Being rude to people? We could never be that insecure.
We aren’t even through January yet and 2023 is already testing us. In particular, two events over recent weeks have sparked a discussion among netizens, all for the wrong reasons. First, there was that viral TikTok video of a Pinay teen named Zoe who shared that she bought her first luxury bag from Singaporean fashion brand Charles & Keith. For that, she was shamed on social media for thinking it was a luxury brand. Then, there was that video of Alex Gonzaga smearing cake icing on the forehead of a server during her birthday party.
While both events seem to be unrelated to each other, both share a sad common denominator of incidents where people are put in embarrassing positions by those who think they are above anyone. Notice how the superiority complex is still very much prevalent. Zoe and the waiter were shamed with power dynamics in play, which once again serves as a reminder that social inequality is still a real issue in society. But more importantly, we can all learn a few things about what it means to treat well by others as is deserved by every decent human being and what it generally means to be a good person.
CLASSISM IN ACTION
In the case of Zoe, when she posted a TikTok video of her showing off the bag her dad bought her, she considered it her first luxury piece because of how her family struggled to make ends meet when she was growing up. Still, there were people out there who thought that a Charles & Keith bag was not a luxury which led to Zoe’s now-viral and level-headed response. Clearly, Zoe got the last laugh with how she and her not only met the founders of Charles & Keith, but also received multiple gifts from the brand.
thank you dad ♬ Glitch – Just audios
Still, the much-talked-about moment showed how people shame others based on their material possessions. What one deems a luxury might be not for some, but that doesn’t give you the right to judge others for doing so. Luxury is subjective based on our lives and backgrounds. Just because you don’t see something as expensive compared to someone else doesn’t give you the right to put that person down.
Siguro mas-acceptable ito kung ka-close mo yung tao, pero dahil sa “power dynamics” dito —Kuya as the server and Ms. Alex as the served— hindi niya magagawa yun ☹️— Janina Vela (@janinavela) January 16, 2023
Service workers are our equals. It’s their job to serve, but it’s our job to give them the respect they deserve. https://t.co/6i7wZHDLcQ
As for the icing video, while some may say that it was just a joke, the context in which it was done isn’t. If that was Alex’s friend or family member, the “prank” would be okay. But no matter how you flip the situation, it clearly wasn’t. Instead, it was a wait staff who already is most likely underpaid and overworked and in a position where he wasn’t able to defend himself.
Despite how crucial they are to the F&B landscape, waiters and servers are some of the most disrespected people in the industry. These are workers who are often in a power imbalance when dealing with a customer and even management. Just because they are paid to do the job doesn’t mean they should be mistreated or allowed a free pass to disrespect them. And no, the customer isn’t always right.
TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS
It’s privilege and the ills of an unequal society that rears its ugly head in both cases. It’s no secret that people look down on others based on their social standing or what they do in their lives. For Zoe, it was being criticized for getting a bag that wasn’t deemed a luxury to some. For the waiter, it was being treated less than human and without the proper means to stand up for himself. It’s so out-of-touch to think it’s okay for people to be treated like this, especially in this day and age of presumed strides in humanity.
A 5000 peso bag is a luxury to many people, especially in a time of low wages and high prices of consumer goods. These moments should be one of celebration, not of shame or ridicule. Meanwhile, it’s common decency to not treat service staff like a joke without their approval. You’re living in an alternate reality if you feel that the waiter should be grateful for what happened to him or worse, that we should all just move on.
While both of these events happened in different countries, the inequality of society on display is the same. It’s in moments like these that we are reminded of being decent human beings. It’s as simple as treating people with respect. Let’s not be quick to judge or treat people differently based on their lifestyles or jobs.
This kind of shame has no place in society. Let people live their lives. So many people experience hardships just to live a simple life and they don’t deserve to be mistreated. Let’s leave the privileged behavior in the past and move forward by actually treating people with the proper respect in the way we would all like to—with respect.