Why are people on a power trip? Can’t we just be nice?

By Bikram Vohra

Why does everyone have to exercise power rather than just being nice to people? We should be flinging clods of love at everyone around us. But far too often, you find people being not nice. It’s true, there are so many folks who ruin your mood by not being civil. And it is so easy to be pleasant, so why make the extra effort of being unpleasant?

Like counter clerks who say: “Come tomorrow”. Why come tomorrow. Why not now? Why is it always tomorrow?

To the lady at an information booth: You say to her, “Excuse me, could you tell me the way to…?”. That’s interrupted by a cold and sneering, “Sorry, closed, go to counter three.” Odds are counter three is an empty chair.

The friendly bank: ‘Your credit card/loan payment is overdue. If you do not want to be boiled in hot oil, pay in twenty minutes.’ These were the same people who came simpering to your door to tell you how the sun would come out if you sold your soul to a rectangle of plastic with your name embossed and the tag of some exotic metal or alloy like uranium or plutonium. And you fell for it, you twit.

The cab driver, who is short of sleep or just naturally bad-tempered: ‘Why you not say street 55 first? Where you want to go? Yes, yes, I know the way… (sic)”, and he drives like a maniac. Of all the cabs in the city with nice, friendly drivers, I had to get this one.

The surly supermarket attendant: “Stock not available, don’t know when new stock coming”. Well, does anyone know?! Take me to your leader.

The guy who leans on the horn when you are in a traffic jam: What is your problem, sir? You want me to leapfrog over that truck, grow wings? You come do it and I will lean on the horn.

The attendant in an upmarket brand outlet who stays unmoved when you enter because she is telling you that you are not to the manner born.

The waiter in the restaurant with an expression that says: “Why do I get these types? Look at them, directly from Hicksville”. And he serves you with grand disdain, and you are going to pay good money for this.

Your loyal favourite staffer: “I am out of here, sorry I stabbed you in the back, got a better job. And while we are on the subject, sorry, I lied to you last week that I wasn’t joining the competition, but guess what, I am.” So, suck on that. Fooled you.

Your client: “Can you send the invoice again? It has been misplaced.” What are you doing there, making a collection of invoices? This is the third time, anything to get out of paying me. Never understood this. How can you misplace the invoice, and if it was sent by email, it is on your computer. Print it again.

Magazine editor who you’ve sent three emails asking about your contribution: “Sorry, I am too important to answer you or receive your call, and so long as I am in this chair and have hotel PRs give me foie gras for free, I am going to be a pompous ass and not reply, so there.” What can you do?

The cabin crew who categorise you as a schmuck: “Wait for water till take off.” No please, no politeness, no courtesy. Read your own ads, dude. You are supposed to love us and fawn all over us so we don’t take the other airline.

The scheduled meeting with a CEO for 11am: Now it is 12:15 pm and he is inside his room and not an apology, nothing. You are supposed to grin and bear it. You sitting in that ghastly little ante room with three-year-old magazines for company, and a snotty secretary who couldn’t give a toss that you are teed off.

The VIP who invites you in and then starts chatting on the phone and gives you that little finger wag and nod of fake apology, but won’t get off the line.

The security at one of those fancy offices: First they look shocked that someone like you has dared to come to meet a VIP, and they need to check if it is true, while you feel small and wretched.

When you drive up in a small car to a five-star hotel and the lip-curling valet for parking lets you know via body language that this is not what he bargained for.

The boss: “Your report is second rate. This is rubbish. Why do I have fools around me…?” Ask yourself mate, you hired us. If we are not incandescent, you carry the can.

When you say, “Oh, this is mince pie? I didn’t know it was sweet”, and everyone laughs a laugh that suggests you are such a peasant.

Your wife: “Of all people I could have married, I got you… you call this a lucky dip?”


Bikram is former editor of KT. Everyday humour is his forte

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