The glamour of incivility

Piccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse

Mrs Pett, like most other people, subconsciously held the view that the ruder a person is the more efficient he must be. It is but rarely that anyone is found who is not dazzled by the glamour of incivility.

Piccadilly Jim

I’m bitterly well-acquainted with the ‘glamour of incivility‘. Shop assistants and waiters seem particularly susceptible to its charms. I, on the other hand, am immune.

Picture, if you will, an orderly line of shoppers at a supermarket checkout. After a reasonable wait, it is my turn and I attempt to place my small handful of items before the checkout assistant. I am unexpectedly thwarted by  the woman behind me, who steps in front of me, and presents  her basket of goods. She has the air of one who believes rudeness is quite acceptable in the filthy rich.

This blot on the landscape of womanhood looks directly at the shop assistant with a condescending half-smile.

“If you don’t mind… My car’s in the 5 minute park.” It is a statement, not a question. She doesn’t need to tell us how large and expensive her car is. It’s implied.

“I mind!” I say.

I must be invisible and surrounded by a cone of silence, because nobody looks at me.

The shop assistant promptly serves the foul female, who leaves without a hint of apology or gratitude. She never acknowledges my presence at any point.

When it’s my turn… again, I give the assistant a sympathetic smile.

“I really hate rude people, ” I say.

She gives me a blank, and frankly unfriendly stare. Clearly, I wasn’t rude enough.


10 thoughts on “The glamour of incivility

  1. I hate that woman from the supermarket.

    You know, that phenomenon is often exemplified by those who are successful in business, management, etc. It’s like some of them think that if they are not rude, nobody will respect their authority. I beg to differ.


  2. That goes so far beyond annoying!
    Used to be that waiters in French restaurants were the worst, driving me very close to approaching one and, while gazing up into his nostrils, inquire about the location of the Lady’s Pisser!


  3. If efficiency equals happiness then that woman might be someone to envy.

    On the other hand – as efficiency doesn`t equal happiness . . . . .

    Then the perhaps efficient and thus rich pusher in of queues has provided evidence to support the thesis as laid out in Piccadilly Jim, of that efficiency = incivility?

    Efficiency leaves little room for such human qualities as politeness or being friendly – being more a thing of a machine – but at least providing a rich seam of material for a humorous quip or two 🙂

    All most enjoyable – and a fun bit of descriptive writing.


    1. I think I was struck by the idea that incivility suggests glamour – or let’s be honest – money!

      Fortunately, I don’t mind waiting in queues. I have a busy ‘inner life’.


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