The little things that irk us so

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Rigil Kent (February 02, 2009, 12:24:32 PM):
The shop is rather full of customers. A catchy new song happily springs from the in-store stereo, and music lovers are leisurely flipping through the empty cases. The bargain bin, freshly repacked only a minute ago, is already a chaotic maelstrom of yesterday’s hits. I’m in a queue, clutching a CD, and inching closer to the pay point. I am nervous. A part of me is hoping that it will never reach the end of this queue. I already know the outcome. I try to think of of happier things, try to bully my mind away from mulling on the inevitable. My fingers leave damp prints on the crystal box, my gaze morbidly fleeting over its red clearance sale price of R99.99. Nine nine nine nine - symmetrical, palindromic, impossible.

It is my turn now. I receive a smile and a request for a club card. I offer neither. The poor girl seems totally oblivious off the dangerous, oxymoronic waters that we are about to enter. When did I become such a grouch? My purchase is now rung up. Pleasantly I am asked for ninety-nine, ninety-nine. I have no way of offering the requested amount. I tender a R 100 note. She has no way of offering change. I receive my CD, now neatly packed in a small bag, and a slip back. I check the slip, it says: Change R0.01. A cent that I will never own. Because such a coin doesn’t exist.

As always, I am overcome with the urge of insisting on my change. As always I don't. As always I am miserable and disgusted about it for hours afterwards. It will be a while before I can enjoy this CD. It has been tainted.

Back home, the story of my anguish meets with a lot of eye-rolling from my unsympathetic loved ones. I am basically advised to “get a life” and that I am extremely fortunate if “that is the worst of" my problems. So, the standard set of answers, then. It's all so hopeless! Can I possibly be the only person in the world who thinks this is horribly wrong! How can the price of any item be such that there is no way of paying for it, or offer change for it. Outrageous.

However, I flatter myself that my little neurosis is at least vaguely sensible when compared to that of my buddy, lets call him JC. He is just about the most level headed person you can meet, thoroughly enjoying the South African hallmarks of braaivleis, rugby, sunshine , M-net, brandy and deep sea fishing.

Now, I was not even aware, until JC pointed it out, that a roll of toilet paper may be inserted into its dispenser in one of two ways. But you can check this for yourself if you are skeptical ;): it can either be placed in a way that allows the roll to unwind away from the wall, or towards the wall. Most people either don’t know this, or don’t care, but JC flatly refuses to use toilet paper that has been loaded in such a fashion that it is running down next to the wall. He will neither simply flip the roll around, nor even touch that roll again, ever!

Welcome to the world of pet hates.

I think these quirks are by far the strangest and most interesting feature of our minds, and will probably be the last thing about human nature to be explained satisfactorily.

Mintaka.
bluegray (February 02, 2009, 13:34:12 PM):
...but JC flatly refuses to use toilet paper that has been loaded in such a fashion that it is running down next to the wall. He will neither simply flip the roll around, nor even touch that roll again, ever!
It warms my heart to know that I am not alone ;D
I will turn the toilet paper around though - unless it's a public toilet. They usually have the rolls sideways in those tamper proof dispensers. I don't have any preference for clockwise or anti-clockwise... ::)

BTW. Most supermarkets will round down to the nearest 5c, so if the total is R10.04 you only pay R10.00. Not sure if it will help alleviate your pain ;)
Rigil Kent (February 02, 2009, 14:25:09 PM):
Quote
BTW. Most supermarkets will round down to the nearest 5c, so if the total is R10.04 you only pay R10.00. Not sure if it will help alleviate your pain


Quite, but its not about the money, is it? A rounded figure, irrespective of whom it favours, somehow disrupts the balance and the aesthetics of the deal. The joy of contributing uncompromisingly to the perfect capitalist transaction, the very backbone of the western world, is lost. Don't worry. Makes no sense to my rational centres either. :-\
Wandapec (February 02, 2009, 15:05:49 PM):
It warms my heart to know that I am not alone ;D
I will turn the toilet paper around though - unless it's a public toilet
Me too! If you stay in any half decent hotel they usually have the roll going away from the wall and fold the edges of the first underneath to form a point.

Don't get me started on not putting the lid back on the toothpaste! :-X
AcinonyxScepticus (February 02, 2009, 16:58:56 PM):
Heh heh, everyone has something.

... fold the edges of the first underneath to form a point ...

That reminds me that when I use selotape (sticky tape) or duct tape or something similar, I have to ... have to fold the end back so that I can find it again. It doesn't have to be a point but it must flap about. If I see someone else using tape and they finish using it but don't fold it, I do it for them.

I cannot take it when I have to search and feel for the end of the tape next time. From there it's down hill, I'm swearing, the tape tears in diagonals, leaving a long sliver of tape in my hand, the end I'm holding sticks to my other fingers ...

Depending on the state of the tape at the beginning of the wrapping exercise, people will either get beautifully wrapped presents or stuff dumped into a gift bag.

James

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