Narcissists are rude to servicepeople.


I want to talk about a little-mentioned red flag, but one of the easiest ones to spot early in a relationship. Most narcissists are rude to servicepeople and others they see as beneath them. My ex was notoriously rude to servicepeople, always screaming at customer service people, even if the problem wasn’t their fault. He was also rude to wait staff in restaurants, to the point it was embarrassing going out to dinner with him. He was unreasonably demanding, condescending, and treated wait staff as if they were mentally deficient. With attractive female wait staff, his rudeness was of a sexual character–he openly flirted with young waitresses, even though I was watching. I think he did this because he knew it would bother me.  He also did it because he knew his target was a sitting duck and might be fired or reprimanded if she objected to the flirtatious behavior (which wasn’t so over the top if could be called sexual harassment).

My parents were always rude to servicepeople too. My mother embarrassed me constantly with her relentless, unreasonable demands in restaurants and loud criticism and insults toward anyone she thought was beneath her, which was almost everyone. I remember the time we went to Charleston, SC in the early ’90s. We took a tour bus through the downtown area. The bus driver gave us information about historical homes in the area as we passed them. My mother was bored, so to relieve her boredom (and to get attention), she began to loudly argue with the bus driver, telling him why he was wrong and to get his facts straight. People stared at her, horrified at how rude she was being. The bus driver looked like he wanted to cry. I wanted to sink through the bus floor. I tried to make myself as inconspicuous as possible to avoid being associated with such a rude, arrogant, person.

Another time, I went to visit her in a motel when she had come to visit. My mother isn’t wealthy (although she always had upper-class pretentions), and could only afford a fairly inexpensive chain motel near the Interstate. A Mexican family was staying next door to her room and as we made our way to the motel pool, the Mexican family came out with their 3 kids. A little boy, probably three or four, started talking to my mother in Spanish, and she shooed him away as if he was a bug. The little boy looked hurt, and I felt sorry for him. I gave the boy’s mother a sheepish, apologetic look. The kids ran past. The little girl accidentally brushed past my mother, and she started making “ugh” sounds and wiping her skirt as if it was contaminated. She didn’t like this family for two reasons: 1. she regarded them as being of low social status, and 2. They were Mexican.


This brings me to racism, which is related, because racists regard “those other people” as being of a lower social status, and sometimes not even quite human. Seeing others as beneath them or even as like animals absolves them of any guilt they might otherwise have in treating another person like dirt.

Racism is common in narcissists. I think most people who are racist probably are narcissistic if not straight up narcissists. Of course, some people are racists because they were raised to be that way, and it is more common in older generations than younger ones. But I think it’s a lot more prevalent in people with a lot of narcissistic traits.

These same people are likely to fawn all over those they see as being “worthy” or of a higher social status (even though they might secretly hate them). Narcissists are snobs, but they are only snobs because they secretly hate themselves and must put other people down to feel better about themselves.

It’s also my opinion that most people who demean the poor and blame them for their poverty, calling them “lazy” or “stupid” or insisting they “chose to be poor” are probably narcissists or at least have a lot of those traits.


If you see any of the following behaviors after meeting someone, run! These are all red flags.

1. Rude, condescending or unnecessarily critical of wait staff or servicepeople. I am not including anger at a serviceperson because they legitimately screwed up or were rude themselves.
2. Calling attention to oneself by loudly arguing with servicepeople, making sure everyone hears.
3. Does not care if they embarrass you. If you tell them to chill or keep things toned down, they are likely to turn their anger on you.
4. Unwarranted personal insults toward servicepeople, including customer service representatives and technical support people.
5. Threatening a serviceperson even though the problem was not their fault. For example, threatening to sue a store clerk for demanding to see ID (which is a required part of their job).
6. Acting like a serviceperson or person of another race or nationality is beneath them and not worthy of respectful, polite behavior.
7. Racist, sexist, or ethnic jokes meant to insult their targets (or call attention to themselves).
8. Insulting someone of lower social status, coexisting with fawning behavior toward someone of higher social status. If an encounter with a higher status person immediately follows one with a lower status person (or vice versa), they will appear to have a Jekyll-Hyde personality. This is common in the workplace. Beware of narcissistic bosses who look down on you because of your lower position in the company. Of course, they will do anything they can to keep you from getting ahead.
9. Openly flirtatious behavior toward servicepeople or wait staff in front of a date or spouse.  This is a double whammy, intended to upset the partner(the behavior is usually subtle enough it can be denied later and the partner told they are being paranoid or imagining things), and intimidate or humiliate the service person (again, it’s likely to be subtle enough that it doesn’t qualify as sexual harassment.)

20 thoughts on “Narcissists are rude to servicepeople.

    • Oh, yes, believe me, I know all about the little “tricks” wait staff can do behind the scenes to customers they dislike. I never did them myself, but I saw a lot when I worked in the banquet department of a hotel. I won’t even mention what those things are, because if you knew you would never want to eat out again.

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  1. Wow. I’m so glad you wrote this it explains so much to me and is yet another confirmation of how predictable the disgusting behavior of narcissists are! Another insight about a red flag to heed to avoid getting in the web of a narc.

    Several of these hit home. I was so ashamed of my mother’s yelling at salespeople for innocent mistakes as if they were the stupid incompetents that shouldn’t have a job. She’d launch a cruel shrill tirade as if they had personally done something heinous and inexcusable and the whole store was going to hear about it. “I’m going to speak to your supervisor” terrorized people probably working minimum wage jobs. People get wounded, I was flabbergasted at what she projected around of calm sweetness after watching those vicious tirades. Frankly I think she hoped they’d mess up so she could get her control, terrorize and dominate fix in.. And the racism, wow.

    An ex knew I was devastated by his flirtations with young women and wait staff were captive audiences to it., He’d pour it on “has anyone told you how beautiful you are” to the young woman pouring coffee, I think they were embarrassed.

    Oh and the narcissistic bosses, I had one that was so subtle I didn’t know that she was sabotaging my career every chance she got behind my back. She was a misogynist, classist manipulator working in a social service agency that served the poor. I always thought why go into social services when you hate pour people? Work in a bank or a real estate office not someplace whose clientele are poverty stricken. It drives me crazy to see rich, white, upper class snobs working in clinics or non-profits for poor people when they so despise pour people. They create hellish work places if you are not “one of us”

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    • I bet she went into social services because it made her feel powerful over the poor people who came to her. A lot of narcs go into the “helping professions” because it means they will be able to lord it over and condescend to those they deem inferior in some way and that makes them feel powerful. Like your ex! It’s sad.

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  2. Otter, I’m so glad you made this post because you don’t have to be psychologist or a psychiatrist to know if someone is a narcissist. All it takes is one date. Like you said, if they’re nasty to service people, there’s a good chance that they’re a narcissist. If you’re an empath and you’re somewhere with a narcissist when they decide to show out, it’s embarrassing as heck. Everyone can see that they’re putting way too much on it. I remember one incident, in particular, when my ex and I were at a restaurant one Sunday, nothing fancy–an all-you-can-eat buffet, and my ex tried to have a fit on the bus person, clearly someone he thought was lower than him and an easy target. It was so utterly ridiculous that it was comical. It never fails when they go a restaurant that they’re going to complain about something.

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  3. I agree with you about all narcissists being racists. It’s not enough that they believe the person is beneath them, they have to treat them terribly too. Totally and completely illogical but then narcissists aren’t exactly known for being logical. It’s scary since we know that narcissists are in all fields–including education. It makes me shudder to think of a narcissist teaching one of my grandkids.

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  4. In hindsight, this is so true – I wish I’d read this list fifteen years ago. I remember several occasions when my NMIL would harass and ridicule waitresses and chefs, and it bothered me because I worked in the food industry before I met my husband and let me tell you it was an unpleasant, miserable job. I am always conscious of that when I talk to restaurant staff.
    And the narcs in my life also conveniently converted to a religion that strongly implies, if not teaches, that being poor is a spiritual failing. I never understood that – when I ponder people I know, my grandmother was always financially and materially “poor” but one of the kindest, most generous, most spiritual and intelligent people I ever knew. I would much rather emulate her than the self-serving, greedy and yes, wealthy but miserly narcs I met in adulthood.

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    • I know what you mean about the religion thing, because the narcissists in my life also conveniently converted to that same “religion.” Some types of fundamentalist Christnaity (“prosperity gospel”) essentially teach that being poor is a moral failing, and God will materially reward those he deems morally superior, which gives them the “right” to judge those of us who have less. Well, the prosperity gospel is diametrically opposed to what Jesus taught (being a man of very limited mean himself)-and yet these same Bible thumpers say that their viewpoint is “biblical,” LOL!

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      • I agree – I often wonder how people can so closely study Jesus’s words regarding the poor (not to mention the minor prophets of the Old Testament, too) and come away thinking that financial success is equal to spiritual success!

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      • I totally agree with you here about the prosperity gospel, something I didn’t begin to take note of until I started learning about narcissism–the more I learned about narcissism, the more “issues” I begin to see with organized religion–for one, there are a lot of narcissists in church. And secondly, their value system and how they judge those who have less as though it’s a moral failing, is clearly a worldly value system. Narcissists, in general, are diametrically opposed to anything of God which is why it’s so surprising to find so many of them in the church.

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        • Religion works perfectly for them–they can hide their selfish motives and abusive behavior behind God–and say they do what they do because “it’s in the Bible” or “God approves” or whatever. They can shirk any culpability onto the Almighty. A good example is the “biblical” view of women – a man can abuse a woman and say it’s ok because it’s biblical.

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  5. Heck, even if they’re not a narcissist, if they’re nasty to servicepeople or people of another race/ethnicity/class/etc., I don’t want to have anything to do with them any more. I mean, sheesh!

    And for some reason I cannot reply to your reply to the comment I left on your “8 Fun Games Narcissists Play” article (you’ve probably forgotten, but it was about finding this blog through researching for my villain), but, thank you for your kind comment and your permission to use this blog as research! 🙂 THIS is also going in the stories – it’s another I accidentally got right, lol. I just couldn’t imagine him NOT being rude to servicepeople!

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    • I can’t stand rude people, especially those who are rude to servicepeople. You probably can’t post a comment because that post is older than 4 months old, and I have this blog set up for a 4 month limit for making comments. I’m sorry! 😦 (I had to do it in order to conserve space)


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