Weekend Question Thread: Rudeness

Inspired by responses to the creeper thread below:

What’s the rudest thing someone’s ever said to you?

I’ve had my share of bullying and teasing and mean things said to me, but I think the flat-out rudest things always come in the form of pointless advice. Once I was running a silent auction table at an event and a woman walked by and sniffed over the offerings (which, by the way, included tickets to downtown Chicago attractions and signed baseball bats and other fancy things) and said to me, “Well, this was a stupid idea.”

I just stood there gaping at her like a carp because the total lack of manners was just utterlyastounding to me.


16 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread: Rudeness

  1. Standing at the fabric counter the other day trying to get the ticket corrected from 4.8 yards to 4 yards and 8 inches, and the store manager turned to the clerk and asked if that was correct. I answered for him and said it was. The manager then said directly to me “We never trust the customer.” Of course I told him that was fine with me beceause I was no longer a customer, and walked off.

  2. either i do not meet enough assholes, or people do not dare be rude to me. plus, i had 2 uncle’s that most insults i might get role off my back, tho, i would have to say my paternal unit said something in passing to me when i happened to see him. i do not see him except at funerals. YAY! of course his comment i thew in the delete pile.

  3. Okay, way back when, I worked as a small-town newspaper reporter/photographer, and one of my most frequent duties was going to the schools and taking pictures of large groups of kids, usually after an assembly or program. I got pretty good about getting the kids to line up quickly, in the right order, and looking pleasant, usually by myself, sometimes with the assistance of the principal. Every once in a while, a parent would try to help — they usually *weren’t* much help, but it was easier to let them try than to tell them to stop.
    So one time, I was taking pix of a bunch of kids while a parent stood right behind me and made faces to get the kids to smile. Then she upped the ante to making “rabbit-ears” behind my head. Finally, just as I was preparing to snap the shutter for a picture, she shouted, “Everyone laugh at the fat man!”
    She got treated to The Glare, which I normally saved for really unruly kids, along with a whispered“What did you say?” that made every single person in the room get quiet. The principal just about hauled her out of the room by her ear, and the kids were unusually quiet and well-behaved for the rest of the photos.

  4. I deal with extraordinarily rude people very single day, but then again, I do phone tech support for a living.
    On a related note, the four words a support tech fears most from the user they’re trying to help:
    “Let me just try something..”

  5. I have fairly severe arthritis. After I gave a historical presentation recently, and while I was putting the equipment away, a woman and her husband came up to me and said they wanted to pray for me. I explained I was busy putting stuff away and thanks, but no thanks. She continued to press, saying she was sure prayer could help. I told her nobody from the Mayo Clinic to my local rheumatologist had been able to do anything during the last 50 years, so I doubted she and her husband would be of much help. At that point, my wife stepped in and told her that we had to get the place cleaned up so we could all go home, and she and her spouse reluctantly left.
    Not sure why so many self-described Christians are so dickish all the time, but they almost never cease to live up to my worst expectations. As a group, I’ve found them, in general, but with a few exceptions, the rudest, most mean-spirited people in the country.

  6. In an academic career filled with sociopaths in top-flight universities (really, can there be any other reason to want to stay in college your whole life other than your complete inability to interact with adults?)the cake-taker was, and always be my PhD adviser.
    There was rarely an interaction with this man when he did not say something that was just breathtakingly rude. Many of these were overheard by others in the department, and I have a catalog of winners that I regularly haul out when warning people away from grad school.
    There was the time I was explaining how my adjunct position at a community college was going and I said I liked the focus on actual teaching. He said — That’s good, since no research school would ever hire you.
    The time he was chairing the department’s grant committee and advocated turning down my application. Mine was one of three, and the only one that was going to fund actual research. He told me — The others on the committee liked it, but I had to turn it down because the other projects were more interesting than yours.
    I got that same project funded outside the department.
    And the best was when he was fighting to withdraw my dissertation after the defense. It had been six months without the promised suggestions for revision, and I called to find out why he wasn’t answering my emails or phone messages. I finally caught him in his office and he said — Well, I have reread your dissertation since the defense, and I have to say I am not as impressed with it. In fact, I am not going to give you suggestions for revision because I don’t want that work out there with my name on it.
    After months of appeals to the committee and grad school I finally got him removed from my project and got approval to work with an emeritus professor that I went to the school to work with in the first place. I have since published the entire dissertation to general praise and citation. Then I quit academia.

  7. Going back to the creeper thread, there are a group of people who will pick out a total stranger and engage them in a conversation (or should I say monologue) that the recipient isn’t interested in. I previously attributed such incidents to the person being desperately lonely, albeit using me as an object to make them feel better. Reading the creepy thread, I’m going to have to consider the role of dominance.
    @Alger, did anyone have the nerve to point out that this “adviser” was doing an incredinly inept job of being an adviser?

  8. @MapleStreet: Yeah, by the time I got my degree the entire administration and his peers in the department let him know that his behavior was beyond the pale, even for that department which is still notorious for dysfunction. He was the classic “retired in office” professor. Always did the minimum teaching load using the same syllabus, and hadn’t published in 15 years at the time I became his advisee. In addition to pure bad chemistry between us, his main complaint about me was that I wanted to graduate, and my project required him to read papers in our mutual field.
    I have nothing but praise for the Grad School and ombudsman of UMN who finally took extraordinary steps to remove my adviser from my project post-defense, something that had never been done in 150 years. Also this professor is no longer in the department.

  9. The rudest encounter was on an airline flight. They gave the traditional pre flight announcements (including turning off electronics. The person to my left (in the window seat continued to fiddle with what appeared to be a smart phone. Finally, when the plane was increasing its engines for take-off, I turneed to her and said, “You know, there are questions about electronics affecting navigation equipment.”
    She erupted into a tirade of high school taunts. Perhaps the most interesting string was You’re a Nerd. You’re nothing but a nerd. I work with military aircraft, and you’re just a nerd like the people I command (so besides working to devalue me, she also showed a distain for those she commanded. As well as also showing an abominable sense of dignity din her command.)
    When I didn’t let that get a visible rise from me, she then started shrieking that the armrest between us was hers. Mine was on the other side (n.b.- armrest on the other side was being used by the aisle passenger).
    She also also started shrieking for me to just get up and go to another seat (plane was still climbing. Fasten Seatbelt lights were on. No announcement that we could either use electronics or get up yet. You’d think an aviation expert would understand that.)
    As I had buzzed the stewards, who quickly traded me with another seat, we were met at the airport by the airport police. I find out that this lady was a Lt. Col in the Air Force. (This is conduct becoming an officer? Giving the public a good image of the military?)
    In short, it sounded to me like she was some high school “mean girl” but didn’t understand that I wasn’t in her command and didn’t worry about her temper.
    Interestingly from the customer service side, I asked the Delta clerk at the desk for info to complain to the airline and she looks at me and says that I’ll just have to find it on the web page.

  10. Several months after a couple of admittedly bad mistakes at work I successfully handled an after-hours crisis, after which the office manager, in thanking me, said something to the effect of “when I saw you were here, I was expecting another screw-up, but I guess you did OK this time.”
    So it goes — I try to do my job as well as I can, but work is just a means to an end, and I absolutely avoid office politics…

  11. I have back problems and I use a cane to go up and down stairs. I try to sit toward the front of buses so I can leave by the front door. One day I’m sitting across from a woman who keeps looking at the cane. And she looks at my face and back to the cane, several times. I finally look at her and say “Would you like to trade spines? I have a couple of herniated disks and have trouble balancing while standing in a moving bus.” Maybe she thought I was the rude one but she also began looking down at the floor until she left the bus.

  12. Well, let me put it this way. For most of my adult life, I was over 6’4″ and about 230#, so, if there was any rudeness, it wasn’t to my face (well, apart from basic training, where rudeness is not just the norm, it’s a drill instructor team sport).

  13. People rarely *say* rude things to me, but they sure can *behave* rudely. Possibly I’m hypersensitive about these things, but when you’ve been sitting motionless in the mud for an hour, just waiting for the snipe you know is hiding in the tall grass to make an appearance, it’s really unpleasant to have some yahoo yell down at you to ask what you’re photographing. Well, nothing now, idiot.
    @Southern Beale: just consider the source.

  14. I’ve had many encounters with rudeness but the most satisfying one was in a bookstore when I was browsing through a book from the shelves. The salesclerk at the cash desk literally yelled across the store, “Are you going to buy that book or NOT?” (This was before the days of Barnes & Noble and their comfy chairs.) I walked over to her, dumped the book and the 4 other books that I had under my arm in front of her, said “I was going to, but not now”, and walked out. The memory still warms the cockles of my heart.

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