Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dealing With The Servants

At the University of Chicago students and staff are treated like Royalty and the neighborhood folks are treated like servants.

At my son's graduation there last summer almost all the wait staff were blacks from the neighborhood dressed like servants in the Jim Crow South (I lived there as a youth). It had an offensive feel to it. Just the way Jim Crow felt offensive to me.

That is the environment Obama was used to. His behavior fits in well with the people he associated with. And how do you behave towards servants? Well you certainly don't get into any kind of personal conversations with them.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


J Carlton said...

There is a value in service that people like Barak and Hillary will never see. A strength of character that they, who consider themselves above us, will never have. Ronald Reagan would talk to the service, he was famous for talking to just about everybody. He never forgot that his job was to serve all of us. That is what it takes to be a true leader and why neither Barak or Hillary are going to be fit to be President of The United States

M. Simon said...


So true. When ever I went to UC events I made a point of talking to the service people. It was interesting that so few did. I was paying attention. What I saw was not so much disdain as indifference.

In separating yourself from the servants you lose part of your humanity.

What I would have liked to have seen was the service people in ordinary clothes with maybe a sash or a hat for identification. Black tie and tails seems so condescending in this day and age.

Love thy neighbor as thyself is as true as it ever was.

J Carlton said...

I have to wonder how much of Hillary's loss in the primaries was due to how she treated the White House travel office and staff. She treated people like garbage and people do remember. especially Democrats hurt themselves when they insult their base by demeaning them.

LarryD said...

The waiter rule:
Odland isn't the only CEO to have made this discovery. Rather, it seems to be one of those rare laws of the land that every CEO learns on the way up. It's hard to get a dozen CEOs to agree about anything, but all interviewed agree with the Waiter Rule.

They acknowledge that CEOs live in a Lake Wobegon world where every dinner or lunch partner is above average in their deference. How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul.

And beware of anyone who pulls out the power card to say something like, "I could buy this place and fire you," or "I know the owner and I could have you fired." Those who say such things have revealed more about their character than about their wealth and power.

Whoever came up with the waiter observation "is bang spot on," says BMW North America President Tom Purves, a native of Scotland, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, who lives in New York City with his Norwegian wife, Hilde, and works for a German company. That makes him qualified to speak on different cultures, and he says the waiter theory is true everywhere.

The CEO who came up with it, or at least first wrote it down, is Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson. He wrote a booklet of 33 short leadership observations called Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management. Raytheon has given away 250,000 of the books.

Among those 33 rules is only one that Swanson says never fails: "A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person."

Swanson says he first noticed this in the 1970s when he was eating with a man who became "absolutely obnoxious" to a waiter because the restaurant did not stock a particular wine.

"Watch out for people who have a situational value system, who can turn the charm on and off depending on the status of the person they are interacting with," Swanson writes. "Be especially wary of those who are rude to people perceived to be in subordinate roles."

M. Simon said...



I got my first job out of the Navy at Raytheon Computer. April '67.

It was a good place to work.