Narcissists are rude to servicepeople.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

So tired of the poor being blamed for their “bad choices.”

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I just read an article that isn’t really news. It was about how SNAP (food stamp) recipients tend to eat as many calories as higher income people, but those calories tend to come from prepackaged, prepared, and less healthy food that’s high in sugar and starch.

I think most people already know this to be the case. That doesn’t mean poor people don’t want to or try to eat better. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible. There are several reasons why a poor person may not opt for fresh meats, fruits and veggies and go for the Ramen noodles and Kraft macaroni and cheese instead:

1. Fresh food is generally more expensive. A few areas have “community gardens” where free fresh produce can be had for an hour or so’s worth of work in the garden, but only a few.
2. Fresh food cannot be stored for long. Many poor people don’t have access to reliable transportation and are forced to do all their shopping at once, whenever they can. If they don’t know when is the next time they can get to a store, they will tend to stock up on foods that keep well.
3. If you live in a “food desert” (an area where the only place to buy food is the local convenience store), your choices for healthy eating are few, especially if you are without a vehicle and must rely on public transportation or walking.
4. Less time for cooking and food preparation. Many of the working poor work more than one job, and in between jobs must spend time waiting for buses, etc. They may not get home until very late, and have little time or inclination to prepare a meal from scratch, especially if they are working parents who want to spend some time with their kids.
5. Lack of education about good food choices and how to prepare them. Maybe the SNAP program should include classes in how to prepare healthy, cheap meals from scratch.
6. Many of the working poor are simply too exhausted at the end of a grueling day at their minumum wage job(s) to be motivated to cook a healthy meal from scratch.

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But the point of this post isn’t really the difficulty the poor sometimes have obtaining or preparing fresh food. It’s the condescending and sanctimonious comments that followed the article, such as:

1. The poor are poor because of their bad choices, so how is making bad food choices surprising? (If you’ve never been poor, you wouldn’t understand that poverty is never a “choice”)
2. If they’d stop spending money on lottery tickets, cigarettes, and drugs, they’d have more money for food. (Please. I am so tired of this lame stereotype, straight out of Reagan’s fictional “welfare queen driving a Cadillac” argument for cutting benefits to the poor)
3. Why do most of them have Internet? (Hello, access to the Internet is necessary to find a job these days)
4. The poor are too lazy and stupid to get a better education or a better job. (Absolutely not true, and a good education costs money, you dipshit).

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You get the idea. I’m so tired of this victim-blaming mentality that’s been brainwashed into so many Americans today. It’s a pervasive us-vs.-them attitude, regarding “the poor” as somehow another, lesser species of human, undeserving of anything better due to their crappy life choices. Being pretty low-income myself (although I’m not on SNAP), this patronizing, superior attitude makes me want to go break things. Usually, people who judge the poor so harshly have never been poor themselves, and don’t understand how exhausting, painful and debilitating such a life can be. If some poor people lack the motivation to “better themselves” (a phrase I detest) maybe it’s because they’re depressed. I don’t doubt mental illness is probably higher among poor people, but is it not possible their depression and other mental problems may stem from lacking the things that make life a little easier and more bearable?

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I’d like to end this post with this well written comment, written by a poor woman living on disability, in response to all the sheeple who cant get their noses out of the air long enough to see reality.

I get so tired of the sanctimonious attitude of some people who feel that poverty is limited to lazy, fat, irresponsible, stupid people. The truth is that poverty is a condition that is consistent with every society mankind has ever been a part of. Poverty cannot be overcome, food insecurity however can be. Before I continue understand that yes I am obese, yes I am poor, yes I am on food stamps, but, I am tired of being ashamed and embarrassed about any of those conditions. First I am not uneducated. I am a college graduate and worked most of my life in addition to caring for and raising my family. I became ill about 12 years ago and now am permanently disabled. I lost almost everything due to my illness and my husband’s illness and subsequent death. Those expenses wiped out every bit of savings obliterating me financially and now I live on disability alone. I am obese due to many contributing factors. First is medical, second is poverty, and third is mental. The mental issues I mentioned are simple. It is very difficult to make good choices when options are so unbelievably limited. I live in a small town (about 30,000) that does not have much to offer as far as grocery options. Walmart and Albertsons are about it. The food stamps I receive total $16 per month, I budget $80 a month for food. I have difficulty physically in preparing food so many of my options include simple foods like sandwiches. I have meat maybe once a week, and vegetables are like gold. When I have access to them I tend to gorge on them. I love vegetables but rarely get enough. I try to keep frozen veggies that I can microwave but fresh fruit and produce is a luxury. Years ago I started a large community garden that raises vegetables for our church food pantry, but that produce is only available at certain times of the year. I am not a drain on society, I volunteer when able and give back when ever I can. So before you make simplistic judgments about the poor, remember, you could be here too.