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Old 03-31-2010, 09:59 AM
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Default "Hola amigo!" and other insults

There is a point to the following story, if you'd like just skip the conversation, though it does give perspective.

The other day I was picking up lunch at my college. Since it's a buffet style you pretty much just grab what you want and go, and on this particular occasion I decided to get some pasta, but after I had already grabbed a bowl I found out that they had run out of parmesan cheese. I saw one of the chef's behind the counter, and our conversation went like this:
"Hola amigo! I was wondering if you could help me?"
"What you say?"
"Um, hi friend, I was wondering if you could help me?"
"Listen, don't call me 'amigo' or 'friend', call me sir. Now what do you want?"
"Well I noticed you ran out of parmesan cheese up here, I was wondering if you had any in the back?"
"No." (he didn't bother to check, or even look behind him)
"Okay then, thanks anyways sir." And he turned away without responding.

Once I had finished my meal I walked by and saw the parmesan container full.

Now, I realize that this may seem pretty small, but it's connected to a larger point that I really have a problem with: assumptions about respect. I addressed the man as 'amigo' and 'friend', two words that carry no insult, and carry no lack of respect, yet he threw it back in my face and refused me service. Respect is not something that you're entitled to, it's something you earn, and with his actions he has lost mine.

That's one of many problems in society today (in my humble opinion). We all seem to think that we're entitled to things we're not. If you show up to class, you get an "A". Wrong. The bare minimum effort deserves the bare minimum passing grade: "D-". If you're a manager your employees should respect you. Wrong again: although people pretend to show respect to their higher ups, often it is just that: pretending. If you prove yourself a good manager then you've earned respect, just holding the title doesn't mean you deserve it.

Getting back to the chef: I work in a convenience store, and in many ways our jobs overlap. We both have to deal with large quantities of the public, and the majority of the public assumes that we're working at such a lowly position because there's something essentially flawed with us, that we deserve nothing more, and so we're treated like crap. If someone comes up to you and asks politely and respectfully for help, you should do the same, not only because you as a decent person should, but also because it's part of the damn reason they pay you. Do I have cranky days at work? Certainly. Do I let them effect the face I give customers? No. There's a pretty high chance that someone would complain and I'd have to pay for it later on.

Rant mode over, thank you for putting up with me
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:34 AM
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They serve pasta in colleges these days? Hmm.. cool.

I remember in my college days I was lucky to get some crappy sandwich.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:34 AM
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Interesting. it's kind of hard to believe that he wouldn't supply you with CHEESE [one of the greatest wonders in the world...] just for what you said. i admit i would put up an argument, but seeing as you didn't you are a good person. and yes, respect IS something you earn. but still, everyone's entitled to CHEESE. i mean, cmon.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:15 PM
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What I like to know is, the chef. Is he spanish looking to you? If so, why say "hola Amigo?"
I am all spanish blood, but I'm a born American. I would not like anyone hitting off with me on spanish quotes. I don't know the language because I learned english on my own from reading as a 4 or 5 year old. Many spanish people take offence at me just because I'm so American.
Too bad. One time, after done with business at a location, the security dude who is spanish and knows english, allowed me to leave. He saw my ID and said to me "Gracias". I said "Dude,
no offence but, english would be appropiate.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:08 PM
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I don't show much respect to people who don't deserve it, teachers included. teachers, they wanna be ***s, I'll treat 'em like one.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:47 PM
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My dad always says this and it really is true.

Everywhere you go, you will always meet a

sorry for the last word, but thats what my dad says
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SpyroTDragon View Post
What I like to know is, the chef. Is he spanish looking to you? If so, why say "hola Amigo?"
I am all spanish blood, but I'm a born American. I would not like anyone hitting off with me on spanish quotes. I don't know the language because I learned english on my own from reading as a 4 or 5 year old. Many spanish people take offense at me just because I'm so American.
Too bad. One time, after done with business at a location, the security dude who is spanish and knows english, allowed me to leave. He saw my ID and said to me "Gracias". I said "Dude,
no offense but, english would be appropriate.
He looks like a pretty full-blooded american to me, as a rule of thumb if I see someone who looks like they'll speak a foreign language, I don't use that language. If nothing else they might assume I know more than I do and trump me. Still, the context that it was used in shows that I didn't mean to initiate and continue a conversation in spanish. It was a friendly way of opening a conversation.

What pisses me off is that I could have treated him like dirt, as I'm sure he gets all the time from the other college students here who are completely convinced of their superiority, but I didn't. I took the time to treat him like an equal, even after he had spit it in my face. If it truly upset him so much to be referred to as "amigo" or "friend" he could have said something along the lines of "I find 'amigo' and 'friend' a bit informal, would you mind going with sir? Now you had a question?"

As I stated, respect is earned, not given without reason, and furthermore part of what he's paid for is to be friendly and helpful to the customers. If he doesn't like dealing with the general public then tough luck, either get another job or get better at the one you have.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:43 AM
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No one I do not know is calling me "friend" without getting a similar response you just described. No matter the language.

Respect is not earned. It is the default. One can screw that up and loose it in someone's eye, but thinking people have to earn it is just getting you into trouble.

The old fart that stands in your way in the store might be just that, an old fart, but he might also be a war veteran. And he certainly does not have to do anything to earn some punks respect. YOU do not think you have to earn people's respect, do you? You expect people to treat you properly, right?
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:45 AM
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Hmm. Interesting comments.

Goran, I lean towards earning respect, but you've got me thinking. I tend to have low expectations of people initially, in part so rudeness won't hurt as much. I'll consider people "civil" until proven otherwise. Perhaps it depends on what one means by "earning respect". Let me try and give a relevant example.

I am near two old farts, and I accidentally drop two coins that land in front of each old man. One old man grabs the coin and says "Finders keepers". The other old man (presumably the veteran) says "Excuse me, Sir, you dropped a coin". I have some respect for the veteran, not because he is a veteran, but because of his actions as a veteran. He has earned my respect.

Of course, if the vet was the "Finders keepers" man, I would have no reason to respect him. I respect vets for their service to their country, but, in my opinion, a vet would "show what he's made of" by pointing out a coin, even to a young punk.

And, perhaps this is because of my under-confidence, but I feel I need to earn people's respect.

I hope I'm making sense. If not, I'm sure someone will inform me.
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:40 PM
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To be honest, I wouldn't like being called 'friend'. It's a term more suited for sarcastic purposes in hostage negotiations.

Respect is earned, RR? Then what did you do to earn the counter persons respect?

Incidentally, I see no reason a war veteran is more deserving of respect than anyone else. He has no right to be a total bastard just because he was in the army.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:55 PM
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You guys do bring up some good points here, I guess that the term "friend" carries with it a social stigma that I wasn't aware of. Honestly I use it as a friendly term, but if people see it as an insult right off the bat it's probably not a good thing. The problem is, when I've opened up with comments like "excuse me, sir?" when in similar situations I've had people think that I'm being sarcastic. In both cases I don't mean to cause trouble, I'm just looking for assistance.



@ GoranAgar: I must disagree with you on this point. I feel that itís important to treat people right even if you donít know them, however I still feel that respect is something you must earn. There's a difference between people treating each other properly and showing respect. I hold the door open for strangers not because I respect them, but rather because it's common courtesy. When I meet someone I greet them with a firm handshake not because they automatically have my respect, but because I want to get off on a good foot with them and give them the chance to earn it.

I also recognize that this is a two way street, I don't expect people to automatically look up to me and assume that I'm a good, knowledgeable guy. But I also don't see any reason that a polite greeting should be met with open hostility. If he felt that I was in the wrong he could have said so without the venom in it, and if he truly did feel that I did him a great injustice he could have been the better man and not lied to my face, refused me service, and broken the conversation even after I had tried to make amends. It would be one thing if I had walked up and interrupted his conversation with another person with something along the lines of "Aye buddy! How 'bout some service in this joint?" but at the time he was obviously not preoccupied, and in no way did I mean harm.

The part that I keep coming back to is that he lied to my face and refused me service. If it were a similar situation, such as meeting on the street and asking him for directions, I wouldn't have such a problem with it, but it's not. Part of the reason that he earns a paycheck is because when he's on the job he's supposed to put on a happy face and help people out when they need helping. I wasn't asking him to do anything beyond what he's paid to do. I understand that perhaps he was having a bad day, but if you want to keep on paying your bills then you have to suck it up and live with the parts of your job you don't like. If you can't do that, find another job.

@ Dumah's Wraith: I did nothing to earn his respect, and in no way to I expect it, but I do expect to be treated according to the social norms of our society, and I do expect to be treated in the fashion that a paying customer should be. I don't have to eat there, I don't have help that man pay his electric bill. I recognize that my contribution to that electric bill is so miniscule that he'll never notice if I never come back (incidentally I haven't) but he would notice if I took the incident to his manager and got his arse suspended or even fired. I didn't do as much however, mainly because, despite his automatic attitude towards me, I see no reason to make his life suck over such a small matter.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:02 PM
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To quote a certain song:
"You'll never know just how you'll look through other people's eyes.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:29 AM
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In a business relationship with a stranger, friendship is earned, not immediate. His response was harsh, but rooted in truth. I do not call a stranger "friend" without hitting it off first and finding common ground. Also, if the chef is your elder, he obviously came from a background where juniors call their seniors "Sir" out of respect, regardless of whether it was earned or deserved, as is still common, even if not nearly so, as it was. He was insulted that you would presume to suggest you were close and not strangers at all, and not conducting business, and if he is your elder, equals. He took you quite literally, unless he is your elder, and then, you simply addressed him incorrectly.

I start out granting a basic level of respect to everyone, until the respect is marred or enhanced, but no matter how marred, there will always be a level I will not stoop to, and if I ever find myself stooping and justifying my behavior, I will honestly believe I am wrong, whether I act to make it right or not, which is part of what's wrong about it.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:43 AM
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Man.. you think thats bad?

I speak French as my second language and the dirty look people give me just because of the language im speaking is a joke. People are either racist or just take offense to stupid things.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:55 AM
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HA, I know plenty of people who served their country in the war (or adults in general for that matter) who are punks themselves.

I agree with Raziel'sRevenge that the chef was wrong for treating his young customer in this manner. There is nothing wrong with what Raziel'sRevenge said to the chef per-se, seeing as it was in a school cafeteria setting.

Had he said "hola amigo" to his principal in her office in front of other school directors, it would be a different thing.

Now, the chef of course has every right to dislike being called "friend", as does anyone else and he has the right to express that, but to deny service because of that is ridiculous and unprofessional and from what I've read in Raziel'sRevenge's post, the guy seems to be having has a superiority issue or is from an old generation and lets a too big ego get in the way of doing his job properly.

I've had a few of these types when I was in school and didn't have any respect for them because of their attitude. They could be veterans and helped to free us from the German occupiers for example and by default I would be very grateful to that person, but if they would use that as an excuse to think they are somehow better than me and treat me as a lower person just because I am a student (something that unfortunately still happens in schools, although not as much as in the past), I lose respect for them.

In my school days, I was informal and friendly with the catering staff and they were the same way back at me.

The thought that any employee of a school is highly superior than a student is passť and doesn't belong in this day of age anymore.
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raziel'sRevenge View Post
@ GoranAgar: I must disagree with you on this point.
But you didn't In my opinion common courtesy is already a level of respect towards a complete stranger. And if you dish that out to anyone you meet, no one could ask for more.

But again, no one I do not know is calling me a friend. THAT right has to be earned.

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... He has no right to be a total bastard just because he was in the army.
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Originally Posted by GoranAgar View Post
Respect is not earned. It is the default. One can screw that up and loose it ...
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ieatbabies1997 View Post
To quote a certain song:
"You'll never know just how you'll look through other people's eyes.
We'd all do well to remember that (I guess myself especially! )

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Originally Posted by jtr7 View Post
In a business relationship with a stranger, friendship is earned, not immediate. His response was harsh, but rooted in truth. I do not call a stranger "friend" without hitting it off first and finding common ground. Also, if the chef is your elder, he obviously came from a background where juniors call their seniors "Sir" out of respect, regardless of whether it was earned or deserved, as is still common, even if not nearly so, as it was. He was insulted that you would presume to suggest you were close and not strangers at all, and not conducting business, and if he is your elder, equals. He took you quite literally, unless he is your elder, and then, you simply addressed him incorrectly.
You make a good point there: he could have taken me literally and not liked the idea that I'd be so quick to assume. I'm not exactly sure how old he is, however he couldn't have been more than 5 years older than me so the implied "sir" that goes along with age is a tad premature in my book.

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Man.. you think thats bad?

I speak French as my second language and the dirty look people give me just because of the language im speaking is a joke. People are either racist or just take offense to stupid things.
People are idiots on that account. I really don't get America's sudden seeming hatred of France. One of the funniest things is that we've all started hating everything that isn't american, calling "french fries" "freedom fries" and the like, and people get all proud when great American landmarks are mentioned. Here in New York, the famous one that people tend to focus on is the Statue of Liberty. France gave that to us as a gift!!! Nobody seems to remember that fact though... *Sigh*

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There is nothing wrong with what Raziel'sRevenge said to the chef per-se, seeing as it was in a school cafeteria setting.

Had he said "hola amigo" to his principal in her office in front of other school directors, it would be a different thing.
I agree wholeheartedly that situation plays a large role in these things. The other day I had to go out job hunting, and I assure you I didn't greet my perspective employers with a "hola amigo!". The situation requires formality, so I dressed and acted the part. A college cafeteria not exactly a formal place though.

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In my school days, I was informal and friendly with the catering staff and they were the same way back at me.

The thought that any employee of a school is highly superior than a student is passť and doesn't belong in this day of age anymore.
It's funny, up until now I've actually had quite good experiences with the staff of schools, in fact I was on a first name basis with the janitorial staff and cafeteria staff at my last school, and am currently in the same position with the janitorial staff at my school now. I always try to take extra care to be nice to those guys because I know that a lot of people look down on those guys with no reason, so I try to make up for it by being extra good to them. However if they're not going to give me a chance I'm not going to try to make another.

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But you didn't In my opinion common courtesy is already a level of respect towards a complete stranger. And if you dish that out to anyone you meet, no one could ask for more.

But again, no one I do not know is calling me a friend. THAT right has to be earned.
I suppose it could be seen that way, in the end, so long as we all treat each other decently I have no real problems if it's called respect or courtesy or really anything

And so far as the second part goes: I suppose that's what the whole thing boiled down to in the end. I assume respect must be earned but that it can only get the chance if friendship (on at least the basic level of showing kindness even if it isn't necessary) is first given, but there's also the idea that friendship can be earned if respect is first given. I do believe I'll try to find a happy medium!
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:42 AM
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I always try to take extra care to be nice to those guys because I know that a lot of people look down on those guys with no reason, so I try to make up for it by being extra good to them.
That might be why he took offense, wrongly thinking that you were one of them and putting him down by sarcastically calling him amigo.

If that's the case, his reaction is understandable, but still wrong for generalizing you and still unacceptable for denying you service.

I'm a pretty friendly or "real" person myself and it sometimes happens that my friendly-or-neutral words are mistaken for sarcasm because some people just have a too pessimistic view on their fellow man and often think that there must be some hidden meaning to what the other person is saying.

Having grown up in a big city I've learned to accept that there are just people that are stuck in their prejudices and see negativity even when there isn't any. I don't lose any sleep over it. Their loss.

Incidentally, I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. A show full of these socially awkward situations, your experience with the chef would fit right in there
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:09 AM
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People are idiots on that account. I really don't get America's sudden seeming hatred of France. One of the funniest things is that we've all started hating everything that isn't american, calling "french fries" "freedom fries" and the like,
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:10 PM
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I agree with Raziel'sRevenge that this chef was in the wrong and he was not.

I think it is absolutely despicable that this chef thinks so much of himself that he thinks he can choose whether or not to do the job he is paid to do. You were perfectly friendly to him and he was basically being petty and childish for the sake of it. Even if it did offend him, there was no need for him to react the way in which he did.

I also work in a supermarket, behind a checkout, and I am so sick and tired of trying to be friendly and polite only to have cards or money or products thrown at me, being told how to do the job I've only been doing every day for the past 3 years and having people talking down to me as if I were stupid and insignificant. I get shouted at for things that have absolutely nothing to do with me and yet I carry on trying to be patient and polite because that is my job and I am paid to do it. Not only that, but I generally try to be a friendly person as I know that is how I wish to be treated.
I agree that there are a lot of people who seem to think that because we work in 'lowly' positions that we're worth nothing. They don't even stop to think that I might only be there because there are no other jobs, or because it was how I was paying my way through university and I'm only there whilst I'm waiting until I move down England to a new career, or that maybe some people actually enjoy those kinds of work. They definetely don't deserve respect.

Although I don't tend to use the phrase myself, I don't have a problem with people calling me friend or similar since it is a mere statement that says they are trying to be friendly and mean no harm. It doesn't mean that they suddenly think they're your pal or that they want to know your life story which is how I think some people feel and probably why they feel insulted by being called it.
The only time I ever have a problem with it is when spammers or people who've already just insulted me use it as they already proven that they are unfriendly and don't care what I think.

I think respect is quite a complicated matter though. I think there are different levels of respect. There's the basic respect for another human being that is showing manners and trying to be friendly. Using this respect and whether or not it is recieved in return is often important in determining whether people deserve actual respect.

Actual respect should be something that people do need to earn that shouldn't just be thrown about. Something that is given to people who make an effort to be friendly back, loved ones, or people like soldiers, veterans, police, firemen, doctors etc... even then, I think it is given in varying degrees depending on the person and their behaviours or things they done.

The problem with giving out actual respect willynilly is giving it to the right people. For instance, using GoranAgars example, that old fart just might have been a war hero... but then again, he might not. For all we know, he might have been a thief or a thug or worse. Unless someone knows for sure, someone like this should only really get a basic respect to begin with.

There is another interesting problem in that whilst higher respect should be shown to police, doctors etc in the workplace, when they're off duty, they might actually be quite a horrible person and therefore don't deserve it outside of work.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:47 AM
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I agree that there are a lot of people who seem to think that because we work in 'lowly' positions that we're worth nothing. They don't even stop to think that I might only be there because there are no other jobs, or because it was how I was paying my way through university and I'm only there whilst I'm waiting until I move down England to a new career, or that maybe some people actually enjoy those kinds of work. They definetely don't deserve respect.
Hang on a second... there's nothing wrong with being a career cashier. If you earn enough for a decent quality of life, it's as good a job as any other, including doctoring, lawyering, etc.
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:13 AM
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I think you may have misread my post, Dumah's wraith. I didn't say there was anything wrong with being a career cashier.

I added on the end of the list of reasons for working in these places that some people work there because they enjoy that line of work. Isn't that what chasing a career is about? Chasing a line of work that you enjoy or have an interest in.

I'm changing career because it's not a line of work I'm personally interested in. I am pursuing a career in veterinary medicene because I love working with and helping animals.

I'm trying to point out that some stuck up idiots in the world think because this kind of work doesn't require major qualifications, that it is a lowly position and that all the people who work there are therefore stupid and unable to get any qualifications.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:56 PM
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Raziel'sRevenge Raziel'sRevenge is offline
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Originally Posted by KoolKat View Post
I think you may have misread my post, Dumah's wraith. I didn't say there was anything wrong with being a career cashier.

I added on the end of the list of reasons for working in these places that some people work there because they enjoy that line of work. Isn't that what chasing a career is about? Chasing a line of work that you enjoy or have an interest in.

I'm changing career because it's not a line of work I'm personally interested in. I am pursuing a career in veterinary medicene because I love working with and helping animals.

I'm trying to point out that some stuck up idiots in the world think because this kind of work doesn't require major qualifications, that it is a lowly position and that all the people who work there are therefore stupid and unable to get any qualifications.
I really do wish that more people could get that through their head, personally I think that everyone should have to flip burgers in their life at some point, just like we should all have to life in a tiny apartment and eat nothing but ramen for a bit of our lives. I'm not saying that's the way our entire lives should go, but it humbles you a bit so that later on in life you don't look at the person bagging your groceries as just some idiot who couldn't do better, but maybe as a fellow human who's either a) content and doing well, b) on their way to something bigger and better, or c) unhappily stuck there. The automatic assumption that the only people who work at jobs that don't require a degree are the people who couldn't get one if they tried is ridiculous.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:32 PM
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I try to live by a code,to respect everyone,no matter how they treat me.I agree that respect should be earned,but the fact is,that as a person in a world of hundreds of billions of people,we don't know what a single person is going through.If a man acts like a jerk,you don't know what causes that,maybe he has a chip on his shoulder,maybe his wife died,I don't know,but I still respect him.I believe that respect is a cycle,and whether that other person is right or wrong,by respecting that person,he is learning to respect us.As for the remark of "Incidentally, I see no reason a war veteran is more deserving of respect than anyone else. He has no right to be a total bastard just because he was in the army."Again,we don't know what these people have been through.His friends and brothers could have been blown upright in front of him,so I ask you this,and even then,do we truly know how we'd feel unless it happened to us,how would you feel if that was your friend our brother,would you be a bit bitter toward life?
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:19 PM
dumah's wraith dumah's wraith is offline
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Originally Posted by KoolKat View Post
I think you may have misread my post, Dumah's wraith. I didn't say there was anything wrong with being a career cashier.
Sorry. I get very combative when I'm bored.

Batfan08, I have nothing against the armed forces. Like you said, 'we don't know what these people have been through'. He may have seen his friends gunned down in front of him...or he may have shot a half dozen enemy prisoners/civilians because he was bored.

I will treat an army veteran with the same respect I would treat anyone else until I know something about them. No more, no less.
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