon Houston TX 26.2--3:55
02/2010--5 Points of Life Marathon Gainesville FL 26.2--4:03
10/2010--Marine Corps Marathon--
02/2011--Austin Marathon--
05/2011--Big Sur Marathon--

#23 DoomsDave

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:09 PM

Yer' callin me antisocial, what?

Rrrrrr
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#24 palmazon

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:30 PM

Well-handled, Gina. A former girlfriend & I used to get into it whenever we encountered a discourteous or abusive person - she thought I was afraid to respond in kind; I'd explain just because someone acts like an @$$#ole doesn't give everyone else a free pass - besides, I've neither the will nor patience to teach manners to every @$$#ole I meet. In your case, that woman is clearly oblivious to anything beyond her narrow scope - some folks know no shame.
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#25 Salvades

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:22 PM

the best thing to do is be insanely polite & pleasant.this will piss them off so much they will have an aneurysm in the brain & bleed out of their ears. :)



I agree. Kill'em with kindness. One time I met a woman at work, I accidently called her Anna Maria instead of Ann marie, caught my mistake and apologized. She looked at me and with a snide tone said "Honey if I looked like you I would be an Anna Maria, but I am clearly not an Anna Maria." I smiled and said I love both names either way. Then told her my name was Salvades and she replied "exactly." I work with people for a living and this is just a minor incident. Humility and kindness are the key. Although a stranger should not be the punching bag, we have no idea what is going on in that persons life. Not an excuse at all... But I have another customer who has the worst worst behavior with me every time I encounter her. I never changed my persona, treated her with kindness and one day she looked at me and said "thank you for always being so kind to me. I know I am moody." She continued on to tell me some personal things then thanked me again for listening and brightening her day. Some of us are fortunate to have family and friends as outlets but others like your lady probably has no one due to her bad attitude.

If I would have been in your shoes (while grinding my teeth and cursing her in my head) I would have asked how I can help her to have a better day? Then I would have gone home and vented!!! :)
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#26 Neofolis

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:31 AM

You mentioned that she was overweight. Maybe she was upset, because she had seen her reflection in the window on the way in or maybe she was sat near a mirror. Maybe she had just been for a weigh in at fat club and found out that she had gained a few pounds, so she stopped off there for some comfort food, but didn't fit in the seat.

Who knows, any number of things could have upset her prior to the incident you described, not that it would excuse her behaviour, but it may explain it. One would hope she is not like that all of the time.
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#27 _Keith

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:51 AM

One thing I would do is in no uncertain terms let the owner know I did not appreciate being put in a situation that his/her employees should have handled without any needed intervention on my part. While in their restaurant, your comfort, and safety is their responsibility. If it goes beyond that and police are needed, the staff should be the ones addressing and making that call as well.


It should have been immediately addressed by staff without you having to say a word.
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