Addicted to novelty since 2001

More on Messing with the Service Industry

Last week I discussed my inability to make small talk without the other person smiling nervously and backing away. A frequent target for my stupidity are store clerks, as they’re a captive audience. Plus, a purchase typically provides just enough time to say something weird in conversation.

Tim Bray experienced a similar phenomenon. He remarked (and I’d find it hard to resist to do the same) on the pound to gram conversion sign at the local coffee shop being inaccurate:

This morning something snapped and I said to the pretty sales-girl “You know, that’s wrong.” “What?” “It says 455 grams but it’s really 454.” “What? “That little sign there, it’s wrong, there are really only 454 grams in a pound.” “WHAT?” She wasn’t parsing me, and I was getting rattled. I think I failed to charm her. Anyhow, there are really only 453.592.

It’s force of habit with me. As I get older, the inertia to get weirder is difficult to resist.

2 Responses to “More on Messing with the Service Industry”

  1. John Burton

    I had this great idea once that I would offer myself up to frazzled-looking coffee-slingers as the sacrificial customer. I would seriously tell them that if they were having a tough day, and were sick and tired of having to smile at people who were rude to them (not suffering from verbertia), they could take out their frustration on me, and say whatever they *wished* they’d said to the jerk that was there just a moment ago.

    I’ve been taken up on it a few times, and the takers are usually tentative the first two or three times they try it, but after they get into the swing of it, it’s like brunch at the Elbow Room.

    Of course, if you’re having trouble talking about the number of grams in a pound, trying what I’m talking about might yet your teeth knocked out (or maybe you’ll just get the “special muffin” from under the fridge).

  2. Dean

    As I get older, the inertia to get weirder is difficult to resist.

    Ain’t it the truth. I’ve reached an age where I don’t particularly care what people think of me, so where I once kept quiet, I’m now inclined to say something that causes people to get that slightly distant look and change the subject.

Comments are closed.