You lookin at me?

Apparently not.

Well, who is then? And what do I have to do to get you to look at me?  That’s what I feel like saying to the people that I deal with on a day-to-day basis at stores.

I know NY isn’t an overly friendly city, regardless of how many out there beg to differ. People normally don’t smile when they catch your eye walking down the street. And if they do, there’s this awkwardness, like “oh, wow, I looked at her, but I didn’t think she was going to look back. Should I smile? Nah, I’ll just look away.”  Being from here, I can deal with it, but I do think it’s nice when strangers bid you good morning just because they want to, like they do in the south. What I can’t deal with, and what’s becoming increasingly apparent, is when I go into a store to make a purchase and the person ringing me up doesn’t even make eye contact with me. Not when they take my money, not when they bag the merchandise, not when they give me my receipt. It’s like I’m invisible. And what’s surprising is that this isn’t just relegated to young kids (though they’re probably more guilty of it). It’s 30, 40-something year olds. Women, whom I would think have a little more compassion and would instinctively want to make that connection, especially with another woman. But they don’t. And when the transaction is complete, they simply leave what I’ve purchased sitting on the counter and proceed to continue what they were doing before I so rudely interrupted them.

Is it because they hate their jobs (and/or lives) so much that anything not directly benefiting them is simply a waste of time and energy? I mean, this is their job for crying out loud. I’m not asking them to be nice out of the goodness of their heart. They’re getting paid to do it – with my money. Sometimes, I’m tempted to call them out on it. I feel like opening their eyes to the fact that I am well aware of their rudeness and it’s somewhat insulting. But then I’d probably feel bad and almost  be too embarrassed to go back into the store, especially when it’s a place like the neighborhood bakery where it’s probably the owners kid running the shop.

Didn’t someone like Miss Molly from Romper Room, or maybe Mr. Rogers or Ms. Piggy, once say “It’s nice to be nice?” If you Google that phrase today, you’ll find results that include the children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba! and the It’s Nice to be Nice Facebook page. So perhaps people’s kindness hasn’t gone to shit. Maybe I’m just shopping in the wrong stores.

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