Behaving badly

Pam
Pam Frampton
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

"Be nice to people on your way up, because you'll meet them on your way down."
- Wilson Mizner (1876-1933), American playwright

A woman flipped out at a fast-food place in St. John's the other day, screaming at the person behind the counter for messing up her hamburger order, and generally causing a scene.
Having worked at a fast-food place myself in my youth - as a car-hop no less - I figure it's the employees who are entitled to have the occasional meltdown for having to put up with rude and sometimes drunken customers, late hours, the odd bit of sexual harassment, and hot fat, and all that for minimum wage.
Surely there are better ways to resolve disputes than by publicly berating someone. And don't give me the old, "They must've been having a bad day" excuse. What kind of day do you think the kid working behind the counter in a busy food court during the lunch rush was having?
No, it seems to me that bad behaviour abounds these days, and we're often too willing to tolerate it in order to avoid conflict.
I realize there are far more important things going on in the world, but I need a break from weighty matters, so here are some of my pet peeves.

Don't stand so close to me
In a long, stifling line at Costco after Christmas to return something, a woman tried to inch her way ahead of me, standing so close at times that I felt like I was wearing her perfume. Attention shoppers: please don't invade my personal space. And remember, no one likes a queue-jumper.

Ready, aim, fire!
Is there ever an occasion when spitting is OK, besides when you're instructed to do so at the dentist's or unless you've accidentally taken poison or eaten rancid food? Not in my book. And yet a stroll through town any day of the week will reveal someone loudly hawking up a great gob of saliva and letting it fly, like the sidewalk somehow wants a fresh DNA sample. Keep it to yourself, for gob's sake! No one wants slobber all over their shoes.

Let's talk about me some more
G. and I were out for dinner the other night when our entire meal - though delicious - was marred by the soliloquy being delivered by an obnoxious fellow at a nearby table. Among his scintillating insights? "I love being away from home and having no responsibility." "Creme brulÉe is my absolute favourite! Well, uh, that is, after creme caramel." And, "You know? I said to myself, 'She looks pissed off but doesn't want to say anything.'" (Methinks she didn't get an opportunity to say anything.) There's nothing wrong with dinner conversation, but you don't have to make yourself heard at every single table and dominate everyone else's dinner with inane babble. You're at a restaurant - stop talking for a few minutes and eat something, for crying out loud.

Calling from my other office
And speaking of talking, do you really need to make cellphone calls from public washrooms? What you do in your own home is your business, but whoever you're talking to surely has no desire to hear strangers having a pee in the background. Tinkle, tinkle, little star, now I know just where you are. …

Shock and awe
Why is it that some people feel the need to loudly express their horror at the cost of a restaurant meal to the wait staff? It's not like they're setting the prices and pocketing all the profit. "What! $19.99 for a shaggin' old piece of halibut? Good God, man, I could get that at Sobeys for $5.95 and fry it up in a pan. That's crazy, wha? You get many fellers foolish enough to pay that?" The fact is, the prices are set out on the menu. Most restaurants even post their menus outside the front door in order to avoid such episodes of sticker shock. Please, do other diners a favour and check the menu. If the food doesn't sound worth it, just keep on walking.

Invisible (wo)man
Last time I checked, I had a reflection, so why is it I am treated like I don't exist by the people who call the newsroom demanding to speak to a "news man," letter-writers who begin every missive with "Dear Sir," and certain restaurant staff who think that when it's time to serve the wine, my husband is the only one with functioning tastebuds? He often suggests they let me sample it first, but why do they assume the man should always make the call? (The same often goes when it's time to present the bill, but I don't mind that one half as much.) Yes, Virginia, you can have a brain and ovaries.

Shopping by phone
I'm one of those people who loves grocery shopping, in spite of the cheesy, piped-in Muzak. Unless, of course, there's someone ahead of me in the aisle, bawling loudly into their cellphone: "Mona! Whaddya at? See if we got any toilet paper left, would ya? Do we need any mix? Did you say you wanted the chummies with them wings on 'em? And what about Preparation H? Is there any left in the tube in the bathroom?" Enough said.
Got a pet peeve you'd like to share? Feel free to drop me a line.

Pam Frampton is The Telegram's story editor. She can be reached by e-mail at pframpton@thetelegram.com. Read her columns online (but please, not while scratching yourself or eating with your mouth open) at www.thetelegram.com

Organizations: Costco, Sobeys

Geographic location: St. John's, Virginia, Muzak

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Chris got a lot right here, but sidewalks are meant for walkers, not bikes. Loved the one about answering the phone in preference who actually bothered to come to the store. Always got me that one. Also have to agree with Pomroy to some extent. In a public place/restaurant people should probably respect others, but you did choose to go out in public and you never know what you get. br br When you have a bit of a cold with some congestion and it builds up and starts to choke you, then it's only normal to have a hawk. br br Different to Pam about people nudging up are the people, almost always women, who stand so far back from the teller/counter whatever that it pushes everyone else out the door. In particular I recall one women at Sears catalogue area standing so far back and no one else around that I walked past her and got in line. She wasn't actually in the room and I told her so as I put her in front of me. br br My own peeve is going to a movie and having to listen to people crinkle chip bags and crunch chips and other things for the entire movie!! I mean, didn't they have supper? Did they come to the movies to eat supper? Could the theatre not think to throw the chips into a cloth bag for the well being of their customers? Unfortunately I have my father's ears and can't manage to block out peripheral noises. I haven't been to a theatre since Master & Commander came out!!! That, like any restaurant though, has been my decision.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Well Pam, you started out well enough backing up the poor fast food employees, but only went down hill from there.

    Spitting? What kind of an uppity old bag does it take to have to publicly express your distaste for spitting? Are these people spitting ON you? Does their spit spread some form of deathly disease?

    No. Then WHY, pray tell, must you publicly berate them as if they're doing anything but causing their image to be a bit less classy?

    And as for going out to a restaurant for dinner, dining out is supposed to be a SOCIAL event, where you enjoy each others company in a nice setting. If you wanted to eat in silence, stay home. Christ, if I were as much of an old nitpicky man, offended by as much as you are, I'd never leave the house. Why? Because I'd like to keep myself from being a wet towel for everyone else.

    If you've got so many problems with such commonplace events in society, maybe the problem isn't society, but yourself!

    Regards,
    A NOT so uptight Chris Pomroy.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Riding bicycles on sidewalks is generally not allowed in most cities.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    urine is far more sterile than spit, it's better to urinate on the sidewalk than spit, if you expect me to walk in your spit then don't complain about walking in my pee

  • HUGHIE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    HOW ABOUT THE NUMBER OF CARS AND 4X4 THAT PARK IN FIRE ZONES(WALMART) SAMPLE AND BLOCK ENTRANCES , WATCH PEOPLE IN WHEEL CHAIRS TRY TO MANEUVER AROUND THEM, NEVER SEE CITY FINEST IN GREEN VANS, IF THEY DO THE ONE SITTING IN THEM ARE TOLD TO MOVE,OTHER MIGHT GET TICKET, IN MEAN TIME THE CAN DRIVE AROUND THE NEIGHBOURHOODS TO MAKE SURE YOU DONT PARK ON STREET.TRY THIS DOWN TOWN THEY ARE ALL OVER YOU WITH THEIR CAMERA, TAKE NOTICE WHEN YOU VISIT SUPERMARKETS AND WALMARTS TO SEE HOW MAN VEHICLES ARE IN VIOLATION, MAYBE CITY FINEST ARE TOLD STAY AWAY.

  • Pam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I always love your column Pam, but this is definitely one of my favourites! Keep up the good work!

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Dear Sir:

    There is a special place in heck reserved for clueless people who block the natural flow of traffic through doors, hallways, aisles, and various other openings meant to facilitate movement, not lack thereof.

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Dear Sir ; I just wanted to drop you a line to say that I think Pam Frampton has a delightful and dry sense of humour . Her column this morning will have them rolling in the aisles . Oh , sir the next time you see Pam Frampton's reflection in the mirror would you please relate my pet peeve to her . Not being overly demonstrative , I am without failure taken aback when a clerk says --and what do you want my darling or my duckie how can I help you today . I have been told that this is just friendliness from a fellow Newfoundlander but I can't get use to it . Oh well , I guess that is better than the other alternatives . Great article today Pam , a geat start to the day .

  • Babs from da bay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Spitting is gross and, yes, it does deserve ridicule. There's nothing worse than walking across a parking lot & seeing the person ahead of you spitting out a big gob - yuck! One thing you don't see (or at least in my experience) is a senior citizen splaying their spittle in public...I think they remember the days of TB a little better than some younger folk. No matter what age, though, I don't want to see your spit fly...nor do I want my kids to see it so, please, keep it to yourself.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Sorry, Chris from Paradise, but I believe purposely trying to ridicule/insult me while trying to hide behind your 'polite' attitude as a defense, is pretty cowardly and certainly is none too polite.

    It's not what you say, it's what you meant behind it. At least what I said was clear.

    Snob.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    - Drivers who don't use a turn signal, tailgate, cut you off or drive slowly in the passing lane.
    - People who smoke right outside the door of a non-smoking establishment, getting smoke all over everybody who enters/leaves.
    - Waiting.
    - People that don't answer e-mail.
    - People that don't return phone calls.
    - People who blow their horn at you the nano-second the light changes to green.
    - People who love to point out how wrong everyone else is while they are a walking train wreck.
    - People who read out loud what they're typing in an email or letter.
    - Caps Lock in text or in email, when PEOPLE SHOUT.
    - People who blame anything but themselves for THEIR failure.
    - People who sit next to you on public transportation even when there are other seats available.
    - Not washing hands after using the restroom.
    - People who don't perform their duties at work.
    - People who ride their bikes in the road when a sidewalk is right there.
    - People who don't cover their mouth while sneezing or coughing.
    - People who take up 2 parking spaces.
    - People who leave shopping carts in the parking lot instead of taking them back to the corral.
    - When someone with a full cart of groceries gets into the 10 items or less line.
    - People throwing trash into a recycle bin.
    - Retail clerks that ignore the live customer to help somebody that interrupts by phone.
    - People who are always late.
    - People who break wind in elevators that I subsequently enter. Then the next person thinks it's me.

    - People who write pet peeve lists that are too long. Oh, wait a minute

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Two pet peeves I almost forgot, but Mr. Pomroy refreshed my memory:

    - Cynics.
    - People who are reduced to name calling to try to prove a point.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Chris got a lot right here, but sidewalks are meant for walkers, not bikes. Loved the one about answering the phone in preference who actually bothered to come to the store. Always got me that one. Also have to agree with Pomroy to some extent. In a public place/restaurant people should probably respect others, but you did choose to go out in public and you never know what you get. br br When you have a bit of a cold with some congestion and it builds up and starts to choke you, then it's only normal to have a hawk. br br Different to Pam about people nudging up are the people, almost always women, who stand so far back from the teller/counter whatever that it pushes everyone else out the door. In particular I recall one women at Sears catalogue area standing so far back and no one else around that I walked past her and got in line. She wasn't actually in the room and I told her so as I put her in front of me. br br My own peeve is going to a movie and having to listen to people crinkle chip bags and crunch chips and other things for the entire movie!! I mean, didn't they have supper? Did they come to the movies to eat supper? Could the theatre not think to throw the chips into a cloth bag for the well being of their customers? Unfortunately I have my father's ears and can't manage to block out peripheral noises. I haven't been to a theatre since Master & Commander came out!!! That, like any restaurant though, has been my decision.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Well Pam, you started out well enough backing up the poor fast food employees, but only went down hill from there.

    Spitting? What kind of an uppity old bag does it take to have to publicly express your distaste for spitting? Are these people spitting ON you? Does their spit spread some form of deathly disease?

    No. Then WHY, pray tell, must you publicly berate them as if they're doing anything but causing their image to be a bit less classy?

    And as for going out to a restaurant for dinner, dining out is supposed to be a SOCIAL event, where you enjoy each others company in a nice setting. If you wanted to eat in silence, stay home. Christ, if I were as much of an old nitpicky man, offended by as much as you are, I'd never leave the house. Why? Because I'd like to keep myself from being a wet towel for everyone else.

    If you've got so many problems with such commonplace events in society, maybe the problem isn't society, but yourself!

    Regards,
    A NOT so uptight Chris Pomroy.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Riding bicycles on sidewalks is generally not allowed in most cities.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    urine is far more sterile than spit, it's better to urinate on the sidewalk than spit, if you expect me to walk in your spit then don't complain about walking in my pee

  • HUGHIE
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    HOW ABOUT THE NUMBER OF CARS AND 4X4 THAT PARK IN FIRE ZONES(WALMART) SAMPLE AND BLOCK ENTRANCES , WATCH PEOPLE IN WHEEL CHAIRS TRY TO MANEUVER AROUND THEM, NEVER SEE CITY FINEST IN GREEN VANS, IF THEY DO THE ONE SITTING IN THEM ARE TOLD TO MOVE,OTHER MIGHT GET TICKET, IN MEAN TIME THE CAN DRIVE AROUND THE NEIGHBOURHOODS TO MAKE SURE YOU DONT PARK ON STREET.TRY THIS DOWN TOWN THEY ARE ALL OVER YOU WITH THEIR CAMERA, TAKE NOTICE WHEN YOU VISIT SUPERMARKETS AND WALMARTS TO SEE HOW MAN VEHICLES ARE IN VIOLATION, MAYBE CITY FINEST ARE TOLD STAY AWAY.

  • Pam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I always love your column Pam, but this is definitely one of my favourites! Keep up the good work!

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Dear Sir:

    There is a special place in heck reserved for clueless people who block the natural flow of traffic through doors, hallways, aisles, and various other openings meant to facilitate movement, not lack thereof.

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Dear Sir ; I just wanted to drop you a line to say that I think Pam Frampton has a delightful and dry sense of humour . Her column this morning will have them rolling in the aisles . Oh , sir the next time you see Pam Frampton's reflection in the mirror would you please relate my pet peeve to her . Not being overly demonstrative , I am without failure taken aback when a clerk says --and what do you want my darling or my duckie how can I help you today . I have been told that this is just friendliness from a fellow Newfoundlander but I can't get use to it . Oh well , I guess that is better than the other alternatives . Great article today Pam , a geat start to the day .

  • Babs from da bay
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Spitting is gross and, yes, it does deserve ridicule. There's nothing worse than walking across a parking lot & seeing the person ahead of you spitting out a big gob - yuck! One thing you don't see (or at least in my experience) is a senior citizen splaying their spittle in public...I think they remember the days of TB a little better than some younger folk. No matter what age, though, I don't want to see your spit fly...nor do I want my kids to see it so, please, keep it to yourself.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Sorry, Chris from Paradise, but I believe purposely trying to ridicule/insult me while trying to hide behind your 'polite' attitude as a defense, is pretty cowardly and certainly is none too polite.

    It's not what you say, it's what you meant behind it. At least what I said was clear.

    Snob.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    - Drivers who don't use a turn signal, tailgate, cut you off or drive slowly in the passing lane.
    - People who smoke right outside the door of a non-smoking establishment, getting smoke all over everybody who enters/leaves.
    - Waiting.
    - People that don't answer e-mail.
    - People that don't return phone calls.
    - People who blow their horn at you the nano-second the light changes to green.
    - People who love to point out how wrong everyone else is while they are a walking train wreck.
    - People who read out loud what they're typing in an email or letter.
    - Caps Lock in text or in email, when PEOPLE SHOUT.
    - People who blame anything but themselves for THEIR failure.
    - People who sit next to you on public transportation even when there are other seats available.
    - Not washing hands after using the restroom.
    - People who don't perform their duties at work.
    - People who ride their bikes in the road when a sidewalk is right there.
    - People who don't cover their mouth while sneezing or coughing.
    - People who take up 2 parking spaces.
    - People who leave shopping carts in the parking lot instead of taking them back to the corral.
    - When someone with a full cart of groceries gets into the 10 items or less line.
    - People throwing trash into a recycle bin.
    - Retail clerks that ignore the live customer to help somebody that interrupts by phone.
    - People who are always late.
    - People who break wind in elevators that I subsequently enter. Then the next person thinks it's me.

    - People who write pet peeve lists that are too long. Oh, wait a minute

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Two pet peeves I almost forgot, but Mr. Pomroy refreshed my memory:

    - Cynics.
    - People who are reduced to name calling to try to prove a point.