Some People Need To Learn Some Manners


This morning I decided to treat myself and went to Subway for breakfast. The person working behind the counter was really young and had obviously only started there a few days ago. He was nervous, took ages to get my order together, apologising the entire time and when I had paid I thanked him, I went back to my seat and enjoyed my breakfast.

Just as I was getting ready to leave a young woman walked in. She was smartly dressed in a suit, had obviously just been to the hairdressers and was carrying an expensive handbag. This was the conversation that followed:

Woman: “I want a 6″ sausage sub on Italian Herb and Cheese.”

Employee: “I’m sorry, we don’t have any of that bread ready yet.”

“How about you just choose the bread then, seeing as there’s no point in me choosing it. I don’t know why you bother putting the list there if you aren’t going to provide me with all the options.”

“Sorry about that. Would you like it with cheese and toasted.”


“Can I offer you any salad or sauce?”

“Why would I want salad on a breakfast sub? I want tomato sauce. And can you hurry up i’m in a rush.”

The employee made her order, she paid without saying a word and promptly turned and stormed out of the store without so much as a ‘thank you’ or ‘have a nice day.’

How rude. I don’t know how the poor lad didn’t resist the urge to shove her sub up her arse.


From the age of 16 I worked in several service jobs until I qualified as a teacher. My first was at a fast food chain and I was there for 18 months. It was one of the most depressing jobs that I ever had. Why? I was treated like I was a piece of dirt by the majority of customers that I served, who assumed that I was as thick as two short planks because of my place of employment. I was patronised, verbally abused and even threatened on a few occasions, all for the princely sum of Β£3.23 an hour. After this I worked at a cinema and then at a nightclub where I experienced similar issues, although I actually loved working at the nightclub because of the staff and the music. At university I worked in my local bar, sometimes doing up to 30 hours a week.

Here are some of the things that I learned:

1. Most service jobs are physically and mentally demanding. I was expected to run around for up to nine/ten hours straight without a proper break. While there are laws in place to prevent this, on extremely busy days almost every manager I have ever worked for ignored these.

2. Some people are never happy with anything. Regardless of the effort you make to please your customers, some will always find a reason to complain. The customer is certainly not always right.

3. Being paid the minimum wage does not entitle the general public to treat employees with minimum respect. If I had been given just 50p every time one of my customers had been rude, disrespectful or had left their manners at home I could have happily retired at the age of 25.

4. The policies of a company are not decided by the shop floor employees. If there is an issue with a policy, these should be taken to the management, not the 16 year old behind the till. They are simply following instructions set by their employers.

5. A job is a job and everybody lucky enough to be working should be applauded that they are doing so in such an unstable economy.

Of course, if an employee is deliberately rude or doesn’t provide you with the product you have paid for then you have every right to complain. However, you should only do so if you genuinely know you have justification to, not just because you are in a bad mood and should speak to the management.

Consequently, I go out of my way to be nice to all employees in the service industry. I’ve been there and I remember that a simple ‘thank you,’ a smile and a ‘have a lovely day’ made those shifts better. So, the next Β time you are having a bad day, remember your manners!

Have you ever had a job where you were treated badly by the customers?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

51 thoughts on “Some People Need To Learn Some Manners

  1. I can so relate to this. I worked retail pharmacy for almost 8 years and a person with manners seems a rarity nowadays.

  2. Unfortunately I have to agree. The resume includes many minimum wage jobs. I think the food industry might be a little worse as you are having to deal with hungry people who are cranky and should consider a nap after having the meal that they tantrumed for.

  3. Every job has to be done by somebody. I try to give a benefit of a doubt when people snap at me (bad day, job frustration) but I am a little less forgiving as an observer sometimes.

  4. A-men!! I tried to ‘like’ twice but it doesn’t let you! Glad you were nice to the chap πŸ™‚ Like ‘NotAPunkRocker’ said – maybe she had her own stuff going on, but its still no excuse. It takes effort to actually say ‘why would I want salad’ lol. She should just… shhh. πŸ™‚

  5. My first job was at age 13 for 50p an hour. I thought I was loaded! It was in a local cafe and most customers were lovely. I’ve found pub work challenging where people with a few drinks in them think they can say anything they want to you….like you come with the drinks. Really rude at times. And you know what it’s like in teaching. Very mixed bag there of ‘customers’ and parents. Especially when you always have to keep your cool and remain civil. Oh the temptations sometimes! πŸ˜‰ x

  6. yes – i’ve had a number of service jobs, starting at age 16
    ugh it always bristles my feathers when i hear or see someone being rude like that :/
    having been on the other side of it many, many times
    friendliness goes a long way – from both sides…
    the worker/server (of any sort), AND the customer/client.
    we make a difference in each others’ lives
    and i think people forget that or are oblivious to it.
    i’ve been friendly to people and been met with a coolness that feels bad
    maybe people really DO think it’s flirting
    or just that people have some sort of resentment, like an “us against them”?
    i don’t really know…

  7. After reading this, I looked to make sure that I was following. I especially loved your comment about minimum wage and minimum respect πŸ˜‰
    It is so sad that people are like that. I wish that guy’s boss could have been in the back watching.
    Hopefully he has more customers like you and no more like her. Luck couldn’t be so great that she could happen to read this and SEE herself. But maybe someone else
    that tends to be in a rush a Lot might see a bit of themselves and see how unattractive and unkind it looks!
    Great jobβ™₯

  8. So many times the problems in a fast food place are the results of poor management. If these grumpy people had the guts to quietly talk to a manager something “might” get done.

  9. I’m sorry, no amount of “having a bad day” excuses that type of behavior. Just because you’re having a bad day, doesn’t mean you can take it out on every poor minimum wage service person you meet.

    Yes, I’ve had my share of service positions; and I’ve also done my share of bad behavior AS a service person, so it runs both ways. I’ve seen counter people chatting on the phone while customers are waiting which is equally rude.

    When did society become so damn selfish and self-centered, eh? :}

  10. I worked retail for almost 13 years and I certainly ran into my fair share of assholes, but there were also some very gracious people as well. It’s a mixed bag, I guess, but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with people on a regular basis any more.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear all of this..but now it makes me uneasy about work experience (ya know what I mean)…

  12. It is good to see these young people working. I know of too many who are just willing to steal or live off the government instead of working for a living. Unfortunately my daughter is one of these people. I want to work part time, but I pretty much refuse to work where I deal with the public. I cry when my feelings get hurt and when I get mad. When I get mad I might have to tell the customer to suck my nose! I have told people that before. I try to be nice, and if I do act obnoxious, I try to apologize. And I get along and love animals much more than a lot of people I know.

  13. This is such a big problem. I once had a customer call me stupid on the phone and I cried. It wasn’t specifically what she called me, but just the fact that she didn’t see me as someone who was worthy of being treated with respect. I envy my husband’s ability to reply to rudeness with extreme but genuine politeness, even when someone has just told him to shove something up his rear end. That really happened.

  14. I think it’s a general rudeness that’s spread to both sides of the figurative service counter, Suzie.

    Yesterday I was forced to drive an extra 45 minutes because the folks in my doctor’s office did not mail a needed prescription to my pharmacist as I requested, instead holding it at the counter for me to pick up. When I politely asked why it hadn’t been mailed, the administrator said, rudely, because it wasn’t in our documentation. No apology. I left feeling quite pushed-around.

  15. I think this works both ways and I’ve been on the receiving end both ways. As a cashier I had a basket of goods thrown at me because the queue was too long and they were in a hurry. I was touched that it was the other customers who jumped to my defense. Equally, I have had so many experiences where I have had to wait for staff to finish their chat before serving me..and then not saying a single word to me throughout the transaction. .not even the bill amount. I think it reflects a general decline in attitudes of respect and manners. People seem to feel their rights are paramount and run roughshod over everyone elses.
    I am proud to say that I left a friends birthday meal as I was so disgusted at the way she treated the servers. I even felt the need to apologise for her behaviour on the way out!!!
    Grrr…this post has clearly touched a nerve!

    • I think you’re absolutely right… I’ve been on the receiving end of poor service and have gone to the managers about it. I might edit my post later! Thank you!

  16. Everything you say is dead true.
    Unfortunately, the person facing the customer, regardless of how high or low they are on the corporate foodchain, is the face of the company to that customer.
    Having run restaurants for too long in a previous life, I’m very patient with front line staff. They have to go pretty far out of their way to get me to be rude.

  17. Great post. People not using their manners/flat out being rude is something that really really gets up my nose. From the other side of the counter, I find it extremely rude if the person serving me stops doing so to answer the phone (I’ve actually put something back in I think it was Currys and left because the guy serving me did this)

  18. I totally agree with all the comments. I think almost everyone has had similar experiences, unfortunately. It seems to me that with each generation, manners are forgotten more. Another manners, rudeness discussion could be that on the roadways. Another time for that.

  19. Great post! My first job was in a movie theater…and most of the customers were surprisingly rude. I had one guy yell at me for asking if he would like a soda with his popcorn (which we were required to ask). Instead of a simple “no” or “no, thank you,” that person made a huge scene yelling “If I wanted a soda, don’t you think I would ask for one?!”

    And you would not believe how many people asked if I was even old enough to be working (I was 18 at the time). How embarrassing that people thought I was only 14.

  20. Reblogged this on theauthorwhoknows and commented:
    Hey Suzie,
    I loved this one so much, I’m gonna reblog it. (at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing…this is my first attempt at the whole reblogging thing.)

  21. Great post, I hate it when I see or hear customers being rude to the staff that are serving them, makes me cringe and embarrassed to be there. I then find myself going over board with manners to make up for that person!!

  22. This is a small(ish) country town and whilst we do get rude people, most of us know either the person serving or their parents. I do get embarrassed when people are rude to the people serving them – there is no need for it. I find that a smile and a “good morning, I’m looking for—–” goes a long way

  23. I love the Fred Astair quote, that is even more relevant nowadays. I have to say their have been a couple of times when I’ve been chatting away and having a laugh with a bloke and I’ve heard his coleagues say something along the lines of “You’re in there mate.” Why? Because I’m not treating him like a servant? I find really well presented (read high-maintenance) women can be such bitches. Just goes to show looking classy and actually have any class can be very different things.

  24. I had a Saturday job when I was a teenager, & at that age you are totally ill equipped to deal with rudeness without reason (as I’ve got older I’ve accepted that it happens sometimes & whilst unreasonable, you have to let it roll off you). Treating youngsters like that is a form of bullying & makes my blood boil!

  25. What a great post! I see this all the time and it makes me so annoyed – just a general lack of manners and consideration for others. I remember taking my daughter to a birthday party where the child whose birthday it was basically unwrapped her gifts in front of everyone and then threw them to one side. As we left her father said (to my friend and I) ‘gosh your girls have good manners.’ Well, that’s because we’ve taken the time to teach them how to act and consider others. And I’ve had my share of service jobs as well – rude customers are all part and parcel of it, unfortunately. But, as a lot of commenters say, appalling service is also fairly common as well.

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