You know what bugs me? Well, a lot of things bug me, but this post is about something that’s bugged me for a long time. It also concerns a lesson learned about things that bug me. And it’s about why this post is being written in the first place.
Let me start with that last one. (Because it just now happened again!) I have notebooks, Post-It Note collages and scribbled note collections of blog post ideas. But new ones pop up constantly (like the idea I thought of while writing this paragraph). Some of the new ones are so demanding, they shove the patiently waiting ones aside. The backlog is building, yet my time is short. Very aggravating.
Which brings me to the post’s point: my aggravation about counting change.
The post’s title has a lovely ambiguity (in fact, with a title like that, you probably thought this was YA New Year’s post), so let me be specific: I hate the way cashiers count change back to you these days!
This has always bugged me. It seems completely wrong, and I’ve always wondered why it went on. Hasn’t everyone experienced it many times by now? Doesn’t everyone hate it? Why hasn’t it changed; why does it continue when everyone hates it?!
Well, actually, yes, things that everyone hates do continue; we call that life. But more importantly there is the second point of this post: I was startled to discover that, no, not everyone hates it. In fact, not only do they not hate it, they like it.
Which brings up two things I think are so important. Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are very few universals when it comes to likes and dislikes. There are some things that are so far beyond the pale that we all agree they are Dead Wrong, but most things in life are a matter of taste.
Secondly, that a form of give and take is vitally important to a balanced view of the world. Putting your own ideas and thoughts out there—interacting with others—is key to obtaining a balanced view. If you can’t support your own beliefs and ideas in the “public market place,” how can you be sure they’re valid?
Along with that, however, it has to be possible to debate those ideas as ideas without it getting too personal. That can be hard to do, especially when our ideas reflect cherished beliefs about the world.
You sometimes hear the (supposed) quote, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results.” It’s oft attributed to Albert Einstein, but old Al never said anything quite that blatantly stupid.
(Einstein is said to be the most misquoted person in history. He is sometimes used to make other ideas seem more cogent.)
Indeed, there are many situations in life where trying again and again is the key to success. Any athlete understands this. But what’s more important is the real definition of insanity, which is the degree to which your view of reality does not correspond with the commonly held version.
Now, granted, that opens up a whole kettle of fish regarding the commonly held version, but let’s leave that for another time. Let’s (for now) assume the commonly held version is the closest version to actual reality. (There are other kettles of fish we’ll leave unopened, such as whether actual reality exists at all.)
The bottom line is that, if your views of reality don’t agree with that mainstream view, then either you are a True Visionary (and, really, how likely is that?) or you may need to rethink—and perhaps adjust—your point of view.
[We're funny that way. We blame politicians for changing their views and we blame them for not changing their views. I would opine that anyone whose view of the world has not evolved over time just isn't paying attention.]
For instance, he said trying to drag this post back on topic, you could believe that everyone in the world hates the way they give change these days. And then one of the first people you mention this to has a completely different take on it. And after your head stops spinning around, you realize that, rather than being a Universal Bad Thing, maybe it’s just another one of those things that personally pisses you off.
But it really does piss me off, so I’m going to blog about it anyway.
Now, I’m not talking about the fact that cashiers don’t count the change back. These days, they just key in the Amount Tendered and the machine tells them how much money to give you back. (I took pride in never doing that, in having the basic simple math skills to count change, but then I’m a geek.)
It is true that people are increasingly innumerate (the mathematical equivalent of illiterate) these days, and a bit of counting change would likely be a Good Thing for them, but that’s a different battle.
No, what I’m talking about is the way they put the bills in your hand first and then dump the change on top. I’m saying the proper way (the “old-fashioned” way) is coins, first, securely in the cup of your hand with bills counted out on top. These days it’s bills and then coins, all counted down. My contrary friend says this makes it easy to slide the coins into a coin purse.
Maybe I’m just a clumsy git, but I’m always worried the coins will easily slide off the bills and go rolling all over the floor. I’ve even had cashiers be so sloppy with the coins, the coins escaped and took off on their own! I always have to very carefully slide the coins into my other free hand so I can pocket them. (Which means I need both hands free, and that can be an issue in the cafeteria line.)
Sometimes, if the line is long behind me, I just wad everything up, jam the whole mess into my pocket and sort it out later. Maybe it comes from being annoyed at people who, for example, wait to start writing the check until after the cashier has completed ringing everything up. I don’t like having people waiting behind me.
At any rate, there it is. I hate the way they count change today. Am I alone in this? (Like that would be the first time, but then, you see, I am a True Visionary, so I’m used to it.)
And let’s face it, one of the joys of having a blog is the ability to rant about exactly these sorts of things! One more whiny voice in the wilderness we call, “The Web!”
And, no, I’m not (at this time) going to tell you the idea I had while writing the second graph, but I will likely share it with you if I can pull it off. First I’ll need several pounds of ostrich feathers.
And some mangoes.