I sometimes wonder what it is about anonymity that makes it so very alluring for people to be really unpleasant to people.
And don’t be fooled: it is of course appallingly easy for anyone with some savvy and a little extra time to be "anonymous" (or my favorite perversion, "anonymouse") on the internet and go around insulting people left and right and spreading the nastiness just because they can and because their id loves to go grossly unchecked. Many of these people are docile little mice in real life and you would never think that they could be capable of spewing such aggression under a pseudonymous/anonymous persona and they probably just need a release; others just need to grow up and realize that the world doesn’t applaud their tantrums as much as they think it does; and yet others are actually truly unpleasant folks both on and offline– it’s just that it’s easier to get around IP filters and things like that in cyberspace. Meanwhile, what can you do in real life with an unpleasant person –attempt to ban them from the places you frequent? Not if the ACLU has something to say about that.
But back to the seductive power of anonymity: I am often amazed at how rude people can be to one another while being live and next to one another and sometimes –*gasp!*– while being forced to interact with one another. There is still that element of "I don’t know you, you don’t know me" involved which is the requisite for the aforementioned anonymity — you don’t know the person’s name or who they are; or even if you’re holding their credit card in your hand, they will be gone and out of your life in a few more seconds, so why should you care about them anyway.
The other day I was in line to pay for a small item and after an embarrassed ransacking of my purse looking for the exact change, I was one cent short.
The cashier just gave me a blank stare and unceremoniously dumped the change on my hand.
Now, this may sound petty to you (partly, because it actually IS quite petty), but I reeled from this person’s mistreatment for a bit.
Whatever happened to being nice to the customer, seriously? Nowhere in sight were those little penny trays that have always driven the point home about a penny being a trivial enough amount of money that you can even donate it so someone else can make the right change. Are penny trays not cool enough anymore or something?
Whatever happened to at least a kind word saying, "I’m sorry but if I don’t close this register within one cent of its contents, my boss will torture me Guantanamo-style" or similar pleasantry so that at least I feel better about getting seventy-four cents back?
ARGH! I hate the way this entry is sounding: I sound like a little grandmother lamenting the way things are. BUT I AM LAMENTING THE WAY THINGS TURNED OUT TO BE! I should be holding this laptop on a rocker and dabbing away with a little lace handkerchief. But seriously– people who use their anonymity to be unpleasant in any setting are just so irritating, aren’t they?
The biggest irony of it all? I got four pennies back.
And no penny tray around to deposit them.