I was at a restaurant recently when a man came in asking to be served. It was near closing time but the manager decided to accommodate him. On finding out that his first three choices were out of stock, he flew into rage and threw the menu at the waiter.
What astounded me was the rudeness – and violence – on display. As a Bruneian, I would like to believe that I live in a polite society. The incident was in stark contrast to my worldview.
Later, I learnt from a friend that she encountered a few rude customers in her time as a waitress. As someone who just recently graduated with a degree from the United Kingdom, she had to take whatever job was available.
Her inability to converse purely in the Malay language had landed her in hot water a number of times. These customers saw her struggle as a greenlight to leave behind good manners and make her working life difficult.
I wonder at times if unemployed locals would rather remain unemployed than to join the service industry.
There are more than a few bad apples in our society who believe that being paying customers gives them the right to take their frustration out on frontline staff, whose only crime is having taken up a job – any job – to avoid being part of the unemployment statistics.