Conditional Respect?

Yesterday, we had been to a Thai takeaway where they were amazing sweet to us – we are frequent customers and threw in a free dish. We were quite taken aback, and pleasantly surprised, when she told me that it was specially for us, don’t worry about it.

And that got us talking about why we don’t get that same treatment in the Indian restaurant that we frequent too. .Not that we want free dishes, but it feels nice to know that they know their frequent customers and are ready to throw in a freebie for the business..

One of the possible reasons, I feel is that, a lot of us Indians, tend to treat the restaurant staff quite badly, so they might not feel like being nice to anybody. One time, we had been at an Indian place, in London, with another couple. Now, this had some really friendly staff. I remember, when Poohi was young, we used to go for a breakfast buffet on Saturdays and Sundays, to avoid the crowds.ย  The staff there was so sweet, they would entertain her while we hogged away. And I had made quite a few friends there – thanks to frequent visits – now you know, how little I cook at home ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, I digress. As I said, the staff there was extremely friendly. That day, when we were with our friends, this waiter pronounced some dish differently- with an accent. And our friend, actually made fun of that waiter. I cringed in my seat, wishing I could say something, and I feel so ashamed that I did not. I just don’t understand why people do that. Would he have made fun his boss’s accent? Then why take the liberty of making fun of the waiter? Is it not bullying because we know that that poor waiter cannot really do much in response.

I have seen this happen so many times.. People picking on others who are less powerful, whenever they can get away with it. People misbehaving at restaurants, with their domestic help, with their team members because they know that they cannot retaliate back. Most of these people are super nice to their bosses and other more influential people. A lot of us tend to think that just because somebody is not doing a white collar job, he has no dignity. My dad had instilled in us at a very young age, about how every job is important. And what is most important is that we do our best, in whatever we do. Be it washing utensils or working in a swanky office.

Another friend of mine, used to be extremely popular at all the restaurants he went to, simply because he treated the staff so well! He used to talk to them, joke with them and every time we went out with him – it used to so much fun.

One of my bosses, had once told me that the best way to judge a person is by the way he behaves with his spouse. And I totally agree.. I would add, though, that the way a person behaves with people less privileged than themselves is also a strong indicator of their personality. And I have very little respect for people who do not treat thoseย  less privileged than themselves with less respect.

56 thoughts on “Conditional Respect?

  1. This is one sad thing Smithu ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I feel so bad when I hv seen ppl talk to maids n helpers as though they are @ our mercy! Who feels more helpless when they don’t come in? As u said, its imp to be the best @ whatever we r!

    I know! I get so mad too!

    As is said, if u r a sweeper, be the best @ that! Ppl shud learn that all occupations complement each other .. no one is big or small n every piece of work is equally important!


    U hv touched a very nice aspect! Hope everyone learns to respect people irrespective of differences ๐Ÿ˜

    Once we hd been to a restaurant n when the waiter came n said, Order sir, Husband said ‘Nt order friend, its a request’ That one word changed things completely. The way we were treated n all ๐Ÿ™‚
    That is so sweet of him! I can imagine!

    Irrespective of the place, all that matters is a few words spoken with love n respect for the people! It cn def. win hearts ๐Ÿ™‚

    I feel so sad when ppl leave the restrooms untidy saying that the cleaner will anyway do that! I once almost hd a fight with a few ladies who argued on this point! Is she there to pick up the dirty tissues if she is supposed to clean! Wonder what ppl think of themselves! High positon eh ??? N they just don’t know one bit abt cleanliness!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know! That is so irritating, isn’t it! Good that you told her off!

    N abt the example u cited whether he wud do tht with his boss! Many yrs bk, when I ws in school, I remember buying something from a shop n then came out to buy a few things from a hawker who ws standing outside. Once I selected stuff n started bargaining, the person asked me why I hd just bought the things from the shop without a single word spoken abt the price but ws bargaining with him! Is it bcoz I am poor person n they speak sweetly n their shop looks attractive??? I ws hurt beyong words Smithu ๐Ÿ˜ฆ What he hd spoken ws so true n I just cud nt reply ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Nt sure even today if I hv an answer!

    You know, Swaram, I had almost the same experience. Once I was bargaining with a hawker, when I realised that I would have bought it without a murmur from a mall. I felt so ashamed that I gave him the original quote – and he was stunned.. Must have thought I was crazy – to bargain and then suddenly back track and give him the original price ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. You know I feel the same way, I cringe when people dont “see” waiters or cashiers or sales assistances are people but just someone to not even say a simple hello.

    I know! And all these little things make a difference. I have the most interesting conversations at checkouts – I don’t understand why people feel so overly self important that they feel that another individual is too lowly to talk to, in a nice way…

    I worked as a waiteress and can so relate to being ignored. The best judge on a date is see how your date treats the wait staff..


  3. Thats the sad thing and its really true Smitha… I have a friend who is like this… I have said to him that this is not the right kind of behavior among college staffs.. you must treat everybody equally… but he never learned that….

    I know.. It is sad when our friends do this and refuse to listen ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    and I always hate people with such attitude.. If we just spoke a few good words… how good they will feel… not some words.. but a smile will do.. instead of that, showing your authority at a nothing situation yields nothing but puts a grey mark on one’s character…

    I know – it makes so much of a difference, if only we are a little polite, a little considerate.

  4. wow Smithus! another brilliant post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    you said did right sistah! absolutely!!

    Thank you Pixie!

    it was my best friend V who showed me that they are also good people and when spoken in a friendly manner, service will be better and most importantly, respect for them and us in return will increase.
    Wherever we went, he always spoke nicely to the waiter.
    Me tries to do that too, but, Bangalore is not such a nice city! Some of the waiters are so snooty and so indifferent that its difficult to be polite or nice to them! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Yes, there are grumpy waiters everywhere.. I agree.. I was meaning to talk about the larger issue where people are unnecessarily rude to people ‘who do not matter’

    And one bad thing we have observed is, if you talk in Kannada even amongst ourselves, we have had bad treatment from a restaurant staff!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Really? That is so bad!

    So, it takes all kinds I suppose…

  5. Nice post… We too had a person in our group who makes a shout at the waiters most of the time and it was such an awkward situation for all of us, we used to get embarassed by his behavior. Tried to convince him a couple of times for not getting into such an act, with no success. Now that he has moved teams, not sure if he is still continuing…

    Whatever, we are happy ๐Ÿ™‚ So, the management lesson is ‘Manage or Manage OUT’!

    Makes so much sense

  6. The typical Indian mentality is – “Since I’m paying for the service, I’ll do as I please”…That’s why a lot of Indians treat domestic help, the subziwallah, the waiter etc. the way they do…

    I agree! and it so enrages me! Just ‘paying for the service’ does not give us the right to humiliate anybody.

  7. ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜

    i’ve read the saying that goes u can judge a person’s character from the way he behaves with 3 sets of ppl:
    1. mentally/physically challenged
    2. children/elderly ppl
    3. subordinates

    I agree totally
    its true… becoz the best way to know a person’s integrity is to give power and see how he uses it. when ppl have power over others and they misuse it to pick on those below them thats when their true nature gets revealed…

    So very true!

    as u said, i’ve always been taught to believe there’s dignity of labour in every job. hey, they are not begging or stealing… they are also working hard to earn their money.

    Exactly! and it is so irritating when we see people misbehaving because they think that they are ‘superior’ in some way.

    i’ve seen this incident once in a delhi restaurant. my friends and i were almost leaving the place after having eaten lunch, when one of the guys at another table asked for the bill and got his change back. he suddenly called back the waiter in an irritated tone…. the waiter came running… therewere a couple of hundred rupee notes in it… he literally THREW them at the waiter’s face saying: “bring me back change… what wud i do with 100 rupee notes?” ๐Ÿ˜
    i felt like slapping him saying: “teri maa ke ghar se laya hua 100 rupee note hai kya?” i guess i shud have…. !

    Oh god!!! People like this!

  8. Yeah, these kinda people annoy me too ! But dont think the waiters cant do anything in response !!! I have heard about instances where the waiters have spat in the food before serving. LOL. Thats the best way for revenge and Im totally on the waiters side ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ . I wouldve done worst !!!

    I know! And this guy totally deserved it too! I would be on the waiter’s side too!

  9. may be your friend does not know what the waiter is capable of doing to your food before he brings it out to you if you are not nice.

    Clearly ๐Ÿ™‚ And he totally deserves that too!

  10. Your last line is very true…a true indicator of one’s personality is how he behaves with people less privileged than him.

    It is important to respect dignity of labor and respect other humans for what they are.

    Glad you agree.

  11. Most restaurants in India get their fair share of customers for the day anyway.
    All thanks to the population &strategic marketing blueprints.
    So there ain’t no need to think about special offers for frequent customers.
    เคฎเคพเค‚เค—เคคเคพ เคนเฅˆ เคคเฅ‹ เคฒเฅ‹. เคจเคนเฅ€เค‚ เคคเฅ‹ เคซเฅ‚เคŸเฅ‹.

    I am not talking of special offers actually.. That was just an example.. I was talking of a more worrying thing – of how a lot of people think it is ok to look down on less privileged positions.

  12. that was a great post .. u have said it right Smitha..

    “I would add, though, that the way a person behaves with people less privileged than themselves is also a strong indicator of their personality.”

    because this is when you are really you..

    That is so true, isn’t it?

  13. Talking about treating the less previledged, my South Indian neighbour (let me not specific the state they belong to) was standing outside cleaning her ears with a bud. She is gossipping with another neighbour of ours and suddenly this little son (4 year old) of our building security climbs up the stairs and gives a blank look to all. This lady flashes the ear bud at the kid and asks ‘Yeh bhi khayega kya?’ and they both have a hearty laugh!

    How can people be so cruel minded, that too to innocent kids??

    Seriously!! That is so attrocious!

  14. reminds me of Munnabhai part 2 ๐Ÿ™‚ Just yesterday I and my sister were discussing the same topic…that how Indians ill treat people “below” them

    Haven’t seen it – very bad with movies:( Yes, it is such a common thing, actually.. so many people think it is ok to treat others like this!

  15. A lot of people do that indeed, and it is quite disgusting. As they say, the best way to judge a person s to see how he/she behaves with the people less powerful. Such people are also overly nice and subjugated to their seniors you know, just shows that they are insincere in everything they do, and generally would hurt people, whenever they can get away with it.

    Absolutely! And it irritates me to no end! People who think that they can rise up by trampling over others..

    And about you not saying anything to your friend, I understand it happens. I think it is because we fear hurting our friend, that we keep quiet.

    I know – but I feel so ashamed that I said nothing.

  16. Reminds me of Munnabhai lage raho… I totally agree with treating everybody with respect, including those who earn less, or those you are paying to work for you. Many of us do not respect anybody we can afford not to…

    I have found myself feeling very irritated when I hear some people speak of their domestic helpers as ‘these people are like that’

    I haven’t seen Munna bhai – I think I have to work on my movies now.. too many movies that I have not seen ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you agree!

  17. You know,Smits this post reminds me of an incident,that I witnessed.It was a couple of years back around the time my MIL had expired.There was this girl who used to look after mummy.Her husband was unemployed,they were in a bad state financially.My bro-in-law offered him a job right there when he came to know about their condition.I still remember what Ettan said when he met the couple.He said its only by the turn of fate that we are where we are and they are where they are.So we should never look down upon them.
    What he said that day has always stuck with me ever since and I cant help feeling blessed for the life that I have got.

    That makes so much sense! ‘its only by the turn of fate that we are where we are and they are where they are.So we should never look down upon them.’ Your BIL is so sensible! I know.. if all of us thought like him, we would be such a better society!

  18. I totally agree with u… my heart goes out when I see some of the people treating waiters and maids etc

    the other day in our colony I saw a lady slapping a 12-yr old (first why was she working there) just because she asked one biscuit… I couldnt control myself and told that lady that its not done… and the rsult she shouted back at me and created such a huge scene

    God! How can people behave like this! One biscuit! Good for you that you protested!

  19. nice post, Smitha…totally agree with you…why is it hard to understand that everyone is just human and nothing really makes one superior to another..anyway…well put. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thanks Titaxy, glad you agree.

  20. very nice post and I also feel the same hundred percent.we have this habit of doing anything and everything wherever we can get away with, since the less privileged cant retort back we behave abominably.

    I know! It is indeed abominable!

    I have seen many policeman slapping and canning the poor hawkers or taking their things without paying, so many times, never could dare to intervene.

    That is the worst! The police is supposed to defend our rights – but when they turn offenders – what could the common man do?

  21. Smitha, I have noticed the same. As you know we live in a small community so few visits and the people know us. People are so warm and friendly here. I have never seen similar service in Indian restaurants outside. I don’t like the Indian restaurants in US because the food is stale and the gravy tastes the same. Also as you say their behavior towards workers is bad.

    Oh yes! Absolutely! Here, where we live, it is not all that small – but people still make an effort.. In Indian places I think the staff is already too frustrated to bother..

    “One of my bosses, had once told me that the best way to judge a person is by the way he behaves with his spouse.”

    That is absolutely right. Though the spouse here shouldn’t be considered someone from lower strata but yes! a man who respects women instills good values in children. As the famous quote goes, the greatest gift you can give your child is to respect his/her mother.

    Oh no – I wasn’t implying that the spouse is ‘lower’ in anyway. What he meant was that the way one behaves with the spouse, is probably the most ‘natural’ to oneself. I just wanted to add that even the way one behaves to others less privileged, is a way of figuring out a person’s true nature.

  22. You remember my TIPS post. This is exactly why I believe in tips though I am not sure where the money from the TIPS jar goes in case of Indian restaurants because there are many illegal workers in Indian places.

  23. “One of my bosses, had once told me that the best way to judge a person is by the way he behaves with his spouse. And I totally agree.. I would add, though, that the way a person behaves with people less privileged than themselves is also a strong indicator of their personality. And I have very little respect for people who do not treat those less privileged than themselves with less respect.”

    That is a very good test . Remember Lage raho munna bhai ? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I haven’t seen Lage raho.. Have to see it – so many of you have said it ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. what to say , we indians lack courtesy to less privileged people(only exception is communist virus affected kerala……thanks to the trade unions).

    Oh yes – there is that exception ๐Ÿ™‚

    After all these peoples reminds us how blessed we are.So to thank god for that, we should respect them and help them ,that is what i believe
    ople less privileged than themselves is also a strong indicator of … u said it…very true

    Glad you agree ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. For a change I read the post a day earlier… but posting comment now…

    ๐Ÿ™‚ That happens all the time with me ๐Ÿ™‚

    serving a ban you se… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    Arre me too! And next week we are going on holiday – so another break of a week – mera kya hoga?

    Remember that Munnabhai scene where that pretty lass calls him on radio … and he explains… just check how he acts with the waiters…

    Haven’t seen the movie – you should refer new movies to me – I am pathetic at watching movies – I prefer to read if I have 3 hours at a stretch ๐Ÿ™‚ But that totally makes sense ๐Ÿ™‚

    i truly believe… a person can be judged only by how he behaves with people who are below or inferior to him …

    I agree

  26. really true Smitha… and yes one who respects people of all strata of life is a real human for me… ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know Oorja – I get so mad when people behave this way..

  27. Hmmm it’s a serious post and somehow when it comes to commenting with brains I am always at a lost :(. But I truly understand what you wrote. I have always wondered how come most of us NRI’s while dining in foreign shores smile and say thank you every time a foreign waiter keeps a napkin on our table and while leaving never forget to keep 20% of the total amount as tip…no matter even if the service was not good. Yet back in India we treat the waiters like some low creature. We scowl and hesitate to drink the glass of water touched by these ppl….sigh!!! The list is endless and we think a lot before sparing a few 1 rupee coin as tips…

    I know! We do it here – simply because I guess, we are too scared not to! Its so very irritating..

    I remember what my dad always used to tell me – that in order for some people to enjoy a rich and luxurious life someone must be willing to do the lowest dirty jobs and we have to be grateful to them for making our life luxurious…

    That makes so much sense! Your Dad is spot on!

    Where you going on vacation?????????

    We are going to a nearby seaside place – for 4 days.. and then plan to come back here and do day trips.. either way, no chance of logging in – unless I want to be totally disowned by husband ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. There was a similar moral in Harry Potter, Dumbledore talks to Harry about how Bartemius Crouch’s treatment of his house-elf spoke volumes more than his work towards eliminating the Dark Arts.

    Oh yes! I forgot about that – but you are right!

    It annoys me too when people take a high-handed attitude to those placed ‘lower’ than themselves. What’s with that?!

    I know! It is so irritating!

  29. sheesh smithu!!! it irks me too, this behaviour!

    i have heard that many HR ppl now schedule interviews for higher management officials at restaurants, just to see how they behave with waiters, get a general idea of what they are like when they have power…

    Makes so much sense! People can really present their best side in an interview – this is a great idea!

    its just too mean to make fun or to treat anyone like some low life… they too are working hard and also serving us in what we need..

    Exactly my point! Some people think it is ‘cool’

    one of my college class mate was totally amused that i said thanku to an auto driver after paying and getting off..her logic was, he got u and u paid him, so why thank u… my point is, what’s there to lose? and is it so difficult being courteous? or its simply considered unnecessary ?! i only say thanks, bf is a step ahead and even compliments on the driing, or if service was good, he makes it a point yo praise… and the smile that he gets in return… totally worth it i tell u!!

    I do that too – and most people around me call me crazy or angrez.. But if that makes one autodriver happy – what do we lose? I so agree Crafty! Hugs!!!

    u are so right about ppl being two faced in front of superiors! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    funny species we are… considering our own kind as not worthy of respect.

    any person who earns with hard work has every right to be treated with dignity!!!

    Totally agree, Crafty! I find it so hard to believe that so many people do this kind of thing..

  30. Hi Smitha,

    Good observations and a very well knitted article.. I specially loved the title of the blog… cudnt think of any other name more suited…!

    Thank you! I had a tough time coming up with the title ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have seen a lot of people degrade other humans (most of the times they assume their superiority over other human beings, because they probably have more cents in their pocket) simply because they have something that the other person does not… In their blind arrogance, they refuse to see that the other person may have something that u dont!!!

    Exactly! Just money or position is not everything is it?

  31. Well pointed out Smitha.
    dont know what to say everyone has covered all the points in their comments..
    Do see lage raho it has the same hotel-waiter scene..

    Will do Mystery.. It seems to be quite good!

  32. Smitha, First time commenting here. Came across you several days back and have been visiting often, so hello ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thank you so much! And welcome here!

    I cannot agree more on this – It is such a universal phenomenon. Very latest experience I had on this was a dinner get together. As long as this guy was introduced to someone his first question was “What do you do?” I understand that we all are curious about this, but I thought that could probably the first question if it is a job fair or a business gathering. This was a casual dinner!!! And in few minutes he had decided with whom he needs to socialize that night.

    That is the most irritating habit! People prioritise who to socialise with based on what somebody does!!!! Heights!

    Oh, this happens so often… Lately it feels like people want to be nice only if there is something that they benefit in return…

    I know.. sad, isn’t it?

  33. Nice post. It is not nice to make fun of the waiter in a restaurant. I have heard cases where an angry waiter spit on the food before bringing to the table.

  34. Having a care-taker for their babies seems to have become a trend in delhi / gurgaon these days…but not many families treat them so well. Every time we are a restaurant or food-joint…we will see at least one such ‘care-taker’ standing in a corner…so thine and weak…looking at all other people who are eating and enjoying with families/ friends…. how pathetic is that ? Last time when we went to an Italian restaurant, Hubby pointed out a family who were not only kind enough to let the care-taker girl sit with them…but also allowed her to eat and enjoy with them. We were so glad when we saw this and felt genuine respect for the family.

  35. Totally with you on this one. I guess some people like to feel good about themselves by putting the other person down. And I strongly believe that such people themselves are suffering from some sort of inferiority complex, and hence the need to feel more powerful.

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