“Excuse me.” “Hi.”

I’ve noticed a new bad habit brewing amongst people around here. I’ve noticed it more when I’m at work, but as that’s been most of the time that I ever have social interaction with strangers that isn’t surprising. It’s only worth mentioning that I see this at work because it’s especially annoying there. There will be several situations in which I will need to get by somebody in order to do my job (such as stocking a shelf, pushing a cart to a particular department, or pulling a pallet off of the sales floor). Naturally I will say “excuse me.” In about the past year or so people will respond with a greeting. In other words, the conversation will go like this:

“Excuse me.”

“Hi.”

In of itself I find this very annoying. I’m having one conversation and they decide to stop it to have a different one. This feels like an interruption. If anybody knows me well enough, my biggest pet peeve is when people interrupt me. It’s also a lesser important conversation. If I say “excuse me” that means I need to get by the person. I might have a safety hazard to move out of the way. Let’s have the conversation that we’re supposed to have here. The same goes for when I say “sorry,” by the way. Sometimes I unintentionally walk into somebody else’s path. I say “sorry” but then I get a “hi” back. What happened to forgiveness?

At first the only thing I could think of was a well-intentioned but misguided attempt at keeping positive. Why not give a friendly greeting to a stranger? That’s fine, but it should also be appropriate. Over time an addition to the greeting cropped up, at least at work. I’ll say “excuse me,” they say “hi,” and then follow it up with a question about where something is. So not only am I getting interrupted, I’m getting interrupted by something that’s going to take time out of what I’m doing. I know helping customers is one of the things that I’m supposed to do while I’m there. Still, if I have a safety hazard that I have to get off of the sales floor like an empty pallet, let me keep going.

Maybe I’m only frustrated about the habit because I connect it to interrupting. It’s not really that bad a habit. I do find false attempts at being positive to also being annoying, but that alone wouldn’t merit an entire blog post about it. Actually, I’m surprised I got this far. I was going to do another one of those posts where I lay out a few different speech and writing habits. It’s good that I wrote so much about this one. I can’t think of any others.

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