I was just trying to check out.
But suddenly a moral/ethical dilemma reared its head and I was stuck.
On the card reader at the check out was the question that had pulled me up short. I just wanted to swipe my card, buy the drain cleaner and oranges and get one with my life.
But it demanded:
"Was your cashier friendly today? Yes. No."
Ummm, well, neither actually. It's not a binary system. She wasn't rude. She didn't ignore me. At the same time she wasn't pleasant. It was very basic, very business-like. A few quick words to get the process through to it's mercantile completion all wrapped around the business of chewing her gum. Even that wasn't obnoxious. It was just there like a third player in this little drama.
You see the dilemma arises because I'm sure that the computer system will note the time, the station, the date. Will my answer affect her next job review? What if she's right on the edge and one more down mark will push her out the door? Do I want that on my conscience?
In the end I chose the coward's way out. If I just swipe my card I can avoid the responsibility of grading this woman's job performance. I can exchange our few words, grab my oranges and Drano and escape.
Maybe I should have taken a different tack on the decision. She wasn't UN-friendly. I could have just accepted anything short of overt hostility as meeting the minimum requirement for making the "friendly" grade. But that seems cheap to me. A quick look at an online dictionary tells me that friendly means:
"...favorably disposed, not antagonistic...warm, comforting..."
Well she made the grade on one of four concepts (I skipped over the part having to do with friends. We're certainly not friends so that doesn't have any connection with the situation. What if we were friends? Would I have given her the thumbs up no matter how she reacted? But that assumes she would reacted the same way to me even if we were friends. "STOP", I shout to myself. That way lies madness.) She only made a one in four, 25%, a failing grade no matter how much you tweak the bell curve.
Now I have no choice I must pursue this moral/ethical hare to it's burrow. What about "unfriendly"?
"...not disposed to friendship..." (No, we've ruled that concept out of bounds so we'll pass) "...indicating a bad prospect, unfavorable..."
Well. Now what?
I'm starting to like that "unfavorable". All it would have take was a smile, you know! How much would that have cost, huh? Just a smile and I'm free from all of this! Some people, you know?
"...indicating a bad prospect...", well no, not really. She did her job efficiently. I was on my way with my stuff in short order.
No, I made the right decision. In the end this wasn't my fault or hers.
It's the store's fault. With its binary, black and white view of the world. Here's a perfectly efficient employee who does her job quickly and without error. Sure she's not the most personable person this green planet Earth. But really, what would you rather have - some chatty cheerful type who messes up the job, or a sober serious worker who gets it right the first time.
I can feel my disdain for the store on the rise. Feelings of fraternity and solidarity for my oppressed sister rising in my breast.
Next time I'm there I'm going to look for her and go through her checkout.
And choose "YES".
Just to screw with the man.