There is a brilliant bit somewhere in the Thick of It, when Malcolm Tucker meets somebody he can't scare, or intimidate, or bargain with, and he just has to totally capitulate, because he has no choice. And it's a cleaning lady.
In the halls of the most powerful people in the country, Tucker has something on all of them. But when one of those meatheads disrespects a cleaning lady who is only trying to do her bloody job, Tucker can't bribe her, or threaten her, and he bloody knows it.
Because she hasn't got much, but she's got her pride and she's not playing the silly little games that the flesh-sacks in suits around her are playing. She's got more important things in life to worry about.
And Tucker is proper fucked, because the cleaning staff have access to everything, and hear it all, and are almost always ignored, but they know everything that is going on.
So Tucker never loses his cool at them, and is always polite with the staff. He does the same with his secretary, showing her a bit of respect while methodically dismantling the egos of the politicians he works with, because he knows that power is an illusion.
This is why it's always best to be polite, and say please and thank you to the people who clean your offices, or drive you home, or make your food. Not just because they can totally fuck you over if they wanted to, but because they bloody well deserve a bit of respect.
Originally posted on the Tearoom of Despair on October 28, 2019. I still see people making this absoltely rookie mistake all the time, and I can't make it any clearer - do NOT mess with the cleaning ladies.