my coworker is rude to Uber drivers

A reader writes:

I work in a small nonprofit. I work closely with another coworker, and our jobs require us to take Ubers and car services together on a regular basis.

The problem is, the way she speaks to Uber drivers (and honestly, all service industry workers) makes me crazy. She was raised in a very privileged background, and only works part-time (I am full-time), and she’s been pretty open about the fact that her family are old money, and she has family money to live on.

When we deal with Uber or cab drivers, she is demanding, rude, and often shouts directions at them (I should also mention she is partially deaf, so I think the shouting is not always entirely her fault). She also repeatedly keeps Uber drivers waiting, which can lead to fines and people voting down your rating.

The fines are less of a big deal since the Ubers go on a company card, but my Uber rating has actually gone down since we’ve started working together. It also just makes me profoundly uncomfortable. I’ve started gently suggesting that she call the Ubers instead of me, so my rating doesn’t go down further, but part of me really wants to talk to her about her behavior. She also does things like order off-menu at restaurants when we go out as a team, complains a lot, and flags down waiters in a rude way. I think part of my discomfort comes from our socio-economic gap. I worked my way through college in the service industry, and I have a lot of respect for the people who work in it. I’m trying not to let my prejudices about “rich people” make me angrier than I should be but it’s hard.

Should I say something to her? Frankly with her behavior I’m surprised she’s even able to get an Uber at this point. Should I just grit my teeth and let it go? Help.

This isn’t about rich people; it’s about rude people. Your coworker is being rude, and you’d be right to take issue with her behavior regardless of her financial background. And if she only behaves like this with service workers — situations where she feels she has more power than the person she’s being rude to — she’s particularly awful.

You have a really easy opening to say something since her behavior is actually impacting your own Uber rating. You could say, “Hey, I don’t know if you realize, but you’re often pretty rude to Uber drivers and cab drivers, to the point that it’s lowering my Uber ratings when we put the rides on my account. Please be polite to our drivers — it makes me uncomfortable when you do X or Y.”

That’s just the minimum though. Ideally you’d also point out the rest of it too. For example: “And it’s not just with drivers. I’ve felt bad for some of our waiters. I don’t know if you’ve ever waited tables or know anyone who has, but it’s a hard job and it can come across as disrespectful when you do X or Y.” (I’m purposely using X and Y here rather than filling in specific behaviors, but you should give whatever specifics are most compelling. I probably wouldn’t include the part about ordering off-menu unless she does it in a particular demanding/obnoxious way, because there can be legitimate reasons for that, like food restrictions.)

If you’re not comfortable saying that part — and you may not have the kind of rapport where it’ll be easy to say — the other option is to address it in the moment. If you’re at a restaurant and she’s being snotty to the waiter, when the waiter leaves, say something like, “Whoa, you’re being pretty cranky with her” or “lay off the waiter — he’s doing a good job” or “hey, you can’t treat people like that.”

You’ll be doing the world a favor by speaking up, and you might be doing her one too, if it gets her to reconsider how she’s coming across.

{ 398 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. what's my name again?

    I’d also like to add that flagging the comment or behavior in the moment can help you with your rating. If the driver/waiter/etc. hears you defending him/her, they’d be less likely to downgrade you.

    Reply
    1. Hildegard Von Bingen

      Plus it might embarrass the rude co-worker if you speak up in front of her to defend the person being insulted. Which would be a good thing. Dammit, she should be embarrassed. I’ve always despised kick-downers. They’re bullies.

      Reply
      1. I'll come up with a clever name later.

        Reading the letter it sounds like OP may be so embarrassed for her co-workers behavior in the moment that it’s hard to speak up. OP, I think it’s important to remember that when you’re shining the light of her bad behavior on your co-worker you’re putting the embarrassment and attention where it needs to go – on her and the crappy things she’s doing. She should be embarrassed be her behavior. And if she’s not? Well, that’s a definite thing to be aware of for the future in how you deal with her and a pretty disgusting thing on her part.

        Reply
        1. nep

          +1
          She needs to be called out. Old money, new money — rich does not mean entitled to treat fellow humans like crap. Nothing to do with her wealth or status. She’s rude plain and simple. Agree it could help save face a bit if a representative of your company corrects her in the moment.

          Reply
          1. nep

            (Save face is not really the expression I should use there — I mean could help redeem your company and show that this kind of rudeness and disrespect is not tolerated there.)

            Reply
            1. Lily Puddle

              Agreed. Was it Emily Post who said something like “Someone who treats a servant like dirt isn’t far from the ground herself?”

              Reply
          2. Jen S. 2.0

            I know nice rich people and terrible poor people. The problem isn’t that she’s rich; the problem is that that she’s a hosebeast.

            Reply
            1. Afiendishthingy

              Sure, you can be rude and poor and nice and rich, and Coworker’s issue is that she is a grade a dick. But her particular brand of douchiness is most certainly informed by her wealth and upbringing. Not specifically directed at you, Jen S, but the idea that Coworker’s wealth is a complete red herring here just doesn’t sit right with me.

              Reply
                1. Pollygrammer

                  I divide people into “worked in customer service at some point in their lives” and “haven’t.” I’m almost never wrong in my guesses.

                2. Wicked Odd

                  @TL – I’ve known a very small number of people who see having worked those jobs as a reason they can disparage service workers for being lazy (because “they know better”), but for the most part this is very true.

                1. Fiennes

                  I always thought it was a creepy slut-shaming thing? But maybe I’m reading too much into “hose.”

                2. AKchic

                  Fiennes – you aren’t wrong. It is a derogative for a woman. Originally a spaghetti-Western/John Wayne-era insult, but then repopularized during the Wayne’s World movies (i.e. “you psycho hose beast!”).

              1. cutie honey

                er, the urban dictionary results i’m getting for this are not exactly something i would personally second, but do you I guess . . .

                Reply
                1. Ego Chamber

                  I’m generally skeptical of Urban Dictionary and prefer to check anything I find there against real etymological sources, since literally every entry on Urban Dictionary has a (totally real I swear that’s what it means in [distant city or country], dude) definition that claims it’s a sex position, but you do you I guess . . . ;)

                2. Close Bracket

                  @Ego Chamber
                  I’m old enough to predate Urban Dictionary, and when I learned that word, it basically meant “slut.” When I do me, I don’t use it, and I call out its use the same way I call out “slut.”

            2. Close Bracket

              “Hosebeast”? Sexualized insults are a bit much. How about “jackass,” or something else less gendered.

              Reply
                1. JustaTech

                  @baconeggandcheeseplease BEC means “b!tch eating crackers” as in “look at [coworker I can not stand any more] eating crackers”. It’s used to describe when a person (the speaker) simply has no ability to deal with a specific person any more, even when that person is doing something inoffensive (because of endless past interactions). Basically, it’s when you are just totally done with a person that they become a BEC.

                  It includes a gendered insult but can be directed at anyone and tends to be a description of a situation than a person.

              1. Dr Wizard, PhD

                I’m not sure that one is. I only really know it from Wayne’s World, where it’s used to describe a woman the characters don’t like, but not in a sexualised context. Wiktionary seems to think WW is the source, too, and just defines it as ‘an objectionable woman’.

                Reply
      2. Hey Nonnie

        YES. Don’t wait until the server has left the table. The service industry is a tough job and short of being actively rude themselves, that server deserves to know that someone is sticking up for them. Call it out the moment it happens. If your coworker won’t be civil out of kindness and basic human decency, maybe some public shaming will work. If nothing else, you can let both the coworker and the server know that you don’t support or agree with her behavior.

        Reply
        1. MJLurver

          As someone who waited tables all through college and who currently Ubers part-time to help support myself, I:
          A) would LOVE IT if someone called out their friend/coworker who was being rude to me in the moment, and,
          B) cannot STAND seeing anyone be rude or condescending towards people in service positions.

          Treating waitstaff/Uber drivers poorly and being cheap with their tips (or cheap in general, but ESPECIALLY with servers’/rideshare drivers’ tips) are two major turn-offs that I cannot get over once a person has displayed the behavior. It automatically makes me dislike the person. I know I should be more forgiving, but I have such an issue with it.

          Sorry, I just needed to add this. :)

          Reply
    2. Allison

      For me, it’s one thing when someone is rude to me, but when I know others are aware of the behavior and have chosen to say nothing, that’s so much worse. Don’t be complicit, speak up.

      Reply
    3. Anon anon anon

      I agree, but I get the impression that these incidents might be the kind where there’s no opportunity to do that? Sometimes you can defend the person, but other times, the behavior is a little more subtle. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I agree, but if that’s not an option, a separate conversation is a good back up plan.

      Reply
      1. UberOP

        A lot of the time she yells instructions at uber drivers while she’s on the phone with someone else, so I have no way to call her out. But I am definitely going to try it when she is not on the phone.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          Even when she hangs up would be good – “Hey, I didn’t want to interrupt, but yelling at the poor guy was really uncalled for.”

          Reply
          1. Anna

            I think you don’t even have to wait. If she’s so inconsiderate to the people she’s on the phone with, I wouldn’t wait for her to hang up before I said something. Just a “Hey! That was rude.”

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            1. Barney Stinson

              Agreed. She’s on the phone with someone and stopping to yell at the driver. She doesn’t care about the person on the phone…interrupt at will!

              Reply
              1. Hey Nonnie

                Truly. If she’s not worried that the person on the phone will think her rude and horrible, you really don’t have to worry about it on her behalf. She’s the one putting it out there for everyone to hear. “Wow, that was rude,” wouldn’t even take that long to say so as to be a huge interruption (which she is also doing herself to her phone partner when she yells at the driver).

                Reply
        2. Elizabeth H.

          Yelling while on the phone with someone else is even more rude! I think you should *especially* call her out when she’s doing that. Do you feel like you can’t call her out when she’s on the phone, because interrupting someone in the middle of a phone call is rude? She is interrupting HERSELF in the middle of a phone call so you should be free to do exactly the same thing to her.

          Reply
        3. SC Anonibrarian

          oh no. if she’s on the phone that is the PERFECT time to call her on her bull-ish. Every Single Damn Time. Make her worried that her rudeness will become entwined in EVERY personal and business contact she has. Let her sweat that you’ll call her out when she’s on the phone with that big shot client. Hell Yes that is KARMA holding on the line. Please step up and help deliver it. Bullies are scum and the only thing that stops them is worrying that people more powerful than them are going to hold them accountable.

          Reply
        4. Driver In the Know

          A quick “Hey!” in the moment and an apology to the driver will go a long way. I realize this is a business expense and they would probably prefer the tip to be in app, but a tip in the moment will go a long way towards your rating. Tips can mitigate a lot of terrible behaviors. Note: Telling the driver you’ll tip in the app might be received poorly as we’ve found that’s pretty much a way of saying, “Nope! Not gonna tip ya’!”

          After she’s off the phone you’ve paved the way for further discussion.

          Yes, ratings do count. Different markets have different average ratings. Although… when we’re bored we might take a low rated passenger out of curiosity but during busy times it is definitely a factor with the experienced drivers.

          Also – there are markets where VIP passengers are matched with only experienced, high rated drivers. Chatter is this is carried out informally in other markets. I’ve been doing this gig for almost 3 years and have a rating of 4.96 on Uber and 5.0 on Lyft, I’ve seen a lot and put up with a lot, bossing me around can pretty much guarantee a very low rating.

          Reply
          1. Trout 'Waver

            Wait, drivers hear, “I’ll tip in the app” as “I’m not tipping?” What should I say instead when I’m tipping in the app? I never carry cash and the app is so convenient for tipping.

            Reply
            1. CMart

              I’m not an Uber driver, but as you haven’t gotten an answer yet here’s my guess as a former tipped worker who had similar superstitions:

              People who call attention to tipping are usually the worst tippers. “I’m going to leave you a nice tip!” = lousy or even no tip. People who are going to leave you a tip just… do it. Why draw attention to it if you’re going to do it anyway? It always felt like people seemed to think that they’d performed their duty by saying it out loud (maybe to make the people with them *think* they were tipping) and then never followed through.

              Reply
              1. Hello...ello...ello..ello..llo..llo..lo

                Oh boy.. this was me one night (accidentally I swear!). I was having dinner at a bar and watched a man order a really painful load of soft drinks and alcoholic drinks for his table. Painful as in he strung the order out over 10 minutes instead of just telling the bartender what he needed in one go. Then after that he didn’t tip.

                I mentioned to the bartender what a pain in the you-know-what he was and that she deserved a great tip for putting up with that. I tipped extra* when we left and mentioned how I did to make up for the other people.

                Only when I glanced at the receipt as we were driving away I hadn’t tipped extra, so now I looked like I was a bad tipper because I only tipped the normal 20% but said that I had left extra. I was mortified. I made my husband turn around and drive back. When I got back in the bartender wasn’t at the bar, so I grabbed a different one and said “Hey, your coworker might have been grumbling that I’m a blowhard fake extra tipper… I promise, I’m just inept at simple math tonight. Please give her this and my apologies!” And I handed him a $20.

                We’ve gotten good service their since, so I think my mea culpa made it to the intended recipient.

                But yes I agree it’s usually the ones who make a big deal are the ones who don’t follow through.

                Reply
              2. MJLurver

                You are 100% on point! Just a little clarification:

                The “inside joke” between most rideshare drivers is the unfortunate fact that MOST of the time, when people state “I’ll definitely tip you in the app!” as they exit your vehicle, it doesn’t happen. Many times I think the person who ordered the Uber says it in front on his or her friends to seem like a big-shot or to look like they’re not super cheap, but I really don’t know why it happens so much.

                I’ve had many people tell me they would tip me in the app and then they actually do. Which is wonderful, of course. But the majority of the people who say “I’ll tip you in the app” (and for me, it is usually millennial men, during Friday or Saturday late-night, bar-close crowd) never actually tip, and it’s so incredibly frustrating. Why bother saying it? Just don’t say it, and I won’t expect it! Ya know?

                Anyhoo, if people actually DO tip in the app after saying they’re going to, then that’s terrific and so very appreciated. It’s just that the rule of thumb for drivers is “when a rider says ‘I’ll tip you in the app!’ while exiting your car, they probably WON’T tip you in the app!”

                Side note: There are many wonderful people who DO tip in the app, but just don’t mention anything about it while in the car. So for me personally, I’m always a little relieved when a person DOESN’T say “I’ll tip you in the app” since my odds are better at actually getting a tip that way.

                Sorry, off-topic, I know.

                Reply
                1. Former Employee

                  I’ve never taken Uber or Lyft because I don’t have a smart phone. However, I nearly always tip cash at restaurants, in cabs, at salons, etc. I mostly pay with a credit card, but the tip is in cash unless I somehow don’t have any/enough, which is a very rare occurrence.

                  And I have never worked in a service job or even in retail, though I did work in a job where I had to deal with all sorts of people on a regular basis. (I was in the financial services industry.)

                  However, as someone who is slightly deaf, I do have to defend the raised voice or even what sounds like yelling. I am a quiet person who can be pretty loud because I can’t always tell.

            2. CMart

              So to answer the question maybe just saying “thank you!” and then promptly tipping in the app as soon as it prompts you is all you really need to do.

              Reply
              1. Anna

                I use Lyft exclusively, but that’s what I do. I also rate right away, because I’ve learned if I don’t I’ll forget until the next time I open the app.

                Reply
              2. Sam

                Same, and I was starting to worry that I should’ve been saying something to the driver. I try to do it as soon as I go inside the airport or whatever because I once got distracted in the moment and ended up submitting the tip the next day (I upped the tip because I felt bad about that.)

                Reply
            3. Anon anon anon

              I don’t know, but if you did set aside some cash for Uber etc, it would be great. Not sure how Uber works, but some of those companies take a cut of the in-app tips.

              Reply
              1. PepperVL

                They don’t take a cut off in app tips. But the driver above is right. Every time someone tells me they’re going to tip or tip well or tip a certain amount… they don’t. Cash in hand may save your rating if you’re worried about it, but in other situations, just tip in app right away and we’ll see it before the night is out.

                Reply
          2. Maybe?

            Oh no! I hardly ever use Uber, but on one of my very first Uber rides it was a rather long trip back into the city, and I tried to tip our very nice driver (he even had extra chargers for me to use), and he was so resistant to it that it made me think I was being the weird one (he even said something like it was unnecessary, which made me think “OK, the fee itself must cover this??”) OMG, I was so convinced I haven’t tipped since! OMG, I’m sorry all Uber drivers I’ve had!

            Reply
            1. Natalie

              Was this a while ago? Uber only added in-app tipping recently (maybe within the last year) and for years before that their official policy was no tips, although plenty of drivers would certainly accept cash tips.

              Reply
            2. essEss

              When Uber first came out, they had a policy that drivers MUST refuse the first offer of a tip but were allowed to take it if the customer offered again. But after Lyft came along and would allow tipping in the app, Uber finally started allowing tipping.

              Reply
            1. MCMonkeyBean

              Oh weird, I just googled it and it looks like tipping is only available in some cities??? So odd. I just know I wasn’t able to tip in the app when I last used it in September.

              Reply
        5. INTP

          Can you ask her for the directions or look them up yourself before the ride so that when she starts doing this, you can jump in and start giving the directions while she talks? If you say something like “Oh I know where it is, focus on your conversation” like you are being helpful to her by handling it, that might feel less confrontational and easier to say than calling her rude while she’s already carrying on two conversations.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            No. Because unless you have a reason to think that the driver doesn’t know where they are going, givign the driver directions is just offensive. Ideally, the OP would speak up. But if they can’t bring themselves to, they should just keep quiet – do NOT give the impression that you actively think this is a good idea.

            Reply
            1. Specialk9

              I’ve never had a Lyft or Uber in which they didn’t just plug the address into GPS, so why would they get offended by my giving directions? I know where I’m going when in my home turf, and know the quirks.

              Reply
              1. Observer

                The implication is that they don’t know how to use their GPS. That’s just rude. This is not about someone who happens to know the quirks of a particular neighborhood, but someone who apparently always knows better.

                If there are quirks in your neighborhood that affect the usefulness of the GPS you say that. You say “I know that the GPS will give you different directions, but it doesn’t seem to take into account that x,y and z so blah blah blah.” Not “go here, turn there, make a right at the light.”

                Reply
                1. Driver In the Know

                  Also, we use Waze with (mostly) up to the minute road conditions. Nine times out of ten the passenger on their home turf take us on a slower route.

                  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard: “Oh! I would have never gone this way… it’s definitely faster!” I’ve even had passengers take notes on routings – from their work to their home!!! One lady asked my permission if she could use the same route in the future!!! SMH

                  Passengers are no longer charged actual time/mileage so our routing won’t change the cost… and typically save you time. The amount we get paid for time is so trivial compared to mileage. Our goal is to get you there as fast as possible without illegal turns, speeding, running lights… so please don’t ask.

                2. Uberist

                  The implication is that they don’t know how to use their GPS. That’s just rude.

                  I disagree even more strongly with this. A passenger is entirely within his/her rights to ask for a certain route, even if the GPS disagrees. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for this. NYC yellow cabs (and I believe DC ones too) even say that you have the right to ask for a specific route.

                3. boo

                  As noted by Uberist, this is perhaps regional, but in NY it’s very much accepted practice to tell the driver which route to take, though that’s more “Please take the bridge then go up fourth from Atlantic Ave,” and not “Left here, stop at the red light..”

                  As with most things in life, there’s a wrong way to do it. You only yell if the driver yells first (or takes the goddamn Battery Park tunnel!)

                4. Observer

                  I’m a New Yorker, and some comments on telling a cabby how to get somewhere. For one thing, unlike Uber and Lyft, yellow cabs charge by time. And a surprising number don’t use GPS.

                  Also, if you are polite you ASK. Even though you have a complete right to this, you put it as a request rather than a demand. Also, acknowledge that you’re not asking because you don’t think they were able to get the coordinates into the gps.

                5. Observer

                  @boo though that’s more “Please take the bridge then go up fourth from Atlantic Ave,” and not “Left here, stop at the red light..”

                  That’s really the key problem with Coworker.

        6. Kimberly

          Sorry, but yes you can call her on her behavior no matter who hears it. Silence = Acceptance if the person on the other end, say you all’s boss, knows you are there and silent you will be tarred with the same brush. It isn’t just your uber rating that is taking a hit.

          As for the off the menu items. There are perfectly polite ways to handle that. It really should be a necessity because of health issues and should start with calling beforehand to see if they can accommodate you. I do that due to peanut allergy. I always tip well when they have to make a change, and I accept that some restaurants cannot accommodate me. I can think of 3 (2 local and 5 Guys chain) that have said do not even walk in our door it is too dangerous and there is nothing you can eat.

          Reply
          1. Lissa

            Yes, it would be great if the OP could think of the right thing to say and the right way to do it, but my guess is 95% of people wouldn’t, so some of the comments here, like the silence=acceptance stuff, seem to imply that she is doing something “wrong” for not having that immediate instinct. Sure, it’s great to do it, but I worked in customer service for a decade and the number of people who stood up in a situation like this was small. I really appreciated those who did, but I didn’t assume that all the people who didn’t were jerks, etc.

            Reply
            1. Hey Nonnie

              Well, part of the reason we’re commenting is to let her know that it’s not rude/horrible/a bad reflection on her character for her to speak up in the moment, which will hopefully give her some increased confidence to do so. And to give her ideas of how to say it, so she has tools at the ready next time it happens. If she didn’t want to do something about the problem, she probably wouldn’t have written in to begin with.

              Reply
  2. High Score!

    Make her arrange the Uber and call her out immediately in front of the drivers when she does that. So sorry your stuck with such a horrible coworker.

    Reply
    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      Agreed!!!

      Alternately, ask your company to set up a separate uber account under the company name so it’s not hitting your personal rating when she’s an asshole.

      Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        I think the fact that your rating has gone down because of her behavior is a good reason to insist on this.

        Reply
        1. HQetc

          Not to mention it might have the added benefit of making that rudeness a work-issue, so you’d have even more standing to address it with her and maybe managers (I mean, I think you already have standing just based on human kindness).

          Reply
          1. That Would Be a Good Band Name

            I would think it would definitely become a work issue since it would be the company’s rating that’s being affected. I would not want to be the employee that is the reason the company can’t use Uber.

            Reply
          2. Samata

            I get the impression that work is paying the fines, too, so she’s already affecting the company dollar $. I realize fines might be $5 but it’s a unnecessary $5 spend and not one I think should be chalked up to the “cost of doing business”….100% this should be a company account and the company needs to be held accountable here to make sure they have good stewards and representation.

            Reply
            1. Uberist

              So, Big Client calls someone leaving at the last minute while Uber is waiting. (This happens all the time.) We have the choice of offending Big Client or Uber (which charges waiting fees). The company does not “need” to be “held accountable” whatsoever. The company is the client of Uber, not the other way around, and the client gets to call the shots.

              Solution to this “problem” is very, very simple. OP calls her Uber and gets in when it arrives. OP’s colleague can call her own Uber. Problem solved.

              Reply
            2. AMPG

              Especially considering this is a non-profit. I often get frustrated by the way non-profits are expected to make miracles happen for no money, but unnecessary Uber fees really are wasteful.

              Reply
          3. Liane

            I call it a Work Issue whether it’s OP’s name, the company name, or Leona Helmsley on the account. “I cannot concentrate on my job while Leona is screaming at someone. It will soon be impossible to get Ubers for Company Business because no driver will pick up rides from/to Company Address.”

            Reply
      2. Anony

        I would probably refuse to use my Uber account for work any more and explain that her behavior is affecting my rating.

        Reply
        1. sap

          Yep. At the least, after giving her one immediate, in-person comment about Uber rudeness, I’d explicitly tell both her and my boss that I would no longer use my personal Uber account for work rides *with her.* If that’s a problem, my company could talk to her and stop the rudeness or give me a company phone for a separate Uber account that she can trash without affecting my off-hours ability to get around.

          Reply
  3. Autumnheart

    Calling her out in the moment, “Wow, that’s really rude. You shouldn’t talk to people that way who are trying to help you,” would go a long way in making her aware that her behavior is unacceptable.

    Reply
        1. Turtle Candle

          Yeah, I’m afraid that it only reinforces the “service workers are a grotesque underclass” thing for people like this. They won’t stop being rude, they’ll just start interrogating their waiters and examining their food even more.

          Reply
      1. Dweali

        As someone who used to work in the service industry…please stop perpetuating the “tampering with food” issue. The vast majority of service (both front and back of house) workers are professional enough to never do something like this and regardless of how publicized the stories are it actually is a rare thing for people to screw with a customer’s food order.

        Reply
        1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

          Yes, agree wholeheartedly. No one that I know of has ever tampered with guests’ food. Anyone who did would be called out and probably fired. No decent restaurant is going to risk their reputation over something like this.

          Reply
          1. Laura

            Me three. I’ve worked in very good places and have friends who run very popular and well-reviewed restaurants, all of ’em starting out as chefs. Never ever seen this happen and if it did you’d be fired immediately.

            Reply
            1. Ego Chamber

              I’ve worked in very grimy places and have friends who also started at the bottom (and some who are still at the bottom), and I’ve never seen food tampering either. The worst I saw was when someone found a dead rat in the Pizza Hut kitchen, so they dipped it in garlic butter and ran it through the oven—BUT THEY DIDN’T PUT IT ON ANYONE’S PIZZA OR ANYTHING.

              Reply
        2. Antilles

          Yes. Quite frankly, even if the worker is so offended that they’d LIKE to get revenge…they still won’t spit in your food, because messing with someone’s food is a fire-on-sight level offense. Also, in most kitchens nowadays (where food is either prepared in front of you and/or there are like five people around at all times), it’s logistically hard to pull off.

          Reply
        3. Aleta

          Yup, even when I worked at an extremely thankless Jimmy John’s and got a lot of verbal abuse from customers, we still didn’t f with their food, cause WE AREN’T THEM. We vented, but privately in the back.

          Reply
        4. Anion

          Yes. I’ve been waitstaff/bartending staff in several places, and never saw anyone actually mess with a customer’s food or drink no matter how awful the customer was.

          We refused to do them any favors, certainly (no free extras, stuff like that), but not only would we just not do that, the way the kitchens and dining areas were set up there would literally be no way to do it unnoticed.

          Reply
    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Agreed—calling out in the moment is ideal, if not shortly thereafter.

      I’ve also gently asked someone, “Hey, are you all right?” And if they said “No, why?” (a common response), I usually follow up with, “You were really rude to [our driver / the waitress / the bellhop]. That’s not like you.” Sometimes appealing to a person’s (positive) view of themself can be jarring enough to get them to be more thoughtful. I reserve this for people who I care about, though.

      If someone’s a generally rude person, however, then I agree that a frank, “Wow, that’s really rude” is best.

      Reply
      1. KitKat

        Yes, I’ve totally used the “are you ok/is everything ok?” line as an opening to a difficult conversation! You do have to muster a genuinely concerned tone though for it to be effective.

        Reply
    2. Snark

      Gotta be shorter and snappier. “Wow, that was really rude.” “Wow, you’re being really short with her.” “Yikes, your tone was really rude just then.”

      Reply
      1. Turtle Candle

        I’ve had really good luck with, “You sounded really sharp with her, did you mean it that way?” Most of the time this embarrasses people into correcting their behavior while still allowing them to save face–which is useful not because they ‘deserve’ to have face saved, but because they’re less likely to dig in their heels out of pure stubbornness if they have an out. (I.e., it’s not “for” them, it’s to help ensure that they actually do improve their behavior.) And of course, though it doesn’t seem to be the case here, sometimes someone really doesn’t know they’re being snarly; they have an unusually strident voice, or they had a bad day or a headache, and they appreciate the heads-up that it’s leaking.

        Once in a blue moon–rarely, but sometimes–someone will say something like “that’s how you have to talk to people if you want them to behavior properly” or “they’re paid to deal with me” or (worst of all) “that’s the only thing People Like That understand” (which often has racial in addition to classist undertones), to which I have had good luck with an absolutely glacial, “I think that’s inappropriate. Please do not do it when I am in the car/at the restaurant with you.” It probably does nothing for their private life, but repeating the glacial, “I don’t appreciate that. Please stop when you’re out with me” as necessary at least puts a damper on it when I’m there.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          Sort of like the “if I can’t threaten them with a crappy tip, how will servers know to give me good service” guy.

          Reply
          1. NW Mossy

            Granted, That Guy probably does struggle getting the respect generally afforded to decent human beings, but it stems from That Guy failing to be decent, not some failing on the part of everyone else to be insufficiently cowed.

            Reply
  4. Specialk9

    I judge so much of a person’s character based on how they treat people with little power. Janitors, gardeners, taxi drivers, waiters, checkout clerks, etc. Spitting down the socioeconomic ladder is a deep moral failing.

    Reply
    1. Naptime Enthusiast

      “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person” – Dave Barry, according to Google.

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        Good quote!

        Similar ones:

        “A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate.” – Paul Eldridge, 1948

        “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” – Dear Abby, 1974

        Reply
        1. Fiennes

          And the moment Elizabeth Bennet begins to truly reevaluate Darcy isn’t when she sees Pemberley—but when one of Darcy’s servants says she’s never had a cross word from him. Nothing is said explicitly, because Austen assumes you understand that someone kind to those he has power over is a genuinely decent human being.

          Reply
          1. Indoor Cat

            I love that especially, because it shows both Darcy and Elizabeth’s character– and why they’re ultimately so great together!

            I’m not, generally speaking, a huge romance fan, but I love Austen’s work, and I think that gets to the heart of why: her books are about the nuances and depths and intimacies of how people are together, and how people treat each other, and the honorability of the good characters has broader implications than simply making the leads more attractive. I could hear the Dave Barry quote a hundred times, but stories like ‘Pride & Prejudice’ really make it hit home.

            Reply
      2. JanetM

        Huh. I was all ready to reply that the waiter quote was from Swanson’s _33 Rules of Management_, but when I double-checked, it came up that he plagiarized it from Barry. I have learned something today; thank you.

        Reply
      3. ss

        Long ago I read in an interviewing tip that a good way to test candidates is to take them to lunch as part of the interview…. you can see how they treat the waitstaff. If they treat them badly, you can be sure they will treat coworkers that they deem “beneath them” the same way.

        Reply
        1. Damn it, Hardison!

          Also, see how they treat the admin staff who make arrangements for the interview, if applicable. I was told that was part of why I got a job offer – I was the only candidate who acknowledged and thanked the admin who made all of my travel arrangements. The organization was big on culture fit.

          Reply
    2. Detective Amy Santiago

      So very much this.

      I have an aunt who I hated going out to eat with because she inevitably found something to complain about and it was embarrassing.

      Reply
    3. kittymommy

      Yep, same. And I judge the places I do business with as well. I would not be surprised if this effects any clients who witness this.

      Reply
    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Same. I have declined to hire people based on how they treated people they saw as “beneath” them. And I’ve had my butt saved multiple times by all of those folks. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic courtesy, respect, and dignity.

      Reply
      1. Justme

        I don’t think that everyone realizes how much is done by admin and janitorial staff. They make things happen and run smoothly. I also judge people who are rude to those workers in particular.

        Reply
          1. Turtle Candle

            Yep. We had a janitor who was “just” a janitor (scare quotes deliberate, he wasn’t “just” anything, but you know what I mean), in the sense that he didn’t have any direct control over anything likely to affect a given employee. But those of us who’d been there a while knew that he was valuable simply because he was a human being, a good guy. The fastest possible way to burn social capital at that office was to be dismissive or mean to him–because it really shows character in a big way.

            This wasn’t a secret test or anything like that. But if you’re nice to me (because you perceive me as valuable) and not to Jim (because you perceive him as not valuable) then that is going to color my every perception of you forever more as an unkind, untrustworthy person.

            Reply
        1. circlecitybelle

          If I had a nickel for every time an administrative or custodial staff member has made my job easier, I could probably retire today. Two of my great-uncles were public school custodians after they retired from military service and factory/plant work, and to me, every person that holds that job is loved by and/or depended on by someone. I treat them with the same respect I treat our chancellor at my university.

          Reply
      2. AllDogsArePuppies

        PCBH – your comment reminds me of the lady who wrote here upset that the CEO’s wife stopped her from gettign a job after she was rude to her on the train, and thought it was unfair.

        Good for you for taking human dignity into account. Decency matters in who you decide to have to spend 8 hours a day with.

        Reply
      3. Liane

        There are a number of stories–some on AAM–about people who have lost out on jobs because either a Hiring Manager/C-Suite found out they’d been rude to the receptionist/admin/custodian or they mistook a VIP for a receptionist/admin/custodian.

        Reply
    5. Anon anon anon

      Yes! That and whether people drive in a way that endangers others. I hope this isn’t too much of a tangent, but I’ve noticed the two often go together. Disregard for other people when there are no immediate tangible consequences. Service workers have to be polite when they’re working. They can’t be rude back or call the management unless it’s really egregious. (Ok, to be fair there are service jobs where you have more power to decline service to difficult people, but those are rare and becoming less common.)

      Reply
      1. JM60

        I think both cases are very revealing. If you’re usually refraining from being rude only because there are consequences for you, that says a lot about your character.

        Reply
        1. Anon anon anon

          Exactly. And that attitude usually spills onto the people who are somehow stuck with that person – family, co-workers, neighbors, long term romantic partners, and so on.

          Reply
        2. Mints

          Yeah, I appreciate the “The receptionist can prevent you from getting hired sentiment” but I just always relate to people in service jobs. I used to do them, and I have lots of family who used to or still do them. It’s just empathy for fellow people

          Reply
    6. I'm A Little TeaPot

      You can tell a lot about a person based on how they treat the vulnerable and defenseless. That includes children, elderly, animals, and anyone “below” you in society. And yes, I will (and have) take your behavior into consideration when interacting with you.

      Reply
    7. HS Teacher

      I went on my only date with a woman who was lovely to me but horrible to every service person we encountered that evening. At the end of the night, she asked if I’d like to see her again, and I told her, “I couldn’t possibly date someone who’s so horrible to people they consider ‘beneath’ them.” You should’ve seen her jaw drop. Clearly no one had ever called her out on that crap.

      Reply
    8. Bleeborp

      There is a restaurant where I live that specifically helps young adults who have been in the juvenile justice system learn restaurant industry skills so they can get on a better path. All the employees work all the jobs- bus and wait tables but also prepare the food, it’s a very cool concept. BUT this does affect the service- it’s a fairly fancy restaurant but the service can be slow and imperfect. I’ve thought it would be a great place for a first date because you would really get a good idea of both the other person’s patience and treatment of others!

      Reply
  5. Jam Today

    I would launch every person who is habitually rude to service workers into the sun in a heartbeat (I exempt people who are for whatever reason at the end of their tether in a single moment, and its usually easy to tell who is in a crisis and who is just a bog-standard a-hole). Its such utterly contemptible behavior. I’ve made a point in the past to find a manager or coworker and let them know that one of their staff is being abused or offer an uninvolved-third-party support, and once or twice stepped in when it seemed like it wouldn’t make things worse, to try and get No-Manners McJerkface to zip it.

    I’m continually astonished at how the “upper class” loves to display their economic station like its a virtue, but when it comes time to behave in public, doesn’t actually have any manners.

    Reply
    1. Anion

      I’ve done that, too, called a manager or pulled them aside to say, “In case you get a complaint about Employee, I was there and this is what actually happened.” (Or, “I saw that customer complain about Employee, and this is what actually happened–it wasn’t Employee’s fault.”)

      Reply
      1. Detective Amy Santiago

        I spoke up in front of someone who was being rude to our shared server because we were seated at the next table. He demanded to speak with the manager and told a bucket of lies and I spoke up and said “That’s not what happened.” My mom was mortified, but I felt like it was the right thing to do.

        Reply
        1. ss

          I did the same thing… I ride a commuter bus that goes from office buildings to the commuter train station. A woman got on that was obviously running late and was worried about getting to her train. She stood behind the bus driver and literally shrieked and screamed at him for not gunning the engine and running red lights. He was driving the speed limit and obeying traffic laws. Once we finally arrived, she got off while screaming profanities at the driver and yelling that she was going to report him to the bus company. I got home and immediately contacted the bus company and gave them the name of the driver, the bus number, and the time of the incident and told them exactly what occurred and let them know that I’d be happy to be contacted again if they needed any followup if she did file a complaint.

          Reply
        2. Emalia

          Good for you. I wish I had done that on an airplane ride years ago (before smart phones). A couple hadn’t bought a seat for their child, but brought a car seat on the plane anyway for the child. When the flight attendant asked about it, they told her she was endangering their child’s life by not allowing the car seat on the plane and in the spare seat next to them. There was a long exchange where the parents repeatedly demeaned the flight attendant.
          I still regret not saying something.
          OP–please do yourself a favor and say something.

          Reply
        3. Kimberly

          I stopped at my grocery store (24 hours at the time) at 6 am to get something I needed for class. This woman came in screaming bloody murder about something she had bought. It was from the center aisle so not something they prepared in the deli or bakery. She was furious and trying to physically intimidate the lady in charge and demanding she call in an actual manager. The lady in charge of the store during that time got her to leave.

          I was a teacher and really couldn’t call during the day, but I stopped by on my way home. I told the manager on duty what happened and how impressed I was with the way their employees handled it. They asked me to put it in writing for the district manager and told me that the other customers that witnessed the incident had either called or come by. The crazy return lady was banned from the store. The manager did tell me that the issue was the product had been recalled the day before. They had already pulled it from the shelves but the crazy lady had bought a week before the before the recall went out. I know from experience they post signs at the door and on the shelves if something is recalled. If you use their loyalty card and something is recalled a warning gets printed on your receipt. I bought some flour that was recalled for cross contamination a month later and got a warning on my receipt after the recall and a phone call.

          Reply
        4. Kate 2

          THANK YOU! Truly and sincerely from the bottom of my heart.

          It was SO the right thing to do. If you are lucky you get a good manager who trusts you, but if you are unlucky there is absolutely no one coming to your defense.

          I used to work in retail and I had customers who would insult me (fat, ugly, stupid, etc) in front of other customers. I have a pretty thick skin, but it was still upsetting that not a single person was ever willing to step up and say “You’re an awful person, stop saying those things!”.

          You should never, ever be mortified about being a decent human being. Would you be mortified if you saw someone kicking a helpless animal? Because that’s how I often felt, trapped in a low-paying job, unable to defend myself unless I wanted to get fired.

          Reply
          1. Anion

            Oh, that is awful! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. FWIW, I would have definitely spoken up (and have spoken up, in the past–not only as a customer, but as a dispatcher for a food delivery service I once banned a customer for insulting an overweight driver. She returned in tears, and I called them immediately to say I hoped they enjoyed their meal because it was the last one they’d ever get from us).

            My mother’s temper and temperament did not often suit her to motherhood, but after seeing her make grown men almost twice her size cower, I certainly learned how to speak up and not be afraid.

            Reply
      2. Sigh

        I actually got a free meal for doing this- the manager was so grateful to have a more neutral person be like “hey, this is what I heard” that we got our food comped! She said it helps her when logging issues to corporate to be able to say that a bystander supported the employee’s version of events and helps reduce the impact it could have on the employee.

        Reply
        1. SilverRadicand

          It absolutely helps! I am a customer service manager and when I have a bystander who can say what happened, it makes it so much easier for me to be certain of my employee’s behavior and so much easier for me to defend them if corporate or my boss should call. It puts to rest my concerns and actually can turn a complaint into a compliment for a service worker who did what they should in a really tough situation.

          Reply
    2. GG Two shoes

      This reminds me of a moment I had on my solo vacay a year ago. I was eating at a restaurant by myself people watching (as you do) and was seated very near a loud group of an older couple with 6 other adults. They were fine until the food came out and the eldest woman screamed at the waiter and demanded to see the cook. The family looked annoyed with the mom but didn’t say anything. She met with the manager who she also yelled at all because her food was warm and not hot. Because there were 8 of them, they waited to serve the food when they were all ready. She was being horrible and calling them names. He was also my waiter so when I was done with my meal, he got a 100% tip and a note of appreciation.

      Reply
      1. blackcat

        Yeah, my dad once left a $200 tip after we watched our poor (quite young) waitress get berated by an asshole. She was doing a fine job! But the asshole made the poor woman cry. It was a slow night, so the lack of tip from one of her 3 tables could have been a significant deal.

        I was raised in a wealthy household (not trust-fund level, but the level of my parents can shell out for private school + college without any financial stress level), and I was consistently taught to be kind to service people and people in lower-level jobs in general. Even besides the whole “be a good person” aspect, treating others well is likely to result in *you* being treated better. There’s even a selfish reason to not be an asshole!

        Reply
        1. Penny Lane

          I agree with you. In my experience, “old money” families teach their children to have impeccable manners and be gracious to everyone from janitor to CEO. It’s the wannabes who think that it’s cool to be rude to the waitstaff (etc).

          Reply
          1. memyselfandi

            I was coming here to say the same thing. This has been my experience in a lot of different arenas. It is the second tier folks who are rude. The people who are at the top – academics, business, whatever – are the nicest.

            Reply
            1. Indoor Cat

              Eh, I think there are too many exceptions for this to be a decent rule of thumb.

              Kind/mean/polite/rude come in different flavors in different cultures and socioeconomic classes, but when push comes to shove, it’s down to the individual to choose how they treat other people.

              Like, I was raised almost exactly middle class– 2 cars, beach vacation in the summer but not Disney World, college encouraged but let’s think “state school” or “transfer from community college after two years”, no danger of going into debt from medical expenses or costs of living and each kid gets their own room, but also clothes come from WalMart or secondhand / overstock stores and while Dad has a computer for work, kids need to use the library or school to write papers (until I was in high-school, when we finally got the previous-to-the-latest model of desktop).

              Most of my friends were also middle class, or “lower middle” or “upper middle.” Generally their parents worked somewhere in either academia, in the healthcare field, or for the government. Nobody was vice president of the university or a brain surgeon or a senator, but neither was anyone a perpetual adjunct, an LPN or EMT, or an entry-level post office clerk. So, middle class, middle of their field, nobody worked in a factory, customer service, food service, or retail.

              Aaaaand none of that had any bearing on how they (or we) treated people, whether they were waiters or staff at our school or other kids we found annoying or disliked. It didn’t even, necessarily, reflect on our parents’ values– some of my friends had rude parents who perpetually embarrassed their unfailingly polite kids, and vice-versa.

              How people react to being in the middle of a hierarchical structure, whether it’s a hospital or a government office, varies so widely. Some people seem to be jealous of higher ups, and cling to the power they have over the “lower downs,” wielding it whenever they can. Other people remember what it was like to be in that exact position, or hope for good treatment from their own higher ups, or were just raised decent, and so they try to exercise politeness, patience, and generosity whenever they can.

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                There’s a distinct behavior set that ‘nouveau riche’ tend toward, though. Being rude to those lower on the ladder is one. My guess has been that new money is guessing how old money acts, without actually knowing anyone from old money. My observations, from the edges of that social set.

                Reply
                1. Specialk9

                  I’ve been reading through the comments, and have been struck by the people pointing out that this old money vs new money thing is actually classism, and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny to anyone who knows history. I’m going to think about that good and hard. I think there’s some strong truth there.

          2. TootsNYC

            I remember reading a novel in which the child of landed nobility was dressed down by her mother for making and leaving a mess for the downstairs maid to clean up. “She’s not hear to clean up your messes” or something similar.

            That struck me–that even when it was the person’s job to clean up after you, you aren’t supposed to just walk off and leave a mess behind.

            Reply
            1. Collarbone High

              I saw a woman in a local cafe ask the cashier for a broom to sweep up the mess her toddler son had made. The cashier told her no, that’s our job, and she replied that she didn’t want her son getting the idea that it was OK to just make a huge mess and leave it for someone else to clean up.

              They politely declined to give her the broom, so she settled for having her son thank them for cleaning up, and several customers complimented her on raising her kid to be respectful of service workers.

              Reply
              1. You're Not My Supervisor

                I get down on my hands and knees and pick up the cereal puffs my toddler drops all over the floor when we eat out. Waiters who have seen me do this are always surprised, but I’ve worked in food service. I don’t need to make their job any harder, and my son does drop a ton of crap on the floor… more than a reasonable amount to be expected from the average diner.

                Reply
            2. the gold digger

              When I was a kid, my dad was stationed at an air force base abroad where even military people could afford household help. We had a cleaning lady once a week and I thought I was off the hook for cleaning my room.

              Nope. “She’s here to help me,” my mom said, “not you. You clean your own room.”

              Reply
              1. Jo

                Yup, when I worked in a conflict zone and had to live in the organisation’s guesthouse, it was the norm for a cleaner to be employed to keep both the office and the guesthouse clean. I usually would rush around my room picking it up before I left for the office because while it was the cleaner’s job to actually clean the room (e.g., cleaning up the insane amount of dust that accumulated virtually overnight), I felt bad making her pick up after me so I always made sure to clean up my own messes and just leave the basics for her to do.

                I did eventually cave and start leaving my breakfast dishes in the sink because she always looked so hurt when she arrived early and caught me as I was washing them :P

                Reply
          3. Justin

            I am sadly recognizing some bad habits from my dad that I had to take pains to work against. He also came from little and rose, and I had to unlearn it. It would have helped if someone had told me – a date once did and I was astounded, but she was right, and I’m still kind of ashamed (I wasn’t cruel, just thoughtless instead of thoughful). For whatever reason, my mom is more like me, never outwardly rude but occasionally too focused on reading a magainze or whatever to look up. (But we tip well and thank, just have to remind ourselves to take pains to behave in other ways).

            So yes, please do tell. If she cares to listen she’ll be receiving a great gift, not even mentioning your own Uber rating.

            Reply
            1. TL -

              My dad also came from nothing and rose and I have never seen him be rude to a server/janitor/admin assist. He doesn’t tip well (SIGH) but being a jerk to someone in a server position isn’t a marker of class.

              Reply
          4. PB

            Oh goodness, yes. My family is somewhat nouveau riche. I say “somewhat,” because we’re really not that rich, but my parents didn’t get the message. My stepmother has had to train my father on being kind to waitstaff, because he’d regularly embarrass her when they were out together.

            Reply
          5. Turtle Candle

            Sometimes yes, sometimes know. I’ve known old money families who have beautiful manners, and old money families who are demanding and who refuse to tip waiters on principle. Like everything, it’s the person more than the role that matters.

            Reply
          6. Agnodike

            That popular myth that “old money” or people at the very top of whatever ladder are kind and genteel, while the next rung down are rude and ignorant, is rooted in the classist idea that the upper classes are better people than those who are ambitious to rise above their social station. It’s a way of maintaining the social status quo and could stand some more careful interrogation. I’ve certainly known plenty of rude and entitled trust fund kids, CEOs, etc., and if you widened your sample size a little I think you probably would too.

            Reply
            1. Fiennes

              I don’t think it’s that the upper classes are supposed to be “better” — it’s because these kind of rude displays to servers tend to suggest a very crude, petty power play. The person who’s rude to a service worker is generally trying to make the most of this temporary power over someone else. The idea would be that “old money,” while being no better fundamentally than anybody else, is less likely to feel like they have to demonstrate power or authority in this way. They have grown up with a certain level of security and/or elitism that doesn’t have to be backed up by berating a waiter.

              In some ways I think this often holds true. However, insecurity raises its ugly head in many ways for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with your net worth.

              And I think it’s worth remembering that this kind of thing is almost *always* rooted in that kind of power play. This tells you how that person will behave if they ever feel they need to asset power over you.

              Reply
              1. Turtle Candle

                I think what I disagree with is the idea that old money are somehow above or exempt from being crude or petty. Those seem to me to be character traits more than anything else, and as often borne from a sense of entitlement as from one of insecurity, and it has not been my experience that old money has fewer people with those negative character traits than new money or for that matter the middle-class or poor. Even if you’re using a very old definition of old money, you can find 18th and 19th century memoirs and novels about the landed aristocracy in which they are crude or petty or both or worse.

                People who have a disposition to crudeness or pettiness don’t just do it because they need to, or because their position is precarious. They often also do it thoughtlessly, or for pleasure, or just because they can. And if they have other privileges, they’re more likely to be able to get away with it, too. I don’t think it’s just the insecurity of being nouveau riche that makes it come out–I think some people just enjoy, or feel entitled to, acting that way.

                Reply
              2. Agnodike

                It’s been my experience that the amount of power someone has is not always proportional to the extent to which they feel their power is threatened. That’s why we get raging CEOs who are offended at the tiniest slight from the lowliest employee, or people of inestimable wealth who are constantly coming up with ever more convoluted tax dodges. I think the flaw in your assumption is that the *fact* that people who come from old money are securely on the right side of a power differential will necessarily translate to their *feeling* secure in that power.

                Reply
            2. Turtle Candle

              Yeah, I agree with this. The idea that the “real” old money (cough cough the nobility) are the good ones, and it’s the gauche new money that are nasty, is pure and simple classism. It’s the idea of noblesse oblige, which rarely works out the way it’s theoretically supposed to. The truth of the matter is that there’s a long history of people in power–whoever they are–taking advantage of people with less power than them.

              I understand the desire to take someone down a notch by saying, “Well she’s probably not real Old Money, she’s probably nouveau riche, because she’s acting so declasse,” but honestly, real Old Money can be entitled, rude brats too. Being born to the purple doesn’t, in fact, actually make you a kind or generous or polite person. It can, it can also not.

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                I do think calling someone nouveau riche is a way to take them down a peg. These are really good points about the classism inherent in this argument.

                Reply
          7. Laura

            I’ve seen a great deal of aristos behave very badly to wait staff, too. Posh people can be truly awful in this regard.

            Reply
          8. blackcat

            Eh, I think it varies. Because of the circles my father runs in, I have interacted with the younger generations of some uber wealthy families (like 0.01% types, not 1%ers like my family). Some are nice, some are really, really terrible, even within the same family.

            My dad’s upbringing was upper middle class and his siblings now basically span working class to 1%er rich. His one sister who is also wealthy is terrible to waitstaff and people who she views as lesser. The rest of us in my generation have tried to teach her kids (our cousins) not to be like her. They were raised by the same parents, but his parents had more money by the time aunt was born, so she never worked the types of summer jobs my dad did (he was a bellhop for several summers).

            I’ve also noticed that there’s often a layer of racial dynamics to it. My aunt, for example, is brusk but not outright rude to white waitstaff, but really terrible to hispanic waitstaff.

            Reply
          9. Safetykats

            Yes. My grandmother, who was old money, always said that in general old money was raised to have manners and a sort of understated style. She felt you could always identify new money by the lack thereof.

            Of course there are exceptions to every rule.

            Reply
          10. Liane

            Yes, I was kind of surprised to see that OP’s co-irker (Who I called Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean in another reply) was “old money.”

            Reply
      2. Detective Amy Santiago

        Oh, hey, I think that might have been my aunt! Or at least that’s the same crap she used to pull. But then she’d also complain if they brought out the food as it was ready because some people would be eating before others. It was literally a no one situation.

        Reply
    3. Anon anon anon

      Exactly. You don’t have good manners if being rude to those with less power is part of the picture. Treat everyone with respect, or the way you would like to be treated. That’s the most fundamental rule of the manners / good behavior thing.

      Reply
    4. Turtle Candle

      Also, people who are at the end of their tether in the moment often apologize afterwards–that’s a great way to tell the difference. I was in college and someone came into my dorm apartment to fix something and accidentally left the water turned off, which meant that when I got home from my job at 10pm there was no water, and no way for me to turn it on, and therefore no toilet and shower. I had to forego showering and go down four flights to the lobby to use the toilet. In the moment, I left an unnecessarily sharp–not rude, but more angry than the situation merited–message on the utilities answering machine.

      But when the nice person manning the desk called back the next day, I said, “I’m sorry I was so short earlier. I know that mistakes happen, and it wasn’t your fault in any case.” And… she was really surprised that I apologized! But it was the right thing to do: yes, leaving the water off was a goof on their part, but everyone goofs once in a while, and being rude about it didn’t help anything.

      We all screw up. It’s the people who feel justified in their meanness that bug me.

      Reply
      1. Nolan

        Back when I worked retail tech support, I once had a customer who’d been very mean to me in the store actually call in after he’d cooled off to apologize. I was floored, people never apologized to us, even when they had to come back and actually face us, so him calling in from home when there was no need for further contact was pretty amazing. But, in my five years and seven stores at that job, that was the only time I ever saw that happen.

        Reply
    5. LCL

      It’s not just people considered upper class. The worst offender I knew personally was a dear friend, who grew up very poor. That’s how she was taught that you speak to waiters and waitresses. And since she was so poor she never went out growing up, she believed it. I was able to model good behavior without saying anything to her and she picked up on it, but that was because she was almost as frustrated by the servers as the servers were with her. Now that I think of it, my Dad who grew up poor could be the same way if he was having a bad day.

      Reply
    6. Kuododi

      I genuinely do my best to be friendly and polite with service providers and as a rule am known to over tip. The one situation that I confess turns me into a rage filled howler monkey is dealing with my health insurance. I’m currently fighting with them about coverage for one of my medication they are saying is not “medically necessary”. Grrr!!! It’s not like I am trying to get opioids!!! Just anti nausea meds.

      Reply
  6. Specialk9

    The shouting though, sounds like it could be about deafness. My FIL is partly deaf, and gets very loud sometimes by accident, and without knowing what was happening could come across as angry. He’s such a kind sweet hearted man that I think people figure it out. (Not the case for the OP’s co-worker.) My approach is to mime turning down a volume knob (a negotiated signal that he’s ok with). With others, I give them a heads up so they know his shouting is physical, not emotional.

    Reply
    1. Pardon?

      This is the only part I’d be careful about mentioning. I’m partially deaf, with 60% loss in my left ear. Depending on a variety of factors including background noise, my position in relation to others and many other environmental differences I can find it very hard to regulate my volume and tone. I also can often end up repeating myself and asking others to repeat themselves to confirm that things are being understood, I find a lot of people will be very quiet when confirming that they’ve heard something and as a result it can muddy conversation. I frequently have people ask me to stop shouting or lower my voice, I usually have no idea that I am being loud.

      I expect that the hearing loss is a factor here, I just think the key would be to focus on the content of what the coworker is saying and ignore any issues with volume or tone. They are likely, at least in part, out of her hands. Instead the words she is using and the other behaviour that she has control over are the issue.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        The deafness is almost more of a reason to be scrupulously polite in content, I would think. If someone is shouting reasonably polite or kind things, I’m far more likely to think “hearing loss” or at least be puzzled by the shouting, rather than assuming they are shouting rude things because they are an asshole.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Oh definitely, the coworker is a crap person. It’s just undermining the argument to throw in a disability-related behavior in with unkind person behaviors.

          Reply
      2. UberOP

        OP Here, totally agreed. I do think her volume is in part due to her deafness, and it’s not something I would mention.

        Reply
        1. Perse's Mom

          I wonder if you could have a gentle conversation with her in re: which situations are particularly difficult for her. If she’s pretty open with you about her hearing loss, she might appreciate a subtle heads up (a negotiated signal of some kind, as specialk9 mentions using with her dad) or even to hand over certain conversations to you.

          But if she has a track record of being defensive or denialish (‘I am not shouting!’ when she is, in fact, shouting), that probably would not go over well.

          Reply
    2. Cheshire Cat

      The shouting could be due to deafness, but not necessarily. Does co-worker shout at clients, or her boss? Does she tend to shout at anyone in certain situations (lots of background noise, etc.)? If she shouts at you while you’re in the same car, or she shouts at clients, then it could be her deafness. If not, she’s probably just being rude.

      Reply
    3. INTP

      I agree with this. I would not publicly reprimand her for shouting, I think that would be a pretty jerky move to be honest – that would essentially be embarrassing her for having a disability. Ideally the coworker would be aware of her shouting and say “I’m sorry if I’m loud, I have hearing loss” so people know not to take it personally but I don’t know that it’s OP’s place to jump in and say that. However, the chronic lateness to Uber pickups and excessive complaining and demandingness at restaurants are separate issues (without which the shouting probably wouldn’t be as big of an issue). I think it would be fair to refuse to order an Uber until she’s ready and waiting in the pickup spot, or speak to her privately about how she might be perceived for ordering off-menu or flagging servers rudely.

      Reply
  7. CatCat

    I would have some questions about why fines are racking up if I had to approve these expenses.

    If I were OP, I would not continue to Uber with the coworker. Does Uber have corporate accounts or something OP could suggest to the employer?

    I would not keep using my personal account if it’s going to negatively impact my personal life by making it hard to get needed rides.

    Reply
    1. Red 5

      This does seem like something worth addressing as a work issue, if nothing else. Management shouldn’t be allowing her to do things that are costing them extra money through unprofessional behavior (being late, or whatever it is, I don’t uber so I’m not sure).

      Remember the letter writer who got in trouble for ordering extra guacamole with her lunch? Where are those bean counters in this situation?

      And yes to thinking about getting a secondary uber account for work rides. Again, I don’t uber so I don’t know how hard it would be, but it seems like an easy way to keep it all partitioned and dealt with.

      But in the end also the coworker does need a talking to for just being a rude jerk.

      Reply
  8. Ramona Flowers

    This will also be reflecting very badly on your non-profit. How many potential supporters might be put off because they know someone who knows someone who got a bad first impression? It most definitely does happen.

    Reply
    1. Gen

      Yes I wasn’t just going to add that. I once witnessed a very entitled banker get taken down a peg when his boss stopped him mid-rant at a waitress and pointed out that he was representing the company. If you want to be a jerk in personal time fine but your behaviour in public when representing your company reflects on that company. There are rumours of one of the ride share companies heavily mining their data, if your company is getting all these fines that might affect their service going forward. Long before the days of apps our branch stopped getting taxis from two different companies due to abrasive behaviour from staff, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened now with better technology

      Reply
      1. GRA

        When you work for a non-profit you are ALWAYS representing the organization. You don’t get to be a jerk “in personal time”.

        Reply
        1. Turtle Candle

          I learned this early, when I was a teenager bagging groceries in a small town grocery store. One of the people who was a regular reliably made demands, made derogatory remarks about where we bought our clothes (okay, I don’t love Wal-Mart either, but it was what I could afford on a grocery bagging “salary”!), criticized us bitterly for not carrying more organic produce (but when we said that they needed to take it up with the manager because we couldn’t do anything about it, refused)….

          …and then, later, all smiles, came in to try to get us to vote for her on the city council.

          As if we had all forgotten the foregoing. Well: I suspect she had forgotten, as we were nobodies and passed out of her mind as soon as she had left the building. But we hadn’t. It irritated me because politically I mostly agreed with her… but oh, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for someone who treated me, personally, like trash.

          If you are in a public position of any kind, you have to be careful about that kind of thing.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            You’re kidding me. A politician should have learned to smile in public to everyone who has a vote, out of pragmatism if nothing else!

            Reply
  9. Observer

    In addition to what Alison said, you may want to bring this to management if people know who you work for. Non-profits live and die by public perception. Allowing the image of the organization to become that of “snotty, arrogant, rude rich person who is better than everyone else” is NOT a good thing for the organization.

    Reply
  10. The Coffee Cup

    “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
    – Sirius Black on Barty Crouch Sr.

    Inferior only in a contextual service and position of power sense, of course…

    Reply
  11. V-Rex

    I’m a Uber/Lyft driver part time, definitely take care of this before she gets you kicked off a platform by doing something way over the top. Most rideshare drivers are understanding, but a few get satisfaction on following up on the worse riders and trying to get them kicked off the platform (tales from the rideshare facebook groups show you how petty people on both sides can get).

    Reply
  12. bookartist

    OP, I think you should give all of the advice a try, and completely agree with Alison that you are doing the world a favor by speaking in the moment, but I would not hold any expectation that your co-worker will pay attention. I would actually expect her to push back on you, and ignore your advice. Someone in an old-money family who lets you know that fact and who behaves as you describe is immune to correction from you.

    Reply
    1. Red 5

      Yeah, I would say it’s worth bringing it up and doing what you can about it, but in my experience this kind of behavior is very hard to change and you should be ready for a defensive pushback on it too. Not necessarily that you shouldn’t say something, but be prepared for that outcome.

      I had a coworker who would always insist on ordering for everybody when we got delivery to the office. And she was really pushy and rude when she ordered. But we let it go for a long time until one day she was being pushy and the weather was bad, so one of us commented “I hope you give them a big tip for putting up with all of this today” and she said “what are you talking about? I don’t tip.”

      This led to a huge argument about the norms of tipping delivery people (she was from a country where tipping wasn’t comment, to her slight defense, but also she just kept repeating “they’re just doing their job, why do they deserve a tip? For walking in with a bag of food?”) and us discovering that the extra money we’d been throwing in for the tip had been mostly subsidizing her food purchases because she just would add in whatever was needed to finish the total. She tried to say they frequently got our orders wrong, that’s why she was so rude on the phone, and we told her that the lack of tip on huge multi-person orders was why we were getting bad service and that the entire office was getting a bad reputation and bad service because of her, but she wouldn’t budge.

      As a group we basically refused to let her handle the money after that (we couldn’t get her to stop placing the orders) and we all chipped in extra to cover her tip. But it was months later when I left that job, she was still insisting that “he’s just a driver, what does he get a tip for?”

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        I didn’t know about tipping delivery people, so I didn’t tip someone who brought me lunch at the office when I’d first moved to NYC. The receptionist let me have it, and I said, “I thought they got paid a salary!” I saw the “free delivery” and thought that the price was covered.

        No, she pointed out–in NYC, most delivery people ONLY get paid by the tips they get. Or, they did at the delis at that time. I confirmed it w/ the deli I’d ordered from.

        Reply
        1. Red 5

          *nod* Yeah, when I moved to the city, it was some of my first experiences with delivery because we just didn’t have it where I grew up. So I give people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t know sometimes. And if this woman had said “Oh, is that common for delivery people here?” I would say “oh, wacky cultural differences, aren’t they fun” but man, she dug in so hard on not tipping. She just would not understand that these people aren’t really getting paid because our system is so messed up. If we brought it up she would just go “well, that’s not my problem.”

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            I knew a woman who would go to a restaurant, not tip, and staunchly defend her not tipping by saying (out loud) that waiters should get better jobs, it’s their own faults and so they deserve to be stiffed.

            Which was bad enough, but she was a very very low ranking secretary, and the rest of us were senior managers who had decidedly NOT valued *her* worth as a human based on her paygrade. But we stopped inviting her out because that was so remarkably ugly of a sentiment.

            Reply
            1. Mrs. Fenris

              Oh man, yes. Fenris and I went out with a couple once, and when we were splitting the check, the husband matter of factly stated that he didn’t tip. Just didn’t. Didn’t understand why he should have to pay them extra for doing their job. Nobody paid him extra for doing HIS job. We argued with him in circles for a minute, then dropped it. We hung back at the table when we were leaving and quietly covered their part of the tip, since we are not jerks and we did plan on showing our faces there again sooner or later.

              Reply
            2. Chicken

              I HATE the tipping culture in the US. Everyone should earn a living wage, and tipping is a super shitty way to compensate workers for many, many reasons.

              I still tip generously because not doing so would hurt the people at the bottom and doesn’t affect the system.

              Anyone who doesn’t want to tip has the excellent option of not eating out, not using Uber/lyft/taxis, etc.

              Reply
      2. Iris Eyes

        I totally agree with your coworker on the tipping thing (but not on the being rude thing), it is ridiculous to pay separately for delivery when the company that sells the product is the one who delivers it. But unfortunately that is the way things are, so on the v. rare occasions I get something delivered I tip. I’m definitely more inclined to patronize businesses who don’t expect tipping and just pay a fair wage.

        Reply
        1. Red 5

          I actually do also agree that it’s a really stupid system and I wish I could opt out of it but still get delicious food. I wish everybody would just get paid a fair wage, tips feel broken to me on so many levels. But I try to remember that the employee didn’t design the system and they would probably change it if they could too. And then I tip like I’m supposed to : )

          Reply
      3. SS Express

        What a jerk. I’m from a no-tipping country, but a) I grew up with television and now have internet access, so I realise tipping is a thing in other cultures and b) even if I didn’t, if I moved to a new country and people TOLD me I should be tipping (or following some other cultural norm that was new to me) I’d effing do it.

        Actually, even in my country I do usually tip and I’ve also had the experience of my tip subsidising a companion’s meal instead of going to the staff! Now I either make sure I’m last to pay or I only cover the cost of my meal while we’re splitting the bill, then leave some extra cash afterwards.

        Reply
    2. Samata

      The wildest part about this story to me is that the few “old money” people I know….well, it was years before I found out they had money, or their great-grandparents had money or founded some major player in an industry 150 years ago, or whatever the case may be. They are some of the most t-shirt wearing, flip flopping, laid back generous people I know. I also realize this is a small sample size.

      The new money people I meet, the ones where the money only goes back one generation? They tell me all about their new money and their wonderful life of no worries and no need to work or career. And would 100% ignore advice the OP gives them, but I still think OP should try. There were some great scripts here.

      Reply
        1. essEss

          I remember long ago getting rear ended by a lady while I was driving in a ‘rich’ area of Boston. Despite her complaints, I made her wait until the police arrived so that they could write up the accident report. The officer asked for her license, and made a point of commenting out loud about the fact that her driver’s license actually had her birth year as ’00’ which was completely inaccurate. After she left, the officer told me that the reason she got away with not having her age on her license was because she was ‘old money’ in the area. I would have never believed that someone could get away with that on a government document but I was a witness to it.

          Reply
    3. Turtle Candle

      I think this is true, unfortunately. I would still push back simply for the benefit of the driver or waiter–it sucks less for them if someone else in the party is going ‘seriously dude?’ than if every acts like treating them like garbage is normal–and I’d definitely get the Ubers and other orders off your account (see if the company will do it; then they might push back when it turns out she’s tanking their ratings), but sometimes people like this just will. not. stop. Ever.

      Reply
  13. Lady Phoenix

    I would go ahead and stop lettig her use my uber. Change the password to kick her off.

    When she asks why, you can point put her rude behavior and how it has affected YOUR rating. If she needs an uber or taxi so badly, she can use her own damn account.

    Reply
    1. Lance

      She’s not directly using the account, though; she’s coming as a passenger to LW when LW calls in, which in turn reflects on LW.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        Another option then is to say, “If I’ve called the Uber, I am the only one who may talk to the driver. You have to be quiet. I am the customer, not you.”

        Reply
    2. Justme

      It’s not that rude coworker is using the LW’s account. It’s that they ride together and rude coworker is rude, which lowers the LW’s rating.

      Reply
      1. SallytooShort

        But how would they have her name if she wasn’t the one requesting the Uber? It has to be on her account.

        Reply
        1. Kyrielle

          Right. LW and RC (rude coworker) have to go somewhere together. LW requests the ride via their own account, RC is obnoxious to the driver, the driver notes that, the app penalizes LW.

          If RC has LW’s password, LW should change it – but I don’t think she does. I think LW just needs to refuse to use her account for work trips (at a minimum, when RC will also be a passenger).

          Reply
        2. LBK

          I’m assuming they’re riding together, presumably for work-related travel, not that the coworker is calling rides just for herself on the OP’s account.

          Reply
          1. UberOP

            Hi, OP here. Yes, it’s that I call it, and we ride together. She does not use my account on her own, thank God. We often go on visits to spread awareness in remote places public transit doesn’t go to, so we complete part of that trip with an Uber.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              Seriously? You’re going on what are essentially PR trips, and she’s being an obnoxious entitled brat? You REALLY need to call it, and kick it upstairs if it doesn’t work.

              You can’t “raise awareness” about your cause while treating people like trash. It simply doesn’t work. Even if your constituency is completely composed of “old money” types who she deigns to treat as equals and therefore worthy of common courtesy. Keep in mind that a lot of old money types would look at he behavior as extremely declasse.

              Reply
            2. sap

              Have you told her that you would like her to call the Ubers from now on because drivers are penalizing you for her behavior? I’d explicitly do that, probably looping my boss in on why. While solving the general rudeness is also worth doing, that should at least fix the most urgent issue of her tanking your personal stuff.

              Reply
              1. Turtle Candle

                Yeah, make it explicit. “My rating has been dropping since we started riding together. I want you to make the Uber requests on your account, or we can see about getting a company account.” And if she pushes back, take it to your boss.

                Reply
    3. Lady Phoenix

      I will correct the statement. For work trips, I would stop using a personal iber account and request for a business-only account. In the meantime, show your transactions to management and let them know your coworker is hurting your account and causing unncessary expenses. That should be top priority.

      As for her treatment of other service people, call her out on her shit. “That is no way to treat them.”

      Reply
  14. EA

    I was in a wedding last year, and it was a pretty bad experience. I was friends with the bride, the grooms family was an issue.

    The mother of the groom (the grooms family was paying for the wedding) was so rude to all of the wait staff at the wedding and rehearsal dinner. She YELLED at one waiter for filling the water glass too high, so a little water spilled over when she took a sip (I like to think she had to worry about melting, being a witch). My friend and her husband said nothing, no apologies, because you know, they take money from his family.

    Most of their friends (and me) judged them for this. Most of the people at the wedding and rehearsal dinner were HORRIFIED. The point of my story is that if you say something in the moment, a lot of people will be on your side. Most people find this behavior disgusting.

    Reply
  15. Mona Lisa

    This is why I feel like there should be some kind compulsory service industry work for all people. It’s important that we learn to empathize with those who are helping us through our lives.

    Reply
    1. Temperance

      As someone who has had all manner of service jobs, I would hate for this to be a thing. Can you imagine working with someone as entitled as LW’s coworker? It’s not as if service work would make her a kind, reasonable human. She’d still get to have that air of smug superiority because she doesn’t need the money.

      Reply
        1. animaniactoo

          Yes, Temperance’s point is that working in the service industry would not do one thing to correct that, because the mindset would be “whatever, I don’t need this job/to put up with this/they can go stuff themselves”.

          It means absolutely nothing unless you are essentially *forced* to be in and keep that position in order to survive for whatever reason. It’s the second part that convinces you that people should be nicer to those who are in that situation and usually have to put up with it or lose their jobs.

          Reply
      1. Specialk9

        I believe this is why the prince and the pauper switch stories have such enduring popularity. We all know of people who really could use being poor and desperate, to teach them how to treat people.

        Reply
    2. Anon anon anon

      I agree. I’m always surprised to meet people who have never had a service industry job. It seems like everyone would have to at some point. And yet they don’t. I went to school with some kids who came from very well off families and got an office job at their dad’s company as their summer job/internship. Usually a, “Make coffee and deliver envelopes while we teach you about the company,” sort of thing. I was really jealous. I couldn’t get a job because I lived in the country and had no transportation, and at school, I got bullied by all these kids who could afford nice stuff. And then they got into better colleges because they already had white collar job experience.

      Twenty years later, though, I’m not jealous. My years in the service industry gave me a strong work ethic and a deeper appreciation for all the good things in life. I don’t take things for granted. I don’t see some people as smarter or more valuable or more hard working because of their job. I see everyone as equal. I’ve also had a lot of freedom to steer my life in the direction I want because I don’t expect a lot materially. That’s just a crude attempt to summarize.

      Anyway, as Allison pointed out, the letter is more about rudeness. The socioeconomic part is sort of tangential to it. But it is interesting.

      Reply
      1. Pollygrammer

        I agree. Everyone should have at least one service industry job in their life.

        As a bonus, it usually helps to give some perspective once you’re in a more white-collar industry. My job sucks right now, but I’m not cleaning a broken greasetrap anymore!

        Reply
      2. Lurker

        I began “working” when I was around 12 or 13 (babysitting). When I turned 15 I got my lifeguard certification and did that throughout high school and college. Then I got an office job. I’ve never worked retail or food service. :shrug:

        Reply
        1. Jennifer Thneed

          Yeah, but you’ve worked with the public, and you’ve probably had to deal with rude pool users (or pool users’ rude parents) and keep your job. That’s what the retail/food service experience is really all about: working with the random public, with all of their emotions and neediness.

          Reply
    3. FTW

      I spent a lot of time in the service industry, including at the management level, and do have a lot of empathy.

      The flip side is that I have certain expectations, especially with organizations where I am familiar with the standards, e.g., preferred airline. There are cases that I will be assertive to have my expectations met. I do worry that this might come off as entitled or rude, but I always try to be polite about it (which can be difficult when flight is delayed for the 3rd time and I will then miss my connection, and my meeting).

      Reply
      1. Bookworm

        I have never worked in restaurants, but have observed that some of my friends with a background in this area will be more ‘demanding’ in certain areas than I am. (To be clear, none of my friends fall into the rude category.)

        That said, I do think that people who are unwilling to empathize are likely to behave so regardless of a year or two doing customer service. I have certainly met people who ‘justify’ their rudeness by explaining how much better they were while they worked, or by expressing a “people were rude to me then, so I can be rude to them now, it’s just how it is” sort-of sentiment.

        It’s like someone I knew who was an inconsiderate driver. I pointed out that some of her tactics were likely confusing to other drivers, and she justified it by pointing out that sometimes other drivers were inconsiderate of her car.

        Reply
    4. NW Mossy

      I did exactly one day of serving (as part of a temp job), and I’ll remember that one shift forever. It’s physically demanding work for low pay and even less respect, and comparatively, it costs me so very little to be polite and professional in my interactions.

      Reply
  16. mf

    The least you can do is be blunt about your rating: “Carla, my rating has gone down since I’ve started riding with you, probably since you’re not very nice to the drivers. From now on, I’m not going to call a car with you. We can use your account or you can find your own ride back to the office.”

    Reply
    1. mf

      You could also say: “Your treatment of the drivers is causing my account to incur fines. I don’t want any more fines on my account, so from now on, we need to use your account.”

      I know that work is paying so the fines aren’t that big of a deal, but if this account is linked to your corporate card, then you should absolutely say no to any charges that you aren’t comfortable having on your card.

      Reply
    2. Augusta Sugarbean

      Agreed. OP will need to be very direct. Someone who is this rude is not going to listen to gentle suggestions. And especially using it as “your actions is affecting my ability to use this service *for business*” makes it more about work than, “Hey you’re being an ass.”

      Reply
  17. JM60

    I would have some questions about why fines are racking up if I had to approve these expenses.

    Considering that it’s costing the company money (and possibly hurting their reputation), her rudeness should be considered a performance issue.

    Reply
  18. Nox

    I had no idea riders get ratings too…hmm now I’m wondering what drivers think of me. I’m usually very quiet and burnt out mentally by the time I’m getting into the car.

    Reply
    1. I'm A Little TeaPot

      They probably think you’re tired. Maybe a bit boring, maybe a relief, depending on their personalities and how their day is going. Basically, neutral.

      Reply
      1. UberOP

        OP here. 100% that. If you’ve never had to walk back into the kitchen and get yelled at by a chef because a guest has made up their own dish they want, you don’t realise how much it can mess up a server’s shift.

        Reply
        1. UberOP

          Whoops! That comment wasn’t meant for here, sorry!

          Quiet is fine. Also you can see your Uber rating in your menu.

          Reply
        2. Snark

          Former line cook here! It’s not only the server’s shift, though that’s quite enough – it SUCKS when you’re in the groove, doing your thing, and then you’ve got to step away from your station and rummage through the walk-in for stuff that’s not in your mise because Mister Important simply must have his goddamn Steak a la Merde tonight.

          Reply
          1. UberOP

            Snark right??? If you want a pizza go to a pizza place! (She often gets places to make her a pizza of some kind)

            Reply
            1. BadPlanning

              Wait, you can just demand pizzas at random restaurants? I get nervous when I ask if they can leave something off a dish.

              Reply
            2. Snark

              ….so she goes to random restaurants and demands that they make a pizza for her? Even if it’s not a pizza place and pizza isn’t on the menu? DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR THIS PERSON

              Reply
            3. Hello...ello...ello..ello..llo..llo..lo

              This is actually an easy one… the next time she does this (OMG I can’t believe she actually does this, I mean who does this?!?) call her out on it.

              “Sue Ellen, why are you trying to order pizza at a restaurant that doesn’t serve pizza? Surely there’s something on the menu you can order instead. Next time we are in this city we’ll get pizza, but seriously they don’t have it here and it’s weird for you to ask them to cobble one together for you”

              Reply
              1. CMart

                Unfortunately it might be too late, since ‘Ellen’ obviously badgers people into making pizza wherever she goes. It isn’t weird to ask for one to be cobbled together, since everyone always accommodates her, right?

                For similar reasons, despite liking my job otherwise, I HATED working at corporate chain restaurants because of how managers would cave to bananas requests or unreasonable complaints (whyyyy would we comp the entire tab for a family of 4 because dad was annoyed we forgot his side of ranch?). You know why people would get aggressive and demand free food? Because you’d keep giving it to them.

                Reply
            4. Indie

              She’s showing off. Just pop and watch her deflate: “Uh could you mind not ordering off menu? I find it really embarrassing. ” and if she doesn’t take the warning? “I’m sorry you guys have to do extra work for my companion here. I’ll be really embarrassed if She doesn’t give you a big tip and a thank you!”.

              Reply
            5. Leenie

              She orders pizza from places that aren’t equipped to make pizza? That seems like a good way to get a bad pizza. Actually, even if she wasn’t a total pain, I’m upset with her for her lack of respect toward real pizza.

              Reply
          2. FTW

            I cringe at the way one of my colleagues routinely orders off menu when we travel. It’s bad enough that upper management has jokingly called him out on it.

            I think he believes it makes him look like a real foodie, but it just makes him look like a douchebag.

            Reply
            1. Snark

              I had a coworker who was like this with beer. I’m a beer drinker, and it made me want to switch to whiskey for the evening just to not be associated with him. “Snobariffic Brewery is in this town, right? I’ll take a pint of their Jackwagon IPA.”

              “Uh, sir, I don’t believe we carry that…”

              “WHAT? I really wanted to try that. Well, what do you have? Nothing corporate, no big breweries.”

              “We have X, Y, and-”

              “UGH. Those are terrible. Who’s in charge of your tap program? I want to talk to him.”

              Finally I went off on him. “ORDER FROM THEIR GODDAMN DRAFT LIST JESUS CHRIST”

              Reply
              1. Mints

                That’s worse because what are they supposed to do about it? With food, they probably can make some changes (just do it nicely!) But like, what are they supposed to do about the beer they don’t have? Just order it in hopes he comes back? He’s just doing it to be pretentious

                Reply
                1. Bryce

                  “I’m afraid we don’t have that sir but like you said their brewery is a couple of miles away. If you have a hose I can run it down there for you and start a tab.”

              2. AdAgencyChick

                “Tap program”?! I never want to hear those two words juxtaposed unless it’s a discussion of a Savion Glover show or something to that effect.

                Reply
              3. PB

                Good! I’m picky about beer, so I read the menu, and if I don’t see something I want, I order wine. It’s not hard.

                Reply
              4. FTW

                Oh man, that’s… special.

                Good for you for intervening. I usually just give the server cringing, sympathetic looks.

                Reply
  19. Glacier

    Hey OP,

    I can be pretty non-confrontational, but as someone who has worked in the service industry before, and whose parents still do, I would find this particularly grating. Would it make sense to jump in the front seat sometimes? A well-timed “look” or tap to your ear can indicate to the driver that your colleague is hard of hearing. For the rudeness, I find a quick “hey, don’t be rude!” along with a subject change works well for me.

    I like the above advice to ask your colleague if something is wrong. The whole “that’s not like you, what’s up?” can be really useful.

    If your rating is going down because you’re the one placing the call for the driver, maybe a few white lies will help. You can’t necessarily control how timely she is, so maybe just forcing her hand to make the call is easier.

    Reply
  20. Temperance

    LW, you work at a nonprofit. I would consider paying uber fines because your coworker is a jackass to be mismanagement of funds. I’m sure donors would not be thrilled to know that their donations are going to support her bad behavior. I would withdraw support from an org if this information came out.

    I don’t know your position in relation to her, but I think you need to be blunt. “Coworker, I’m not calling an Uber until you’re ready and waiting outside with me because my rating has gone down” is fine to say. It’s also fine to tell her she’s being loud in the heat of the moment, or gently telling her that she doesn’t need to give the driver directions.

    Reply
  21. LSP

    It’s the easiest thing in the world to tell the people who have worked in the service industry from those who haven’t. My father in law is one of the nicest people I know, but he thinks nothing of pulling wait staff into conversations about how the glass his beer is in doesn’t appear to be a full pint, as if he or she a) cares, b) has the time to have a conversation about it, or c) could do a thing about it in any case. He’s not rude, just extremely oblivious to everything the waiter is dealing with.

    If I were working with someone as rude to service workers as OP’s co-worker, no matter how uncomfortable, I feel like I would have to say something, even if it was just reminding her that people are all just trying to do their jobs and get through the day. Maybe start the conversation by casually asking if she has ever worked in a restaurant, and if she scoffs, tell her about your experiences working through school. It might help her to see these people, as… you know, people.

    Reply
    1. UberOP

      OP here – Thanks. That’s a really good idea. I think her first job was on like, Wall Street or something.

      Reply
      1. CMart

        If she’s otherwise friendly to chat with that might very well be a great way to gently help change her behavior. For example, talking casually about how you’d never know from the outside but special-order food at a restaurant, even something as benign as switching out a side, can throw a kitchen off their groove. Nevermind trying to create your own pizza at a French cafe.

        Reply
  22. Trout 'Waver

    The socioeconomic side of this one if a false flag, imho. Jerks are going to be jerks. I think it has more to do with the fact that rich people eat out at restaurants with servers much more often than people with fewer means. In other words, a poor jerk might eat out once a year, but a rich jerk eats out 200 times a year.

    Reply
    1. ContentWrangler

      I think the socioeconomics still play a part. Obviously money doesn’t make everyone jerks, but if your financial situation means you’ve never had a service industry job, you’re more likely not to realize your expectations/demands are unrealistic.

      Reply
      1. LBK

        I think that rudeness more often stems from entitlement than ignorance – if I really gave her the benefit of the doubt, I can maybe believe that if someone has always gone to super fancy restaurants where they’ll basically do whatever you want, you might not realize that you can’t order off the menu at most places. But even then, you’re expected to be polite and courteous to the staff when you make those kinds of requests; a rich jerk is still a jerk, people just put up with it more at fancier places because they’re paid more to do so.

        Reply
        1. sap

          Yeah. It’s one thing to order off-menu because you don’t understand that it’s Not Done Usually, while saying “please, if it’s not too much trouble, thank you.” That’s a polite person that doesn’t realize they’re doing something rude.

          Coworker sounds more like someone who is barking at the waiter to “tell your cook that I’ll be having a pizza. It’s outrageous that your menu doesn’t have one on there!”

          Reply
        2. NW Mossy

          Even in a fancy-all-the-time situation, it’s generally understood you’ve made a conscious choice to eat at a particular restaurant because you believe you’ll be able to enjoy the food they have on offer. It’s a sign of respect to the highly trained professionals preparing and serving the food that you’ll be able to find something that you can safely enjoy without going wildly off-menu.

          I’ve eaten out at a lot of really lovely places around the world, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable ordering off-menu unless it was a place where I was a committed regular (we’re talking at least once every couple of weeks, for a year or more) and I was asking them to revive a dish they’d previously served me that I enjoyed. Even then, I’d be prepared to hear “I’m afraid we don’t have the ingredients for that today, but we could do….” in response and be totally cool with that.

          Reply
          1. sap

            Yeah. I spend most of my discretionary budget on buying “overpriced” Michelin food (rather than other recreational pursuits) and you’re totally right that this isn’t a thing that regular expensive restaurant diners would do either.

            There is one place where I’m a known regular and I know that the restaurant often is happy to make a frequent standby that just isn’t on the menu tonight when they’re not busy, but I still wouldn’t dream of asking them to make something random I just kinda felt like eating. I was hoping that by “off menu” OP was just referring to ‘instead of the fancy burger on your menu could I just get a plain one with tomatoes,” which is just sometimes what you have to do when you’re not picking the restaurant and everything on the menu as-designed contains something you can’t eat (and is definitely something that I expect to be able to do without much grumbling in high-end establishments because part of what I think I’m paying for is that the restaurant is allocating more of its staff-hours, per capita, to me), but it sounds like she’s just going to restaurants and insisting on pizzas which is just a whole different thing.

            There’s just such a big gap between “Chef made me this amazing fish sauce last week, it’s not on the menu though. Can he do that again, and if not, I’ll have the glazed salmon” and “hello stranger at a pasta shop. I see that you have bread, tomato sauce, and cheese in your kitchen. Can you make those into a pizza?” And there’s just no reasonable way that the first thing leads to the second.

            People who spend extra money for personalized service recognize that personalized service is something they are PAYING FOR by accepting higher prices. They don’t… expect three-figures-per-plate treatment on a $20 check. If they did, they wouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars for it.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Totally agree with you and NW Mossy – I meant more that some flexibility is part of what you’re paying for at a fancy restaurant. I certainly didn’t mean that you can just blindly order whatever you want since, as you both say, part of the reason you’re supposedly paying that much is because you want specifically what that restaurant serves.

              Reply
            2. essEss

              I used to be a regular at a restaurant and the chef started occasionally coming out to chat when it was slower. I recall one time I was bemoaning that I couldn’t find a really good anywhere in the city and he started jumping up and down and told me that whenever I come in I was to tell him what I was in the mood for and he’d make whatever it was as long as he had the ingredients. He did add a version of that dish I mentioned to the menu a few weeks later so I had it then, but I never took him up on the offer to cook a separate impromptu off-menu meal for me because that just seemed far too pretentious and rude.

              Reply
              1. essEss

                I typed “really good specialty dish” but since I put the words ‘specialty dish’ in brackets it got stripped out as if it was html code.

                Reply
      2. Observer

        I don’t buy it. It’s one thing to do stuff like what LSP describes (wastes servers’ time with silly conversations) because you may not realize how intense the work is. But yelling at people? No. And telling service people how to do their jobs? (instructions to the driver etc.) Totally not – you don’t need to have had a service job to know that micromanagement is rude and stupid.

        Reply
      3. Trout 'Waver

        I’ve seen servers be rude to other servers and attempt to justify it because they had to put up with even worse that day. Jerks are going to be jerks, regardless of means.

        Reply
      4. 124

        I grew up in a wealthy family and I would never treat a service employee like this! Granted, I did work in retail for a couple years between college and my post-bacc so maybe that had an impact on me, but I know a lot of wealthy people and plenty of them are capable of treating service workers with respect. Some people really are just jerks.

        Reply
  23. UberOP

    Hi everyone, OP here. You’re right on the embarrassment front. My org actually JUST announced that we’re getting an Uber for business, so that’s good, I won’t have to use my personal anymore.

    I think I might try calling her out in the moment, as suggested. The thought of speaking to her about it randomly freaks me out.

    Reply
    1. I'm A Little TeaPot

      Good for you! (and the business account is great too)

      Also consider mentioning it to her manager, especially if calling her out on in the moment doesn’t have much impact.

      Reply
    2. Dweali

      There was a letter not too long ago where a LW talked about her strategies to deal with some rude/sexist remarks from co-workers, if you have time you might try the strategy she outlined

      Reply
    3. JokeyJules

      I strongly urge you to say something in the moment. I think that will have the strongest effect. Talking about it to her afterwards wont be as effective because she probably wont remember the moment.

      After working years in the service industry, I can tell you it isn’t old money that’s making her this way. She’s just oblivious as to how to treat other human beings. I can tell you I’ve served very wealthy people who tipped generously and were extremely kind, and I’ve served people with lower income who were ruder than you can imagine.

      Reply
    4. Dweali

      In case the linked comment never makes it out of the wilds of the internet…it’s the update about being more assertive at work

      Reply
    5. Jam Today

      Calling her out in the moment will also have the side-effect of a little morale-boost for the person she’s abusing (if they’re in earshot, or if one of their coworkers is and reports back). I once spent a nice solid 3-4 minutes being screamed at by a guy because a debit transaction didn’t go through, and after it was all over three people said “wow that sounded really difficult” and part of me was glad for the acknowledgement but also part of me was like “I really wish one of you had said something instead of just standing there staring at me trying not to cry.”

      Reply
      1. JokeyJules

        I had a guest shout at me because he parked his car overnight in a CLEARLY marked fire lane for 15 minutes and it had been towed by the police. There were 6 people in line after him who watched this and afterwards said to “wow, he’s a jerk!”. Which is nice to acknowledge, but that man still thinks he was right and is going to treat more people that way. I knew he was a jerk, he didn’t.

        Reply
    6. FTW

      At my company, Uber for business just means we can select our corporate card as the payment option on our normal account.

      Any ratings that I get while using my business profile still show up on my normal account.

      Reply
    7. Indie

      “My colleague doesn’t realise she’s being rude. I hope”
      “Wow.”
      “What she means, is (polite rephrasing). Thankyou”
      “I apologise for my co worker, she has no clue about real jobs. You’re doing great. Busy shift?”

      Reply
    8. Pollygrammer

      I’ve had luck (with a friend though, not a coworker) with saying something hippy-dippy about trying to maintain positive energy, and that [interaction-with-whoever] felt really negative, and can we keep things a little kinder, even when people are frustrating? It definitely felt a little degrading to frame it as my own hangup, but it did work.

      Reply
  24. animaniactoo

    Pre-planning measure: If she says anything along the lines of “He gets paid to put up with my attitude.”…

    …the answer to that is “No he doesn’t. He gets paid to drive you from point a to point b. He gets paid that whether you have an attitude or not, because THAT is his job. He doesn’t get paid enough to also expect people to be rude to him on top of that. It’s just a curse he has to bear when people take advantage of the fact that he can’t afford to do anything about it which makes it an even meaner thing to do.”

    Reply
    1. Jam Today

      I have a second-hand story about that. It happened maybe 16 years ago but I hope I never forget it. I used to work in a call center at a medical billing company, and we had this one client who was just *vicious* to the staff (who were not the ones doing the billing work, just the ones dealing with the problems). I mean brutal, like posting comments where everyone could see that this or that person should be fired, etc.

      So one fine day the VP of Sales for that region (who incidentally was an absolute silver fox with a gorgeous smooth Virginia accent) was visiting another physician in the building where her office was. She was not the owner of the practice, but an employee of another physician. So in he strolls with a cancellation document and lays it down on the counter, telling her that its obvious our services do not meet their needs, and if she could just have Dr. Such-and-such sign it, we would begin their 30-day wind-down period and they could find another vendor. So of course she turns white and gets defensive, and says “they’re paid to take complaints” to which he response “but they’re NOT paid to take your shit.” They did not cancel their contract (she certainly did not want to have to explain to the doctor why this cancellation contract was on her desk) and that was the end of her nastiness.

      Reply
    2. AKchic

      I wouldn’t indicate that the driver is too poor to insist on her changing her attitude. Perhaps “the driver is too polite to call you out on your attitude, but will note it in the report to Uber, which lowers *my* rating again.” Or “the driver is too nice to cut the transaction short and kick you out of the vehicle and leave you on the side of the road.”

      Any indication of lower socioeconomic scale might make the rude coworker feel like she is entitled to act the way she does because she is somehow better than the “lowly driver” or “lowly waitstaff” serving her.

      Reply
    1. blackcat

      If your driver arrives and you make them wait for a significant amount of time, you can get fined for that. I’m sure there are other circumstances, but my guess is that’s what applies here.

      Reply
      1. UberOP

        OP here – yes, if you make them wait more than 5 mins, you could get a $5 fine. Our building takes a long time to exit and she will often not put her coat on or try to leave until they arrive. With Uber (at least in metropolitan areas) it’s generally understood that you will be outside waiting for them when they arrive.

        Reply
        1. Detective Amy Santiago

          Could you say “The uber is 5 minutes away. I’m going outside now. If you are not there when they arrive, I’m leaving without you”?

          Reply
          1. BadPlanning

            I was thinking something similar — but that might be bridge burning territory.

            Although if they move to the corporate account, OP might be justified in taking that action to maintain a good rating for the company.

            Reply
        2. Observer

          That’s also something that you might bring up with your manager if you can’t get through to her. As others have noted this is misuse of funds.

          Reply
        3. INTP

          Can you refuse to order the Uber until she has her coat on and is walking out with you? If you’re in metropolitan areas they probably arrive quickly enough that it wouldn’t be a hardship to wait the full time on the curb or standing just inside. If telling her that she’s the problem feels too uncomfortable you can just say “The building takes forever to exit, so in the past I’ve had my rating go down when we didn’t get to the curb quickly enough” like it’s the building that is the issue.

          Reply
        4. Uberist

          With Uber (at least in metropolitan areas) it’s generally understood that you will be outside waiting for them when they arrive.

          Completely disagree. My firm has offices on lower Manhattan, London, Moscow, and Zurich. We have a corporate Uber account. It is absolutely acceptable to keep Ubers waiting (as it used to be for yellow cabs), and they charge waiting time. In each of these office complexes there is a designated waiting space for cabs (yellow and traditional), and it is always full, and not just from our firm.

          Reply
          1. LBK

            They charge you because it’s rude and keeps them (and their next passengers) waiting…I mean, if you’re fine with paying that charge then I guess that’s your call, but it is rude to not be ready when they show up. They’re not your personal driver.

            Reply
            1. Uberist

              No, completely the opposite on both your points.
              1. They charge you because it’s a BUSINESS TRANSACTION and foregone income for the driver and Uber if they can’t accept other clients when you’re waiting. There is nothing “rude” about it whatsoever. You’re the client, and they’re the service provider; they get compensated if you need to wait. And again, in many offices (especially in NY/London/etc.) it is common to see a queue of taxis waiting a long time for people.
              2. Uber in fact has advertised its services as being “like having your personal driver.”
              3. If OP feels it’s so rude, she can order her own Uber.

              Reply
    2. LBK

      It’s not, like, a regulatory fine, they just charge you if you’re not ready when they get there and the driver to wait for more than a certain time (I think it’s 2 minutes for an Uber Pool?).

      Reply
    3. Trout 'Waver

      Conventional taxis do this too, FYI. It’s just easier for Uber to collect because you have to link a form of payment to your account ahead of time.

      Reply
  25. clow

    I cannot stand people like this. I write off anyone that is rude to service workers, to me, it makes them terrible people of low character. I might be tempted to apologize in to the driver/waiter etc in front of her, “I’m so sorry she is being so rude” but chances are it wont shame her, these people are difficult to embarrass because they feel it is their right to talk down to people. Can you at least tell a manager that you refuse to use your uber account for work because of her behaviour? Since she is costing the company extra money, you would think they would at least care about that. She is also damaging your company’s reputation with her attitude.

    Reply
    1. UberOP

      OP here. I’m so sensitive to it. An Uber ride with her can literally ruin my whole day as it makes em so anxious.

      Reply
      1. boo

        If you can bring yourself to say something in the moment, it’s worth doing, if only for how YOU feel about the situation. I’ve found that standing up for myself or others turns a situation that would have caused me terrible embarrassment or anxiety into one I feel good about. Speaking up offloads the ick to where it belongs-on your rude coworker.

        I don’t know how old you are, or if it matters, but if it gives you hope, I find as the express train of my life moves steadily from maiden to crone, it gets ever easier to go from “I wish I said something,” to “I’m glad I said something.”

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Oh definitely. The movies and tv are made by men, who rate women only on f-ability, so there’s this huge cultural message that 20s are where it’s at. But getting older as a woman is pretty awesome, in a way that doesn’t often get told. Giving fewer flips is one of the advantages.

          Reply
  26. Hey Karma, Over Here

    I understand where you are coming from. I don’t deal well with conflict. Your politely suggesting that she make the Uber reservation and her refusing to do and making you do it shows she recognizes people who are less strong as well as people who are in “lower” positions. If she were simply a privileged twit and not a malicious ass, she would make the damn call herself and not bully you into it.

    Reply
  27. House of Cats

    I think that having her call the Uber on her account is a great idea, so she can suffer the natural consequences. It may eventually impact whether Uber drivers will pick you up, which gives you a really concrete thing to talk to your boss about.

    Reply
  28. HS Teacher

    Not only is being kind to service workers something you should do just because you’re a good person, it’s also something that benefits you. I get GREAT service, and that’s largely because I’m a good customer. My food comes faster (delivery or at a restaurant) because I tip well and am polite. It doesn’t take any more energy for me to be nice than it does for me to be pissy. I choose nice.

    My girlfriend, who is nice in her own way but not as friendly as I am, is constantly amazed by the amount of stuff I get for free, without asking, just because I’m nice to people. Also, and I hope I don’t jinx myself, I get pulled over from time to time but NEVER get a ticket. I have found that politeness goes a long way.

    Reply
    1. BadPlanning

      I eat at the same place once a week for a hobby group and frankly my goal is that when the workers see me, they think, “Oh, this lady is nice and an easy customer” — I hope my polite actions might overshadow an occasional rudeness/pickiness from other hobby members (not that anyone is consistently rude but big groups can be tricky).

      Reply
    2. eplawyer

      Oh heavens yes. I used to hang out with an attorney who was rude to waitstaff, rude to clerks at the courthouse (!!!!), etc. I think it was because she never worked as support staff/retail/waitstaff in her life. She never saw it from the other side so thought it was fine to be rude to such lowly people. I told one very experienced attorney about her behavior toward a court clerk and that person was aghast. Cardinal rule – be very very nice to court clerks, they can make your case go easy or go hard. Without violating one obligation or duty they have.

      I eventually stopped hanging out with her when she threw an admin at one of our pro bono clinics under the bus for something she did. And she didn’t know I had already documented it to the director.

      Reply
      1. teclatrans

        You know, everybody says this, but, I don’t think you have to have been a service worker to see service workers as full humans, to treat them well, and to tip generously. I have never done service work, but I tip generously (15% is bare-minimum, you-were-rude-and-dismissive; 20% is default; and places where we are regulars or the service was good or it’s a holiday etc. we tip around 30%), I seek out comment forms and managers to express gratitude for good service, I am thoughtful and kind.

        That’s not to say I am faultless — habitual item substitution and chatting too long with busy wait staff are both errors of ignorance that I have been guilty of, and I credit the internet with teaching me some of the details of *how* I can help or hinder waitstaff (in particular). But the *desire* to be helpful and friendly to service workers doesn’t only occur amongst those who have *been* service workers.

        Reply
    3. Damn it, Hardison!

      This reminds me of a dinner at my neighborhood restaurant, one my husband and I ate at a few times a month. It was a small space, maybe 20 tables, and there was a slight wait (10-15 minutes). A couple came in and basically stood behind my chair (we were right by the front) and complained loudly about people taking too long to eat, and we should hurry up, etc. only a few minutes after we received our food. We did hurry because they were making us uncomfortable and generally ruining our dining. As we finished up our server came over and said (also loudly) that dessert and coffee was on the house as we were such good customers, unlike some people. The couple huffed out and the server said good riddance! I miss that place.

      Reply
        1. Ismis

          This reminds me – I was eating lunch at a very busy outdoor area and two women came up and asked the server if she had a table. I was right beside them and said that I was just finishing my coffee but they were welcome to sit with me as I would be leaving after a few minutes. Shortly after that, the server came out with a boxed up dessert – chocolate brownie and ice-cream – to say thanks. Delicious!

          At the time, I was in awe that something so basic could score me a free dessert, but now I wonder how many difficult customers she had to deal with that weekend!

          Reply
      1. Specialk9

        Ha I was thinking that too – I started to comment about how few people are just polite to the police instead of getting aggrieved or belligerent or fake crying. And then I realized, oh right, this only applies to white people, brown people get taught this as little kids as a survival mechanism and still get killed. Invisible privilege, I’ve got so much of it!

        Reply
        1. Agnes

          Or a pretty white woman, who I believe studies show get the best tips.

          It sounds like the person posting here goes beyond polite (since she says her partner is polite) and into “friendly, flirtatious, extroverted” territory, which can be nice in its way, but isn’t really a requirement, IMO. If you let the person do their job and pay your bills, you shouldn’t have to put on a performance on top of it. (For the poster, it’s not a performance, but for me, it would be.) So let’s not conflate “polite” with “able to shmooze their way into extra discounts”.

          Reply
  29. whosthat

    This is the biggest problem with rude people—polite people don’t know how to call them out on bad behavior!

    What an example that “being wealthy” is very different from “having money!” It used to be that wealthy people had a higher expectation of themselves to behave with good manners, especially to those less fortunate. Wealth brought an obligation to behave honorably. Crude, rude, obnoxious behavior was automatically looked down upon as low class or worse yet, indicative of NEW MONEY.

    Now it seems that most people think that having money means that rules don’t apply, manners are optional, and rude, obnoxious behavior is allowed.

    Call that person out!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Hey Karma, Over Here

      This is the biggest problem with rude people—polite people don’t know how to call them out on bad behavior!

      I would upvote this if I could.

      Reply
  30. UberOP

    OP again. I noticed Allison mentioned that this is particularly bad if she only does this to service workers. While it is worse with them, sadly she does not. She speaks over people in meetings and interrupts, and plays on her phone while people present and then makes them repeat themselves. Unfortunately, she has some friends in high places within the organisation, and is pretty much unfireable. For some reason I find it easier to be assertive in a meeting setting, and will often redirect her, but she continues to do it. I just find it much harder to say things in public for some reason.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth H.

      Would it help if you think about it like, if you don’t make your position clear, then the person your coworker is being rude to may assume you are fine with her behavior and think it’s an appropriate way to behave toward service workers and just other people in general? It’s clear that you’re an extremely conscientious person and thoughtful of others, but this may be actually working against you here.

      Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Can we talk more about why it feels harder to do it in this context over others? I think there might be something helpful there if you dig into what feels like a higher obstacle here.

      Reply
      1. UberOP

        I am a good public speaker, and come from a performing background. Meetings are easy for me. They’re performances. And we also have an agenda to refer to. If someone gets off the agenda I am justified in pointing it out.

        When I’m not public speaking, I feel a lot more anxious, and it’s harder to speak up.

        Reply
        1. SC Anonibrarian

          Can you reframe dinners and uber rides as impromptu performances? You’re Melanie Wilkes, and she’s Scarlett O’Hara, and you’re going to improvise and grow poor Mellie a spine and stick up for whoever Scarlett is being gratuitously awful to?

          Reply
        2. AKchic

          I can understand that sentiment. I have similar issues. In order to confront people in a one-on-one setting, I had to actually pretend that I am still on stage and acting out a role, just in a closed-quarters setting.

          Could you perhaps do something similar? You aren’t you. You are the embodiment of the people she is rude to, using your voice to talk to her. You are Random Service Worker or Random Uber Driver and you need to tell her how poorly she is treating the other coworkers in the moment (imagine your superhero cape. It works so much better with the cape).

          Reply
        3. mf

          When addressing it in the moment, could you phrase it as a request for her to behave differently vs. a criticism of her current behavior?

          She: *says something rude to the driver*
          You: “Scarlett, I’d appreciate it if you’d be polite to the Uber Driver. Especially since we’re using my account right now.”

          If you say it loudly enough that the driver hears it, this might help your Uber rating.

          Reply
        4. NW Mossy

          One frame that may help you is that when you’re pointing out the behavior of someone who’s already behaving badly, you know what lines you’re going to get back even if they’re hostile – you’ve seen their whole arsenal of rudeness and slights already. You can therefore plan your own dialogue with a pretty good sense of what your counterpart’s role is and what they’ll say.

          And if you’re looking for a character to play, think of the many characters of stage and screen who embody the sort of cool, calm professionalism you’re looking to project here. I like Dumbledore’s amiability wrapped around a steel core myself, but pick one that suits.

          Reply
        5. Natalie

          Since you have a performance background, would it help to rehearse a bit? You could pick a few all-purpose “confrontation” phrases and practice them.

          Reply
        6. Sarah

          Oh, I definitely understand that. I have decided to embrace a few “characters” for saying what I need to say.
          #1) Meryl Streep. This is for times when I am nervous about what to say and want to be articulate and graceful, while still making it clear that I’m powerful and I know what I’m talking about.
          #2) Charleze Theron talking about how to act like a queen – stand up straight, eyes front, think “MURDER”, and walk. This is super useful when I need to make fools cower before me.

          I might recommend a combination of the two with your coworker, UberOP. Either way, you have my sympathy.

          Reply
    3. Dzhymm

      Somebody needs to remind her that “the toes that you step on today might be connected to the ass you must kiss tomorrow”. She may be untouchable, unfireable, and sitting in the catbird seat *now*, but who knows whose favor she might need at a future date (even the Uber driver might end up being the son or daughter of a potential donor or client).

      Reply
  31. Bea

    I grew up lower middle class, my parents are both laborers and my grandparents were the same. My parents taught me to respect everyone providing us a service. However my grandparents were racist jackals and treated others terribly in order to feel better despite knowing damn well they were still broke AF.

    Just to put into perspective that it’s not money that makes someone a jerk.

    I haven’t worked a day in service and side eye when I hear “everyone should and then they’ll understand why to be nice!”. I don’t need to be shown a job is hard to respect someone who does it. You just treat everyone kindly and remember you’re no better just because of an occupation. I’ve seen so many service industry folks act like jerks because they’re like “well I have to deal with it too and I know your job better than you.” ick!!

    All that aside, tell her to stop being a jerk. It makes you both look bad.

    Reply
    1. teclatrans

      I just posted something similar, about the sentiment that everybody should be a service worker so they know to treat service workers with respect. I think we can aspire to a higher ideal, treating others well whether or not we have walked in their shoes.

      Reply
    2. Hey Karma, Over here.

      With people encountering so many service positions (CSRs, hotels, drivers, restaurants) in their daily lives, it’s extraordinary to expect people not to know how to behave.
      And yet, here we are.

      Reply
  32. Sigh

    I’ve had this discussion with my MIL before, which I think is up there in difficulty with coworker so I wanted to chime in here. In the moment gentle correction and an apology to the person works well. “MIL, I know that X forgot your X, but the way to get what you need is to treat people with kindness. X, I’m sorry for this issue. Can we please have the X when you have a moment?” I know it sounds condescending, but my MIL is an emotional toddler so bringing up “kindness” and “please” really helps. Its all in a neutral tone. For coworker, something like “I don’t know what’s wrong right now, but when we’re representing the company we need to speak to people in a kind and professional tone. X, can you please XYZ? Thank you.”

    Reply
  33. AKchic

    Oh boy… this has the potential to do so much harm to the non-profit in the long run.

    If this rude, moneyed woman doesn’t have a hearing aid, she should get one. That way she has no “reason” to yell at people.
    Then, she needs to quit the yelling. Not only is it rude, but it is already affecting your Uber rating, but it is going to affect the non-profit’s image. Negative image will mean decreased donations, decreased goodwill, decreased community outreach and interaction and cooperation. Between paying more in fines and fees with Uber, and the negative consequences of her actions with decreased cash flow and community interactions, this could seriously cause financial harm to the non-profit.

    Someone needs to sit down with her and let her know that she is representing the non-profit, and she needs to stop being rude because it will end up costing the non-profit a lot of goodwill. Possibly to the point of her salary.

    Reply
    1. UberOP

      I appreciate your feedback, but I do want to point out that hearing aids only do so much, and can be a point of contention in the Deaf community. She does have a hearing aid, but will never be able to hear completely. Your advice aside from that is helpful though, thank you.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        I’m hearing impaired myself. I have a tendency to boom anyway, and if I don’t have my aids in, I’m a loud guy. It’s reason some of us do it, but it’s not an excuse for being rude. I don’t disagree with your point, but she definitely needs to watch it.

        Reply
        1. Detective Amy Santiago

          I am *not* hearing impaired, but I have a naturally loud voice and if I don’t consciously moderate myself, I can end up speaking very loudly. It is possible to work on something like that.

          Reply
          1. Bookworm

            I’m similar. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics of my hearing, but if there’s a lot of background noise I will start raising my voice without realizing it. Definitely not perfect about catching myself, but I’m pretty gracious when people call me out on it.

            Reply
          2. Bookworm

            I’m similar. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics of my hearing, but if there’s a lot of background noise I will start raising my voice without realising it. Definitely not perfect about catching myself, but I’m pretty gracious when people call me out on it.

            Reply
          3. Pollygrammer

            Loud-voiced and pleasant are very, very, very different from loud-voiced and mean. The former has never bothered me.

            Reply
      2. AKchic

        I do understand and take your point. I’m just trying to get any potential “excuses” out of the way.

        My uncle is a loud person. He hollers from sun up to sun down. My grandma loves to say “well, he’s losing his hearing”. No. He is a narcissist who has to dominate every conversation and loves to be the center of attention. He’s always been loud and anyone who ever told him to quiet down got shut down. My great-aunt is a loud talker, I’m a loud talker, some other relatives are loud talkers. We’ve all learned to lower our voices. Dear old uncle is the only one who hasn’t. Except when he’s making drug deals in a 900 sqft house with thin walls and a mommy who’s hearing is perfect (oh yes, Sonny boy still lives at home in his 50’s).
        He’s also rude, crass, racist, y’know – the typical All ‘Murican.

        Not knowing whether or not your coworker had a hearing aid – I figured I’d toss the suggestion out there.

        Reply
      3. Bobbin Ufgood

        Concur – it’s important to remember that hearing aids are not like glasses — you don’t put them on and get 20/20 hearing. If there is a nerve component to the loss, it’s not really correctible

        Reply
      4. Someone else

        The other thing that comes to mind (and I’m putting it here mainly because I’ve been thinking about it for half the page) is that in my experience with people with hearing loss, yelling due to not being able to hear and yelling due to anger generally sound different to me. I understand the impulse to cut her some potential slack because you know she does have hearing issues, but much like some people who just tend to be very loud anyway (even if they don’t have any hearing impairment)… to me at least it’s usually easy to tell the difference between “technically yelling due to volume” vs “yelling including the negative connotations associated with yelling”. So if she’s being rude in general and yelling, if the yelling sounds snappish-yelling and not just loud-yelling, I’d be disinclined to give her that extra slack over it. The yelling you’d be concerned about is more about the tone/content than the volume.

        Reply
  34. Irish Em

    Old money, new money, no money, all of these groups can have really rude people. I worked in retail in a super affluent part of Dublin and had some people with old money who treated me like something scraped off the bottom of their shoes. Some of my colleagues used to say you could tell the old money and new money because new money generally worked for it and were nice to retail staff, but that’s not always the case. One lottery winner (yes, really) who regularly shopped with us had a personality transplant after coming into money and turned into a real nasty so-and-so. All of this to say, you are in the best position to make your coworker aware of how she is coming across because the wait staff, drivers, retail staff and so on are not. If you can, just call the attitude out in the moment, even if it’s just saying, “hey, not cool, Coworker” in a neutral tone of voice.

    You say you’re gently suggesting she order the Ubers. I recommend insisting on it and make it clear that it’s her behaviour/attitude that’s driving your rep down, even if you go bland like “I don’t know why it is, but the Uber drivers have started lowering my rating since we started travelling together. You order the car for when you need it.” And you get the car for when you need it, even if it means travelling separately. If she complains about you taking off without her, remind her that the car was ordered for that time and you figured she was finishing something and going to make her own way, smile smile, smile :) :):)

    Reply
    1. Plague of frogs

      Not to get all political, but those of us in the US have had an ongoing object lesson about that since the beginning of the 2016 election.

      Reply
  35. Indie

    As someone who also worked their way up this stuff used to shock me into silence, but I was surprised at the simple power of mildly saying ‘I’m not your crony here’. These people assume you’re ‘one of us’ and just mentioning how you hated rude customers when you had a menial job, or people who didn’t understand the rigours of physical work or that you don’t mess with people who serve you if you want quick service. Theyre a special type of clueless. One colleague was quite patronising when she saw a guy in overalls reading a book on the train. I come from a family of skilled trades and I could tell from his insulated boots that he was a well paid and well trained electrician. I basically told her that if she was letting into her home electricians who couldn’t read then her home must be a death trap. It’s educational for them to be laughed at and pulled up.

    Reply
  36. K. A.

    I come from money but would never look down on a person because of their job. I’m reminded of that line in a movie about low-level jobs that said “It’s an honest living.”

    I’m actually nicer to people who earn less because I realize they have less than I do.

    Reply
  37. The Other Katie

    Just seconding the notion that it’s about rude people, not rich people. One of my co-workers is a minor scion of a major royal family, was born with a golden cutlery set in his mouth, and is unfailingly polite to everyone, no matter what their relative social status is.

    Reply
    1. Temperance

      This is totally true. Some of the most entitled, awful humans that I’ve ever met were at Denny’s, while I was waiting tables.

      Reply
      1. Lissa

        Yuuuuup. Worked fast food/retail for a decade, and there were just as many poor assholes as rich assholes. Sometimes there could be certain behaviours you could generalize to some group or other but it was like, oh, the flavor is slightly different but it’s still a crap sandwich.

        I can definitely see a bit of an attitude of “oh, if this person had to work hard for things in life/had ever worked a service job they would be nicer” in these conversations and I get why but sadly my own experience has never shown this to actually be true.

        Reply
  38. moql

    It sounds like most of this has been covered, but can I ask why you are always the one to call the uber? Does it just randomly always make more sense in the timing for you to do it? I had a similar coworker from an ‘always had servants’ background and I realized she was constantly manipulating me into doing the parts of our job that she thought were supposed to be done by the help. Calling for a cab would have been beneath her. She would always arrange to be in the middle of something when the time came to do x lowly task.

    Reply
  39. Uberist

    It is not rude to keep Uber drivers waiting. Uber charges waiting time. So drivers are absolutely being compensated for waiting. Furthermore, it sounds like OP has a corporate account with Uber; waiting is part of accommodating your business’ needs. We have a corporate Uber account and last minute calls or what not mean it’s not uncommon for Ubers to wait 15-30 minutes. The same was true 10 years ago with yellow cabs.

    Similarly, it is absolutely acceptable to ask your Uber driver to take a particular route. I agree you should not shout at them, of course, but that may be a function of OP’s colleague’s deafness.

    Reply
    1. Indie

      It doesn’t sound like she’s following proper etiquette if she’s getting marked down. But now that it’s just a cost rather than ratings issue, maybe this should be clarified from above? If higher ups are ok with it costing more for her to stay warm in the office then LW will have to simply add this to ‘annoying habit I’m powerless to change ‘ and find resignation that way.

      Reply
    2. LBK

      They don’t make as much from waiting around for you as they would if they were able to pick up other fares during that 15-30 minutes – and why the hell are you calling Ubers that early that you’re not ready for? If you suddenly have something urgent come up and you can’t leave after you’ve called the car, just cancel it. This is super rude.

      Reply
      1. Uberist

        Again, look at any office building in Lower Manhattan or the City of London or other major business centers where people don’t drive to work. You’ll see a fleet of Ubers and Getts outside waiting. In previous years you would have seen yellow cabs (black cabs in London), and black town cars. It is a fully accepted practice there.

        Reply
        1. UberOP

          UberOP here – maybe you just don’t realize how bad that behaviour is. There’s a warning when you call an Uber that says, “Your driver will wait outside five minutes.” To keep someone waiting for 15 is rude. Especially in Manhattan, where they have to pull over in non-parking zones or worse, bike lanes. Ubers aren’t the same as a private car service. You’re supposed to meet them on the corner and hop in.

          Reply
  40. bookish

    When I read the advice to talk to her about being rude to uber drivers and other service workers, my first thought was “she probably has no idea she’s being rude and as a result has no idea how to change.” (She may not understand how all the facets of her behavior are leading to rudeness – keeping the driver waiting, being bossy to the driver, etc.) She may need more specific guidance. But come on, if she’s so old money she should know some ettiquette! I wonder if she’d respond more to the notion that it’s gauche and tacky to be disrespectful to service industry workers, than that she needs to realize they’re people. But she is showing some real fundamental disrespect for other humans and that’s the root problem.

    For something like uber where your rating can go down, I would suggest asking her to call the uber instead – but you can also leave a comment in the app with an apology, and leave a tip for the uber driver. Of course at that point it may be too late – I don’t know exactly when the driver rates you, so that might be done the moment the ride is over.

    If it’s through her own uber app, you may lose some amount of control over the situation but that could be a good thing. Less worry on your part. And she’ll be the one getting the notifications like “your driver is arriving and will only wait for two minutes” or calls from the driver. Or a lower rating. Maybe all of these things will help her learn.

    Reply

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