Today after my gym workout, I went to Subway to try to keep up with the healthy theme for today - and I was greeted rather nicely by the Sandwich Maker (thats the official title I'm giving him)
As soon as I walked in, he greeted me with a smile and welcomed me to the restaurant,and asked me what sandwich I wanted. He asked me how my day was, and all was going smoothly...until he asked the bomb question, "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR DAY?", and I slipped and made the mistake of saying "Oh its my off day, I'll be drawing, I'm a freelance illustrator" and I was asked - what I like to call, "The Unnecessary Questions".
Unnecessary question #1: "So what is a freelance illustrator"
Unnecessary question #2 which follows: "Oh thats neat, how long you been doing that?
Now, I know what you may be thinking- the guy is making small talk while he makes my sandwich. Give him a break. Yes, I can understand this- but [warning: further reading this blog will reveal how much of an @$$hole I can be]but I have this theory on formulaic, social engagement.
There's a couple different categories for this, but the one we'll be focusing on here is: "Small Talk for Vendors (STV)".
Given a situation of business exchange, the vendor, through several exchanges, gains an understanding of how much time is needed, either to run the item you're buying and give a receipt or in this case, to make a sandwich and receive money and give receipt back.
Inquiring about the client's job and all the details of mentioned job gives the client free range and control of the conversation- the time here that the client will talk can range depending on the client.
Now, if you are sincerely interested in what the client has to say and not on a time limit, then by all means, ask away. The world needs nicer people with bare-naked motives. But, and this is a strong butt,if you're doing small talk for small talk's sake and just want to finish the business exchange....avoid these questions and, if you're already heading in that direction, cut it off right at the head.
EX: "What are you going to do with your day?" - "I'm going to draw" -
ANSWER: Ah, very neat! Well enjoy
On my end, I made the convo as brisk as possible, answering the questions as straight forward as possible. There has to be some commitment to the STV, otherwise instead of feeling authentic and actually interested (not to say ALL of it is faux caring, just on those ones you can tell are), it will appear as it were: annoying and a form of small talk - which in the act of generalizing a person's career/day to further a conversation and pass the time, is somewhat insulting.
MIND YOU, this type of conversation is PERFECTLY okay with someone you're actually getting to know, friends, family, etc - just in a situation like this- with someone you'll probably never see outside the business- certain strategies must be considered and engagements followed.
I say all of this and rant about proper social engagement and how annoyed I am this man politely tried to talk with me- but last week I had just the opposite experience at the Wendy's drive thru- one person opened the window, said the total for the food and took my cash- then another person handed me my food, finishing with a "thank you sir" and a prompt closing of said window.
You'd think I'd prefer this to Subway guy, but I was equally if not MORE annoyed by this! I've become accustomed to these little exchanges with people who all in all really don't care about me or my day- the faux sincerity is part of the whole business of it all though, and is something that has been around for a looong time.
What have I learned from all of this brooding and babbling?
I'm becoming more antisocial as I grow older- & I need to start cooking. Ah the reclusive artist's life!
THANK YOU FOR READING MY RANT (if you've read this far into it you either really love me or are ridiculously bored...or maybe both. And I'd appreciate all 3!)
I'll be posting some sketch updates and such later this week, stay tuned ;).
Cheers boys and girls!