It was during a scene when a letter of instruction and encouragement from the absent manager of the hotel was being read to the staff. On the subject of handling difficult guests the manager offered this insight:
"Rudeness is merely the expression of fear. People fear they won't get what they want".
That line hit me like an epiphany. How true, thought I.
Think about it.
About those times when you call your internet provider customer support and are connected to someone in India, or when you have to call an airline company to try and change your ticket, or when you have to call your health insurance company, or your doctor's office, or the contractor who's supposed to be at your house putting your kitchen back together: can you imagine how different your tone with the person on the other end of the line would be would be if you fully believed that you would receive satisfaction every time?
But that would be a different reality, right?
Not that most people are rude to service providers even so.
Now, me, I'm almost always polite when I have to make a problem call to a service provider. This is not because I'm especially virtuous. It's because I don't do anger or outrage well. I get all brain-tied and stuttery and blubbery. Let's just say I don't hold my own well in confrontational situations.
So I do the best I can by being friendly and sympathetic to the customer support person who has to deal with my complaint.
In fact, I think part of the reason that the "Grand Budapest Hotel" movie quote resonated with me is because whenever I have to make a complaint call I do, in fact, tell myself that there's no reason to be angry or upset, that my issue will be taken care of. I usually repeat this long mantra to myself until I'm sufficiently convinced of it that I can make the call in a good frame of mind.
If my problem is not taken care of to my satisfaction I generally don't argue. I thank the person I talked to, hang up, and eat it. As I said, I don't do confrontation well.
But here's another true thing I've leaned over the years:
That being nonconfrontational has brought me no less positive outcomes in my life than are enjoyed by my fellow human beings who are of a more assertive nature.
I've learned that if a service provider isn't going to give you satisfaction after you've laid out your issue in a calm and friendly tone, they won't give it to you if you scream an shout and throw your weight around. In fact, I believe that if you ask nicely the person you're dealing with will be more inclined to try and help you.
Though Maybe Chris Christie would disagree with me.