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A little ‘home training’ would go a long way

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Don’t come and go like you do ... I need to know all about you.

— Liz Phair

This is what I learned about the woman at a nearby table while dining alone at a local restaurant the other day:

  • Her sister has a health problem that may require surgery and she may have to go all the way to Macon to visit her.
  • She thinks that new Tyler Perry movie is going to be even better than all the rest.
  • This girl she used to work with is probably sneaking around to see this guy who’s having trouble in his marriage and if she doesn’t watch out she could end up with various painful injuries too graphic to describe here.
  • The price of gas has gone up so much, she may have to quit driving anywhere.
  • She had to “straighten out” one of her son’s teachers whose “racist a--” was picking on him and letting everybody else’s kids in the classroom do whatever they wanted.
  • She skipped out on church last Sunday and lied to several people in the church, telling them she wasn’t feeling well.

Now, given this job, I’m a curious person by nature. The way you find out about potential news stories in this business is to become a good listener and try to pay close attention to the things going on around you.

But I can say with all assurances that there was nothing this loud and obnoxious woman had to say during her hour-plus monologue, which was interrupted only sparingly by her cramming food into her constantly running mouth, that would spark even a passing interest on my part. And, judging from the looks of disgust she got — and ignored — from other diners in the restaurant, none of them had any interest in her personal affairs either.

Not that they had any choice in hearing about them.

My wife tells me I have to learn to tune things out better, but I have to admit my ongoing inability to do so is just one of my many failings. I’m just amazed by people — and not in a good way — who obviously feel that anyone sitting close to them in a public place has any interest in their personal conversations.

Maybe when they come into a place that insists that its patrons “make themselves at home,” these people take it a little too literally and go immediately into the obnoxious mode that people who live in the same household no doubt know so well. I expect one day to see one of these people — and there are plenty of them out there; they span all ethnic and age groups as well as socio-economic status — kicked back in their underwear like they usually do at home.

Obviously, every annoying person in a restaurant doesn’t reach the same level as the person whose performance I caught recently. In fact, it would be hard for anyone to top her.

Before I left the restaurant — in disgust, my dining experience ruined — I watched this woman talk rudely to her waitress, call said waitress over to her table four separate times to fetch some item or another — once yelling across the room to get her attention — and demand that one of her food items be replaced because it wasn’t cooked right. Perhaps what angered me most about her boorish behavior was watching her laugh conspiratorially with her companion — who was little more than a sounding board in this comedy of incivility — after each of her separate dressing downs of her waitress.

After I’d had my fill — trust me, I’d reached the point where I was ready to either tell this woman what a lousy excuse for a human being she was or hurl my just-eaten lunch in her lap — I walked out disgusted, pretty certain I wouldn’t return to that particular establishment. Before I did, though, I gave the waitress that had waited on this socially retarded individual a tip to match the one I left my own waitress.

I was sure she was going to get a lousy tip from the person she’d had to contend with throughout the time I’d spent in the restaurant. Plus, I figured she deserved combat pay.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

Jacob 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe you should have just swallowed a couple of Midols and drank some wine.

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Roundman 1 year, 7 months ago

Well --maybe you are seeing the light a little bit Carlton-- I am a people watcher. I have seen so many of these loud mouths with no raising work a poor waitress or waiter to death and then complain about something not being cooked to suit them and ask for the manager to either give them the food or cut the price because of some excuse they find with the food or service. The manager does give in to this to keep down a scene or argument in front of other customers. They also leave no tip. Some of these are the same people that I see leave driving a Lexus, Jag or Mercedes. You know the Albany type. But It's not just Albany -- they are everywhere --- no raising- just trash -- They want something for nothing--- I am glad I am not in the food business business.but I do feel for those that are serving the public.

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big2xpapa 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe you should have started talking louder than her about how loud people talk in public.

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southernbelle 1 year, 7 months ago

Go Carlton Go!!! I'm with you on this.

People are so shallow and self-involved these days that they don't consider or probably even know about old-fashioned good manners. Perhaps they're afraid that it's a sign of weakness or subjugation to think about the feelings of others. "I have every right to talk however I want to in public...and you don't tell me how to act"...that kind of ready-to-fight, childish attitude.

In short, not an "evolved" person. A boor.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 7 months ago

It's the way too many folks roll here in the good life city. I bet a Ben Frank the woman was Black and though Fletcher didn't say so, she was doing all this talking to some other fool on the other end of her Obamaphone line and who was having the same effect on those around him/her wherever they were luncheoning..

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MRKIA 1 year, 7 months ago

I'VE ENCOUNTERED THIS TYPE OF PERSON ON OCCASION. TRUST ME, THIS WOMAN ALREADY KNOWS SHE IS PATHETIC HENCE THE PUBLIC TIRADE. NEGATIVE ATTENTION IS BETTER THAN NO ATTENTION AT ALL. I GUESS.

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RedEric 1 year, 7 months ago

Carlton doesn't name cause she would never go out with him again!

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chinaberry25 1 year, 7 months ago

What you left out is that half of them are texting during a meal or the very least looking ate any incoming texts. Most folks do not appreciate company until the companions are gone. Enjoy the folks who are with you and their companionship. We are not going to be here forever.

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Putney 1 year, 7 months ago

Carlton, I know what you experienced. I had a similar experience and when I made eye contact with the woman, she asked me what I was looking at. My answer--"I am not really sure."

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Spike 1 year, 7 months ago

Couple of questions: Could/Should Carlton or anyone else for that matter who witnessed this lady’s behavior challenge her by asking her to tone it down rather than let her get away with being a “social bully”? What is the difference between this “anonymous” lady’s behavior/comments from those “anonymous” folks who sit in front of their computers and comment/type things they wouldn’t dare say face to face with someone on this public website?

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waltspecht 1 year, 7 months ago

Easy, the computer folks aren't forcing you to read what they write, the loudmouth derives some type of pleasure from everyone listening to her problems.

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Spike 1 year, 7 months ago

Walt, That would be true IF logging into this site was the only way you could see it. The same pleasure you are talking about is the same pleasure some of these guys get from posting the ugly things they do. Prospective employees and business Google the net and find all this stuff. The comments people post on this site go WELL BEYOND this site. It’s a shame they don’t realize that.

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waltspecht 1 year, 7 months ago

Come on folks! Call this behavior to management's attention. See what they are willing to do to keep you as a customer. Plus set them straight about the harassment of the wait staff, instead of them only hearing the loudmouth's side of things when they try to get the meal comped. You do owe that much to the Management and the Wait Staff. Many times you would be amazed at what you can pick up just in a Grocery Store, but a Restaurant can be a real interesting source of information. Like which Ice Cream Truck Owner is always sending large money orders out from the Piggly Wiggly. Which market will pay out for your EBT money, and how they do it. Where you can play games of chance that aren't legal. Who is earning extra money on their back, and where to get drugs. Amazing what Law Enforcement could and should learn just by listening. Even more amazing that they don't already know all these things.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 7 months ago

Glad to see that Fletcher was exposed to what the rest of us see every day of the week around this town and why we have such an "attitude". You can call it hate if you want to. I call it disgust. Then when my taxpayer dollars are involved........I really get pissed off!!

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WTFwtf 1 year, 7 months ago

If u have an obnoxious waitress, dont tip em a penny. I think they need some negative reinforcement since they have no home training.

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