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New Day, New Question for You

22 October 2008

Two scenarios. Which of these do you find rude? Or are both OK? Or would you frown on both?

Scenario 1 (Scene: In a Thai restaurant)

Diner: We would like to order the Pad Thai. But can you bring us the scrambled egg on the side? Some of us are vegan.

Waitress: No, we can’t do that — we cook it all together. You can either have it with eggs or without.

Diner: You can’t bring us the eggs on the side?

Waitress: No. So did you want the Pad Thai without eggs?

Diner: OK. If it’s that difficult to bring it on the side, just bring us Pad Thai without eggs.

Scenario 2 (Scene: Out and about in a diverse neighborhood, at the Walgreens, or in the school hallways). Three white teens are talking among themselves and laughing.

Teen 1: Wat up, dawg?

Teen 2: Yo, yo, man. Wat chu think of this top?

Teen 3: It sho ain’t gansta-licious!

Teen 2: Aw, don’t you be hatin’ on me!


After you all tell me what you think (you were all so helpful yesterday!), I’ll fill in the details.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Three of Four permalink
    22 October 2008 4:20 pm

    I think that scenario number one is entirely dependent on the tone of voice used. Reading it straight as it’s written, it could be just fine. If I imagine a whiny or haughty tone with the responses from either the diner or the the waitress, it could be very rude.

    Scenario two is just awful. I hate gangsta-speak, regardless of age, race or context.

  2. simonk permalink
    22 October 2008 5:49 pm

    To me the first scenario definitely seems rude. I can understand to some extent that what’s being asked for might not be possible, but if that really is the case then the waitress should be apologetic. From how its written she’s sounds like she’s being insincere and unhelpful.

    The second one doesn’t seem rude exactly, but it’s certainly wrong and disrespectful! (Not sure i’ve made my point very well)

  3. 22 October 2008 6:23 pm

    Scene one is annoying from the diner’s POV. Why can’t a damn restaurant make some egg on the side? That said, the exchange didn’t sound rude at all. Maybe brusque. Was there a tone of voice or non-verbal cue that a transcript wouldn’t show?

    Scene two: It’s kind of rude that the person replying wouldn’t hedge at least a little in their response. If you ask a friend what your clothes are like, the friend should be truthful but not mean. That sounded a bit mean. But “Don’t be hatin’ on me” is a nicely assertive comeback.

  4. 22 October 2008 8:09 pm

    If you’re paying, the restaurant should be thrilled you’re there and do everything within their power to accommodate you.

    And the slang of the young? I try but cannot keep up!

  5. pierre l permalink
    23 October 2008 1:57 am

    Not a direct answer to number 1, but something I read in another blog in the UK. The scene is a small cafe, and the menu item is vegetable soup. Concerned diner: I assume you use vegetarian stock in your vegetable soup. Waitress, rudely: of course not, we only use the best beef stock in our soups.
    I am not vegetarian, but I would be concerned that the Thai dish without eggs would be cooked in a pan that has had eggs recently..

  6. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    23 October 2008 9:17 am

    Thanks, Pierre. As a long-time vegetarian, I’ve learned not to take “vegetable” anything for granted when eating out. Meat broth doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers others, mostly because I’m vegetarian for environmental reasons rather than animal rights reasons. But you’re right, I don’t know of any meat-cooking restaurant that has vegetarian-kosher (if I may make up a term) cooking pots!

  7. isabelita permalink
    23 October 2008 12:37 pm

    Goofing around with “gangsta speak” in high school is one thing; continuing the wannabe crap into one’s twenties is really bad. Case in point: A neighbor whose 21 year old daughter had a series of horrendous drunken parties early this past summer, lastin g until three or four in the morning, and the guests looked like about a dozen white boys acting like rappers and her two girlfriends. Parents out of town, but even when the mother was informed of this nastiness, she told the other neighbor she just didn’t see how she could do anything about it until the girl moved out. This included her little darling’s boyfirends throwing bottles and broken furniture into the person’s yard in the wee hours, while she was home alone with her baby…beyond the pale for rudeness and inconsideration. When someone did call th evops, their garge was broken into and items removed. Nice bunch of folks.

  8. 23 October 2008 5:19 pm

    Oh…for some reason I didn’t catch the “white” part for the second scenario. Knowing that, now, yeah, I think it’s pretty uncool, if the teens are imitating someone else’s dialect. However, what I do see happening with teens all the time is that there’s a fair bit of dialect co-opting. I’ll explain on the more recent entry.

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