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Not my problem?
Old 04-28-2012, 01:36 PM   #1
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Not my problem?

I've been reading a lot about how our culture in the US is evolving, for the worse IMO. But a real world example, to see how others view it?

I was in the 10 items or less line at the grocery store with others, there is a sign that you can't miss (most of you probably know where this is headed already). Hadn't noticed but when the guy checking out at the head of the line starts putting his items on the counter, I look at his cart and count 20 items before I stop counting. No one is saying anything. I struggle with 'no big deal (true enough)', 'not my business', 'maybe the cashier will act' versus 'it's because no one ever speaks up that people do things like this.' I decide it's worth at least speaking up and say loud enough for all to hear 'it must be nice that the sign only applies to the rest of us.' The guy with the cart full never makes eye contact with any of us, just keeps going. No one in line says anything, and no one makes eye contact, though most of them smile, smirk, chuckle and look down - though no one acted, the body language was all positive it seemed. After about 15 items, the cashier said to the guy, 'you know this line is for 10 items or less?' but she keeps ringing him up (I wouldn't have expected otherwise). He responds to her so quietly that we don't know what he said. When the guy finally leaves I watch and only when he's about 20 feet away does he turn around to look (presumably) at me.

I spoke up because I wonder if we've all gotten a little too 'not my problem.' Where rules, laws, etiquette used to work more effectively by going hand in hand with real time peer pressure, decades of the lack of speaking up has compromised rules, laws, etiquette and how we treat each other. The situation didn't make me angry at all, that's not why I spoke up. At most, I hoped the guy would think twice next time, and/or the cashier and others in line might speak up next time. If it happens often enough, it might help. I'm under no illusion that one instance will do much, but it has to start somewhere.

Needless to say, this isn't about grocery shopping (or pet peeves), it's a trivial example getting at citizenship. The difference between self-interest and selfishness. It conceivably extends to many more important aspects of our culture, and comes back to affect us all almost daily.

What would you have done? What should you do (if the answer is different)?

I'm prepared for every response to disagree with how I handled it, some may well conclude 'what a jackass!' And again, it's trivial in the overall scheme of things, I'm not suggesting otherwise.

Just a topic that I'm reading about and trying to understand better lately...and it can be an interesting discussion IMO.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:46 PM   #2
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The most relevant part for me:

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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
At most, I hoped the guy would think twice next time, and/or the cashier and others in line might speak up next time. If it happens often enough, it might help. But I'm under no illusion that one instance will do much, but it has to start somewhere.

Needless to say, this isn't about grocery shopping, it's a trivial example getting at citizenship. The difference between self-interest and selfishness. It conceivably extends to many more important aspects of our culture, and comes back to effect us daily.
This is pretty much where I come down on this also. I feel like one should take a stand in some small way (when safe to do so, you gotta be careful). About all you can do is hope it might make him think twice the next time, or embolden someone else to speak up. Sure, I know it seems futile, but if everyone looks at it that way...

What else can we do? And I do think that these little things in some way reflect on the bigger picture. Whether things are worse than in the past - I'm not so sure. There seems to be a tendency to look back through tinted glasses, I think.

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #3
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In my neighborhood, they'll have 20 items and still be sending a kid out to get more because they are still shopping while in line.

Just like the nearest trash can is the ground where they happen to be standing.

Or the middle of the street is a parking spot if they see someone they want to talk to.

Or the horn on the truck is the doorbell from the middle of the street if there is someone they want see from inside the ghetto dwelling.

Or the toilet is one's driveway if the need strikes. Just like back home.

I could go on, but what's the point?
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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I have said it few times to people, but like you they have ignored the comment..

I have been guilty of doing it myself, but usually only do 11 or 12... or go to the line with 20 items... Now, if I have 20 items and am at the self checkout line and the 10 item opens up, I will go there... I really do not know why they have one 10 item and the rest 20 when everybody is in one life for 4 registers...


I will tell you about one where someone called me out... I went into a fast food place and there were two people standing back, one talking on a phone and one looking at the menu... I asked if they were in line and neither said a word.... so I went up and started ordering.... the lady who was looking made a comment like 'look at him, cutting in line'... I just turned around and said 'he was on the phone and I asked you if you were in line and you did not respond. Not my problem if you are standing back there. The line is up here'...
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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My biggest social, "not my problem, do nothing" peeve is people who cough, sneeze, or clear their throats without covering their mouth. It happens all the time on the bus and I seem to be the only person who notices... maybe thats why I'm on the way to the urgent care (on doctor's advice) to see if I have strep.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
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I know where you are coming from. Do I say anything? No because usually its a guy and I have no way to know how he will react. I also have a smart mouth so my counter response may lead me down a path, I dont want. Ive decided a disturbance ticket or my $5 k deductible to fix a missing tooth isnt worth the risk. That is why I line shop at the store and hit the one with the fewest goods ahead of me, then enter it.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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We had the opposite happen when my sister in law and I went to Whole Foods for a bit of shopping during their recent visit. We shared one cart but our purchases were separate, we intended to pay individually the 7 or 8 items we each had. The checkout clerk said in an unnecessarily loud voice that we were to move to a regular check out line. When SIL told her we had separate purchases, the clerk said it didn't matter. SIL pointed out that if we had two carts instead of one there would be no problem, and the clerk asked rudely to please move, which we did.

A supervisor later said the store always loses. If they don't say anything some customers get angry. If they do, others - like us - get offended. He also seemed to think that two people using one cart was just an effort to cheat the checkout line.

Midpack - remember Sniglets? They invented the word to describe the person you refer to.

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Expresshole: the a$$hole that checks out using the express lane even though he/she has more items in the cart than allowed.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
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The problem is the sign.
Obviously, it should be "Ten items or fewer."

You can hardly blame the poor guy for not knowing what to make of such an ungrammatical instruction. Maybe English wasn't his first language?

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
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Recently, we were pushing our cart past the 20 items or less registers, we had more than that. The checker was standing at the end of her aisle, and motioned us to use her register.

According to some, I should have kept going. You know, cause they had a sign there. I may also have went in through the door marked "Exit".

My pet peeve is people who walk in the door to a store or wherever and stop dead in the doorway to look around, like they have never been in a place larger than their garage.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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I think the best way to handle this is to give the benefit of the doubt- even if you KNOW they do not deserve it- and say something like, "I don't want to get you in trouble, but you probably did not see that this is the line for xxx items or less...". Then it gives them an out if they want to be decent about it. I do the same for the endless parade of smokers who insist that the no smoking rules do not apply to them at the hospital where I work. I politely point out that they were probably not aware that we have a no smoking policy throughout the hospital campus, even when I know they know better. Only if they claim some excuse why the rules should not apply to them does it ever become more confrontational. Here is a hint-- there is no excuse. The rule is for EVERYONE'S health and safety.
The ones who really do not get the benefit of the doubt are the smokers who then discard their cigarette butts on the ground. WTF? There is no excuse for that. They would not like it if I came to their backyard and dumped garbage there, what in the world is wrong with these people that they throw their disgusting butts down wherever they like?
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #11
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Midpack I agree with you 100%. But like Mulligan, I have a way of expressing myself that can turn a comment into an ugly event and I consider what the consequences could be. Like someone else said, you never know what that person's frame of mind is, does he have a knife or gun? It is reasonable to speak out but is it wise to do so? I wouldn't but if I felt I had to do so I'd have gone and asked to speak to the manager.

I suspect that most of us, especially those of us over a certain age, grew up in a time where people were civil and would follow simple requests like 10 items or less vs I come first F everyone. I miss those days, I don't like what this society has degenerated into.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:11 PM   #13
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Welcome to Curmudgeonhood, Midpack. I've pretty much given up on expressholes. I remember once, watching someone over slightly the limit. She looked at me and said, somewhat in a joking tone: "You're actually counting my items, aren't you?"

Lena and I do the split-em-up to get under the limit trick, but we do the splitting away from the line and act like we don't know one another ("Never seen her before in my life!").

Here are my two recent stories.

A guy parked in the handicapped spot, and got out of the car, perfectly healthy. I said to him, "You don't look very handicapped." His reply was "Well, my wife is handicapped" (he was alone in the car). I said, "Well I'm sure she appreciates your parking in the handicapped spot." I should have said "Move it or I'm calling a cop."

Less related, I'm getting tired of people not returning phone calls or emails. I think this is a Humboldt County thing. But today, I mentioned it to a repeat offender ("I was calling at your request, and I'd appreciate if you'd return my calls").
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by urn2bfree View Post
The ones who really do not get the benefit of the doubt are the smokers who then discard their cigarette butts on the ground. WTF? There is no excuse for that. They would not like it if I came to their backyard and dumped garbage there, what in the world is wrong with these people that they throw their disgusting butts down wherever they like?
I've seen people eat at McDonalds and throw all their trash out the window. Yesterday I spent 20 minutes removing broken glass from the bike route where I ride regularly.

The question is: Is it getting worse, or are we just noticing it more?
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:19 PM   #15
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I suspect that most of us, especially those of us over a certain age, grew up in a time where people were civil and would follow simple requests like 10 items or less vs I come first F everyone. I miss those days, I don't like what this society has degenerated into.
I'm wondering if not speaking up plays a role, that's my central topic. In the "good old days" if anything we had fewer rules, laws etc. That worked because we were brought up to follow rules and treat each other with some basic courtesy. And bending societal norms was so much less frequent, that when it did happen, friends, families and other citizens would speak up - there were consequences. It was never the rules themselves that brought civility and honesty, it was the reinforcing peer pressure that often enforced and made the rules work.

If my teacher told my parents I was misbehaving at school, they would set me straight in no uncertain terms. Now, many parents would threaten the teacher with a lawsuit, 'can't be my little angel.' Is education better or worse for this change in 'peer pressure?'

I don't use my cell phone when I drive. Not because it's against the law, but because DW will bite my head off. If she didn't, what's to stop me? We keep making more rules, more laws, and it doesn't seem to do any good does it. Many can't be enforced by institutions.

After a generation or two of not being taught to treat each other with courtesy and "follow the rules" when no one was looking and more importantly (maybe) no peer pressure/consequences - have we unwittingly encouraged people to act selfishly?

Even the fact that many of us are (understandably) afraid to speak up for fear of violence may be because we've let the tide turn without realizing it. When I was a kid, I don't think there was any reason to fear violence in a situation like the check out line. I concede there is nowadays.

I'm not preaching, trying to understand "what this society has degenerated into..." and what we can do about it. Turning the other cheek won't ever help...

No way to know for sure, but I got the impression the cashier and others in line at the grocery store were glad someone said something, even if they didn't say it. Who knows, maybe they will one day...

Imagine if everyone did it all the time? Would it make a difference? Imagine if our leaders all encouraged and relentlessly reinforced us to always speak up, to bring citizenship back?
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Welcome to Curmudgeonhood, Midpack. I've pretty much given up on expressholes. I remember once, watching someone over slightly the limit. She looked at me and said, somewhat in a joking tone: "You're actually counting my items, aren't you?"

Lena and I do the split-em-up to get under the limit trick, but we do the splitting away from the line and act like we don't know one another ("Never seen her before in my life!").

Here are my two recent stories.

A guy parked in the handicapped spot, and got out of the car, perfectly healthy. I said to him, "You don't look very handicapped." His reply was "Well, my wife is handicapped" (he was alone in the car). I said, "Well I'm sure she appreciates your parking in the handicapped spot." I should have said "Move it or I'm calling a cop."

Less related, I'm getting tired of people not returning phone calls or emails. I think this is a Humboldt County thing. But today, I mentioned it to a repeat offender ("I was calling at your request, and I'd appreciate if you'd return my calls").
Al you reminded me of something that bothers me concerning cell phones. Maybe I am wrong this, but when I am in a conversation with someone, and their cell rings, I get mad when they answer the phone and carry out that conversation first. I always let it ring and then return that call after the present conversation is completed. Since when does a phone call take precedence? Maybe my attitude is jaded by the fact I am not a big cell person.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:31 PM   #17
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Hey wait a minute Wahoo, I thought that was my personal avatar? It should not be used promiscuously, I might get jealous.
Ha
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:49 PM   #18
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Hey wait a minute Wahoo, I thought that was my personal avatar? It should not be used promiscuously, I might get jealous.
Ha
A curmudgeonly post about posting a curmudgeon. Is this what is known as circular logic?
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:23 PM   #19
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Women have no problem "calling out" other women who appear to be cutting in line. A sharp-voiced "WE'RE in LINE!" and sharp glances directed at me, if I look like I might be thinking about cutting in line, even if I'm not. Classier women are nicer about it, but they still guard their territory.

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I have said it few times to people, but like you they have ignored the comment..

I will tell you about one where someone called me out... I went into a fast food place and there were two people standing back, one talking on a phone and one looking at the menu... I asked if they were in line and neither said a word.... so I went up and started ordering.... the lady who was looking made a comment like 'look at him, cutting in line'... I just turned around and said 'he was on the phone and I asked you if you were in line and you did not respond. Not my problem if you are standing back there. The line is up here'...
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:25 PM   #20
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Is the problem related to population growth and the decline of neighborhoods with local amenities? I think the types of behavior the OP is talking about is more prevalent in cities and less in small towns. When I was young I knew most people I saw on a daily basis, I was known in the shops, in the park, on the street. If I did something noteworthy it would soon be relayed back home. These days I rarely see people I know unless I am purposely meeting them, I mostly shop among strangers. Who cares if we misbehave (to a limit), we don't see any consequences. Why shouldn't I push ahead of a stranger? I am more important than them, my time is more precious than theirs. Cars exacerbate this feeling of separation from those around, each in their own little box, who cares if I cut in front of you or do the Texas slingshot on the freeway?
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