The Truth Shall Set You Free

Saracasm is good for proving that you are smarter than your target (but that opens a contest of intellect, which may or may not go as you desire). However, plain truth is unparrelled for laying level the battlefield. So few people have the nerve to just grasp hold of truth and use it. I've got lots of nerve, and I used to have more ...

Like the time I stopped by that little mens shop downtown ... thats been there for a hundred years ... to pick up a white dress shirt. Sure, I stopped in on my way home from areobics. Sure, I was a student. Sure, I was dressed in sweats. Sure, I didn't have on make-up. Sure, the clerk tried to treat me like the hooker in PrettyWoman.

Thats where it got different. Because I have more ... something ... than that character. So when I asked the snotty clerk (who had already intimidated the girl with me so much that she went to stand by the door) for a size 161/2-33 and she said "somewhere in that pile over there" I coldly told her "Then, I'm sure you'll have no problem finding it FOR me." She looked like she'd been stung by a bee :) It didn't hurt matters that the owner's son came in a few minutes later and we started chatting because I hadn't seen him since we went to high-school together. Couldn't have timed it better if I had tried!

Could I have left it there? Maybe, if I was someone other than me. No, I felt compelled to mention as I was leaving "You know, this really is a lovely little shop. I hope it stays that way. You might want to consider a refresher course in customer service." That last part pointedly uttered with a knowing tone, while giving the offending clerk the once over, right before I waltzed out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his eyes flare. I suspect there was a lot of "retraining" going on that afternoon. Bwahahaha.

Now, some would think that I was rude to the clerk. I would say that I was a perfect lady. Ladies are those that accomodate inconviences to themselves, but champion the causes of those around them who are unable to do so. The fact that the clerk freaked out my friend with her condecending attitude completely justified my subtle yet effective exchange. No telling how many poor people she'd intimidated! Everyone learned a little from that moment. The clerk learned that its a bad idea to treat people different ways based on perceptions of their circumstances. My friend learned not to be intimidated by salespeople.

I've given this a lot of thought because of something I read recently in "Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior". She is outrageously funny and occassionally saracastic, but I found her to be the most illuminating when she spoke about a mistake people commonly make about manners. To paraphrase, she said that most people see etiquette as being behavior that makes others feel comfortable which entirely misses the point that good manners should be used to make others feel UNCOMFORTABLE in certain situations. People that are intentionally behaving badly should no more expect you to make them comfortable than people who are mugging you should expect you to offer them tea! There is a difference between being polite and being a doormat. (She also has a good chapter on how to say "no" politely but firmly)

The essence of the Southern Lady! FINALLY, I can put into words what I've struggled to define for years! The ability and willingness to use manners as a weapon! There it is.

Waves

LOL! Is that title to the post ironic or what!?!

Yes, thats cryptic. No, it won't be explained :)

Lucy | 08/06/2006 - 09:14 PM

So when you and I rule the world, I'll be sarcastic, and you can explain what it means in plain words. Deal? ;o)

Leni | 08/06/2006 - 11:11 PM
 
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