Mrs Pett, like most other people, subconsciously held the view that the ruder a person is the more efficient he must be. It is but rarely that anyone is found who is not dazzled by the glamour of incivility.
P.G. Wodehouse, Piccadilly Jim
I’m bitterly well-acquainted with the ‘glamour of incivility‘. Shop assistants and waiters seem particularly susceptible to its charms. I, on the other hand, am immune.
Picture, if you will, an orderly line of shoppers at a supermarket checkout. After a reasonable wait, it is my turn and I attempt to place my small handful of items before the checkout assistant. I am unexpectedly thwarted by the woman behind me, who steps in front of me, and presents her basket of goods. She has the air of one who believes rudeness is quite acceptable in the filthy rich.
This blot on the landscape of womanhood looks directly at the shop assistant with a condescending half-smile.
“If you don’t mind… My car’s in the 5 minute park.” It is a statement, not a question. She doesn’t need to tell us how large and expensive her car is. It’s implied.
“I mind!” I say.
I must be invisible and surrounded by a cone of silence, because nobody looks at me.
The shop assistant promptly serves the foul female, who leaves without a hint of apology or gratitude. She never acknowledges my presence at any point.
When it’s my turn… again, I give the assistant a sympathetic smile.
“I really hate rude people, ” I say.
She gives me a blank, and frankly unfriendly stare. Clearly, I wasn’t rude enough.