Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Following Directions: The 20 Item or Less Line

I don't know how long I will keep this part up, but every time I find myself scratching my head over people following directions, I think I may post something about it. I decided to give it a separate section or title after today.

I went to the store to get an itunes gift card for my niece for her birthday and while I was walking up to the line for 20 items or less with my card and gift card, I realized there were three carts in front of me. I wasn't in any real hurry, and the other lines were longer, so I got in line.

I decided that with little to do while waiting in line, and my Twitter caught up, I would count their items for my own entertainment. The three carts in the 20 items or less line had orders of between 40 and 50 items. It was clear that none of them either observed the clearly obvious 20 or less items sign, or they simply didn't care (believing they were special enough that they should be waited on no matter what the conditions).

What made it even more entertaining was that right in front of me were two teachers from a local junior high (I gathered this from their conversation, not from any previous knowledge. Yeah, I know, I am nosy), who were complaining about how their students couldn't follow simple directions anymore making life so much harder for them. I couldn't help but think of how ironic it was when they took their 48 items up to the cashier who didn't have much bagging room and was struggling while they sat their chatting away, not lifting a finger to help him.

I guess we all feel that what we are doing is of the utmost importance, but it shouldn't be that hard to follow simple directions. It isn't like the 20 items or under line is new, or the signs are hidden from view, or there is no consistent location for the signs. Just one more indicator that ability to read and follow directions may just be one of the most important skills on a resume.

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