This past weekend I was at the farmer’s market and ran short on cash. So I stopped inside and went to the ATM only to find that it was out of order. Someone mentioned that there was another ATM at the other end so I headed down to that one. There were two people ahead of me, not too bad of a wait.
Next thing you know it’s my turn and as I put my card in I can feel someone kind of over my right shoulder. It felt a little too close for comfort. At first I continued with my transaction, English or Spanish: English, Checking or Savings: Checking, but as I was about to type in my pin, I turned around to find a woman practically up my ass. I thought by turning around she would back up some, but she didn’t budge. So I turned to her and said, “Would you mind please backing up a bit and giving me a little space?” and she replied emphatically and winced, “Oh whatever, I don’t care about your stupid fucking pin just hurry the hell up already.” I’m not sure what was the reason for the ‘tude, but I raised my voice back and said, “I don’t care if you care about my pin. Back the hell up and give me my space!”
She backed up a couple of steps. Meanwhile there was a line of about 10 people deep now, all staring at us, secretly hoping a cat fight would break out I am sure. When I finished she mumbled something else and I just walked a way. But that got me to thinking that the same thing happens to me in Trader Joe’s and the local supermarket all the time. You put your stuff up on the conveyor belt and you move forward to the machine to swipe your card to pay and suddenly the person behind you considers it an invitation to move into your personal space.
Ironically, there was an article in Real Simple this month asking Miss Manners what to do when someone is right on top of you while you are at an ATM. She suggested to jump back and act startled and that hopefully the person behind you would take the hint. Why are we so “considerate” to people that are inconsiderate? Personally, I don’t think some people can take subtle hints that they are in your space because they are completely unaware of it or they don’t give a shit. So, my philosophy is to deal with them straight on and go, “Hey, would you mind giving me some room here?”
Does that ever happen to you? Do you have a better tactic to deal with these inconsiderate people who live in their own bubble and only care about themselves? I’d love to hear it!