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What About Me Says I'm Likely To Give You A 6 a.m. Computer Tutorial While I'm Eating My Eggs?

OHarebfast.jpg

I'm in O'Hare Airport on my way to the annual Human Behavior & Evolution Society conference at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. It's 6:06 a.m. here/4:06 a.m. Pacific Time. I'm barely awake, despite having traversed the indoors equivalent of The Great Plains to get to my gate, but I've gotten some bacon and eggs at a little airport diner, and I'm eating my breakfast and preparing to post a blog item.

My table's right next to where people walk past, and some guy in a sport jacket stops at my table. He looks a little business-dude, but I think it must be some professor I know, otherwise why would he be interrupting my breakfast?

"Excuse me, I'm a Windows guy and we just bought a Mac..."

He cannot be serious.

I'm chewing. Incredulous, but going along with it, kind of like watching a car wreck that I happen to be in.

He continues:

"I'm just wondering how you make the things in the browser bar..."

He sticks his arm over the black safety-belt line sequestering the restaurant tables from people walking past in the terminal and starts to go for my screen with his pointer finger.

I frown. "Please don't touch my screen."

He repeats his question:

"I'm just wondering how you make the things in the browser bar bigger..."

I just look at him. He wags his finger in again real close.

"How you make them bigger..."

"Please don't touch my screen."

"It's just that..."

I'm waking up a little: "Look, I just got off a plane, and I'm very tired, and I haven't had any coffee, and I'm really not a computer support person. They have free computer support at the Mac store..."

"Oh, okay...just thought you could help."

And yes, if you were sitting next to me on a plane, and we'd been talking and you wanted to know, sure I'd tell you. But, what is it with this guy that he thinks it's okay to butt into the breakfast of a total stranger at 6 a.m. and start asking for tech support?

You had any recent experiences like this? Is this an example of how the world is getting ruder by the moment or just an anomaly?

And, finally, a note to the over-entitled: Saying "excuse me" then behaving rudely doesn't in any way excuse your behavior.

Posted by aalkon at May 30, 2007 1:05 PM

Comments

Recent experience? I think this counts:

Yesterday I was attempting to take a left hand turn. Oncoming traffic is busy - it is actually completely stopped because a truck is trying to turn left. I, with my left blinker on, stop to allow the truck to turn via crossing in front of my car. This was the only conceivable way to free up traffic in order for ME to be able to turn. Confusing? Sorry, a diagram would help.

Anyhow, Mr. Silver BMW Jack Ass slams on his breaks and nearly rear ended me. Leans on his horn. Tries to pass me on the right but there isn't enough room. (Which by the way is illegal and if he hit the truck he would have been at fault.) Windows are all down, and I get a HUGE whiff of "MOVE YOUR FUCKING CAR ASSHOLE." I Put my car into park and continue to sit there. I will not be intimidated by a balding prick like him. The fuck-you asshole continues.

I take a deep breath, like usual. But it doesn't cut it this time. I step out. It's a ritzy town with liberal anti-arms attitudes; the chance he'll have a gun is about .01%.

I ask him "Are you done yet? B/c I wasn't doing anything wrong. Sorry if my taking a left hand turn is ruining your day."

Dick Head: Well you were the one who stops in the middle of the fucking road. You fucking fat ass. Get back in your fucking car and drive it.

Me: I didn't stop for the hell of it. I did the only logical thing which I could do in order to be able to turn and keep traffic flowing. And I'M fat? Wow pal, I would think you'd know how nasty you are since you probably didn't see my stopped because you were checking yourself out in the rear-view mirrah (Anger = Boston accent comes out).

I get back in. Proceed to go straight, instead of turning. I go 20 mph. I was overactive and it made me feel dirty. But I'm over it, 'cause it fun to fuck with him. He was almost foaming at the mouth.

It was probably Jeff.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 30, 2007 5:35 AM

Gretchen, you're priceless! And I hope it was Jeff!

Posted by: Flynne at May 30, 2007 5:53 AM

Give the poor guy a break, he was just trying to "do a Mark Fuhrman"*.

* The racist LAPD detective very much involved in the OJ Simpson case, who picked up cute aspiring screenwriter Laura Hart McKinny in a Westwood café by asking about her laptop.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 30, 2007 7:07 AM

I wish I could buy a computer monitor that I could charge to 20,000 volts or so. That way any finger that got within 1/2 an inch would get a nice visible spark to remind the finger to keep its distance.

Screens should be seen and not touched.

Posted by: jerry at May 30, 2007 8:04 AM

Isn't there an unwritten societal rule stating that casual conversation time doesn't begin until after 9 am or the second cup of coffee (ideally, both)?

Posted by: justin case at May 30, 2007 8:26 AM

This was unique: I was in a parking lot, walking to my car when this thuggish looking guy comes up to me and asks if he can borrow my keys.

Excuse me, my keys? Whatever for?

Yes, he said, my car lock is messed up and I can open it with any key, and I locked mine inside.

No, you can't borrow my keys, and then I walk away.

He then went on to verbally abuse me. Amazing.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at May 30, 2007 9:12 AM

My idea of politesse: I stupidly locked the key into a rental car outside a restaurant somewhere in Mexico. When I announced this doleful fact, every single car-owner in the place lent me their keys to try. Sure enough, one of them worked. Nice guys....

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 30, 2007 9:20 AM

Wouldn't be so irritating except that it happens constantly: I'm writing in the coffee shop at my favorite bookstore or studying at my local IHOP (hey, they're open all night and leave the coffeepot right there on your table) and guys come over to talk to me. Apparently the position of being hunched over one's materials, brow furrowed in thought, and earphones on sends the unconscious message 'Hey I'm here to pick up guys.'The ones that show up at IHOP are the most entertaining because they arrive to sober up after the bars close. Usually they can be dissuaded when they discover that I'm studying Calc. But the coffee shop guys are tenacious. I made the mistake a few times of telling them I was writing a novel (hey, it keeps me off the streets) and was subjected to ten minutes of their idea for the great american novel that maybe I could collaborate on? Even the earphones and the vague "hmm" doesn't deter them.

And on the subject of car keys . . .
Apparently for older model cars at least (I don't know about the new ones with the radio transponders) there are only about 20 different key patterns for each make and model. My boyfriend and I discovered this when on vacation with a rental car. We nearly drove someone else's car out of the parking lot (same color/year/model and also a rental from the same company) before we realized that our luggage wasn't in the back seat anymore.

Posted by: Elle at May 30, 2007 10:17 AM

Sheesh!

I tell RELATIVES seeking "Free Tech Support" to "Go away and read the manual." Dog knows what I would have unleashed on That idiot.

Then again...I'm about to have a layover in Detroit for three hours, so who knows?

P.S. Thinkgeek.com sells a t-shirt sporting the slogan: "No. I will not fix your computer" I think they make a cute babydoll-tee with it as well.

Oh yeah, here: http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/ladies/38e8/

Might make for a cool photo on the blog!

Posted by: RedPretzel in Traverse at May 30, 2007 11:38 AM

The truth is, I will probably help you -- if I'm not on deadline and madly typing away (with headphones in my ears, too, per Elle above), and you think nothing of disturbing me. And if I you're my friend. And if it's after 9am. Not meeting these conditions may be fatal -- if I'm awake enough to reduce you to a pile of smoldering ash with my mere gaze.

My favorite, too, is when I'm typing away madly, with headphones, looking completely driven and engaged in my work, and somebody thinks nothing of saying, "Excuse me...I just wanted to know..." and usually it's something completely and utterly trivial, and knowledge they could've lived without.

I always think, "Gee, does that person maybe not want to be bothered right now?" How come so few other people think that way?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 30, 2007 12:51 PM

Sorry Amy, I thought you were looking for any general recent experience with incredibly rude and clueless people...mine wasn't tech related. But baffling nevertheless.

And Amy - I don't even really like talking to the person next to me on the plane. I'm always polite but feel no need to try and create an emotional bond with some random dude from Albuquerque with whom I will never speak again. You'd be shocked how many people don't realize that ear phones = please fuck off, as I am currently trying to zone out.

Posted by: Gretchen at May 30, 2007 1:13 PM

No boundaries here...any recent rudenesses! And excuse my incoherence above...totally exhausted, but in recovery!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 30, 2007 1:25 PM

Would it be rude of me to point out that most of you sound as rude as the rude assholes you're complaining about? I'm just saying.... it has to start somewhere.

Posted by: Laurie at May 30, 2007 2:45 PM

So, Laurie...are you saying you're rude if you don't just lie down for whatever anyone else wants, whenever they want?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 30, 2007 6:45 PM

OH my lord Laurie - please

Amy - 6am - airport -why would you ever try to touch the screen - or even worse, with full on headphones. cmon. Part of being rude is attacking people's space. you don't see that?

And if you are angry at Todd for refusing to lend keys, that is totally situational. you don't know where he was.

Posted by: newjonny at May 30, 2007 7:11 PM

Laurie has a great point. So its 6 am in an airport...don't fly a red-eye if you can't deal with the public at that time of day. Also "rudeness" is situational. I am sure this guy thinks Amy's rude. After reading some of her blog entries, I don't think its very shocking that people would see Amy as a rude person.

Posted by: Sander at May 30, 2007 7:27 PM

How the guy sees me is immaterial to me. I don't behave according to other people's standards. My standards involve considering whether it's appropriate to bother somebody. I think it's inappropriate to interrupt a stranger eating breakfast at 6am (or anytime) to ask for free computer support. It's yet another case of what I call ME! ME! ME! Generation behavior. I consider other people's time and personal space important and not mine to seize whenever I please. If you find that rude, so be it.

As for your utterly ridiculous notion that I shouldn't fly a red-eye if I "can't deal with the public at that time of day." I look pretty and presentable and smile and say "Hello, and how are you?" to flight attendants and people at the diner, for example. I'm plenty polite. But, the notion that, as a stranger, you are entitled to my time and energy just boggles the mind.

Where do you get these notions, Sander. P.S. Excuse me, but I need to have my tires rotated, and I'm sure you'll drop whatever you're doing to tell me the ins and outs of tire rotation. And while you're at it, you rotate them...'kay?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 30, 2007 7:40 PM

Furthermore, per newjonny, the idea that you are entitled to reach over with your grubby paws and finger my computer -- a very personal possession -- and then I'm supposed to be cool with that...where do you get these notions? What are they based on?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 30, 2007 7:43 PM

methinks the lady doth protest too much

Posted by: Sander at May 30, 2007 7:46 PM

I feel sorry for the guy who asked you for help, Amy. When he bought his Mac, he bought into Apple's whole "You're joining an exclusive club of cool people" ad blitz - and he thought that club was full of cool FRIENDLY people. Little did he know he's joined a club of rude, superior fuck-you'ites and he'd better catch on quick or someone'll bite his finger right off his hand. All you Mac people are so quick to trumpet the superiority of your machines . . . yet when a convert (stupidly) asks you for 30 seconds of help, you blow Apple's million dollar advertising budget all to hell. Good job!

Posted by: JJ at May 30, 2007 8:29 PM

Although minorities--at least in the U.S.--are generally treated better than they have been in the past, the way people treat each other has taken a dive.

Posted by: Doobie at May 30, 2007 8:54 PM

Was just re-reading David Halberstam's book on Michael Jordan, and it discusses a time when, rather early in MJ's career, he was standing in line at an airport food station waiting to pay for his breakfast (at the time, the Bulls still flew commercial) and a fan approached him asking for an autograph. Jordan said sure, but said that he first had to pay for and put down his breakfast. The "fan" exploded at him, sputtering out how he was just another big-headed stuck-up athlete, blah blah blah. Sadly, because the story is not about Charles Barkley, the target of this wrath did not then dump his tray on the guy's head and write his name in the detritus of the eggs (or whatever).

No one, with the exception of your spouse/parents/etc., owes you his or her time. They do owe you a polite refusal to a request you may make for his/her time...but they don't owe you that time. Miss Manners agrees on this. I personally don't mind being approached as much as Amy does, but I do try to keep in mind that people flying at 6 am are likely to be tired, and I don't interrupt people who are busy with something (eating breakfast, whatever) with requests for their time. I also don't touch other people's computers without asking. We live in an age in which many people think nothing of leapfrogging over personal boundaries in order to satisfy their curiousity/gratify some need, and I personally would like to see people moving in the other direction, posthaste.

Then again, it's possible that I'm just bitter about humanity because I just got back from taking a feline victim of a hit-and-run to the animal clinic. Poor baby was still alive - albeit bleeding heavily - when I put him in my car, but he died on the way to the clinic. At least he didn't die alone. Meanwhile, the jerk who hit him is, I'm sure, having a pleasant evening. (And, for the record, I don't get all maudlin over the concept of roadkill in general, but domestic cats and dogs didn't evolve naturally - they were deliberately bred to suit the needs of humans, and as such I do think we owe them more than we owe, say, the average squirrel.) So let's just say my opinion of humanity in general is somewhat low at the moment. Excuse me while I go tend to my own outrageously spoiled cats; I like them better than I do people right at this moment.

Posted by: marion at May 30, 2007 9:52 PM

Since when is there a law that you have to be conversationally receptive and friendly at all times?

People, this is O'Hare we're talking about. The Big One. It's built on an ancient indian burial ground. I've been lucky as a midwesterner... But many friends, lovers and family have spent some of the worst hours --and even days-- of their lives on the grounds of that facility, and orbiting overhead.

Even if Amy was particularly rude in this encounter, which seems unlikely, I think her critics here are even more eager to cluck.

> don't fly a red-eye if
> you can't deal with the
> public at that time of day.

She dealt with the guy: She told him to go away! Here's another rule: Don't pester people in airports if they give evidence of not being in the mood to be quick, chatty friends.

I've always admired the distance between people.

Posted by: Crid at May 30, 2007 9:56 PM

Amy,

This is not a big deal, and not worthy of a blog entry. You are 40 something. Either help him or don't. End of story.

Posted by: Hasan at May 30, 2007 11:05 PM

All you Mac people are so quick to trumpet the superiority of your machines . . . yet when a convert (stupidly) asks you for 30 seconds of help, you blow Apple's million dollar advertising budget all to hell.

The cult of Mac is off duty at 6am when I'm chewing.

The rest of the time, I'm probably more helpful than the average person -- much more likely to speak up or help, and without being asked. Again, I'm amazed at the sense of a few people here that my time is somebody else's time. Apparently, given that logic, I should also stay on the phone with telemarketers, lest I hurt their feelings.

So sorry to hear about the cat. That's just awful.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 31, 2007 2:22 AM

Hasan, if it's not worthy of a blog entry, why does this blog entry inspire so many answers?

@Amy: Not exactly a recent experience, as this happened a couple of weeks ago: Some guy in a big and well populated book store shouted into his cell phone instead of mumbling "call you later". He had even - get this - initiated the call. Of course, he didn't mind the "admiring" looks all the other customers gave him. Me and the customer next to me eventually started a conversation about how some people are so much more important than the rest of us, but the guy with the megaphone chose to ignore us. I'll bet he behaves rudely at airports, too...

In a world like this, why am I so embarrassed on the rare occasion I forget to switch my cell phone to silent mode whenever I enter a store? How stupid of me...

Posted by: Rainer at May 31, 2007 2:55 AM

Exactly. I always wonder how I can be so concerned about being considerate of other people, yet so many so utterly unconcerned about anyone but themselves. And the phone calls at the library thing, not just bookstores, makes me want to slam people over the head with a book. I restrain myself, but it isn't always easy.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 31, 2007 3:48 AM

One of my "rules of the road"... Don't touch my shit!

Posted by: Roger at May 31, 2007 4:36 AM

Hah! Just imagine being a software engineer! Not only do you have to deal with these people, but you have to hold the hands of sysadmins as well! On top of it, you are looked at as though you are either the biggest prick on the face of the earth at that moment, or a blithering idiot if you say "I don't know." People just assume that not only do you know everything about computers since you write software, but that you are eager to help everyone.

And there is nothing like being asked why you don't know how to use some software package, which you obviously should know, since you can write code. That means you know everything.

Posted by: MikeT at May 31, 2007 5:13 AM

Thanks, Amy.

For some reason, this whole thing is reminding me of the letters that Miss Manners used to get from people who were highly indignant that their friends were using answering machines/caller ID to screen calls at home. For some reason, these people believed that etiquette demanded that a person being called always pick up the call if humanly possible. Miss Manners disabused them of that notion, but I still see it pop up occasionally.

And as a proud and long-time member of the Cult of Mac, I am happy to provide new converts with advice...if they don't interrupt my breakfast and/or touch my screen.

Posted by: marion at May 31, 2007 7:33 AM

I couldn't believe it when the dog groomer, about a month ago, was irate that I couldn't be reached instantaneously by cell phone. And then there are the people who instant message me on AOL, and then get furious (and call me "bitch!" etc for refusing to answer them when it's good for them) after I politely explain that I don't have IM conversations, and please e-mail me. I only leave my IM on because sometimes somebody suicidal will message me. I'll talk to them and get them help. Everybody else can wait until it's good for me to deal with their question, thanks! And free of charge, at that!

In other words, these people are asking: "Why won't you drop whatever you're doing and help me for FREE right now?!"

Rude, rude, rude.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 31, 2007 7:42 AM

Scott "Dilbert" Adams gives a wise observation in one of his non-Dilbert books that 'everyone is an idiot sometimes.' Keeping that little nugget filed away somewhere in your melon will help you overlook a lot of otherwise infuriating behavior. Maybe the new Mac user’s common sense functions weren’t on-line at that barbaric hour. It’s possible that, later that same day, he sat up suddenly and gave a mighty cringe at the memory. Let’s hope so.
It’s also possible that he is an executive for some company or other and lives his life surrounded by people “eager” to be nice to him and drop what they are doing to attend to his every need. In that case, let’s hope one of Amy’s loyal readers forwards this to him and asks: “Dude, didn’t you just get a Mac, and didn’t you have a connection through O’Hare this week? and "accidentally" copies the whole company.

Posted by: martin at May 31, 2007 8:30 AM

Martin has a point. Here's another thing: there are two forms of politeness. Everyone has two "faces" (as in, to save face): negative and positive. Negative face is a person's desire to be left unimpeded and to be able to do what they want to do, and positive face is a person's desire to be respected, admired, envied, have people share their interests, etc.

The dumb guy totally threatened your negative face, Amy, but maybe he was trying to flatter your positive face. I'm not saying he wasn't irritating, but maybe he thought that he was flattering you by showing interest in what you were doing (why he felt like doing this to a stranger, I'll never know. I'm just trying to show another angle with which to view the situation).

Posted by: Brenda at May 31, 2007 8:50 AM

And there is nothing like being asked why you don't know how to use some software package, which you obviously should know, since you can write code. That means you know everything.

Great observation, MikeT. Story of my life, also. Worse yet: When I imagined myself in Amy's airport situation, I noticed with horror that I would probably have answered the guy's each and every question to my best ability, especially if the coffee hadn't kicked in yet. Stupid helper syndrome. Stupid.

Posted by: Rainer at May 31, 2007 9:01 AM

This is way late in the game and probably not worth the time I'm taking to write it, but in response to

....So, Laurie...are you saying you're rude if you don't just lie down for whatever anyone else wants, whenever they want?

Nope, not at all. You just don't have to get nasty about it. Just be nice, that's all. A simple "sorry, can't help you" would suffice. No need to (1) dagger him with your looks (2) nasty him with your comments or (3) let it work you up for several days after the fact.

I suppose my point is that if we want a nice world, it starts at our own face.

Posted by: Laurie at May 31, 2007 3:20 PM

Late in the discussion, but I must chime in.

A few years ago I met up with two dudes from England in San Francisco. It was their very first time in the U.S., period. One of the things they found remarkable about Americans is how people just casually approach you with a question, or even just to engage you in a bit of small talk.

That's one of the reasons why I like this country (and that's good, since I know no other; and no, I don't want to get into the whole litany of things WRONG with this country, which I am painfully aware of :( ). People can be so damn, obnoxiously, redneckedly friendly.

I think the guy was blind to the visual social cue of Amy's bleary-eyed and closed-off expression, her head down over bacon and eggs and coffee, and whatever else she looks like at 6 AM. :) If I had been in Amy's shoes, I wouldn't so much fault him for asking me a question.

But, I would become very nasty if he tried to touch my laptop. That's very presumptuous, tacky, rude. And unhygienic. I agree with Amy with this.

The only greasy fingerprints that belong to my laptop screen are mine, and the Cheetoh crumbs in my keyboard are there because I put them there! **Crunch!**

Posted by: Wendy at May 31, 2007 3:56 PM

Hmm. I do find that guy's behavior... bizarre. And to anyone who found Amy's response rude, good manners means having respect for others, not always being smiley and nice. That Amy was direct and non-friendly with the guy does not make her rude. She also told him to PLEASE not touch her screen, and explained WHY she could not help. She could have as easily told him to fuck off, and maybe that's what she was thinking, but she chose a more refined way of expressing herself and maintaining some level of respect and decorum. Whereas this guy sees a total stranger who just happens to have a Mac, busy eating and typing at 6 AM, and thinks nothing of disturbing her (and poking his finger to boot) for his trivial question? Hardly respectful.

Posted by: Debra at May 31, 2007 4:10 PM

Betcha he would've gotten disproportionately pissed off if someone did the very same thing to him and his computer.

Posted by: Doobie at May 31, 2007 5:00 PM

I'd have been tempted to bite the finger, if I'd known it was clean. Don't invade my space. Period.

This story's from today, and falls under rudeness and the "Prince Cory" syndrome:
I took my 20-month old daughter to the pediatrician for her check-up today. There were several other little ones there, including a 26-months-and-one-week-and-two-days old little boy. I know this because the mother loudly announced his exact age whenever any parent asked another their child's age. Little "Boo" was allowed to run around under people's feet - those in line, not those sitting with other kids - tumble in front of the door, and poke at infants. Every now and then the mother would say, "Now Boo," but do nothing.

Now my daughter is far from an angel. I mean, she's a toddler. But when she misbehaves I scoop her up and let her complain, leaving if possible. No sense inconveniencing everyone.

In half an hour this woman had shared her three children's medical history with us, had told one very young mother to ignore the pediatrician's advice about juice and infants, given her "Boo" two BOTTLES (not even cups) of grape Kool Aid, and had two shouted cell phone conversations.

Short of telling the young mother juice should only be introduced when the pediatrician suggested and praising my girl for all the opposite behaviors of poor "Boo", I was at a loss.

Posted by: Kimberly at May 31, 2007 5:02 PM

The dumb guy totally threatened your negative face, Amy, but maybe he was trying to flatter your positive face. I'm not saying he wasn't irritating, but maybe he thought that he was flattering you by showing interest in what you were doing (why he felt like doing this to a stranger, I'll never know. I'm just trying to show another angle with which to view the situation).

My negative face? My positive face? 6am, I was putting a forkfull of eggs in my mouth and a total stranger leaned over a divider and my bag and started asking for tech support.

I have to say, for those who don't know me in person, I'm a very friendly, helpful, Girl Scout-y person. I notice when a person walks into a cafe and seems to be looking for a paper, or even if they're just sitting with nothing to read, and offer them mine. I look out for my neighbors and run and help little old ladies, blah blah blah. But, there are just boundaries...or there used to be boundaries, and there still should be boundaries. I don't care what you want when you want it -- there's a good chance it's rude and inappropriate to demand it from other people.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 31, 2007 10:01 PM

If it was me I might have said "Sure I'd be glad to help you but the last time my friends hard drive was wiped out"



But here's the best story/insight I ever heard.



An old time Hollywood, keygrip is just doing his job, after a wrap on a commercial. Some junior exec from the ad agency, too worried about $$$ comes into the truck and starts ranting about getting a move on because it's all costing too much money.



So the old timer calmly looks him straight in the eye and says in a calm voice "Mr. So-and-So, if you don't stop yelling and let me do my job the way I know it should be done, I'm going have to tell you to Fuck Off".



He didn't actually tell the guy to FO in anger. He just let him know that he was quickly approaching a line and if he crossed it, he was informed of what would come next. Mr. Junior ad exec left in a huff and was never seen again.

Posted by: Don at June 1, 2007 1:15 AM

Actually, I think Amy handled the situation wonderfully for the presumption that guy showed. It's okay to lean over to another table and go "hey, can I borrow your salt shaker?", but its another thing to start poking your finger in people's faces and ask questions about their personal property and what they're doing.

And then there was the story about the dude who wanted to "borrow" someone else's car keys. I didn't know that keys were so insecure, and I would've been a helluva lot ruder about some stranger asking for my keys. That was a situation in which a nonpolite reaction, I think, was totally called for. That's just creepy if you ask me.

As someone who works "customer service" at a library, I can tell you that people really expect to be exceptions to the rules OFTEN. I can't tell you how many times I hear things like "But I didn't watch the DVD; why should I pay the late fee?" or "I don't care that the book is on reserve for someone else; I'm not done with it and I shouldn't have to return it even though its due.".

Amy's right; lots of people have a MEMEME mentality that prevents them from seeing other people and rules.

Posted by: CornerDemon at June 4, 2007 7:10 AM

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