I'm not one to care about being "served", because quite frankly, I'd rather serve myself, but I am one to concern myself with respect, kindness and general courtesy. And let's just say that some of the ladies working at this local dive could do with a refresher class in that regard.
So you want to know what I do when these women are being rude? Do you want to know how I deal with difficult people in general? OK, here is the trick... I do absolutely nothing.
Now you might be thinking, 'What! Don't just take that attitude, speak up!' But in this situation, there is a fine line between 'speaking up' and stooping to their level - which, let's be honest, is generally what most people mean by 'speaking up'. If they were being outrageously disrespectful to another person, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be stepping in to say, "Hold on there, that was completely uncalled for." But this behavior is simply some sour women being rude and ill mannered towards me.
There may not be an excuse in the world that justifies treating a complete and innocent stranger rudely, but I'll still let their behaviour slide for two primary reasons:
Water Extinguishes Fire
As everyone knows, you can't fight fire with fire. Calling them out or acting rudely in response will just fuel the situation. If I mirror their behaviour with a fiery response, guess what? I may as well be pouring lighter fluid on a burning house, because the situation is just going to burn brighter and longer. Instead, I've got to 'fight' with water!
By continuing to smile, say my 'please's and thank you's' and act in a completely opposite manner, I immediately calm the situation. Rather than fueling the fire, I'm extinguishing it. So everyday that I continue to get rude customer service from these ladies or have to deal with difficult people in general, ill simply carry on with my warm smile and polite manners.
Mystery Is Behind The Door...Unless You've Seen The Other Side
I remember a lesson in high school (I was in the Dramatic Arts program at Cawthra Park Secondary School - shout out!) that my teacher did with our class in order to help us connect with our emotions better. We had to lay on the floor and close our eyes while he told us a story that went sort of like this:
Imagine yourself driving on the highway to work when a woman driving a little red convertible abruptly swings into your lane, causing you to slam on your breaks. With the convertible now in front of you, eagerly swaying side-to-side in the lane, you continue driving forward until you both reach a wall of traffic. Suddenly, the woman driving the red convertible jets into the emergency lane and puts the pedal to the metal, zipping down the road.
You've been stuck in traffic for awhile now, so you decide to turn on the radio to find out what's going on. You switch over to a local news station when something strikes your ears. "We've just gotten a report that there is a red convertible speeding along the highway. If you're on the road, please give way and allow this car to pass. There is an infant in the vehicle who has suddenly gone into anaphylactic shock and needs immediate medical attention. The child is being rushed to the hospital."
Aside from learning how to tap into my emotions for the purposes of a dramatic performance, I learned an extremely important lesson that day - you don't know, unless you know.
The truth is, I don't have any idea what goes on behind closed doors for the women at this restaurant. Maybe they have awful home lives, or maybe they've experienced something tragic which is manifesting into bitter behaviour towards the rest of the world...I just don't know. And while it could be nothing, it could also be something. So as long as they aren't physically hurting me or anyone else, I'll just let it slide.
Really though, what's the point in snapping back? What would I gain? What would I achieve? Absolutely nothing.
Instead, I'll save my energy for positive use. Heck, maybe next time I'll even go as far as to tell one of the ladies how beautiful they're looking that day (Only if I actually mean it though! Sarcastic complimenting is transparent).
There's nothing quite like throwing off a negative person with a dash of spontaneous complimenting!