Monday, January 21, 2013

Attention: Narcissistic Society

This weekend was a great weekend. I literally laid in bed most of the time relaxing, watching tv and taking naps. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! There was a little laundry done and the kids were fed three meals a day, so there was some productivity, but we kept it at a minimum. After lounging Saturday away, my husband suggested we go out to dinner. I'm not sure if it was out of boredom or just to motivate me to actually get dressed and fix my hair and makeup, still not sure, but it worked nonetheless. 

We decide to take advantage of a Christmas given gift card to Outback which is a little less than an hour drive away, but my favorite restaurant. I credit the fact that it is still my favorite place to the distance, because it's not too close to go to all the time, the drive seems to build more anticipation and makes the trek more of a night out rather than a quick place to grab a bite. We arrived a few minutes after 6 pm on a Saturday night and as we walk through the throng of waiting people, I understand and knew there will be a wait. The hostess tells me the wait is running a little over an hour and I put my name down. Now, I'm not one that goes out to dinner a lot on a Friday or Saturday night because as a person with a few brain cells in the gray matter in my skull, I realize that there will be a wait at a restaurant, on their busiest nights of the week, at the most common dinner time of the evening, apparently this is a little known fact. It was not the wait that upset me as the people in the wait. The narcissistic, rude, entitled people are what upset me and made me want to "bless out" a few people during the wait on behalf of the restaurant staff which was beyond hospitable to completely undeserving patrons.

The waiting area: 
I found an open place near the hostess stand to sit down, my daughters leaning against my lap and my husband stood nearby. Next to me, sat a man and a kid halfway laying down taking more that a butt's width of the bench, with the Mom of that household standing nearby. Now, I used to be pretty feminist, and I don't really know their situation, maybe the Mr. has a condition where he needed to be sitting down or his wife likes to stand for long periods of time, but I was proud to be the woman who's chivalrous husband thought enough of her to let her sit down. I look around and there are people standing everywhere, yet most of the benches were filled with older children and young teens playing on their phones and handheld games. I was taught as a child that adults get seats first, but apparently this was not widely taught. Enters pregnant woman. Not just "showing," but very, very pregnant woman. As a previously pregnant in my lifetime woman, I'm guessing that she was probably due in two weeks or two weeks ago. I look around to praise the person who gets up or makes their kid get up to allow Painfully Pregnant Woman a seat, but no one does. Not one person. I wait a minute just to make sure that no one is going to use this as a parenting moment to teach their child about courtesy or respect, but still, no one moves. I get up, I go over to a very tired Painfully Pregnant Woman and tell her "I've got a seat over there in the corner just for you." She gladly accepts, her face rewards me in overwhelming appreciation and I use the teaching moment for my children. I told them that it's always respectful to let pregnant women or the elderly sit down and that I would always expect them to offer their seat to someone else. Of course the irritated at society part of me raised my voice a little as I taught them, just in case anyone else wanted to know. People continue to walk in past the throng of us waiting and act surprised and rudely complain when the hostesses tell them that there is a wait. They act surprised like they didn't just walk past no less than fifty people. Do they think we are a flash mob that just goes in and out of restaurants waiting or do they think they are so better elevated in our society that they don't have to wait too? 

We are seated: 
As soon as we get to our table the head hostess is at our table telling us that we will be getting a free appetizer due to the extended wait. That's great I think, because we were going to get a Bloomin' Onion anyway and the kids were whining for some Loaded Cheese Aussie Fries. So I order our FREE Bloomin' Onion and a small order of Loaded Cheese Aussie Fries for the girls which I more than expect to pay for from our amazingly nice waitress who also apologized for our wait. She takes our order and goes to the next table to check on her other guests when I hear Rude Woman ask in a high horse tone "So, just so I'm clear, you do serve food here, right?" I look over to see Rude Woman said this while eating her FREE appetizer. At this point, I'm hoping Rude Woman chokes on her rude sarcasm or the FREE appetizer while being mean to an overly nice waitress. A waitress who could not control the wait, someone just doing her job, possibly supporting her family, the waitress who is waiting, serving and humbly being nice to Rude Woman who is being nothing but Rude. I want to defend our waitress, I want to give Rude Woman, yes that is her name, an evil glare, but it's not my place and I'm already getting the calm "no" look from my husband who knows my every thought. So instead, I say loudly to my kids "isn't this a nice night out? Isn't our waitress sweet?" Yes, in the same raised tone from the waiting area, again, just in case anyone else wanted to hear. Funny how on the waitress' next run to our section was the platter of food for Rude Woman's table. Rude Woman then sent back her meal because her chicken was just "too dry," asked for to-go boxes and then went to the hostess station to ask for boxes again before our waitress could even get back to the kitchen again. Then Rude Woman complains to the manager, manager gives her gift cards for her inconvenience and Rude Woman finally leaves. In my defense, I'm not eavesdropping, Rude Woman is loud with all of her complaints due to her superiority to society. 

After Rude Woman leaves, we get our check, which is wrong. The Bloomin' Onion is FREE, but the Loaded Aussie Fries have been discounted to FREE too, we should have been charged for this. I tell the waitress, so she can correct the error, but she tells me there is no error, they're FREE too. They are FREE because of our wait, the wait we never complained about. Outback Rocks! I got a night out, waiting time to spend more moments with my family, parenting lessons to teach to my kids, two FREE appetizers and I'm using my Christmas gift card. I have nothing to complain about, well besides one thing...our society.

In this case, Rude Woman was one person, but she represents our society as a whole. Our impatient, narcissistic, rude, condescending, completely disrespectful of everyone but themselves and entitled society. Why does our society think they can treat waitresses, waiters, hostesses or anyone else in the service industry so rude, because they work in service? That does not mean they are less than, it means that they choose to work for a living, just like you, but in a different capacity. It means that they choose to bite their tongue a lot as they serve less than deserving people like Rude Woman to support themselves and their families. No matter what a person does for a living, they deserve respect, but we can't even teach our children what respect is when we allow our kids to take up waiting benches when a pregnant woman or an elderly person enters a waiting area. Our society is what it is because somewhere along the way we quit teaching what respect means, what is looks like and how to show it. Pin it, post it, do what's necessary to remind yourself to use it and if you're a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent or mentor is some way, love our children enough to TEACH it.

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