Take This Job and Shove It

Yesterday at the gym I read the latest David Sedaris piece in The New Yorker, all about flying in America. My favorite line, which the fashionistas can appreciate, was in regard to how most people dress for flying, and along the lines of: “It’s as if they were all cleaning grease off a pig, stood up and said, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to LA.'”  Sedaris writes about how flight attendants have told him how they get back at disruly and annoying passengers by walking down the center aisle letting out silent but deadly farts.

That’s just child’s play. Steven Slater, a flight attendant with Jet Blue pictured in the above photo, has taken bitchy queen snappiness to a whole new level.

The drama happened as a flight from Pittsburgh landed at JFK around noon, and was taxiing to the gate.  According to witnesses, one passenger ignored the “Stay seated with your seatbelt on until we are parked at the gate” instruction and got out of his seat and started getting his stuff out of the overhead compartment.  Slater told the man to sit down, which the passenger ignored. Slater got up and approached the passenger as he pulled his carry-on down and the suitcase struck Slater in the head.

Slater asked for an apology, and the passenger cursed him out instead. Slater got on the PA system, cursed out everyone on the plane, went to the exit door and activated the evacuation slide and launched himself off the plane, ran to the employee parking lot, got in his car, and drove home, where he was later arrested.

This guy is the hero of the millions of people who work in the service industry and have been snapped at, cursed, groped, or otherwise humiliated and degraded by customers.

My favorite part of the New York Times account was that Slater serves as the chairman of JetBlue’s uniform redesign team.

[NYT: Flight Attendant Uses Emergency Slide to Escape Dispute, H/T Cynica]


The longer New York Times article adds the details that Slater grabbed a beer from the beverage cart before going down the slide, and was smiling when the cops took him out of his house. If this guy isn’t on Letterman or Jon Stewart in the next two weeks, I’ll be shocked.


Maybe it’s wrong, but I think this story is hilarious. And I don’t see why he was arrested. For walking around on the tarmac?

Probably violating FAA regs.

I’ve never really bought into the customer is always right. I used to be a Field Applications Engineer/Technical Support and had to deal with my share of idiots. 80% of customers were fine. 20% made up for the other 80%

This man should get a medal. And the uniform redesign committee was the icing on the cake.

ADD: Sedaris read that piece when I saw him in PDX. Fucking awesome.


This reminds me of a true story from my lurid past. When I was bartending at Ruby Foo’s on the upper west side in Manhattan, during one lunch a waiter kept bringing a dish- noodles, I think- back to the table. First it was too cold. Second time? Too cold. Third time? Too hot. Fourth time? Still too hot.

It was this last complaint that prompted the server to take the dish outside, hail a cab, drive around the block, and return the dish to the customer at a sufficiently cooled temperature on his way to the manager’s office to quit for good.

True story, seen with my own eyes.

@SanFranLefty: I think it is hilarious as well. Is it true? The launching himself down the evac slide is awesome, and no doubt one of several FAA violations. I am sure that FCS could think of a howler or three to add to this to make the tirade even more memorable.

I hate the attitude and attire of people on planes. I wish we all had to fucking dress for the skies, instead of this Arkansas Razorback t-shirt and flip flops ensemble that most recently stared back at me in Lotuslandia airport on my flight outta there. The euros are always fairly neatly attired, except for those wackadoodle Picasso/sailor shirts that les Franch continue to sport in a totally non ironic manner.

Our aging fleetcrew of flight attendants are not always the most friendly or even tolerable people, but I really do not go out of my way to upset people who with just a little bit of kindness are likely to add a dash more vodka to my cruising altitude cocktail.

Speaking of airplane travel.

I will be in SoCal (405 Corridor) from Oct 30 to Nov 7 on a vacation confirmed. I’m staying with a good friend of mine who lives in the area.

If there is a Stinque meet up I’ll be happy to go.

@Nabisco: I dress neatly for the plane so as not to look like Long Haired Minority Guy Who Could be Trouble, even if it’s just more travel over on the other end as it was on this last roadie.

@ManchuCandidate: You’ve picked the week I’ll be out of the country.

BTW I had a very enjoyable dinner with the Chicago Stinquers tonight. What beauty! What wit! What handsomeness! You know who you are. And btw the waitstaff had to set the kitchen on fire to get us out of there.

Post updated to reflect new and even better details.

@Dodgerblue: Bill Walton was at tonight’s Giants game. It was Jerry Garcia Day, and Walton, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart led the crowd in the seventh inning stretch in a kazoo performance of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Everyone in the bleachers were screaming “LAKERS SUCK” instead of kazooing. Apparently we just made the Guinness Book of World Records for largest kazoo band.

Also, I have the worse headache after getting an insane contact high from the group of middle-aged hippies toking up behind me. I warned them not to go and get three orders of garlic fries or 18 churros. They thought that was hilarious. Glad I can make stoners laugh.

@Nabisco: My paternal grandfather worked for an airline from the late ’40s through the mid ’70s. He and my grandmother had to always dress up when flying, as well as my dad. Even 30 years later my grandmother would dress up for her flights. My dad doesn’t wear a suit, but he always looks better than the majority of people on a flight. I almost always try to wear business clothes (or very nice casual clothes) because I find that doing that alone gets you better treatment from airport and airline staff – especially if you’re nice to them when you get on the plane. And if you’re flying Southwest, make a beeline to the back of the plane, introduce yourself to the ghey men and southern ladies working on the plane, and you may end up not buying any of your alcohol.

@lefty: And if you’re flying Southwest, make a beeline to the back of the plane, introduce yourself to the ghey men and southern ladies working on the plane, and you may end up not buying any of your alcohol. I was an early adopter of Sw in the 80s, and made good use of my charm (and drink coupons) to make nice with the khaki shorts-wearing flight attendants. Didn’t hurt that I often traveled with a 40ish architect who looked like Richard Gere.

@Dodgerblue: It was entirely our pleasure! You must return on a non-school night so we can do a proper night out and get kicked out of many, many places.

@SanFranLefty: Alas, no. We went to Indie Cafe again, but called it a night after that. We weren’t even drunk! A disgraceful showing for the Chicago Stinquer hosts…

@Dodgerblue: You could have at least said something nice about flippin’ and Chicago Bureau too…

@homofascist: You and flippin’ got CB to come out? Well done…

@SanFranLefty: Man, this is how I dress to fly:

T-shirt: “I’m not angry. I’m from Philly.” <– makes TSA laugh

Sweatshirt: From The Farm, natch, wrapped around my waist and doubles as a pillow if I get the window seat.

Pants: Long pants, cuz I never know who got a hand job or whose kid’s diaper leaked or whose Depends leaked or who was just fithly nasty before I sat there.

Shoes: Birks or some sort of clogish deals with socks so I’m not dealing with laces and standing around in my bare feet catching The Ringworm.

@nojo: ^This is The. Only. Time. Socks. And. Sandals. Are. Acceptable.

ADD: @nojo: The “u” HTML tag still hates me, man.

@JNOV: TSA at the Philly airport are THE WORSE. When they make Newark and LaGuardia crews seem friendly and cheerful, you know there’s something wrong.

You saw “Up in the Air,” right? Mr. SFL was laughing at the scene of Ryan Bingham going through security because that’s totally me – I’m looking for the businessmen, avoiding the children, the old, and anyone looking phabulous with lace-up boots, bracelets and belts (because you know she’s the one who didn’t get the 3 ounce limit memo and will pitch a fit when her Frapuccino and hair products are confiscated)…and I’ve already got my ziplock bag, laptop, and shoes (clogs or slip-on dress shoes) ready to go before I hand the dude my DL. And socks. Hell to the yes.

@SanFranLefty: Heh. Grrrl, there are so many movies I’ve never seen, so many pop culture references I just don’t get. Nope, I didn’t see “Up in the Air.” :-( Mebbe it’s on Netflix. I’m surprised I was even able to see two movies in the theater this year. That’s some sort of record for me.

AND I LOVED “Inception”! Suck it, haters! (Except for you, Lefty. <3 )

@JNOV: I haven’t seen Inception. “Up in the Air” was the only movie I saw in a theater in 2009, haven’t seen anything yet in 2010. I generally see one movie a year in a movie theater. I think it’s on Netflix, I liked it.

@SanFranLefty: I like Clooney. I just added it to the queue. I just happen to hate romantic comedies, but I like witty. Netflix says this is witty. You liked it, so I’ll give it a shot.

@JNOV: It’s a dark comedy and it’s not a romantic comedy despite what the previews might make you think. I just remembered that I saw two movies in a theater in 2009, the other being “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” also featuring Clooney – if you liked Wes Anderson’s “Life Aquatic,” you’ll probably like Mr. Fox, or if you liked Roald Dahl, you’ll enjoy it.

@SanFranLefty: LOVE Roald! I skimmed a discussion of him on here, when? Yesterday? Okay — I can do dark comedy. Sounds good.

Today was trained and trained and I’m taking this evening to get toasted and unwind. Tomorrow I have to get two syllabi to the printer, and then I gotta get one more done by Sunday. That’s my self-imposed deadline. I think this is the hardest I’ve ever worked for the least amount of money I’ve ever made, but, damn, if I’m not happy. That’s a pretty good feeling. :-) I hope no one drops my class out of fear. Imma work them, but they’re going to learn even if they want to.

@JNOV: Another vote for Up in the Air.

A woman I met when we we out on Saturday used to be a downsizer for the Gap. She also swooped in when they had to fire managers and their confederates where they had excessive losses at a store. Manager and his or her people would get the ax and she would run the place until a new management team was in place. People hated to see her at their store because it was always bad news.

What subject are you teaching?

I love Slater, and I’ve enjoyed Jet Blue, but I haven’t flown them since I found out they have teh MoMo like Marriott, and you can guarantee that 10% of their profits are going to Salt Lake City and are making their way into homophobic gov’tl policies.

@JNOV: Yeah, in a comment somewhere I threw in a link to an excerpt of his forthcoming biography…and Patricia Neal just died too.

Heard on FB:

Presidenting tip: White House staffers and DOJ should be working around the clock on a Steve Slater pardon followed by beer with Obama.

@SanFranLefty: I’ll vote for Up In the Air, but Mr. Fox didn’t do it for me. Not sure why, I usually like intelligent animation.

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