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Did some groceries today at Woolworths. At the cash register there was a prominent sign reading, “Leave heavy items in your trolley. We can scan them”. So I left the giant tin of olive oil, bulk laundry detergent and two things of cat litter in the trolley, because they are big and heavy. 
The checkout lady gave me a withering stare and said, “I’m going to have to scan them.” So I said, “Okay” thinking that she would do whatever the sign had promised. But she just kept staring at me. 
“Do you want me to put them on the conveyor belt?” I asked. 
“Yes,” she replied, as if to an idiot. 
“I was just doing what the sign told me. The sign says to leave heavy things in the trolley,” I said as I put the things on the conveyor belt. But she had shut down and did not interact with me again, save to take my card and give me a receipt and wish me a good day. She animatedly chatted with the woman behind me though. I hate that.
The rudeness of the checkout chick was akin to the rudeness of the woman at St George yesterday when I rang up to find out why they were still holding on to money from staying at a hotel for work last week – it was a bond for the room, but I would have thought the charge would be released once I had checked out and everything had been paid for. But it took a whole week for the charge to come off. Anyway, the conversation went like this:
me: “I called the hotel on Sunday and they told me they would fax the bank and ask them to release the funds.”
woman: “Where did they get the paperwork from?”
me: “What paperwork?”
woman: “Well what were they faxing?”
me: “They just said they would fax St George and ask them to release the funds.”
woman: “Well what fax number did they use?”
me: “I don’t know!”
woman: “You do understand that we are a national business and there are hundreds of fax numbers?”

Then she left me on hold for about five minutes (I was on my mobile) and by the time she came back she was a bit more polite. After my issue had been more or less resolved she said, “Oh I have one other thing to ask you – would you like us to increase your credit limit to $10,000?” I declined.

I passive aggressed about it on twitter and their rep said sorry to hear it and to let her know if she could help, but what could she do? Honestly. People are just generally rude. I try to make an effort to speak politely and make eye contact and smile, even if I don’t feel like it, because I know what it’s like to be serving and having customers take their horrible day out on you. It makes it seem worse somehow when the other person doesn’t reciprocate.
Though that’s something I noticed at Supanova. I would get a little frustrated by the people who, when I smiled and asked, “Would you like a postcard?” didn’t even bother to say “no thank you”, but just ignored me entirely. But then there were the times when I would often offer a postcard to a passer by who looked blank and unengaged, and I would try to make eye contact and smile as I did it, and more often than not they would snap out of their blankness, smile back at me and take the card.

They were the briefest of moments, but they were good. Positive human to human contact. It makes things feel less bleak. It makes you feel like you are valid, you exist, you have been acknowledged.