Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catch of the Day

At The Register by John Fischer
Chandler and I have a new yogurt spot we like to frequent after I pick him up from school. It's one of those places where you serve yourself the flavor of soft yogurt you want from a row of wall dispensers and then you choose from a number of toppings and finally you pay for everything by the ounce.

One day recently my bill came to $6.63. I gave the young girl behind the register a ten-dollar bill and, as is my custom, I searched my pocket for change. If I have the $.63 in coin, I like to get rid of the change in my pocket instead of adding to it. So I pulled out my change and found I had $.62—a penny short. "Will you take $.62?" I asked. The girl nodded, took my $.62 and I waited, fully expecting four dollars back. Instead, she fished out exactly $3.99 and counted it all out into my hand.

"I don't want this," I said. "The whole idea was to get rid of change, not add to it." She looked at me like she didn't know what I was talking about. I opened my mouth to try and explain, but one look in her face told me it was useless.

"Here," I said holding out the $3.99. "I'll give you back this and we can start over. Just give me change for a ten."

"Can't do that," she said. "The drawer is closed."

Why would I bother giving someone $10.62 so they could give me $3.99 back? It defied logic, but then again, she was just doing her job… recording what I gave her into the computer and giving me back what the computer told her.

I walked away realizing I was not going to get anywhere with this and finally able to laugh over it. The temptation was to call her something dumb in my head, but that wasn't going to help anything. Further reflection led me to realize this happens a lot when people don't understand each other. They are both seeing the same thing in a different way. It's not that one is right and the other is wrong; they simply have two different perspectives on the same thing.

I've realized from this that I need to not always try and get someone to understand my point of view. Maybe I need to put forth a little extra effort and try and understand theirs.

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