IT’S A RUDE WORLD, LAMENTS GEORGE Saade, 56, an electronics-store owner in Rome, Ga. “I’m sick of it,” he says from an old, overstuffed chair in the back of his shop. “I’m tired of going into a store and no one knows anything about the merchandise they’re supposed to be selling! I can’t understand why companies spend millions of dollars to get you into their stores only to mistreat you! And when’s the last time a salesperson said thank you to you? If you start noticing, you’ll be surprised.”
Not half as surprised as the inconsiderate salesperson who receives one of Saade’s Job Performance Cards, business card—size evaluations that feature two boxes, one marked POOR (followed by the admonition: “You have shown absolutely no appreciation for my business or in helping me whatsoever. You may not have the opportunity again”), the other marked EXCELLENT (followed by the encomium: “Note to Employer: Do not let this employee get away. This person is of great value to your firm”). Rude service, of course, merits an indignant check in the first box.
The Ralph Nader of the offended, Saade, a lifelong bachelor, came up with the idea for the cards five years ago, after suffering once too often the slings and arrows of outrageously rotten service in markets, restaurants and gas stations.
Most of the cards—which have been noted by columnists across the nation and now provide Saade with a modest sideline (they’re available by mail, $5 for a pack of 50, P.O. Box 1304, Rome, Ga. 30162)—go to manners-conscious folks in the Northeast and Midwest. Muses Saade, who gives out twice as many POOR evaluations as he does EXCELLENT: “There are probably more rude people in those areas.”
Denver oil-and-gas executive Larry Skaer and wife Mary Lee, a preschool teacher, ordered their cards, says Skaer, “for our own psychological good. Sometimes you just feel so helpless when someone is rude to you.” And are they, like several hundred other satisfied customers, gloating about their newfound power over rudeniks? Well, not exactly. Skaer hasn’t tried handing out cards checked POOR yet, he says, but Mary Lee did leave one at a Chinese restaurant, where an inattentive waiter never brought her chopsticks, among other sins.
In fact, how to leave a card without being rude—or foolhardy—is a challenge even for Saade, who prefers to make a note of the offender’s name tag and just mail his evaluation. “I don’t hand them out,” he says, “because I don’t want to get in a fight.”