Them People

Today, let’s focus on human kindness.


The world could use a little more of it, I think.

After work today I went to the grocery store.  Normally, I hate those self-check machines, but I had one easy-to-scan item and I didn’t feel up to any human contact. 

Apparently, the nonhuman scanner machine has a motion detector.  It felt my presence…

  • Welcome.  Do you have a Super Saver Card?
  • Please scan your Super Saver Card now.
  • Are you still there?
  • Beep.
  • Thank you for scanning your Super Saver Card.
  • Please scan the first item.
  • Beep.
  • Seven.  Ninety.  Nine.
  • Please scan the next item. 
  • Beep.
  • Order complete.
  • Do you have any coupons?
  • If yes, scan your coupons now.
  • Select your method of payment.
  • Please wait for an attendant.

Augh!!!   Had I gone through the check isle with an actual human clerk, there would have been less conversation.  I usually get the same clerk and she doesn’t say much more than hello and reminds me when my gas perk points are going to expire.  I don’t strike up conversation either.  Not with the clerk.  Not with the other people in line.  Not with the bagger.  I’m usually too absorbed in my own thoughts and frustrated that the gas perk points are going to expire before my tank is empty.

Throughout each day, many of us exchange no more than just a few words between lots of different people.  Grocery clerks, doormen, bank tellers, ticket takers, security guards, parking lot attendants, restaurant servers, bus drivers, maintenance men, and more.  And when we do, we’re usually so self-absorbed with our own thoughts that they become…

dare I say it…nonhuman.


How is it that we can so easily shed our skin of kindness and ignore, or even be outright rude, to the “them” we interact with every day?  Is it an easy, no-consequences, I’ll never see that person again situation where we can just let rudeness rip?  I see so many people do it…and I have to wonder…why?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.

How different would the world be if we approached every one of our human interactions with kindness?  What if we approached every person we met with compassion?  What if we took just a moment to realize that a  few kind words, or a sincere smile, or just a little eye contact, could make a big, positive impact in the day of a complete stranger. 

Okay, so I’m giving us homework.  The next time you are in the company of a grocery clerk, or a mailman, or a waiter..or anyone else that is typically treated as a nonhuman in their area of service…say “thank you,” while looking them straight in the eye and thinking to yourself…

“You are a person to me.   In this brief moment in both of our lives…it mattered.” 

Report back.  Let me know what happened.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by duke1959 on March 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Very well stated. We simply do not talk to or listen anymore to what others say.


    • Most people do much better at talking than listening. And when they do listen, most of them have wax in their ears :-).


  2. “Augh!!! Had I gone through the check isle with an actual human clerk, there would have been less conversation.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I so know what you mean, Tracy. I hate those machines and refuse to use them. First of all, I feel like an idiot because I cannot figure out HOW to use them. Second, the voice on those self-scanner things is usually SO LOUD, I feel like it’s yelling at me.

    I so agree….

    “How different would the world be if we approached every one of our human interactions with kindness?”

    Living in a city, where people are constantly on the move, that’s easy to forget at times. However, I really do try to make eye contact with those I pass on the street; smile and say hello. And it’s amazing how most everyone will nod, smile, and say hello back. It’s kinda neat to have a brief moment with a total stranger, acknowledging one another’s presence in this hustle and bustle world.

    “In this brief moment in both of our lives…it mattered.”

    Wonerful post! Thank you for sharing.

    Having a terrrrific Tuesday!


    • “It’s kinda neat to have a brief moment with a total stranger.”

      Sounds like something Samantha would say on Sex and the City. Only…I don’t think she would have used the word NEAT. Stay cool Ron – love your comments!


  3. God, you hit it on the head with this one. There is definitely a lost of humanity and personal connection out there in the world. I love the homework and I hugged my doorman today. No joke. We had a great conversation and he actually initiated the hug.
    We’re all in this together.
    Awesome post.


  4. I made this my NY Resolution some years ago, and did well with it, for a while, but then… yes, my thought and preoccupations are SOOOOO important, can’t be bothered to take the time and energy to treat other human beings with respect.

    No. Getting back to looking each and every one of them in the eye and saying Thank You. (And working on being polite to undertrained customer service people when I actually have to CALL some company that has screwed me up in some way. It is not their fault, they are trying to help me to the best of their ability, and THEY have to deal wth the screwey company and pissed off peops ALL DAY LONG, every day.)


  5. Posted by suzicate on March 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I think it’s very important to treat people the way you want to be treated….no one want to feel unwanted or unneeded. I absolutely hate it when I see people treat clerks or servers like they are less important. I make sure I don’t hang with people who act like that. There are times though that I use self checkout because I want to be alone…never fails the machine acts up and I end up with human contact…and always the human contact was what I needed in the first place.


  6. ha Tracy you’ll never get away with less conversation with me …I’ll make sure I comment on everything you buy… BOOYA!


  7. People love you for being the way you are – the rest of “them” are too dumb for their own good. “Human interaction makes life worth living.” Yes, it absolutely does.


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