Items tagged with 'other people'

How should we respond when someone is being clearly inappropriate in public?

supermarket carts lined upThis question comes from Greg, but we'll block quote it in standard Ask AOA format:

I was in line at the supermarket this past weekend when the guy in front of me got upset with the cashier and flipped out. The details involved a pack of cigarettes, a Coinstar voucher, and a roll of the quarters. From my view, it seemed like the kind of thing that would usually prompt, at most, mild irritation in someone.
The cashier appeared to be from south Asia -- she had an accent -- and I got the impression she was relatively new on the job. As things escalated, I was basically trying to divert my attention -- oh, look, magazines -- until I heard the guy say "THIS IS AMERICAN CURRENCY" while holding up the roll of quarters. And there was something about the tone that wasn't just frustration -- it was condescending and hostile.
Now I'm staring straight at the guy, and I think other people up front are doing the same thing. The manager comes over and I give her a lot of credit -- she firmly tells the guy not to talk to the cashier like that and she completes whatever transaction he was trying to accomplish. He's still upset, though, and huffs as he walks away.
I'm up next and the cashier is visibly flustered. I commiserate with her, and tell her if she needs to take a minute, it's totally understandable. She shakes it off and checks out my stuff. We joke a little bit. Her composure was admirable.
So, here's a question I had after all that: What should a bystander do in that situation?
Even though this guy was being completely inappropriate, my instinct was to not get involved out of concern that would escalate the situation. And though there was a moment early on where the direction of the encounter was unclear, the manager quickly had it handled after she came over.
I guess I wonder if we all have some responsibility in those situations to make sure we're not making it seem like it's OK to act like that. Is silence a form of tacit acceptance? Is there a good way to communicate a healthy social norm about the way people should be treated?

These sorts of situations are hard, and the right thing to do might vary depending on the details. But if you have thoughts to share, we'd like to hear them.

The ethics of dropping your dog's poop in a neighbor's garbage can

Euclid Ave dog poop note

The world is currently full of big, important questions. This is not one of them.

That said, we all have to get along with our neighbors (to some extent), and that's especially true in places where we live close together.

We were thinking about that when we recently passed this sign -- with, um, evidence -- tacked to a tree on Euclid Ave in Albany. And it got us wondering about the ethics of dropping a bag of dog poop in a neighbor's garbage can.

(there's more)

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