Monday, March 12, 2012

Just Discovered I'm A Snob.

I've always thought of myself as a very down-to-Earth guy. People who know me would say, "What you see is what you get." when describing me. Therefore, I never thought of myself as secretly harboring any bizarre feelings of "them" vs. "us" when looking at people.

But I had a very disconcerting experience of that today, at lunch. I learned that I don't like being called Dude, or Man, as in "Hey, man!". Well, at least in the context of my being a customer in a sandwich shop, ordering my food.

I tried a new place in Harrisburg, PA, today. Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. It looked really good. Great signage, and a decent amount of lunchtime activity. So in I went. At first it went well. Although the music that was playing loudly in the shop was off-putting to me, it wasn't exactly driving me out the door, so I walked up to the counter to examine the menu and order. I was greeted by a 20-something guy with a baseball cap on, who asked me if I'd ever been in before, to which I replied I hadn't. He cheerfully took me through how the process was going to go. Then the wheels fell off the wagon.

Another very young worker began to chime in with the first one, saying things like, "Dude, you're gunna love this stuff!", and "Yo man, we got lots of different bread for these."

I should have been happy. I mean, they were conversing with me in complete sentences, which is more than you get at a lot of places these days, especially during the lunch rush. But I was so put off by the immediate, ultra casual intimacy, that I just felt odd instead. Here I was, dressed in jacket and tie, clearly a middle-aged bore (although quite dashing, of course), and I was suddenly thrust into Seth Rogan Dudedom. I hated it! The conversation continued that way throughout the order process. By the time I was done I felt like Maynard G. Krebs.

Maybe it's my upbringing, but even a low key guy like me prefers to be called "Sir", or "Mr. Potato Head", over "Yo man", by the skateboarders-cum-baristas and the hip young dreadlock crowd. As I sat and ate my lunch I heard lots of other customers get the Dude treatment. I realized then that I must be a snob. I really wanted someone there to say, "Hello, sir! Would you like a refill of iced tea?". Just once. Make me feel my age. I'm not hip any more. Never was. Don't want to be. I just want young people to laugh at me behind my back and talk about the old fossil in the corner drinking his tea that they spit in. Is that too much?

Any other snobs out there that will back me up on this one?


  1. I hate the whole Dude thing in young adults, although with the age group I am in constant contact with, it cracks me up. Evidently the anguish and angsting over what to name our children could have been avoided by naming our son AND our daughter 'Dude'. Because that's what all 'my' kids call each other at work.

  2. I will smack any little shit that spits in your tea.

    I don't think it's unreasonable to expected to be treated like a stranger. We don't get intimate with strangers, we get ├╝ber polite. That's as God intended or wars happen.

  3. This post cracked me up. And I don't blame you in the least for your self-proclaimed snobbery. I will probably be right there with you when my youngest is grown and out of the house (which should be anywhere from 12 to 30 years from now depending on how well or how poorly I do my job). However, once I became a stay at home mom 3 years ago, I started an intensive program that culminated in this lesson: when in public, everyone looks down on me. Period. When toting a toddler in public, you are pretty much guaranteed to offend at least 90% of the people you come into close proximity with. So now-a-days, if anyone so much as nods or smiles at me instead of just scowling in my general direction, I pretty much want to kiss them on the mouth. (I don't, of course, because that would be weird, obviously.) Ah-ha, that's it! Maybe you give off some sort of "way hip" vibe to these kids to which they are responding. And unlike me, they simply don't have the experience from which to take their social cues. So, sorry, I think you might have to face the fact that you are indeed hip, dude. :o)

  4. So...obviously I'm the disrespectful voice of youngin dissent here, but I think that's just the Jimmy John's vibe. I mean, if you go into Neato Burrito on 2nd St, you're (probably) going to be served by a person with visible tattoos and holes for earlobes, right? You're not going to get a "sir" or "madam." You're going to get an amazing burrito served by a chill burritomaster.

    I went to Jimmy John's in Virginia and they did the same thing: have you been here before?

    Nope. Whattya suggest?

    And those sandwich artists EXPLODED with enthusiasm. I took their recommendation. I ended up chatting with them for a good ten minutes. I walked out with their sub. And it was a DAMN fine sandwich.

    It's just like if you walk into Applebee's, you'll probably be served by an overly-perky, long-nailed server; at Hooter's, you'll get a bleach-blonde with a fake tan; at Jimmy John's, you'll probably be called dude. And, of course, I say this as a 20-something hooligan, not a suit-and-tied professional. But...different strokes for different sandwich-loving folks, eh?

  5. @Ami: Yeah, just name 'em all Dude!
    @Nicole: thanks for having my back!
    @TMP: Oh yeah. Toddler in public guaranteed to equate to shame and embarrassment for a mom. And I think that overly sensitive people are becoming even less tolerant of them for some odd reason. Look at the people recently thrown off airplanes for breast feeding kids or for having a kid who dared to cry and cause a commotion. Hey, I'm not saying I LOVE screaming kids, but for pity's sake, give a mom a break, you know?
    And hey, maybe I'm so hip, I'm beyond hip?
    @Nicki: You little snot-nosed whelp! Bahahahahahaha! I didn't know JJ's was a chain. Interesting. I get your point that maybe that's their vibe. Everybody wants an angle, and maybe that is theirs. That's fine, but I just don't get it. I mean, they lose a potential source of income by acting so nonchalant that it seems almost rude. I honestly thought that the one guy was making fun of me, he was so over the top with his dudeness toward me.
    I'm so obviously dressed like a businessman, and let's face it, I'm not exactly the dude type. So I think JJ's needs to be able to modify their business model to allow for differences among customers.
    I'm sure I'd enjoy getting to know each and every one of them if I sat and chatted with them. And I do admit in this post that I'm turning into a sort of snob that I never thought I'd become. But that's what age and decrepitude will do to you, you know? Hey, you know me - I'm as relaxed and silly as ever. I simply had a moment of "WTF?" when I went down this particular rabbit hole.

    And I so treasure the alternate and dissenting views, especially coming from you. Those are like a wonderful gut check for me!
    Keep 'em coming!