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Featured Why ask a complete stranger how they're doing? Just me?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Autistic Yoda, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Autistic Yoda

    Autistic Yoda Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'. V.I.P Member

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    Cashier, ringing up my purchase: How are you doing today?

    Me, depending on mood:
    1) About how I usually am.
    2) Reasonable.
    3) (Ignoring their insincere question entirely) Hi.
    4) But I've given you no reason to care yet.
    5) Yes, Americans do think it's polite to ask complete strangers how they're doing for some odd reason.

    Is it just me, or is it us in general? I need a good reason to speak insincere words. I'm not participating in some random stranger's ritual of insincerity. I might resort to dishonesty to protect secrets or escape trouble, but not casually and without purpose. They're asking a fake question (they have no reason to care), expecting a fake answer. You're supposed to say 'good' or 'okay'. If you're depressed or in a bad mood you're just supposed to lie. Nope, not playing that. Anyone else?
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
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  2. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    A lot of the time, I say, "Good, how are you?" and it's as if they don't even hear me and perhaps don't, they don't answer or acknowledge my answer or anything. The robot completed its command and has gone into standby.
     
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  3. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    It's a feelgood ememe (emotional signal), where the actual question is not important, but the social message it sends. There is a social need to be seen to be friendly and sending the right ememes, and also, if they are working in a store, their boss/supervisor probably instructs them to greet the customers. But when you're a cashier at Walmart/Tesco/Lidl or wherever, after greeting the 100th customer it becomes robotic, mindless and loses all meaning.

    I sometimes ask people how they are if I know they have been unwell, but I never use it as a greeting. If I want to greet someone, I just say "hi". But it's also a cultural thing: where I live, people don't use it quite like that.
     
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  4. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    The customer is essential to the business.
    Some of the larger stores I've worked in have protocols and scripts to use when greeting customers.
    All part of the 'keep them coming back' strategy.

    I've been on both sides of the fence, as it were.
    I engage more now with the cashiers owing to the job they're doing under the threat we're in.

    Serving or assisting something like 500 customers daily increases their chances of contracting this virus and passing it on to their own families and yet they still show up for their shifts.
     
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  5. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    Don’t be too hard on cashiers. They’re wage slaves whose employers force them to ask you how you are.
     
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  6. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it is useless also.
    And you know they don't care how you are.

    Somewhere along the way, society in general invented these needless acts of saying certain greetings
    to everyone. It isn't just cashiers. But, it is true, most all people in a business type setting are taught
    to say this.
    Neighbors say it. People wanting to start up a convo say it.
    It is designed to make you feel at ease and cared for. So there is a definite psychological component
    behind it.

    The waitress/waiter in restaurants are even worse IMO.
    They start out with the "How are you doing today?" then add, "what can I get you to drink?"
    "Do you know what you want to order or do you need some time?"
    All said while I am reading the menu book. That makes me feel rushed to make a decision.
    They must all go to a waitress school, because whatever I answer, they reply: Absolutely!
    Definitely the in word! Absolutely.
    Then, like about every 5 mins. while I'm eating they whiz by and ask if everything is still doing good?
    (Let me eat in peace, please!!!)

    I eat slow, so the next phase is "are you finished or still working on it?"
    "Are we going to need a box?"
    They have the act down to an art.

    If you really want to screw with their heads, whomever asks "How are you doing today?"
    Reply: "How am I doing what today?" :confused:
     
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  7. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    After I read what they think of us, I don't bother,I still love that employee review sites exist, the whip cracking bosses can't control that.
     
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  8. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    Have you ever worked as a food server?
     
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  9. Moonhart44

    Moonhart44 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    i really hate when people ask me how i am
    one time, a college mate asked me and he tried to finish my sentence, i suspect as a way of flirting, but when i answered truthfully, not only did it catch him off guard, but he never talked to me again? (literally this guy was in my hangout group and we never talked after that haha)
     
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  10. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Surgeon: "Hi, I'm doctor (redacted) how are you?"

    Me, surrounded by anesthesiologists and nurses, about to undergo emergency surgery: "Good! You? Um...wow, that's a scripted response, isn't it? Obviously I'm not doing so great if I'm here to see you."

    Actually happened. Dang that masking and those canned responses!
     
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  11. WildCat

    WildCat V.I.P Member

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    It's called small talk, an opportunity for conversation and to let your guard down (as well as theirs) for a moment for whatever reason. That's the entire point.

    Yes, some employees at some jobs are instructed to ask, but scripted or not it's still an opportunity.
     
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  12. hatfullofrain

    hatfullofrain Well-Known Member

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    I don't see the point either. So that it doesn't annoy me I view it as an extended Hello or an "I am acknowledging your presence and if you reply you acknowledge mine."

    Just don't ask a black cashier about her hair and refer to it as hair of her "culture", if you are white, like my friend did. I wanted the ground to swallow me. There's a line. "How are you," is a nice non-complicated friendliness that won't offend anyone or become awkward.
     
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  13. Autistic Yoda

    Autistic Yoda Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'. V.I.P Member

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    Idiocracy nailed this!


    I meant to say 'cashiers, for example'. I'll be more precise next time. I'm not truly rude to cashiers, which would be bad karma. In a bad mood I'm inclined to sound obnoxiously blunt like Sheldon Cooper. This must be suppressed, since the world doesn't care for it. In a good mood, I more closely resemble fun/cocky/bold Captain Jack Sparrow. That, I do get away with.:laughing:

    Welcome to Costco. I love you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
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  14. GeoAspieBabe

    GeoAspieBabe New Member

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    I used to be a cashier. I'm a very shy person though. We were trained to always ask customers how they are doing. Of course, it's not really sincere, it's just something I had to say that became robotic. Most of the time I wasn't even thinking about the person or how they were. Usually people just respond with "fine, how are you?" or something like that, to which I would say "I'm good, thanks". So store employees that ask that are probably just saying it because they are trained to.
    I agree that whenever a stranger asks how I am doing, I just respond with "I'm fine, how are you?" rather than actually telling them how I feel.
     
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  15. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I worked as a cashier for years and never asked anyone how they were doing. :eek:
     
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  16. Autistic Yoda

    Autistic Yoda Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'. V.I.P Member

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    Right, because that would be irrational!
    Step 1) You get to know a person over time. You become invested in their story. There are no shortcuts to friendship- it must be earned.
    Step 2) You decide you like them. You're rooting for them to succeed, now that trust and goodwill have been successfully built over multiple meetings and conversations. Ideally, favors are performed as well.
    Step 3) NOW, you're finally ready to ask how they're doing. To hope they had a good weekend and all the rest. Because you've both taken the time required to complete the first two steps. You've earned a friend, so naturally you wish them well.

    Friendship, love, and family status are never instant.
     
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  17. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Like to ask this because l can guage how talkative and open to buying suggestions they maybe.
    Some people open right up, want my suggestions (mostly woman), and it's a win win.
    If the answer is prompt, curt and delivered with little emotion, then l feel they are saying this is my space and you are invading it. So get to task and move on.
    Other times, they maybe be wrestling with bad news, and this is an opening for them to discuss it. Yes, l am in a restaurant.
     
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  18. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    I usually reply with "I am alive." To which they often reply, "It is better than the alternative." And now we are on the same wavelength.

    Similar to another social pleasantry, "How's it going?"

    I don't consider it a lie. It is a social convention. Social conventions are not lies because there is no intent to deceive. We just aren't speaking the same language. The definition of "How are you doing?" varies depending on the situation. If a doctor asks the question, it has one meaning. If you are going through a difficult time in life and they ask it in a concerned voice, it holds a different meaning.

    If you meet someone casually on the street, it has yet another meaning. In that case, it means "Hello." The standard response is not a literal description of how you are feeling and it means, "Hello back at you." The question is not insincere because to the person asking it, it means exactly what they think it means. "Hello."

    Another greeting might be "What's up?" You could respond with "Not much." Or even something a little more detail like, "Waiting for..." or "On my way to..."
     
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  19. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Not a lie and not insincere. There is no intent to deceive. The question is a commonly understood pleasantry and not a literal request for data. Cashiers and similar workers may be required to say it as part of a script. It isn't within their control so there is no reason to be cross about it.

    If you react as though it were a lie - or even just ruminate on the "lying" nature of the question - you've caused yourself unnecessary heartburn and maybe alienated someone who was just trying to be friendly.

    My response to the question is usually, "I am alive." Truthful and optimistic without revealing my inner turmoils.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
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  20. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    "How are you?" < "How do you do?" is very close to a rhetorical question and is interchangeable with "Hello," with its key intent being
    "I acknowledge you."

    This is most clearly seen in its derivative, "Howdy."

    "Fine. How are you?" or "Fine, thank you," are scripted responses intended to convey "Thank you for acknowledging me; I acknowledge you, too." [​IMG]

    (FYI, Alexander Graham Bell wanted to use "Ahoy" as the standard telephone greeting, ☎ but Thomas Edison's "Hello" won out.)
     
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