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As a general rule, you can tell a lot about people's personalities by the way they treat restaurant or store staff. Do you agree with this?

21 Comments

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21 Comments
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No. Being kind to service people and strangers has nothing to do with how kind a person might be towards their friends and coworkers.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Absolutely true. How people treat others in a powerless position (most service workers) says everything about them. They may want or need something from friends and coworkers, but have no such concerns with a store clerk, for example.

There is a proverb to this effect. Take your fiance to a restaurant. The way she treats the staff will be the way she treats you after she gets used to you being around. Personally, I have never know anybody who treated waitstaff badly, but was a nice person otherwise.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Absolutely true. How people treat others in a powerless position (most service workers) says everything about them. They may want or need something from friends and coworkers, but have no such concerns with a store clerk, for example.

My experiences lead me to agree.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@theFu

there shouldn’t be a huge difference between how you treat strangers vs acquaintances, friends or family members. Of course there will be differences, but if you treat service workers badly, I’m sorry, but that definitely tells something about you

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Yes, I agree with this.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Totally agree. Since you have the power and option to act in which way you like, you can either treat them poorly or kindly. Someone who has compassion will be kind and considering since they know how hard life is for them.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Oh yes.

From my actual experience of working in such roles, it was fascinating to see the attitudes from the general public. The majority were decent people, in one such job, many would come in just for a chat - it was a community thing.

However, there were those who came in and just treated you like muck. And ordered you about. Of course, the customer was always right and you were polite to them but there were times when I had to count to 10.

There were the professional complainers, the fraudsters, the robbers, the violent drunks, the angry addicts, the unbalanced, the celebrities, the liars, the bigots and so on.

But it wasn't all bad. As I said, most were sound and friendly. Sometimes you'd get tips, compliments, invitations and even birthday cards from regulars.

Unfortunately, it's the small bad things that stick in the memory. The swastika painted outside the store, the threats, the guy covered in blood demanding I make him a sandwich for free, the devout religious woman who complained about us being open on Xmas Day, who still was happy enough to buy our goods...

I could write a book of my experiences and nobody would believe half of them :-)

Suffice to say, think of a cross between Clerks, Stella Street and Albert Square. All human life was there.

I have nothing but respect for those who have worked in small stores, newsagents, service industries, shop floors. It's a real eye opener and if you can cope with the minority of bad customers, you can cope with anything in life.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It’s a good indicator.

The use of please and thank you is a good indicator of character. A particularly nice thank you with a smile goes a long way with a new staff member who is a bit nervous and flustered.

It’s nice to be nice.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

My office conducts the last round of interviews for new recruits at a restaurant, partly as a test to see how the interviewees behave towards staff.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In my experience, middle aged upper class women were the worst culprits when it came to treating service staff poorly. Something about having never worked and being provided everything makes for poor character development.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Some people are kind to strangers, but not so kind to the people they see daily.

Parents are critical of their kids and bosses critical of their reports, for example. Yet, out at dinner, the boss is polite towards all the restaurant workers.

I've seen this in Japan, found it shocking.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Real simple. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. If that means good, it’s a worldwide win.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good manners never hurt anyone.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I ate out with a woman who was always sweet and adorable in our office but when we went to get some okonomiyaki on the way home to the station, she barked at the staff as if they were annoyances from a sub-human realm.

Never a thank you or a please and a lot of impatience.

Needless to say, I never had a bite with her again nor looked at her the same way at work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Parents are critical of their kids and bosses critical of their reports, for example. Yet, out at dinner, the boss is polite towards all the restaurant workers.

@theFu... Now I get your first answer. I was thinking that the only person who could answer that way would be a person who treats waitstaff terribly themselves. Now I see you were just coming at the question from the opposite direction of everyone else.

If somebody is polite to staff, that doesn't raise any red flags, and that's what we are looking for when trying to judge someone's character. We are looking for the signs of the bad, which people usually try to hide. Being rude to service staff is a huge give-away.

Even today, it has been decades since I was a waiter. But when I am trying to figure someone out, I still sometimes ask myself how I would see that person if I was still a waiter. The experience has given me a very useful perspective that still comes in handy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese definately have a superiority complex toward shop staff, escpecially older ones

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've never understood why people consider restaurant staff to be "powerless". Treat one of them badly and you could find your food spat in or worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese definately have a superiority complex toward shop staff, escpecially older ones

I don't think so. Unlike the USA, where people often look down on others who have low paying jobs, I never see that attitude in Japan.

Japanese, especially older Japanese, are very conscious of their roles though. The boss is the boss, and the customer is the boss. Change the situation and the attitude changes. It's not a superiority complex, but adapting to different contexts. One of the things I like about Japan is the respect given people no matter what their job or position in life.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Unlike the USA, where people often look down on others who have low paying jobs,

Lousy statement above. I never understand someone's need to generalize.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Would you like fries with that?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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