nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite How Going Undercover Reminded Me to Appreciate My Privilege

How Going Undercover Reminded Me to Appreciate My Privilege

by Katy on February 24, 2014 · 51 comments


My 15-year-old son and I just had a very interesting experience volunteering for his annual school auction. As a parent of a two high schoolers, I was surprised at how few people I recognized at a school event for a program my kids have been attending for 13 long years. (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, as it is the elementary school parents who make up the majority of involved parents.) We were at the event facility from 5 P.M. until 11 P.M. on Friday, and spent a good three hours of that time working as busboys. (The public school support organization kept expenses down by not hiring wait staff.) We carried plates, scraped leftover food into the garbage and worked up a sweat in the process.

As much as I didn’t know the current cohort of grade school parents, they also didn’t know me. I think a lot of them assumed I was a simple cater-waiter. I would estimate that a quarter of them were very dismissive to my statement of “If you’re done with your plate, I can take it away” which I found to be very telling. They would barely respond to me, and were certainly not helpful in maybe grabbing their neighbor’s empty plate to lend a hand. By comparison, others would reach for plates that were out of my reach and then thank me.

I’ve heard that you can tell a lot about a person from how they treat waiters.

It got me thinking about how for a supposedly egalitarian society, The United States very much has societal levels that that are both glaring and subtle. The 99% vs. 1% has received a lot of attention over the past few years, but that 99% is split into endless categories. Race, education level, attractiveness and nationality all affect how we are perceived in this world. And as a white, generally attractive and well educated woman, it’s not part of my daily thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, as I wasn’t upset or angry with the experience. I just considered it to be an interesting point to ponder.

As an experienced labor and delivery nurse, I am used to being a source of important information, with people hanging on my every word. And as a successful blogger, I am used to people respecting and admiring what I do. (As the parent to two teenage boys, I am used to being mocked and ignored, but I take that with a grain of salt.) I’m not used to people barely acknowledging my presence.

Like the show Undercover Boss, where corporate CEO’s take on lowly roles within their own company to get a real sense of how their organizations are actually functioning. Let’s just call it “Undercover Katy.”

How is this related to non-consumerism?

I am privileged.

No I’m not wealthy, but I was raised in a middle class home where I always knew I would go to college. I live in a safe and community oriented neighborhood where I can walk to two excellent grocery stores, and I can trust that my stable neighbors can be trusted. Yes, we had to buy a disgusting fixer-upper to make this happen, but we did. And I never give a second thought to the reliability of my transportation.

And I usually take that for granted.

My non-consumerism relies heavily on the community I live in. If I were in more of a low income area, my food shopping options would likely be limited, and our safety would not be a given. I have opportunities that many other Americans do not.

I’ve run three food stamp challenges over the past few years, and there are always a few readers who respond with judgment about how real food stamp recipients should be living their lives. They choose to ignore how a person’s inherent privilege gives them advantages that we’re often not even aware of.

So thank you, fellow parents for reminding me to appreciate the privilege that makes my daily life both easy and safe.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina February 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Just watched “food stamped” over the weekend. You brought this back to mind with this post. It was a very interesting documentary.

Reply

2 Tina February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I think this is one of my favourite posts. Very thought-provoking, and as someone who works for a charity for British welfare recipients, very refreshing :)

Reply

3 Michelle February 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Really interesting and insightful post! This is kind of tangential, but it makes me think of times that I’ve gone to the same store–once looking well dressed, hair done, makeup on, etc– and another time looking more “normal” i.e. jeans, sneakers, no makeup. The treatment I received from staff was astoundingly different. Turns out expensive looking Michelle gets better service than normal Michelle despite my buying power being exactly the same. It’s sad but I’m sure we’re all guilty of making assumptions about people and/or disregarding certain roles people play in our every-day lives.

Reply

4 Katy February 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I remember reading (or hearing?) a story about a successful car salesman who was very deliberate about treating everyone as if they had the money to buy, irregardless of how they presented themselves. His sales rates were excellent.

Katy

Reply

5 Lindsey February 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Want to be treated differently by virtually everyone you meet? Lose 129 pounds and you will be astounded by how much more intelligent you are in the eyes of others!

Reply

6 Kate February 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I went into a fancy jewelry store to look at engagement rings. I was wearing jeans and my college sweatshirt – a good private college, but I was by no means dressed particularly well. The salesman was condescending and dismissive. That is, until I purposely pulled up my sleeve to show the expensive watch my parents had given me. Did that ever change his tune! Needless to say, that is not the store where we got our rings.

Reply

7 Katy February 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Reminds me of “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley. (No relation.) The person in my extended family who is the wealthiest is also the person who dresses the least impressively. You’d never guess how much he has in savings and investments.

Katy

Reply

8 WilliamB February 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm

(Warning: a very not-nonconsumer comment ahead!)

One reason I like Nordstrom is that I get the same excellent service whether I’m dressed in jeans and sneakers, or in a suit.

Reply

9 Diane C February 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Oh, thank you for saying this, William B! I worked at Nordstrom for ten years and we *never* cared what people were wearing. You can hide a credit card in any pocket. Occasionally, someone would complain that they were overlooked because of how they were dressed. I always countered that it was how they behaved, not how they dressed. Once I had a man throw a temper tantrum in front of his small son. He claimed that I was racist because I helped a white man before I helped him. I didn’t help him because I did not see him, as someone was actually standing closer to me and we were very busy. The way he carried on was excruciatingly embarrasing. To this day, I will never forget the look on that small boy’s face as his father ranted at me and everyone in earshot. In conclusion, everyone at Nordstrom is on commission, people! They do not care if you are black, white or purple, they just want to make a sale and make you happy so you will come back and shop with them again.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

Reply

10 WilliamB February 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Y’all have earned the accolade, year in and year out.

But it can’t be because Nordstom employees work on commission. On the same day I got fantastic service from Nordstrom I got a heavy brush-off from Bloomingdale’s “You can find those [expensive] clothes over there.” I was so pissed that after I spent …, erm, … a pile of money at Nordstrom, I took my receipt back to Bloomies and showed both the clerk and the store manager what they missed out on.

Reply

11 Diane C February 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I volunteer in my community in several different capacities. I am on several boards and am treated a certain way at those events. Another volunteer gig is as an usher, where I wear a uniform. I am amazed at the number of people who see the vest and not my face. I get a total kick out of greeting people by name and watching them do double-takes. Not saying they’re snobs, per se. They just don’t bother to look a lowly usher (who is also a season ticket holder) in the eye. I try to use this experience to remind me never to do that to others, intentionally or otherwise.

Note to Chris: Love it! I think I’ll be using that one if I may. Born on third base…awesome!

Reply

12 Diane C February 25, 2014 at 10:48 am

Sorry, this was a separate comment, not a reply. It should have gone to the bottom of the list. It now appears before Chris’s awesome story, so scroll down and check it out.

Reply

13 WilliamB February 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm

A similar point was driven home by a prof while I was in school. We had weekly 10 question quizzes. One week, one question was “What is the name of the janitor who cleans our room after class?” NOT an extra credit question, mind you, but one you had to answer to get 100%.

I honestly don’t remember if I knew the answer then, but I would now.

Reply

14 Tracy Stone February 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think.

Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through -mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

15 Tracy Stone February 27, 2014 at 5:30 am

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think.
Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through e-mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

16 Tracy Stone February 27, 2014 at 5:33 am

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think. Maybe that’s what you’re doing. ;)

Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through e-mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

17 Tracy Stone February 27, 2014 at 5:36 am

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think.

Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through e-mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

18 Tracy Stone February 27, 2014 at 6:54 am

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think. Maybe that’s what you’re doing. ;)

Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through e-mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

19 Tracy Stone February 27, 2014 at 6:59 am

I’ll try one more time – this post doesn’t like me.

Seriously? I always thought that was one of those stories to make you think. But maybe that’s what you’re doing. ;)

Was going to comment that this is very similar to a post at Get Rich Slowly I just read (going through e-mails, so it might be a little old). I said on there that I know and greet people like the mailman, janitor at the elementary school, trash & recycling guys, UPS man (or woman – I know them both)… It’s come up more than once, somehow, and people are surprised that I know their names, and then I’m surprised at those people that they’re surprised. It just seems normal to me that you would know and greet people you see regularly, but I guess that’s not true.

Reply

20 Jane in Seattle February 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

What I have noticed is that the cheaper the store, the more friendly and helpful the customers are. A particular store,that shall remain unnamed has the rudest customers on the planet. My take on that is the rich people are so stressed paying for their subs and expensive lifestyle that they forget to be relaxed and polite. The poor people have more time to ponder life and see life different.

Reply

21 TL February 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I’ve never commented before but this really resonated with me. I grew up lower income in a lower income area and did more than my share of waiting tables and working in kitchens. It was a shock for me to go to an expensive private university and meet people who hadn’t had a job before at the ripe age of 18. I certainly felt looked down upon since I was always broke and working multiple jobs. I never really noticed it again, until I sent my daughter to parochial elementary school in a new town on the east coast. It cracked me up to have the gym/starbucks/shopping mommy crowd snub me for how I looked when I knew darn well from overhearing loud conversations that they were on the financial edge and I had plenty of savings. My daughter is growing up with parents in little financial stress (but that love buying used and hate modern packaging) and we try very hard to make sure she understands how privileged she is.

Reply

22 Rachel February 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

“It cracked me up to have the gym/starbucks/shopping mommy crowd snub me for how I looked when I knew darn well from overhearing loud conversations that they were on the financial edge and I had plenty of savings.”

This!! In addition to this delightful blog, I’m a devoted reader of Mr. Money Mustache and this concept often comes up in discussion there. Can’t judge a book by its cover!

(but I agree that you can often quite accurately judge said book by how it treats waitstaff… love this post, Katy! Very eye opening.)

Reply

23 Annie February 25, 2014 at 7:34 am

Interesting article. I worked as a caterer for entertainers. We used to laugh because between the 5 of us in the backstage kitchen we had 7 college degrees. Amazingly nearly everyone treated us as if we were illiterate, if they acknowledged us at all.

Reply

24 Tina February 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I love this.

This (and the subsequent discussion) reminded me so much of a set of interviews I did with stressed-out, low-income pregnant ladies and new moms. Among a lot of other questions about things that were stressful for them, I asked them a series of questions about discrimination and unfair treatment. Women told me they had been discriminated against or treated unfairly for all kinds of reasons (race, sexual minority status, legal problems) but the most common basis was because they were low-income. Or to be more precise — it was when they were PERCEIVED as low-income — when they were running errands w/ the kids in sweatpants, or when they were using WIC vouchers at the store. Incredibly stressful and hurtful to them to be treated as lesser-than or as invisible.

Great post, KWS, as always.

Reply

25 Katy February 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Love you, Tina!

Reply

26 Heather February 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I think everyone ought to spend some time in some kind of a service position. It ought to be mandatory, like bootcamp. Waiting tables, checking groceries, anything that requires a name tag or hair net. It makes you much more appreciative of nice people, and it makes you a great tipper for life. ;-)

Reply

27 Lindsey February 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I agree!

Reply

28 Nancy K February 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

My sons ask me, “Mom, why are all the Fred Meyer checkers so happy to see you? How come they know you?” It is because I actually smile at them, chat them with and treat them like they are a real person with a life and don’t sigh, refuse to meet their eyes, or tap my foot impatiently while I text or talk on the phone. I remind my kids that standing there all day ringing up groceries goes a little faster and is a better job if customers take a minute to be nice.

Reply

29 Vivian February 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Another great blog Katy. I’ve been on both the receiving and the giving side of these situations and have been treated differently depending on what the other person thought of my station in life. I am thankful for so much and the opportunity to pass on my POV to our son. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Reply

30 Megyn February 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Oh this is just so amazing! My sister was a waitress for many years, and it made us acutely aware of how they are often under-appreciated as are many people in service jobs. I try to make it a point to smile and be friendly to wait staff, cashiers, and janitors. My dad was a teacher, and he always made sure the janitors got a little giftie (usually cookies) every winter.

We may be moving to a lower-income, “sketchy” area of town in order for our boys to attend a hippie charter school. I’ve already noticed the vast difference in food availability. There are only “normal” grocery stores, “hispanic-oriented” grocery stores, and convenience stores. There is not a single Sprouts, Whole Foods, natural grocer, or Costco/Sam’s Club east of the freeway. It’s absolutely insane to me. Want to create an economic divide…you have it right there just in simple food choices.

Having been lower-income and still lower-income compared to the rest in this rich city, I witness the way we are treated differently. Once when I used a WIC check back in AZ, I actually had a cashier say loudly, right in front of me, that she hated these WIC people. I think using WIC was the most embarrassing part of my life…food stamps were far more covert. I have so much sympathy for those who must utilize the system!

Reply

31 Rosa February 26, 2014 at 9:25 pm

The mistreatment of SNAP and WIC customers is so infuriating. Aside from being just generally wrong (what, should people not feed their kids?) both programs are big sources of revenue for stores.

Reply

32 SMx February 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for volunteering!

-a momma with kids who just started in the program and wasn’t able to volunteer or attend

Reply

33 patti February 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Very good article. I know I have been treated poorly when I have been shopping because I wasn’t decked out in the latest trends… but probably had much more to spend than some of the flashy customers. It is hurtful to be ignored or treated with a huffy attitude just because you don’t fit their idea of a buying customer. When I worked at a bank, we quickly found out that some of the “poorer looking” customers were the ones with the real balances in their checkbooks. Doesn’t pay to judge by appearances. I also think anyone who has had to survive for a few days without power, as in the recent winter storms, should have more understanding of what the homeless or the working poor have to live with. We are so blessed!!!

Reply

34 Lorraine February 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Great post. I have definitely been on the receiving end of being looked down upon because of a perceived financial status. However, it made me think of my aunt. She was incredibly frugal and loved garage sales. To the best of my knowledge, she NEVER had a new purse and very few new clothes. Because she and my uncle were frugal, she was able to enjoy her hobbies – serious coin collecting and playing bingo at church. One day my cousin and I found out she carried around 3 gold Krugerrands – she considered them her good luck tokens. We couldn’t believe it. At first, we worried she would get mugged – but then the more we thought about it, we realized that anyone looking to score some quick cash would probably not pick someone like her who carried her garage sale purses and wore older house dresses in public without a care.

Reply

35 Chris February 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

A phrase our pastor used in a sermon comes to mind as I read this- ” you’re acting like you hit a triple when you were born on third base.” A very succinct reminder of how we take for granted our inherent privileges.

Reply

36 K D February 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

You are privileged as are so many of your blog readers., including me. I haven’t had to work in the service industry since my senior year of college (the big eye opener for me then was the lack of perceived options by my co-workers).

My friend would call the rude parents “ignorant”, I am not always so generous in my thoughts.

The more books I read on generosity the more compelled I feel to stretch myself to expand the circle of people I interact with on a regular basis (I need to spend more time with people that are not so much like me, life circumstances wise).

This is a great post Katy, thank you for making me think.

Reply

37 Monique U. February 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Love the post and the accompanying discussions, Katy. In addition to gratitude for my many blessings, I am now realizing how lucky I am to live far from these “upperclasses”. Mostly everyone in my region live in economically challenged circumstances, and there is admiration for the DIY survival skills many have attained. A level playing field makes it easier to be genuine in our relationships with others. I can’t remember the last time I felt judged for how I dress, or saw a waiter or clerk disrespected. That is worth more than any fancy clothes or money in the bank :)

Reply

38 nalani February 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Always the thoughtful blogger. Thanks for this post. There’s a real stigma attached to perceptions about being poor. It’s fascinating what other attributes are attached to this stigma. And, these perceptions can make and prevent access.

Reply

39 Jackie K February 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Loved this post, Katy. Reminds me of how I was so broke, divorced and raising 3 kids. When I finally made it to the top in my profession (exec. Asset. To the president of a hospital) I never changed my frugal ways, and will never forget the day I was grocery shopping at Aldi’ s (before it was cool) and ran into someone from the housekeeping staff from work. They were shocked that I was shopping there, so I guess it can go both ways.

Reply

40 Bauunny February 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I remember my sister saying 30 years ago that she deliberately dressed her little kids nicely when they traveled by plane because they got much better treatment from the stewardesses(which was the norm at the time). I worked as a waitress at a country club during my college summers……which taught me a lot about what “class” was and was not. Growing up my folks made us “city kids” do manual labor on the farm my father owned (we lived in town) – hoeing beans, picking up rocks, planting seedlings. We of course were not fans of this type of work – but it taught me the value of hard work and appreciation for farming and farmers. Some people “judge” farmers because they are rarely dressed up and they assume they are not educated. However, most farmers are highly intelligent and accomplished and good businessmen – they have to be to survive and thrive. We have a small “mom and pop” Christmas tree farm. Even though I work fill time, during the season, we work very very hard. We try to model authentically hard work for our over privileged kids and to walk the talk that no one is “above” manual work. While they are not big fans of being roped in to helping, we hope that some day they will appreciate the lessons we have tried to give them.

Reply

41 chicknlil March 1, 2014 at 5:54 am

Thank you, thank you thank you. I farm full time and have a degree from a well respected ag school. I could have gone anywhere, but I choose to come home. Going through school, I had several people point blank ask me why I’d want to farm and moreover why I needed to go to school to do so. Maybe because farming is running a business? I hope that my business will help fill an economic void in my community. Being female and a farmer I run into all sorts of weird assumptions. If I dress too well I’m not tough enough, if I dress in my work clothes I’m treated like white trash. I’m not the first born son, so in my family I was never expected to farm. I’ve had several folks tell me, “You don’t look like a farmer”. What does that mean? What am I supposed to look like? If I take my dh to farm meetings, all the guys talk to him and ignore me, kinda hard to network. Whenever someone is unkind to me, I take note and will no longer patronize them. I stand myself up straight and recall my net worth and assets under management. Maybe I don’t have the nicest truck at the coop, but it’s paid for and I sleep well. I don’t need a ton truck with a bale bed and truck balls to prove who I am.(:

Reply

42 Jessica Wolk-Stanley February 24, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Great post Katy.

Reply

43 Rebecca February 25, 2014 at 3:00 am

I wish more people were aware of how they treat wait staff. I have been working since I was 16, and most of that time in a restaurant/bar/coffee shop setting and have met some of the hardest working people around. Most of my co-workers fell into two categories, individuals who were working as servers while they pursued a college degree, often a Masters or PhD (yes your bartender may be your cardiologist one day!) or individuals who consider the food industry as a career and worked their butts off to support their families, cover health care and living costs and have a good life.

Reply

44 BensMom February 25, 2014 at 5:13 am

I enjoy reading this blog and the comments you receive. Our family is very privileged and we don’t face many challenges in our day to day lives. One thing that my parents (and my husband’s parents as well) instilled in my brother and I was to treat everyone with respect. When they said everyone they meant it. I remember in particular my father saying that it didn’t matter if it was the prime minister or the man cleaning the street, he deserved to be treated with respect…one was not better than the other (he put his pants on one leg at a time). I strive to treat everyone as I would like to be treated and not be judgemental about them. It is something we are passing on to our son as I think these are traits that are taught by example. I am pleased when I see him demonstrate this important trait in his daily life with friends and others. Unfortunately, teens are often seen as problems in stores and he has experienced less than polite treatment from adults who should know better. Thanks for reminding us that is it important to be respectful to everyone!

Reply

45 Kathy February 25, 2014 at 6:12 am

Great post, Katy. It’s so easy to forget how much we take for granted. I work on being frugal, but for me it’s not an absolute necessity, as it is for so many people. I grew up poorer than I am now, but always lived someplace relatively safe, and never went hungry. And it’s important to remember to treat everyone with respect–I think a kind word, a thank you, a smile while looking into their eyes would be a bright spot in the day of someone less fortunate.

Reply

46 smcl February 25, 2014 at 8:12 am

Great post!

Reply

47 Ellie February 25, 2014 at 11:15 am

Wow! Both the post and the comments really resonate. Thanks!

Reply

48 Christa February 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I must say, kudos to you and your son for busing tables for three hours! That’s a lot of work. I had work study in high school and did my share of serving and cleaning up for my peers so I understand how difficult waiting tables is and am always mindful of my manners when I eat out. I have taught my children to use their manners when we are out as well and many a server has commented on their nice table manners (i.e.. pleases and thank yous). I am always grateful when the servers point that out and proud of my children and it happens quite a bit. Which got me to thinking that the servers must not get thanked very often which is a sad indicator that we don’t use manners more often as a society, young and old. A little courtesy goes a long way.

Reply

49 tna February 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Love this! Ive been wait staff, hotel housekeeper, janitor, home health care, you name it and I’m well educated and come from privilege. I never enjoyed ” managing” others. And I don’t think having a degree or education makes you the sharpest tool in the shed… I could always ace a test but knew from studying with classmates that some knew the subject matter better but did awful on tests. And there are those who can’t find financing or just have no support system or self confidence. I’ve met people with beautiful, amazing minds that just couldn’t climb out of the situation they were born into. While sure, it sucks to be belittled, what I have a hard time with is all the great potential that falls by the wayside.

Reply

50 Sarah February 27, 2014 at 4:09 am

Very interesting, thought-provoking post. Reminds me of an Op-Ed in my newspaper this week. An 18 year old girl is currently doing an experiment (in collaboration with our ministry of education) in trying a different job each week and reporting about it. This in order to help young people to find their job/education of choice.
Last week, she worked as a cleaning lady in a school. She was shocked to find out that as soon as she put on an apron, the pupils were treating her very disrespectful and rude as if she wasn’t there or even calling here a ‘loser’ or ‘wh*re’. When she didn’t wore that apron, she might as well be one of them, blending in perfectly.
I see this happening too, but on a more ‘civilized’ level, in offices too: how cleaning personnel is being treated as they’re invisible. Is it really to much to ask to be friendly to them, saying ‘hi’, ‘bye’ and ‘thanks’? As a student I have been working in supermarkets, and it taught me – if I wasn’t yet taught by my parents – to be very respectful to those professions that do ‘invisible work’, like cleaning or filling shelves in supermarkets.

Reply

51 Anna February 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Love this post! I have had my own little eye-opening experiment this past couple of weeks. I inherited my late grandmother’s car when she passed away in 2006. She had been unable to drive for several years before her passing, so her beloved early 1990′s Cadillac had sat idle for years. I decided to get it out and drive it, and every time I drive that old car, versus my late model SUV, I’m aware of the way I’m treated so very differently by strangers who judge me solely on my vehicle. It’s telling and actually quite funny. People will give me the “look” when they see me getting our 2 small children out of this very long old car. It shows their true shallow character. People who would normally wave their hands off at me in a Tahoe don’t know me, and don’t dare wave at me, in my old car. I decided to make this an announcement at the local ladies charity club meeting (members-only club that I quit). During announcements about golf tournaments and the like I raised my hand. I said that over the past week I had been driving my old car, and not one of them had waved back at me in the road, not knowing it was me. One lady gasped out loud and said, “that was you?!” I said “yes, that was me, and I remember everyone of you who were too good to wave back to a girl in an old car.” Silence in the room. I laughed out loud and walked out. :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post:

nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite