They’re a Person Too

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Yesterday, I went into the Palo Alto Whole Foods to pick up a few items for dinner. The checkout lines were surprisingly short, so I went to a line with just one guy buying some groceries. After a couple of moments, I took in the scene: the young woman running his items over the scanner was being completely ignored by the customer, who was engaged in a cell phone conversation.

I would guess he was in his early to mid 20s, and he acted like the woman didn’t exist. One by one, she priced the items, and once she was done, he shoved his credit card into the machine, took the bag, and left without a single word.

Frankly, I wanted to kick the guy’s ass. I cannot stomach when people are condescending or rude to others, particularly in “service/client” situations. This guy treated the young woman like an automaton. I mean, Jesus Christ, I seriously doubt it’s her life’s ambition to be processing this prick’s groceries at Whole Foods, but that’s what she’s doing to earn money, and this self-absorbed motherfucker can’t even hang up his goddamned phone to be decent and respectful?

The moment he left, I looked at her and said, “Appalling. Can you believe that behavior?” She smiled wanly at me and responded, “I see that all day long.” It just broke my heart. I related to her that at Red Rock Coffee, there’s a sign with an iPhone and a cross through it which reads, “We will be happy to serve you when you are done with your phone call.” I suggested Whole Foods have the same sign on every single counter, as no one merits that kind of treatment.

I thought of a clever reaction (too lately, naturally), which would be for me to take out my own cell phone, and say in a clear, distinct voice, “What a self-absorbed prick!” and, since he’d surely turn to glare at me for the insult, would witness that I was simply on my own cell phone, and he would get back to his oh-so-important conversation. But at least I’d plant the seed.

So be nice to waiters, stewards, and cashiers, Slopers. It’ll make their day better, and it’ll make your heart more golden.