Friday, September 01, 2006

I have a confession to make:

The past week or so I have been on strike. Not a strike from work, or a hunger strike, or anything like that.

But a strike from holding the door open for people. Or rather, from doing "The Look Behind".

You know, like when you push open a door and do the casual Look Behind to see if anyone is behind you so you can pass the door back to them when they get there?

I don't mean like if a visibly elderly or handicapped person needs help then they are out of luck... I just mean in general I no longer do the "Look Behind" to see who is behind me when I leave work through the double glass doors in the front lobby.

Too many times, I do the "Look Behind" as I am pushing open the door, and see some person who is WAY to far behind me to expect me to stand there and hold the door for them as they leisurely amble towards me, but once you make eye contact you are pretty much locked into standing there.

This may sound cruel, but I am telling you I have lost years from my life standing in a doorway waiting for some woman looking for her keys or some guy on his cell phone to trudge towards me simply because I did the Look Behind and feel guilty. If you are right behind me, then obviously social decorum dictates that I hand you the door. But since when did getting to a door first come to mean holding the door for people who are way far behind you and obviously in no great rush?

So the way I see it (no pun intended), if I don't turn around and SEE the person twenty feet behind me, I can't be held responsible for not holding the door.

So instead I now do the "Big Push". I push the door open so it swings wide open thus forcing the leisurely ambler to either pick up the pace to get there before it swings shut, or continue to snail it up and allow the door to shut.

I have to say, it is quite liberating.

My next step may just be to start doing the "Fine, thanks!" instead of "Good, how are you?" when people greet me with a perfunctory "Hi How are you?". I like "Fine, thanks!" because it ends the faux pleasantries without being rude. Does the cashier at AJ Wright really care how I am? Do I care how he is? Not particularly. And why should we?

I think I am on a roll here.


Nicky said...

I have to give you props for not holding the door for 10 minutes while someone strolls toward you. I got real sick of that when I worked in Concord. I'd always be nice and hold the door, the elevator, whatever. But when it came to me, people would see me and let the door slam in my face! Some bitch actually SHUT the elevator door as I was about to step foot inside! There's no possible way she didn't see me. Screw you, Concord. That was the last of my holding the door open for lengthy periods of time.
I like your "Fine, thanks" answer too. As long as you give some sort of an answer at all. It never fails to tick me off when people ignore the cashier - as if they're nonpeople. People are so rude in this country, it's astonishing.

Sarah said...

i would never not answer, that IS rude... but sometimes I am so tempted to be like "actually i have REALLY bad PMS".

I am guilty too though. I am a repeat offender at work with the "Hi How Are Ya!". It slips out of my mouth before I even think about it. I am working on it though.

Nicky said...

When I was working in retail and waitressing, you'd be surprised how many people actually answer the "How are you today?" question honestly. I had old ladies launch into lengthy tales about how their gallbladder hurt or whatever. Or cranky rednecks make snippy comments about their exwives. It's true - the cashier doesn't really care about how you're doing. Total honesty is not needed in this situation. LOL...

Sarah said...

haah yesterday i was buying a new shower curtain and bathroom rug and the cashier was like "how are you doing today" and i was feeling chatty so i was like "well, i am a little dissapointed because i really wanted to have a red color theme in my bathroom but everything that has red in it is Southwestern design and I am so not into that so I went with green even though my last bathroom was green and I really wanted to go in a different direction".

The poor cashier visibly seemed to be thinking "i wish i was dead". i do not blame him.

Heather said...

I'm all for the "big push". Whenever I was first to the door and made the unfortunate eye contact, I always felt torn as to whether it was worse to let the door close or to stand there holding it while the other person looks annoyed because they now feel obligated to quicken their pace.

Sarah said...

you make an interesting point. i always feel guilty when i am far away from the door and someone is holding it for me. i try go do the "i'm all set!" but that doesn't always work...

and i WISH people in my building felt obligated to quicken their pace but they don't. If anything they slow down.

rooroo said...

i have agreed with you (via comments) on the opposite point before... i hate when people hold the door for me when i am like, a flight of stairs or several hundo yards away from the door, thus forcing me to do that fake run to the door when i would rather just take my time and open the damn door myself! that's why i don't wait for people... i don't want to rush anyone who feels like being a slowpoke.

ALSO, i DO DO the "i'm fine, thank you, how can i help you" and i love it! i do it mostly on the phone, because really, is this person i've never met before going to come back with, "actually, i've had a tough week"? no, and if they did i would hate them for it. i'm just going to assume they're fine and let's get on with business.

this almost directly conflicts with my recently posted politeness manifesto but i don't care. in business i think over-politeness just takes too much time. we're on the clock, people!

Amy D said...

I an assignment for a psych class of mine in college where anytime someone asked how we were, we had to respond in a lengthy way. The professor told us to make up different stories....sometimes bad day stories, sometimes sob stories, sometimes annoying life is wonderful stories. We then had to record teh peoples reaction to our giving a life story to a question everyone is used to getting a quick "good thanks" answer to! It was kind of funny and interesting!

Sarah said...

LOL that is pretty awesome. I wish I could have seen this idea in action!

Matt said...

i really like the new layout for the site. its great. really great.

and im glad the new move went well. the new place looks awesome

san said...

you rock girl :)

oh, and your new layout is beautiful!