Abusing service sector workers

I have railed in the past about the fact that some people take advantage of the fact that service workers are obliged to be nice to customers by abusing them. Via Rob Beschizza I came across this video of a woman who seems to have got offended by something one of the Subway employees said to her and started berating him using the most foul language (Be warned: it is really hateful), interspersed with calm requests for how she wanted her food prepared.

Even if (as it seems) she was annoyed at something one of the employees had said to her, I cannot think of anything that could justify such a vitriolic response. What shocked me was that she was accompanied by her little grandchildren and did not seem to care that they and other customers were witnessing this tirade containing such ugly and bigoted language. Also, since she seems to be the one who recorded this and then presumably posted it on the internet later, she must have been proud of her behavior.

At one stage I began to wonder if the whole thing was staged, and that she and the Subway employees were acting the whole thing out. I decided that that was unlikely because the Tarantino-esque writing and acting involved is too realistic to have been the work of amateurs. The Subway franchise also would not take kindly to their company being associated with this kind of prank and would likely promptly fire the employees who took part in it.

If the video is indeed genuine, it illustrates yet again the kind of abuse that people in the service industry receive and how they are expected to just take it. Some people seem to be only too eager to take advantage of people more powerless than themselves to vent their own frustrations on them.

So please remember when you are dealing with service sector workers to be especially nice to them. Unlike the rest of us, they have to deal with obnoxious people day after day and have to just take it. They could do with a little kindness and courtesy.


  1. NYC atheist says

    I managed a convenience store for a few years, and I’ve thrown people out of my store for much less than this. The shit people think they can pull because someone is being a cash register.

  2. EnkidumCan'tLogin says

    Dave Barry once wrote that you should never trust people who are nice to you but mean to waiters, because they’re not actually nice people. Seems to fit.

  3. Holms says

    Not only is it genuine, it is fairly tame compared to some of the preposterous anger I have seen directed at service workers.

  4. MarkDF says

    Does this lady have a psychiatric disorder? The seemingly random switching between composure and outburst reminds me a lot of the schizophrenic homeless people in my city.

  5. kevinalexander says

    I’m always astounded when I see someone abusing the server in a restaurant. Are you insane? That person is going into the kitchen to be alone with the food you are going to put in your mouth!

  6. smrnda says

    No surprise, though I used to assume that the abuse of service personnel was more confined towards rich people who thought that the proles were subhuman. Many people being shits to service workers aren’t that high up in socio-economic status, they’re just using whatever power they can and enjoying getting away with it, and often justifying it with ‘well, that’s how I get treated at work.’

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