Arrogance invites embarrassment

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 9:00 AM

Often it is observed that excessive pride of wealth, power, position or prestige makes a person arrogant. Later it becomes habitual for him and he starts talking to others in a rude manner. There are two disadvantages of arrogance. People hate an arrogant person and slowly distance themselves from him and moreover, his arrogance surely invites awkwardness and embarrassment for himself if he meets another person equally arrogant or least outspoken. I have witnessed one such incidence which amused me.

Once, I was accompanying some friends in Mumbai for a day trip to a nearby tourist destination. We spent the entire day amidst fun and frolic and were returning home. By the time we reached Mumbai, it was late night. We were all tired and hungry so we decided to eat something at a roadside restaurant. But unfortunately it was late and almost all nearby restaurants were closed. Only a small street food joint was open. There, too, we were told that all the items in the menu were finished and only some sandwiches could be made available. Since we had no other option left, we ordered the sandwiches and waited patiently.

Our order was served after an hour. This made one of my friends irritated and he decided to insult the service staff there in his own style. While paying the bill, he deliberately put a one rupee coin in the bowl as a tip. A young girl came to collect the bill. She saw the coin and immediately returned it to my friend saying that there was no need to give a tip. To which my friend sarcastically and arrogantly asked her, ‘Young lady, how much more tip do you expect for an hour’s late service which could be otherwise fulfilled in only 15 minutes? Call the owner of this food joint and let me register a complaint with him.’

The girl stared him and retorted, ‘Sir. I understand your anger and apologise for the delay in our service, but you must understand the reason for the same. When your sandwiches were being prepared, our cook noticed that the bread slices had become stale and also had a bad taste. He threw the entire old stock in the garbage and sent out one of our workers to bring fresh loaves from another food joint in the next square. We care for our customers and are against serving unhygienic stale food to them.’

Her explanation made my friend ashamed of his words. He apologised profusely. He then drew a few more coins from his wallet and put them in the bowl. She still declined, saying that it is against their policy to accept any kind of tip. Impressed by her words my friend again requested her to call the owner, this time to appreciate the staff. The girl then smilingly replied, ‘Sir, the owner is present here.’

A quote by Walter Russell Mead, an American academic- What begins in arrogance often ends in shame.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil trading

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