Friday, July 23, 2010

1. to align my eyes with yours.

Eye contact.

a mysterious thing.

Though I hardly feel it is essential to make eye contact throughout the entirety of a conversation, I become incredibly aware of its importance when it is neglected or avoided.

I feel making eye contact is an important action to commence any interaction... however minimal (the interaction, not the eye contact).

It seems to stabilise things.

The topic of eye contact has been irritating my consciousness over the last few weeks after one particular interaction I had with an employee of Baker's Delight.

I entered the store. The only customer. There was only one employee behind the counter as it was very early in the morning (the raspberry and white chocolate scone I purchased was still warm. heavenly creatures). She was placing the fresh loaves of bread onto one of the stands and, noticing me in her peripheral vision, she spoke... in bold.

"Hi, how [are] you going?"

- No eye contact -

"Well thanks, how are you?"

- I waited for her to turn to me and engage. No deal -

"Yeah, good thanks, what would you like?"

- Still no eyes -

- She turns, walks over to the counter, listening to my order... her eyes directed downward -

"One of these ham and cheese things, and a raspberry and white chocolate scone please"

"No worries"

- she removes the items from their trays and places them into separate bags. she calculates a total on the register -

"$4.70 thanks"

- she looks up! finally! I see her lonely blue eyes. She sees my lonely grey eyes. Her hand hovers at the counter, awaiting my payment, a $5 note -

"30 cents change"

- no eyes -


"Have a nice day"

"You too"

- I exit the store, underwhelmed -

One moment of obligatory eye contact as she asked for my money.


Now. My expectation is not for customer service to be an incredibly personal process. In fact, if I were to choose between Baker's Delight Lady and those who go out of their way to be overly personable, I'd most likely choose Baker's Delight Lady. However, from the outset, being asked "how are you?" by someone who remains focused on a stack of bread just didn't, and doesn't, sit all that well with me. If you're going to ask me a question about my feelings, I'd like to respond by looking at your pupils. Then we can be friends.

I suppose it moves into the topic of the somewhat robotic nature of modern customer service... a selection of practiced questions, inoffensive responses and pathetic platitudes that further solidify our temporary roles for our temporary interaction.

Well. You know what? I find the role of a typical customer an extremely boring role to play. and I bet you find the role of a typical employee incredibly tedious as well! So. How about I play Guy and you play... whoever you are, and maybe I'll buy those expensive pantaloons that nobody ever has, and then you'll get promoted to the Island of Innocence and Love where you will be Queen for eternity.

Think about it.

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