I was in the pub yesterday evening (yeah yeah I know, you can skip the feigned surprise). As I was standing at the bar a woman next to me asked for a glass of wine. The barman responded with “Which size glass would you like? A small one costs X and a large one costs Y”.
I can’t even remember what the woman said in response to this, but I thought it was refreshing that the barman had answered her request with an open question and followed it up with information that the customer might find helpful in coming to a decision. Maybe she had already decided which size glass of wine to buy but had forgotten to specify it, who knows? In any case, I liked the straightforward and upfront way in which the transaction had been made.
Contrast this with one of my pet hates, which is whenever I’m in a certain fast food restaurant and ordering a ‘meal’, it’s drummed into the staff to ask, “Is that large?” Humans are programmed to subconsciously want to agree rather than say ‘no’ – it’s easier that way, you see – so even those who don’t want a large size meal can feel subtly pressured into saying ‘yes’. I hate that – it really irritates me. I know they have to make a profit but I always interpret the question as “You are too stupid to know what to order. Let me tell you what you should be having, and if you say ‘no’ then there’s something wrong with you”.
I still say ‘no’, but it annoys me. If I wanted the large version, or ‘fries with that’ I’d say so, thank you very much. When I purchase petrol I’m not routinely asked if I actually want diesel, or a gallon of oil to go with it. When I ask for something I’m pretty confident I’ve asked for the thing I want. If there are available add-ons or variations then by all means tell me what they are and what they cost, then let me make a decision, but don’t assume I am ‘going large’ all the time. It’s irritating.
Of course, I know the question is not posed by staff on their own initiative – I’m not blaming the individual; it’s the system (as usual). I’m just saying it would be nice to be treated like an adult, as happened to the wine-buying woman in the pub yesterday. Well done that barman / pub!
In other news, I was back at hospital today for an outpatient’s appointment (last one, woohoo!) and decided to mischievously circumvent the double registration and deli-ticket system (see ‘Please Take a Ticket’). I ignored the ticket machine and first reception desk and went straight up to the receptionist at the second desk (there was no queue anyway). I then held out my appointment letter, smiled, and said, “I decided not to take a ticket because there’s no point to that other desk, so I’ve just come straight to you instead”.
The receptionist laughed and booked me in without any issue. Best of all, the hospital’s booking-in system did not collapse.