What the He** is going on?!


by Kenneth Justice

~Yesterday as I was sitting at Starbucks (writing my last blog post actually) and a customer who was in the middle of paying said to the cashier “ya know, you would be a lot cuter if you lost some weight”


For a minute I had to make sure I had heard what I just heard; did a customer just tell the cashier that she was fat?

Did I wake up in bizarro world where all of a sudden it is okay to not only be a rude and obnoxious person…..but its also okay to go around telling people that they are fat?

Being within earshot of the conversation I leaned over and having  made eye contact with the Rude Ronny; gave him an earful of expletives calling him a son of a motherless goat.

I realize that people are becoming more and more rude. I’ve written about it repeatedly. I grew up in a conservative Christian environment so rudeness and personal attacks are something I have seen more of than I care to admit.

But come on now; isn’t telling a stranger to their face “you are fat” going a little too far??

What happened to a little bit of common decency?

I realize that our country has an obesity problem. I realize that our eating habits in the Western World are pretty darn poor. But does that then mean you and I should walk around being obnoxiously rude?

Rudeness and meanness are getting out-of-control.

I suspect it is connected to the dissatisfaction people are experiencing in their lives.

When I attended hardcore conservative Christian churches I noticed that my fellow parishioners spent a lot of time bashing non-Christians. Evangelicals love to spend Sunday afternoons talking about what is wrong with everyone else.

I suspect this proclivity toward focusing on the ‘wrong behaviors’ of others is connected to one’s own insecurities.

For instance, there are just as many problems in the personal lives of conservative Christians as non-Christians; conservative Christians get divorced, have secret addictions, dislike their vocation, and more.

Thus, when someone feel’s dissatisfied with their life; a way of not dealing with the dissatisfaction is to focus their anger and hostility toward others.

I mention conservative Christianity in this post because it was especially troubling for me growing up as my fellow Christians slapped the ‘god label’ on their rudeness;   Christians love to use the bible and theology to hide behind as they dish out their nastiness.

Thus, the conservative Christian hides behind bible verses taken out of context as they say, “Oh…I’m not being rude or judgmental, I’m just quoting God’s holy word”

It was especially difficult for me when Christian relatives, friends and church leaders tried to compel me to obey their whim’s and fancies by telling me I was ‘violating god’s will”…….as though they somehow had secret knowledge of Gods will for my life.

I recall one particular conversation with a christian relative who was trying to argue with me that god speaks to him; when I told him that people who hear voices in their head usually need psychological intervention, I’m sure you can guess that it didn’t go over very well.

Whether you are a Christian or Buddhist, an athiest or agnostic, I think you might agree with me that Western Society needs to begin practicing a little bit of grace;

The grace I am referring to is a simple way of letting things go; whether you think you are right or wrong, bite your tongue.

Show grace to others and don’t tell them what you think is wrong with them.

We don’t all have to be perfect.

In fact, it is in our perfections that we find a certain level of beauty.

Yesterday a friend of mine told me he broke off talking with a girl because she didn’t share his same political views. I tried to gently ask him, “is it necessary that every girl you date share the exact same political views?”

Why must everyone believe exactly the same way?

The only thing that I feel we should all agree on is that a cup of good coffee is a great way to start the morning, which reminds me, I think I’ll have another cup,



Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

44 replies

  1. As I read this post, I sip my coffee and contemplate the truth of this post and I am afraid of where we go from here…

  2. but there are nice people too amongst the rude ones. I think we live in a highly stressful world now where poeple are always highly strung, late for something, and stressed. I enjoy perfecting the art of chillaxing 🙂

  3. We are not the judge and jury of anyone else. But I too have went to many churches and found the same thing in the Protestant circles. Like reading this with my java

  4. Well it is important to be honest – it just depends how u say it, if of course u know how. Another thing is, to be fat is not right either. And you also have to consider the motive and the level of consciousness of that person who said that. Nothing in life is a coincidence. Maybe u were recently thinking about that ur fat so there you go one day ull meet a person that is gonna say it to you. Or maybe you said that to someone else before and now is someone else s turn to tell you the same. Reasons are many but it is always about the recipient to guess why did it happen to him/her. Then you have to think what if that customer just wanted to make a compliment and it just didn’t sound nice but for that customer the intention was good? Because he really thought that person is beautiful and thiner would be just stunning? After all that we just cannot really be angry at anyone. There is always a reason why things are happening to us. To be pissed off or upset wont help. Energy follows the energy and to be offended is considered a very negative trait in spirituality. It will only blind you more about what is life trying to tell you. Negativity breeds negativity and that is why you should maybe say THANK YOU THAT YOU THINK IM CUTE 🙂 and change everything negative into something positive. And that is the magic.

    • You ask a lot of a person… “to be fat is not right” means that the person is intentionally fat. And that may be true… maybe they eat a lot… out of depression because of some deep reason that you will never understand. Or maybe they are stuck eating fast food because they are working two minimum wage jobs and have no time to cook healthy. Or maybe they have a medical condition. But you are asking them to take the statement “you’d be cuter if you lost weight” and turn it into a compliment. Could they turn to the offender and say,”You seemed nice until you said that?”

    • Yes….. that is exactly what we ALL have to do. Always look at the bright side.. always. But I have to admit I am myself master of depression and negative thinking. And maybe that is why I take everything so personally and it hurts me and makes me even more depressed….and sad and people hate me even more. Because negativity breeds negativity. So yes lets not take things personally. There is this really cool book about it – http://www.amazon.com/You-Target-Laura-Archera-Huxley/dp/B0017ZKVUG . You are not the target.

    • I get what you are saying, in ha maybe they meant it. A compliment but it came out wrong. If that was the point then an apology wouldn’t have been far behind. Nothing was mentioned so we can assume (rightly or wrongly) that they weren’t thinking of being nice. I’d be thinking ‘you liked nice til you opened your mouth’ but Neil we know all the circumstances surrounding someone, if you can’t be nice, and its not called for to abuse someone then say nothing.

      As a society we are all to busy and getting ruder if things don’t go our way, we have a bad day etc. there is little thought to how our actions affect others when they are nothing to do with them. (As in, not their fault you had a bad day)

  5. I agree with you, Kenneth. There seems to be a lack of empathy that is growing with an ever increasing sense of self. We have become a very self centered society and it seems that instead of thinking about how to help, lift up and edify others, we are more worried about grasping at the very best that commercialism has to offer (hence we are willing to force others who we barely know into the Abercrombie mold and think we are justified). I have no problem with ambition but I hope to be able to create in my own children a value in empathy above all else. If the whole world were to empathize, sympathize and communicate it with each other, there would be no need to wish for world peace – it would already be here. Isn’t that what Jesus really came here to do? Not to bash other religions, beliefs or creeds. He came here to teach us how to love each other and treat each other with the respect a fellow human deserves. The only people I ever read about Him yelling at or telling them they were “bad” were people who were hurting others mentally or physically. When He healed someone, He told them to “sin no more” because He didn’t need to say more than that. We are mostly painfully aware of our flaws and don’t need them pointed out by others regardless of what they think they might be doing for us. I admit that I’m not always perfect in this area. In fact, when someone deals me a perceived slight, I tend to use all my powers of slander against them – it’s an issue.

    – the wifey

    • “We have become a very self centered society and it seems that instead of thinking about how to help, lift up and edify others, we are more worried about grasping at the very best that commercialism has to offer (hence we are willing to force others who we barely know into the Abercrombie mold and think we are justified)”

      excellent thoughts!

  6. I think you are right about people being out of control themselves, and then trying to control someone else. The parents who were the most picky with criticism of teachers seem to have the most out of control kids. Yet they wanted to control everything at school. Teachers don’t tell parents what to do at home..if anything, we might suggest and usually only when asked a direct question.
    I loved the example of “unmerited grace”, ahh…if only the world experienced that! . . . Namaste. . .Anne

  7. Horrifying…really. Where are manners and plain old consideration of others. I am SOOOOOO glad you spoke up. When did everyone become so judgmental and and IN CONTROL OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO? This is why people keep baseball bats under the counter and if they don’t, maybe they should think about it. Pretty soon we will start seeing signs in all establishments saying: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT…KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF…DO NOT BE RUDE TO OTHERS…DON’T BE A JERK…MANNERS SPOKEN HERE. IF YOU CAN’T BE NICE PLEASE LEAVE.

  8. Good morning all!

    Kenneth, I have been tossing the words “rude” and abuse around in my thoughts concerning this post. I feel you were way too nice when you called the guy ‘rude.’ To me he was rudely abusive based upon the scene setting. And without a doubt the young lady who was the recipient of his thoughtless comment was young, or had no self-preservation skills, or no self-worth if not all three.

    Usually I don’t mention my blog but I can’t help it! This kind of behavior makes people feel uncomfortable in their skin (something I am blogging about). Sadly once a person is uncomfortable in their skin they most often live unhappy lives. I should know!

    I’m a person that was subjected to such abuse. I lived a very unhappy life because of the meanness of others. Ugh!

    I wish I had been there with ya! I would have been back up and took over where you left off with telling this guy how inhumane he truly is and was. And I would have done it in a sophisticated sisterly fashion, loudly, boldly and tactfully. Laughter!

    • Annette,

      well, i changed a couple minor details and condensed the story quite a bit as to protect the privacy of the young woman….but of the parts I left out; I said quite a bit more to him in the exchange but he just didn’t give a hoot as to what I said.

  9. can i just say i love that you called that dude the son of a motherless goat? lol that’s awesome. no but really – you’ve seriously tapped into something that just drives me absolutely crazy anymore. people wonder why kids are getting so much meaner and bullying has suddenly become much more of a serious matter than it was 20 or 30 years ago, when parents could afford to tell their kids to just stand up to bullies or even ignore them. can’t do that now – it ends up on the internet and it’s much, much meaner than it was. people don’t get the fact that kids watch ADULTS behave that way! if they see adults do it why shouldn’t they? drives me nuts. people are incredibly rude, thoughtless, insensitive, mean. what happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it at all?” what happened to being at least mildly considerate of others’ feelings? what makes that jerk think that woman’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt or she wouldn’t be insulted? how does one remotely think that it’s okay to say something like that? i don’t get it. it seriously baffles the hell out of me. yes there is the possibility of just poor phrasing and poor choice of words when it was intended to be a compliment, BUT that only goes so far. i get tired of people hiding behind the excuse that i’m just no good with words or im just trying to be honest – no that’s an excuse. people use whatever excuse possible to be mean on occasion and that really pisses me off too. i’d bet those same people hate it when harsh words are used on them. people have no respect for words – they’re always saying they’re just words, no they’re not. anyway, i think you get my point and now im officially ranting lol. great post! i couldn’t agree more.

    • Jen,

      ha ha…’son of a motherless goat’ is from the movie The Three Amigos 😉 truth be told I actually used a few more salacious terms in the exchange as well but i left those out of my little article.

      Your comment is right along the lines of what I’m thinking……What bothers me a ton is that the dude’s comment most likely ruined the young woman’s day. And that is why i told him to F*** off and came to her defense. And while she smiled through her tears in appreciation for what I said…..there wasn’t really anything I could do to wipe away the harm that the guy inflicted.

    • haha i love that movie! i shoulda known that’s where it was from; well i do appreciate your grace in your posts and leaving out dirty words. it’s usually not all that necessary when writing.
      that’s awesome you went to her defense that’s for sure and yes sadly he probably did ruin her day 😦 that’s what people don’t get is that words really are so powerful. ugh

  10. Thank you for speaking up. I’ve been called fat by the chemist who was trying to sell me some weight-loss product. I’ve been called fat and thereby not suitable to date. I’ve been called fat by so-called friends who say I look better after losing weight to chemotherapy! It always makes me shudder. I like my curves but more than that, I like just being alive. Thank you for speaking up. Xx

  11. Wow, I must say I’m not surprised but I am glad you spoke up to that loser. You know, from the common census of disgruntled and unhappy feelings of most Americans, it has become the norm to find humor in rude, blunt, sarcastic, and ultimately rude things. We laugh at comedians and tv shows that glorify this harsh humor, we applaud people for their witty, sharp comebacks and we uphold people who are brazen in their attitudes of “lemme step on the backs of everyone to get to the top, because that’s how I’m going to reach my goals”. It’s pretty sick, if you think about it. Human beings are social creatures, and all this blatantly rude behavior only serves to further the feelings of alienation we all feel sometimes. Another good post!!! I think I’ll have a cup of Pike Place roast from Starbucks in honor of your awesome blog! 😀

    • Kristina….

      truth be told I wouldn’t have spoken up in the past but the older I get the more confident I am in speaking my peace when I see elements of injustice, and in this case rudeness! I had Pike Place yesterday 😉

  12. Couldn’t agree with you more Kenneth. My story in life is not yours or anybody elses, and most stories come with a bit of a prologue you would never get to read unless you asked. Compassion and grace are both virtues that need more practice, not that I’m judging those who don’t. Some just want to go through life being mean, and they are entitled to that.

  13. I do agree with you on the sharing grace, it is amazing to me how our attitudes influence others. How a bad attitude can spread, yet a good one can be just as contagious. That’s the key to sharing grace, think of the other, if we all did more of that, we would all benefit!
    Good words Kenneth, enjoy your coffee!

  14. The presumptuous attitude that someone even thinks another person would possibly care that someone else has the opinion that they would be more appealing if they changed something about themselves, outwardly no less, is so vain and ridiculously self absorbed.

    I feel often that the majority of people go through these au current days in many societies all alone and lost in their own perceptions fallaciously assuming they’ve got ‘it’ right. When in truth, they’re playing a part in segregating and disconnecting realities and what is really happening in front of their faces.

    Grace and empathy, with an understanding that everything is subjective due to individual perceptions and perspectives, would be a more considerate mindset moving humanity forward to embracing differences and a deeper unity.

  15. and haha, you got me a bit with this post apparently 😉

  16. We have much the same problem here. Great post and everyone has said it all extremely well

  17. Walk up to counter, place order, say please and thank you, take coffee and go. How hard is that? If you feel the need to say something give a compliment, chat about weather. Being polite isn’t rocket science, no matter how hard your day has been.

  18. Ah, yes, grace. We all need more of that. Wouldn’t it have been nice if you could have shed some on the offender? I mean, really, what a pathetic state to be in that you think you have a right to go around talking like that to people. I feel sorry for the guy, I really do. I would have liked you to say something like, “Hey, watch yourself, you’re speaking to a lady, have some respect” and hope that you were just nice enough to get the guy to actually think about it. Because by blasting him (and really, I can understand that and the young lady did appreciate it I’m sure) you certainly turned off any chance of getting the individual to really examine his actions because now he’s just mad at you. I’m with Laurie above, how hard is it to get through a coffee purchase transaction without being a jerk?

    • Mary,

      I condensed the story quite a bit….but suffice to say the guy was a first rate cretin and not interested in thinking about anything or having a discussion.

  19. This is a deep-rooted problem in our culture, and I honestly think it has to do with our consumerist economy. Everyone is told “the customer is always right,” no matter how insane, rude or deluded he or she might be. Because they are buying a product or service, they somehow have a right to expect ‘perfect’ service and then abuse employees with impunity when they don’t get it. It’s the ultimate in entitlement attitude. But if I were a business owner, I wouldn’t put up with it. I know what it’s like to work behind a counter and cater to absurd requests. Rude people can keep their money!

    • April, very true.

      there are a lot of people that walk around with what you are referring to as an entitlement attitude; “since I purchased this automobile I can do whatever I want with it!” and this attitude then leads to road rage, drunk driving, irresponsible driving, and more. and that is merely one example….

    • I am the manager at a store and had finally had enough when a customer called in and blasted my young employee calling her a liar and a cheat. I got on the phone and told the woman she could pay her bill or return the equipment and in either case, I didn’t want to hear another word out of her mouth having to do with the issue. I didn’t cuss, I didn’t yell (well, not much) but I think my employee had the right to be defended! She was doing everything right and the customer was being very rude/abusive and I wasn’t going to take it one more second. She came in and made yet another purchase the other day…. In another case, there was a man who yelled at and put his finger in the face of an employee who just stood there and took it (that guy got a raise!). I exercised my right to refuse service to that client – we were delivering to his home. He came into the store and made a large purchase just the other day with no backtalk. It’s funny how the clients I have had to stand up to have come back and made more purchases following the incident. Who are these people? Have they no shame? I couldn’t show my face in a place where I had given less tip than I should let alone been asked to leave the premises or find another delivery service….

    • You’re right. Some people just don’t have shame! Good for you for standing up for your employees. I could have used that a time or two. Instead, my manager once told a customer that it was my fault she failed to fill the customer’s order. This after I had covered her shift (in addition to my own) several times while getting barked at over her absence and earning half the wages she made. Eventually, I thought to myself, “I could stay home and be broke, or I could spend all the money I make on psychotherapy to keep me from burning this place to the ground.” Sad that it had to come to that. I had nightmares about that job for four years after I quit.

  20. This conversation sounds like a metaphor for the political shenanigans that are currently taking place in Australia. The level, tone and content of which seems loaded with bigotry, meanness and a total lack of consciousness on the part of some……not all, but the media seems tombe intent on being with the lowest common denominator. Thanks for being so clear and compassionate.

  21. Yep. I agree. The world is definitely ruder. And there’s no reason at all for us to go around helping that. Good on you for giving that guy a piece of your mind.

  22. For my $.02 it is called BULLYING… plain and simple… In some instances it is actionable…

  23. I agree, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy geriatric, People of all ages are extremely rude these days.

  24. As chat-up lines go that is a total no-no :-). But seriously, what’s going on in the head of a person who feels compelled to tell someone that the way they look is not quite right? I had a neighbour (very spunky old lady) who told the grumpy newsagent that he would look ever so handsome if he smiled, and after that he did smile every time she came into the shop. Was it rude of her to say that? With those few words she changed the guy’s attitude towards her, and he was much more pleasant when she’s in the shop. It didn’t extend to other customers though…. Choose your words carefully because they can change the way people perceive you or themselves.

    Thansk so much for stopping by my page and introducing me to yours that way!!

  25. Nobody is perfect, but everyone deserves grace.

  26. Well said!! I see more and more rude behavior today. Very sad.

  27. This ties in with lots of things I’ve overheard recently: someone abusing a coconut seller on a beach in Italy. Someone rudely contradicting a friend so aggressively that he was nearly driven to violence. Downright abuse everywhere. Looking into this phenomena, I’m wondering whether it’s evidence of the increasing uptake of anti-depressants that’s making people aggressively assertive. It’s almost as if people are wondering what will happen if I say rude things, or it’s a desperate attempt to attract attention, or a perverse curiosity. Usually, but not always, these people are alone. It’s the gangs of aggressively assertive people I’m seeing here in the UK that worry me most.


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