Shaolin–situation at a checkout
Me and a crew member [instead of crew member and I – cuz I decide how I write, or need to write] were approaching an automated checkout. Crew member becomes flustered that I approach the machine at all, so he departs. He knows about my history with machines!! LOL.
I press a button on screen to start the machine. It responds with a polite welcome message. Knowing that these machines have a tendency to become confused about “Unexpected item in the baggage area”, I decide to take the option to disable that. So methinks I’m home and dry. It’s a Boots meal deal i.e. sandwich, drink and packet o’ crisps for £3.29.
So I scan the bottle of Fanta. No problems there. I hesitate slightly to think where to put it, cuz I had just disabled stuff in the bagging area (fearing the worst). I decide to put it on the metal platform to my left near the bagging area, then I get this recorded voice going, “unexpected item in the bagging area”. It sounds female, with a lovely polite English accent. I’m cool. I don’t mind the machine sensing this. I’m in the wrong.
But then hear a second voice. It’s a female and English. And it’s telling me “you need to cancel the item and restart!!”. To be honest I switched off at “you need to cancel…” and directed my attention at 200% to the machine. Why you wonder? Well the female voice is loud, it’s in a tone that’s talking down to me as if to say ‘you stupid man’ or ‘you stupid person’ or ‘you stupid immigrant’. Hang on!! You were not there. I heard the volume, tone and manner of this voice – you didn’t so sod off and go elsewhere to defend it. I know the usual yarn.. about people ‘just trying to be helpful’. It bledy wasn’t helpful!!! It was domineering and infantilising.
So I ignore the voice. A split second later, the voice repeats itself – this time at twice the volume and in a ‘why are you so stupid’ tone. I’m aware that people around me are looking on – and if I don’t respond this is gonna get worse. No – it’s not a worker at the store. It’s a fellow customer who is also checking out her stuff. I make no eye contact with this pig.
I raise my hand dismissively and utter, “I will decide what I need and what I do”.
Ooooohhh.. the response: “NO! The machine will decide what you need and do!!!”
Me: “NO!! This machine will obey me!!!
Silence.. for a few long seconds.
I calmly move my bottle of Fanta into a blue basket to my right. I cancel nothing. The machine stops going “Unexpected item…..”.
The machine accepts the next two items when scanned sequentially and placed in the blue basket to my right.
It accepts my card and the transaction is complete, in record time.
Me, “Good! This machine obeys me!” – in a mocking tone so that loud mouth English woman hears. She remains silent, but I know she’s fuming. LOL.
She is off ahead of me and as we approach the automatic doors to exit the store, I could sense from her body language – just the way she is walking that she’s gonna say something to me. A microsecond later as we pass the doors and are outside the shop, she turns swiftly, to utter something about “You could have… just responded more politely” or some shyte like that. But having anticipated her hostility, I cut her up in mid-sentence and say, “I do what I do.. I decide what I do.. I wanted to see how the machine would deal with it.. I was right.. it obeyed”. Of course my words are totally calculated to get across to this overcontrolling feminist, possibly racist idiot, that some of us know what we’re doing… so F* off. See now, you ‘need’ to read that again.. you’re moving too quickly. LMAO!! I did not tell the woman to F* off!! I did not. But I got it across to her without uttering the words! She got the message… and being almost mortally wounded, struck back with “You’re such an arse wipe!” – totally predictable. And me “That makes you feel better?” (as she’s walking off in a huff and a puff, blonde hair swinging madly as if she thinks she is god’s gift to men or some shyte). ‘Course she doesn’t feel better, she is the one who was enraged. I had her just where I wanted her, suffering her own chemicals. Stupid humans, daring to play mind games with me. How foolish. My brain chemicals were all amused, surely not in a state of ‘anger’ as she was.
Crew member witnesses me being ‘abused’ – but some of you know me by now. I relish a punch-up and a bloody nose now and then! But this time I was moving like a Shaolin Kung Fu master; anticipating every move. LOL. So the ‘arse wipe’ comment went flying past like a shuriken missing its target, cuz I knew what to expect. Learn the art of Zen!!
So what’s the underlying angle with this?
If you want to be helpful to me don’t shout at me at the first utterance.
I truly decide what I ‘need’ to do – I happen to be an adult. I don’t relish being infantilised even unwittingly by the cultural norm here in England where people tell others what they ‘need to do’.
The offer of a helping hand is not a licence to tell people what they ‘need to do’ or to bully me.
People at a check out cannot assess my needs in a split second at a machine that they cannot have full knowledge of what’s going on.
Speaking down to me – or anyone else in a gruff commanding tone – is not the way to initiate helping anyone.
I think it is arrogant for one person in a split second to decide what another ‘needs to do’ and then to seek to bully them to do as they say.
Machines may be slower than humans and obsessional in what they do, but it doesn’t mean they are doing the wrong thing – nor does it mean I need to restart everything at the first glitch.
And finally.. this woman spoke for so many people out there.. yuh know the ‘arse wipe’ thing. I happen to know that many of my so-called friends identify so totally with the comment. Yep – I even dare to please my friends, when they can’t mouth the words they want to. Everybody needs to feel that “He got some home truths.. and now he’s pretending unconvincingly to be defiant.” I aim to please, on occasion.