yes, we have no bananas (that will please you, bitch)

In ALL, FLORIDA, RELOCATING by Stephanie Klein43 Comments

This morning at Blendz Cafe in Woodfield Country Club, a woman, mid-50s, brunette ponytail, racer-back tank, coordinated running shorts, says to the bartender in a voice loud enough for me to turn and stare, to see who would actually speak this way to anyone, no less someone in the service industry (I mean, this is the cliche of cliches—everyone knows your character is judged by how you treat your mother and waitstaff, everyone! Even assholes know this. True assholes play nice nice in a fake fake way, but they know). Also, says isn’t the right verb. She barked, snapped, THREW WORDS AT HIS FACE.

“Excuse me, but we need more ice here!” No, I don’t think I will excuse you. She offers no, “when you have the chance, I can see you’re busy.” Just “WE NEED AWWCCCEEE OVAH HERE!”  Things turn to monkey shit from here.

I’m back to filling my cup with water, and I hear her demand again, “And we need more bananas!” I want to school her, old school, with a ruler to the hands or a paddle to her backside. Holy shit. I don’t care what I’ve ever had going on in my life, a crumbling marriage, a hospitalized child, family in the hospital, diagnosed with an unexpected solemn voice… I don’t care what it is, I’ve never spoken to anyone this way, and I want to say something now.

Something kind.

And this surprises me. Maybe it’s because I’m now used to dealing with the mini-meltdowns of children. Someone needs a hug, a cookie, something other than a banana, unless it’s up her ass.

There are over 20 fresh bananas balanced on a wicker tray, none are banana bread ready, none OVERLY ripe. Just a mix of freckles and also the greener variety. “We need more bananas,” she throws out again.

“More?” Reuben asks, peering at the bountiful tray. It’s not that he hasn’t heard her. He’s just in disbelief.

“Yes, MORE!” If this were a film, now would come the tight shot of an eyebrow lifting, then back to her eyes, narrowing into angry slits.

Reuben shoots me a look, as if to say, you see in’ what I am? I shake my head, mortified that she’s a white woman, that we share that. As Reuben sets off to add yet another bunch of bananas to the tray, I ask her, “Whats wrong with these bananas?”

And this next part I can’t do justice. This next part deserves the voice notes app, where I just hit record and ask her to repeat herself for the record. Maybe she’s going to launch into a speech about organics, or how flavorless local Florida bananas are compared to those imported from Costa Rica (this is something my mother swears is true). But, no. This is too much benefit.

“What’s wrong with these bananas?”
“UUUUCCGHH!!!” She says as if the tray contains the after juice of a circle jerk. “They are all DISGUSTING.”
“Exactly! They’re perfectly suited for you and your shitty little attitude.”

Only, no. I can’t say this. I can just regret not saying it from here, moments later. Let’s play along though. Because that’s what play is, role-playing our way through safe situations, so we’re better equipped when the opportunity presents itself again, for real.

What would you do, as a warm human being, hoping to make a difference, in this situation? Insulting her isn’t the way to go. It’s the want to go, but not the way. What, dear reader, would you do? It’s your “It’s A Wonderful Life” opportunity, YOU, and your interaction now, is the one chance she has to turn her life around. Would you keep at it, asking her if she could describe her ideal banana? Would you tell her something about her behavior, would you play along, to get her to side with you, then try to turn her around? Or would you walk and ignore, letting her life suck?

Comments

  1. I think I’d have gone with a simple, “well, there’s no need to raise your voice”, said quietly. Sometimes (like with kids) counteracting shouting with whispering works wonders.

  2. To be honest, I think a woman with this kind of at-tee-tood is a lost cause. I wouldn’t bother with her at all. However, I once had a similar experience involving my m-i-l at a restaurant in Alaska. As soon as she left the room I went over to the waitress and apologized to her for my m-i-l’s bad behavior. I’d advise you to do the same.

  3. Stephanie – Don’t pretend to be something you are not. YOU trying to school her? She sounds rude, but in your post you:

    -call her a bitch
    -make fun of her accent (I have heard you speak, so you REALLY have nerve)
    -put yourself above her
    -have to insert the term “circle jerk”, so you can seem edgy or something

    How about – you mind your own business? You don’t know about her life. You have been rude in this blog A LOT, so ease up on others.

    1. Anon,

      Talk about pretending to be something you’re not how about you post your name. As for Stephanie being rude on “her” blog remember it is her blog. Don’t read it if you don’t like it.
      And for the record anyone who is “rude” or disrespectful to anyone be it a service person or for that matter anyone, has no class whatsoever and derserves a little shaming!

      Rainy

    2. There is NO reason to be rude like the woman was described.

      As Stephanie pointed out she has been through some trying times but at no point would have felt justified lashing out at someone. Me either. I don’t think knowing about this woman’s life has anything to do with having the common courtesy to be civil to others. The woman WAS a BITCH, no excuses.

  4. No advice (I would be too chickenshit to say anything, but throw a dirty look). But for the love of all that is good, you MUST start a blog or a Twitter feed exclusively with tales of the Boca Woodfield Country Club. That place is a trip.

  5. How about something like this (in a sincere, concerned voice): “Are you o.k.? You must have had a really bad day if these bananas are so upsetting to you. Is there anything I can do?”

  6. In these situations I always make it a point to be super ultra polite to the service industry person (not that I’m not anyway, but I try to make it more obvious in the off chance that the asshole person might realize that they’re behaving like, well, an asshole), so that they realize that someone else sees that another person is behaving horribly and doesn’t condone it. Sadly I’m the type of person who thinks of the witty retorts for the offender long after the situation has ended.

  7. I wouldn’t interact with her at all. I can’t change a grown woman’s bad manners, even if it were my business. What I would do is try to overcompensate for her rudeness by being extra nice to the wait staff to show my appreciation for their service and for having to put up with asshats like that horrible woman.

  8. I would have apologized for her to the guy behind the counter loud enough for her to hear. Actually I have done that before and would do it again. Im mortified by bad behavior towards people in service. I have no issue shaming them a little.

  9. Like Lisa, I would give my filthiest look — and it’s a good one! I’ve been working on it for years! — but I wouldn’t say anything. I’d probably leave after bestowing my Filthy Look ™ upon her.

  10. I would call her on her bad behavior. Not in an insulting, belittling way, but in a matter-of-fact “Do you realize how rude you’re behaving right now” sort of way. I would tell her that I was embarassed for her and that I would be ashamed of myself if I ever behaved like that to somone I know nothing about.

    And then I would grab one of those special bananas and bring it to her and tell her that she was acting like a child.

    Of course, she would probably tell me to fuck off, or mind my own damn business, or throw that banana right back at me…

    See, this is how my brain thinks. I could make whole made-for-t.v. specials out of scenarios like that. :-)

  11. I would say, “Aren’t we blessed to live in a country where this may be the biggest aggravation of our day?”

  12. I concur with Deanna. It’s our responsibility to care for those around us and for us to speak up when injustice is present. Even if that injustice is “just” someone raising their voice inappropriately at (hardworking) staff. To quote MLK, “to ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.” And yes, I think being rude is one way of being evil. Low-level thuggery in fact.

  13. I think you showed remarkable restraint. I’d have said to the server (audibly, so she’d hear): “Please excuse her. She must be having a terrible day. Service here has always been exceptional.”

  14. Since working there and being treated like that every day several times a day I’ve been very aware of how people treat those in service positions and on several occasions I’ve called strangers out on their rudeness in public. To quote the Woodfielders “It’s unacceptable.” You should always, always let people know when they’re being jackasses. They get away with it because no one ever says anything and who cares if they cuss you out or cause a scene?

  15. We have a saying at work about bullying; if you don’t step in you are supporting it. It can be hard to be confrontational and step in but I believe this is the only way that we can show a bully that this behavior is not ok. So I dare you next time you see someone throwing their weight around and giving someone a hard time tell them off.

  16. Excellent timing! I have lost patience lately and have been speaking my mind in quite a few situations, when I held the door open for someone and they just walked past without a thank you I spoke up and said, “Oh, no problem, afterall I am a door man! You’re welcome by the way” Then just last night I saw a kid (19-20 years old) pull up to a convenience store and park in the handicapped space. He was obviously not handicapped. I was behind him in line and I enquired if he needed help out to his car, he looked at me like I had 9 heads and I explained that since he is handicapped he might need help. He gave me attitude and said he wasnt handicapped like I was an a$$hole and I said, “Well then why are you parked in handicapped parking?” he slunked off without saying another word.
    It might show a lack of my manners but I have had it with rude people lately.

  17. Actually, I meant to add, you should print out this blog post and our comments and hand it to her next time.

  18. Last week the husband and I went to dinner. We had to park in the back forty and since we drive a large Tundra, it didn’t bother us. We found a spot and parked in a parrell position to the building. When we were leaving we noticed the cars around us parked in a perpendicular manner. Oops. The worst part some nasty woman walked by us bitching the whole time. Really, Finally I said “we did it just to piss you off apparently we were successful.” What I wish I said ” I can see why you’re alone.” In any case,that poor women allowed the way someone parked to ruin her day. Really why sweat the small stuff. In your case where there was mistreatment of a third party. That’s a tough one, you never know how the person will react if you call them out on their bad behavior.

  19. I think your response was good…made her think, even if it’s not going to tip her universe the other way.
    I have been in situations where I just give the service worker a knowing look and a smile too. I’m on your side, dude. But calling a spade a spade is what you (subtly) did with the ivory tower banana bitch.

  20. I said something in kind of this situation once. I was sitting in front of a cafe drinking a latte, with my own baby in a stroller. Another mom stopped quickly to buy a coffee to go. Her toddler was crying. He was clearly having a tantrum and the toddler’s mom was ignoring him, like we all do, which is what you’re supposed to do, right? And she was only there for a moment to get a coffee to go.

    So this one other customer – and again, we’re outside, not IN the cafe – says, EXCUSE ME EXCUSE ME! to the poor harried mom. I thought she was going to get on her case about her kid being loud or something. But no, she said, HOW CAN YOU IGNORE YOUR CHILD WHILE HE’S CRYING?? YOU ARE TRAUMATIZING YOUR CHILD! LOOK AT YOUR CHILD. THAT’S TRAUMA! THAT’S TRAUMA!

    And the mom said, I’m sorry, I hear you, I’m just getting a coffee.

    And the obnoxious customer said YOU ARE TRAUMATIZING HIM. HOW DARE YOU PUT YOUR NEEDS ABOVE HIS?

    And the mom just apologized again and walked away quickly with her coffee.

    And then I really did this – I didn’t just think it, for once. I turned to the customer and I said, “You know, that was none of your f*cking business.”

    But then she lit into me just like she had lit into the mom, I WAS PROTECTING THAT CHILD. YOU ARE ADVOCATING ABUSE. etc.

    So I didn’t win. And I wish I had said my thing while the mom was still there. But to this day, I’m glad I did something. And I hope the obnoxious woman thought twice about doing that to the next poor mom she encountered.

  21. My dad ripped apart a woman at Publix one day that was being so nasty to the girls in the bakery. They really appreciated it and for awhile was the hero of the bakery. I definately would have called her out on her behavior – not that it would have mattered. Miserable people like that don’t know how to be pleasant.

  22. Happened to me recently in bar at a Chicago airport hotel. This incredibly rude woman threw a fit because her beer was 1) not cold enough and 2) cost $8.00! She practically screamed at the bartender…”who did you think you are…the Hilton?” (And yes – it WAS the Hilton). I mean, she was seriously out of her mind. He shook his head, took the abuse, and when she left, we laughed about it for an hour, and every night I was there. I would come in and say, “I want a beer and it had better be COLD damnit!” and the laughter would start again.

  23. I HIGHLY enjoyed your circle jerk comment! That lady is a twat and clearly doesn’t feel good about her life. I feel bad waiters have to deal with that kind of tude on a daily basis.

  24. Seems like you’ve encountered a boatload of rude, inconsiderate, ‘entitled’ people where you are currently living. Time to find a new neighborhood, I think! Get out of the country club, at least (the stereotype is totally being proven). That woman’s behaviors and mindset are so ingrained, there’s no saving her–especially at her age. I’d still want to smack her, though. (Not that I would, obviously.) The irony here is that had you said anything, she would have thought YOU were the rude bitch! People like that are so clueless. Saying something to her would have only made YOU feel better–it wouldn’t have “schooled” her in the least. Unfortunately.

    1. I don’t think Stephanie wants to leave the CC lifestyle. It’s what she grew up wanting and seeing herself as. Add to the the superior schools, networking opportunities for herself, her children, and Phil, and there’s just no way. Leaving, IMO, would be far too jarring for her. She nor Phil don’t exactly strike me as cool, city chic, wealthy hipster send their kids to public school parents. Much more country club, lululemon, never met a Janie and Jack outfit they didn’t like type people.

      But really, it should be her number one priority to make sure her kids don’t become entitled assholes, because as great as the school and educational advantages are in the CC/private school area, being surrounded by that kind of entitlement is bound to rub off. You have to be diligent about it. And from what I’ve read, from yogurt shop moms who let their kids run around free, under and around other tables and people without a single word or thought, to this bitchy woman, I’d be more worried about my kids becoming little shits, than anything.

      1. The rude, self-entitled attitude is rampant in all sections of south Florida, and not just with the CC crowd.

      2. Bravo Danielle – you nailed it. While it is too late for Stephanie and Phil, her kids are still young and seemingly sweet. Odds of them growing up and turning into little snots? Damn high.

  25. When I lived in FL I would have done nothing but stare in shock, because I had lots of big thoughts but no big mouth. Now, after seven years of living in San Francisco, I would have opened my big mouth. You know how you’d quickly whisper to someone about to walk into a crowd “Oh you must not have realized but your skirt is tucked into your underwear”? Well I’d have said, in the same tone, “Oh, that came out really angry and as if you’re one of those obnoxious entitled people by accident!” Passive-aggressive has its place sometimes.

  26. While I completely advocate a jerk being told that they are wrong for acting like a jerk, I think we have to make sure to keep our responses in check, as well. A comment like, “I can see why you’re alone,” as a reader brought up, may be going a little too far. There is always context, and while of course the bigger picture doesn’t qualify or validate rudeness at all, even a jerk has a back-story.

  27. I’ve been known to make light of “1st world problems” to people like her.

  28. These are the type of situations that keep me up at night. I feel like I can only come up with the things I should have said ten minutes after the situation occurs.
    I always have to filter out my initial rude responses in my head, and end up tongue tied, not saying anything. So frustrating. I wish the diplomatic part of my brain worked a bit quicker.

  29. Ideally I would start recording her on my iPhone. Since it’s always in my hand anyway. Then I’d go over to her and say something like “Oh you just HAVE to see this.” Or whatever the case may be, I would just like to humiliate her some way.

  30. I would have focused my attention on the waitstaff, maybe even made a shitty attempt to make up for the uncalled for gripe in whatever humanity-leveling way I could come up with on short notice and under confused duress. I feel like these people have shitty lives because, by their own doing, everyone seems to treat them unwell. Their level of want so far exceeds the ability of normal people that they are in a world of constant lacking. Never are things so decent for them that they can relax, even for a minute, and let anything go…Their mental illness is their lifelong sentence…

    Bottom line, fat tip, encouraging conversation, perhaps overly friendly smile, and I’m out the door.

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