So, I am stupid?

My morning turned out great! An older man, sadly I can not call him a gentleman because he was all but gentle, called me. He had found my business number online, which he explained to me later. But first, he came straight to the point. With a hoarse voice, and without wasting any time on manners or nonsense like saying ‘Hello’ he told me he had a cigarette burn in his couch and he wanted me to come by and fix it.

I could not deny my upbringing and after telling him nicely “Hello,” I then asked him how he was doing. Now, because he cannot read this, I have to admit I only did that to tick him off, but then I can’t help but wonder if I use friendliness also as a form of self-defense these days.

Friendliness! Not an easy thing to give in a world that seems to become more and more unfriendly.

Just last week I bought myself a new metal sign, which is now on a shelf leaning against some books because Amazon delivered too quickly and I haven’t made up my mind where I want to hang it.

In a world, where you can be anything….be kind.

I wanted this reminder for myself but I hope all my customers and students will see it as well. It’s so easy to fall into the traps of entitlement and impatience nowadays.

“I don’t fix cigarette burns, neither do I go to people’s houses and do small repairs, but there are companies out there that do that.”

“Your number came up,” he insisted and he is correct. I do repair old antique furniture and restore them to new glory.

“I found you on Facebook,” he went on.

“I am not Facebook with my business or private,” I informed him and he didn’t want to hear about it.

“I found you on Facebook,” he insisted and I just let him talk.

“So can you fix it or not?” Prince Charming wanted to know, which forced me to tell him again that I don’t do this kind of repair.

“Then why does your number come up on Google for furniture repair?” he almost yelled now and I found it hard to stay friendly.

“There are different kinds of repairs,” I tried to explain very friendly, which he ignored.

“So you are too stupid to fix a cigarette burn,” he barked, and then I heard a CLICK, and sure enough, the man had hung up.

How does it feel to be treated like that? Not good. I suppose it depends on the day and on my mood. Sometimes I don’t react to it all and I shake it off like a puppy shakes off water drops, other days it stings (stinks) and it stays with me.

Today it stayed with me.

I don’t know why people think they have the right to offend a stranger or insult someone whose service they requested.

It bothered me. The simple fact that he had hung up on me, which also happens now more often than it did just a couple of years ago, made me angry. What a coward!

People’s demeanor has changed. The freedom of speech which was meant to give us the right to speak up is now abused to offend, belittle, bully, and hurt people.

Fifteen minutes later it still bothered me.”How dare he,” I whispered and looked at our puppy Vader like he had all the answers. He wagged his tail like he was trying to cheer me up.

I know a company that does small repairs like this, it’s a franchise, not easy to find and normally I give people the number and their name if I get a similar request.

Thirty minutes later I picked up my cell phone and texted the man.

I have the number of a company that does this kind of repairs

Sure enough, he called back.

“The first number you gave me was not in service,” he barked and I just shook my head.

“I didn’t give you a number, I am the one you called STUPID.”

Nothing, silence on the other end.

“You hung up on me before I could give you the number. You hung up on me after you offended me.”

What now? Do I offend him? Do I hang up on him? Do I give him the number?

Well, the Elephant-Kindness sign did not work. I told him I would feel stupid if I gave him the number and hang up.

I should have given him the number, perhaps I would have set a good example, but I am so tired of being nice to rude people.

Today I did not win! Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow I will be kind


34 thoughts on “So, I am stupid?

  1. It is sad the level of rudeness people have. It has gotten to the point that it is pretty common to hear no please, hear no thank you and extremely rare to hear a you’re welcome. What you had to hear was so wrong, no one should have to put up with that kind of treatment. Unfortunately working with the public puts you in line for that kind of thing TOO often. Twenty years I cashiered and worked with the public… it is becoming more of a thankless job. I hope you never have to deal with that kind of rudeness again though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My goodness, but this is abusive. I wonder if you should have just hung up on him immediately, but your patience and measure of consideration was professional. I can’t peg it clearly, but he was more abusive than just rude. In a reverse kind of situation I bought some blueberry bushes from an on-line retailer and when they arrived I had a question. I called, and when the person on the other end picked up I said “hello” and tried to at least be friendly. This person shut me down immediately and told me he was way too busy for “friendly banter.” LOL! I wasn’t trying to make him my new best friend. I would never again do business with that establishment. Rudeness, coming from anyone, has consequences!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our society has become one where people think nothing of how they speak to others. It is tiring always giving someone the benefit of the doubt, their life is hard, they have health issues etc. The bottom line is there is no place for calling names. You are kinder than I would have been.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What is wrong with people? Now he may be suffering from dementia or mental health issues but it is no excuse. I’m sure I would have handled it the same. I worked in customer service for years. People can be so rude and hurtful. But, the majority of folks are pleasant and kind. I had to keep reminding myself of that fact. You are not stupid!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh Bridget I am so sorry you had to endure this rudeness from a member of the public who was spitting the dummy because he could not handle his frustration. I was just discussing how I learned the lesson to be kind to people on the phone if you want them to help you on another blog you might find of interest:
    Aside from a matter of politeness or respect, this man would probably have gotten further with you if he used a silver tongue than the tongue lashing he gave you. As if you would want to do anything for someone who just tried to bully you into doing something for him. “The customer is always right,” isn’t valid anymore. The pendulum of many social interactions has swung too far the other way, I think. Children stand up to adults and say, “You can’t make me, I have rights!” Which is good if they understand respect and don’t generalise such comments. Adults have rights too just as the business owner. People abuse others for changing lanes in traffic without indicating and stress everyone out with their reactionary behaviour. But turning the other cheek to rudeness eats away at us eventually and we have to stand up against it. Why has respect for another individual disappeared?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amanda, you raise some good points. I think rudeness is a form of bullying.
      As for the right we have, I often fear we have to many. Look at the man who told me that I am stupid. He can do so because he know no law will catch him. He can be rude and unfriendly, even offend without feeling any kind of consequences. There won’t be a fine, because nobody will sue him.
      Here in the US it seems the customer is always right. They can hammer us with bad reviews or destroy businesses online in a heartbeat. They know it and they do it.


      • Consequences, and the lack thereof is indeed a big part of the problem. Here, recalcitrant youth know they can get away with certain crimes with a warning and thus continue to do it. Too many rights? Yes the boundaries of rights continue to be pushed.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done, Bridget! The behaviour you describe seems to be creeping around the world. I see no point in it at all. Whatever happened to please, thank you and deference? I am sorry the man’s attitude spoiled your day – it is sometimes difficult to recover quickly from such hurtful encounters – and so I hope today will be a more positive one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I had to sigh, too, after reading this. There are people so broken, all they know how to do is lash out at others. I think you did a good job, especially when you stated the facts, reflecting back what he did. I probably would not have texted him. That took courage along with kindness. We also need to be kind to ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Self-compassion is not easy, but I’ve gotten better at being kind to myself. The self-bullying still happens in my head sometimes, but it’s not as loud and I will shush it when I notice it. I think it was Buddha who said, You as much as anyone else deserves your compassion. Then there’s the Bible: Love your neighbor AS yourself. Best wishes!


  8. Holy Crap. What is it with people that they will accept everything they find on line or all the crap that comes out of their political party’s mouth and they will not accept the truth when it is presented to them. As to rudeness, I used to think it was just men of a certain age, then just men, but nope, men women and kids seem to be rude in equal proportion. I love you sign and that is what I try to do, but some idiots just make it so darn hard. Keep smiling. 😀Allan

    Liked by 3 people

    • I notice a decline in manners for a while. I am not sure who and what’s should get the blame. Texting, instead of talking surely hasn’t helped. We have so called leaders and wanna-be-leades, who shout and scream any chance they get. Talking people down has become a normal I don’t want to accept. The way new customers talk on the phone is now so different from just ten years ago.
      We as society let is happen and I hope that soon we will hit the break -hard.
      Thank you, Allan. I appreciated you comment.
      Bridget 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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