I was in Walmart the other day and a woman came up to me and asked if “I had the time.” I thought it was great that I looked so important that she thought the time was mine, but instead of taking credit for “having the time” I explained to her that the time belonged to all of us, that she too had the time.
Looking a bit puzzled she then rephrased her question and asked me “if I knew what time it was.” I answered her questions with a yes I do, (maybe she was taking a survey to see how many people know the time). Again she seemed to not be amused with my wit and said “will you please tell me what time it is, and I did so. Why did she seem upset I asked myself, I had answered the other questions that she had asked perfectly I thought.
Why do people have such a difficult time saying what they want. A student will ask me if I have change for a $20 bill, I will answer yes and give them some quarters, nickels and dimes (adding up to let’s say $2.55). They look stunned and then say, “that’s not $20 worth. Well that’s not what they asked for now is it? I gave them what they asked for. I had another student hand me a twenty dollar bill and ask for smaller bills, I have him a nice stack of Monopoly money (way over $20 worth) was he happy, No, yet he got exactly what he asked for (smaller bills). Now before you think I am bigger jerk than I really am, I don’t keep the kids money.
Back in my prior days in the grocery industry I used to have a lot of fun with customers (most took things really well). A lady asked me if I knew where the “nuts” were located, I told her they were all in the office except for me. Another asked where my ‘honey’ was located, I told her I hoped she was at home making dinner. A lady came up to me one day with a package of cookie mix and asked if I knew how many cookies it would make, I told her that it was all up to her. She could make one large cookie or a hundred little ones. I guess she wanted an exact number, but I didn’t figure it was my place to take away her choice, this is after all (in my opinion, which I respect) a free country.
People will ask “if they may ask a question.” Guess what? You already did. Others will ask “if it’s going to rain.” Well, not only do I not control the time, I have little influence over the weather, so I’ll just give a typical weatherman’s answer and say 50 percent. I know I’ll be right about half the time, not bad for a novice. Staying on the weather topic for a bit, I’m always amused when the weather report states “partly cloudy” talk about going out on a limb Captain Genius Weatherman, which day isn’t “party cloudy.”
And last but not least, why do people tell me to “have a nice day”? What right do they have to put me under so much pressure. I mean here I am, having already had a bunch of ‘nice days’ in a row, completely content to cruise through today having a fairly nice day and then here comes this “busy body” telling me what to do. I don’t appreciate this.
Mike Brennan is a business teacher at Bartow High School.