Yesterday I took my granddaughter shopping for boots at our local independent shoe store. She has specific needs to fit her feet, and we always go there for the service they provide. Needless to say, most of the customers have particular needs and waiting on them takes a little time. We know that we will get the same attention when it is our turn.
I asked our favorite sales woman how she was. She said she was stressed by the customers “who had changed” from her original time with the store. When I asked why, she just repeated that they “had changed.” But watching her deal with two other customers I was able to see what she meant. The other two acted as if they alone were present and that they alone should be getting service at all times. This despite the obvious, that our sales woman was serving us also.
On the way home my granddaughter chatted with me about what I thought about what our friend had said at the store. I told her that many people are pretty selfish. I suggested that you may have to be taught to share and to recognize that others exist. Current American consumer culture constantly suggests that “you” are our only concern, that “you come first,” and that “you(the customer) are always right.” It is very easy to absorb this message and take it with you when you go to a store. What counter balance might there be? Once you are out of school, who reminds you to share? No wonder the internet is full of “selfies,” pictures one takes on oneself. Who needs other people? We can live in a world where we are “#1.” But as the old song said, “one is the loneliest number.”