Of insensitiveness and ill manners

Today may have been my lucky day since I learnt an important lesson from 2 circumstances-

First: I and a colleague of mine had gone out for lunch today at a nearby fast food joint. Right behind where we sat, there were a couple of girls and a guy with a few glasses of cold drinks, they were kidding and joking around. Now in all that excitement they ended up throwing their drink on the guy who accompanied them. It resulted in a very dirty mess, a few of them got up and shifted to the other table and called the people working there to clean it up. The least that people can do after making such a dirty mess would be to give space for the guy to clean it up, but what resulted was that a few of the girls refused to budge and kept ordering the guy around cause after all he was a ‘cleaner’.

Second: I had the privilege of meeting a young woman; she is the daughter of a watchman at a building where one of my Ma’s colleagues lived. Her father expired a few months ago and in order to get financial assistance for her family she joined a call center for one of the telecommunication companies since she had basic education till about class 12 and it was the only job that she could get. She had come home since she wanted a few old yet good clothes to wear for office.

While she was waiting for Ma to sort out the clothes, I had a chat with her and it made me feel shameful. She spoke about how the people on call behave with her, like they do with anyone and everyone who calls from a call center. About how they would just receive the call and stay mum, how they would at times shout and be rude, at times even play pranks and talk dirty to tick them off. I myself remember of how many times I have been rude to such people. She told me that just today a man shouted at her on call and asked her if she had nothing better to do than call and irritate him.

Her expression told it all, after all it was her job to call people and talk to them about the various offers additionally if someone did not receive the call then they had to call back the same number again, if not on a daily basis then on an alternate one since they were given a list of numbers to call and targets to meet.

She spoke of how her job was the worst one on Earth, but it got home money despite the rudeness and misbehavior that is dished out to her every day.

This got me thinking, as a country we fall very short and do not respect the phrase, “Dignity of labor”. Why is it that a person working at a fast food joint is looked down upon and treated like servants or for the very same reason a call center employee for an Indian company is shouted at whereas in big MNCs based in India, where the Indian office becomes their back office/call center, they are given/treated relatively more respectfully.

Does it all come down to working for a white boss? Can we not respect people and their professions? I mean, it is the best that they can come up with given their abilities and circumstances, so whatever did happen to respecting the same?!

Post my conversation with her, I promised myself that even if I had to spare two minutes of my life to talk politely with a salesperson, I would. As an educated woman, I feel shameful of the rude behavior that I have shown towards these people for no fault of theirs, after all each one of us has our own challenges, and if being patient for a few minutes and talking politely to someone made their day, then so be it.


47 thoughts on “Of insensitiveness and ill manners

  1. Aww.. Glad that you had two eye openers today. Till this day I can gladly say that I have never spoken rude to anyone, may it be a from a call centering explaining about some offer or anywhere. I think in our generations, we used to be canned and spanked for disrespecting people. I am glad that I can’t be rude to a person, unless he/she is very mean to me.

    A good post by you 🙂 People should learn to respect others.

  2. You touched a nerve there with this post, story teller. The way we treat human beings on the basis of what they do in this country is despicable.”Dignity” is only for people in white collared jobs and their families and people who know their families. A person who is a rotten human being but is a corrupt manager employed in an MNC gets more respect than a good human being working at a restaurant. This makes me so freaking mad!

    • I know!

      I read a post on IHM’s blog about how being a woman in India is difficult since in the US even if a woman is uneducated she can get a job at a fast food joint, earn money for herself or to support her family and not feel sorry for herself but shift the scenario to India and all it results in is, why does the girl need to work or how working at McD and earning money is definitely more shameful than being caged at home and at the mercy of the male members of the family for one’s basic needs.

      There is simply no concept of dignity of labor in India.

      There is this one distant relative of mine who had made it big in his own way, by doing all kinds of odd jobs through his 20’s and then setting up a company of his own, he is now well off but the reason he didn’t get married for a long time was because he wasn’t working in a big company.

      What people failed to see was a hard working man who turned self sufficient, all that they did see was an ordinary graduate not working for an MNC.

      • You nailed this right…!!!
        People are the least bothered about the quality of work you do, the hardships you have over come, the struggles you have easily played and tamed to your wishes..
        They are much bothered about the brand you work for, however cheap your duty maybe..!!
        It’s a pity, that perceptions have not yet changed..!!

      • Yes, I remember that post on IHM’s blog – and I think I even raised the same concern about (lack of) dignity of labor in India. And you’re right, our focus on brands instead of determination is the culprit.

  3. Thanks for the post…!!! 🙂
    Even I have been rude; or to be honest I was rude many a times; because it affected the continuity in my work; which really irritates me..
    Will make sure that I see, even the other side of the story..!!
    Otherwise, what is the purpose of being educated..??

    • So true, I’m normally well mannered but when it interrupts my workflow I tend to get ticked off. However after talking to this girl I have decided that I’m probably going to just control my temper while talking or ignore the call if I’m too busy, anyhow it doesn’t provide a justification for being rude to someone who is also working at their job to earn a livelihood.

  4. That is a nice one! It all leads to the saying ” treat others the way you want to be treated”. I think maybe I will consider myself as the call centre guy or the waiter at the café can make me a better person. Thank you for the food for the soul 😀

  5. I came back to add this: Once I was being nice to a telesales guy from LIC. He sensed that I was “soft” and argued with me rudely, relentlessly, and may I say very stupidly about why I’m not investing in the policy he wanted to sell me. All this time, I had been trying to tell him it was because I already had the same policy, but he didn’t really seem to be listening, so I had to hang up. Sometimes being polite is not enough. The trick is to be polite and assertive at the same time. 😉

  6. I used to be very impatient with the callers as well but then, my amma knocked some sense into my head. She asked me to put myself in their place and then reply. I have mended my ways since then. 🙂

  7. In Canada, where I live, we get a lot of scam calls. It’s become wearisome. Because I have call display, I only pick up calls I know. I’m a bit of a hermit – an introvert, sort of – so I don’t like to call or be called. However, your humble post has caused me to change my mind somewhat. If I do get a call center phone call, I may not be thrilled…but I’ll pretend I’m talking to…you.

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