Last night I went to a grocery store for cream for my coffee. I also picked up some butter, and then cruised by the ice cream aisle. That’s my thing now, I eat ice cream and watch netflix until late late at night. Then i get up early and go to the yoga class at my gym. Underslept, over-sugared. but what the hell.
Anyway, on my way in to the store, I kind of vaguely noticed that the car next to me had its lights on, but the car was empty. I thought it was just one of those cars that stays lit up for a bit after you stop and get out, but then the lights go off on their own. When I left the store, the car was still lit up. Though dimmer now. uh-oh. So I made a note of the license plate and went in and told the two stock boys who were standing by the door.
“There’s a car in the lot with its lights on. I have the license plate number, can you make an announcement?”
Both young men looked at me.
“Can you interrupt the music and make an announcement? Should I speak to someone else?”
“That car?” one of them asked, pointing toward the dark parking lot.
“No,” I said, “you can’t really see it from here. I have the license plate number, do you want me to write it down?”
They both blinked and wandered over to the window to look out to see if they could see the car.
I went to the customer service desk. I said to the woman there, “there’s a car in the lot with the lights on, can you make an announcement?”
“No, I need the license plate number” She was only marginally more interested than the boys were. It was late, I’m sure their work is drudgery and underpaid, by that time of night, I bet they’re all kind of dissociating. But honesttogod, those boys were, I don’t know how they managed to stay upright –
Anyway, I told her the license plate number, and she wrote it down, so I thanked her and headed out. Just as one of the stock boys picked up the mic for the PA system and said, “There’s a car with the lights on in the parking lot”.
That’s it. Not the license plate number, not the colour or make of the car, nothing. I said, “I have the license plate number, you should announce that”
“uh, I already made an announcement” said the boy. He looked uncertain.
His colleague said, “I don’t think the owner would feel comfortable…”
“Look,” I said, “If you say ‘there’s a car with the lights on’ everybody will go, ‘oh too bad for that guy’. But if you say, ‘there’s a car with license plate xxx-xxx’ the proper person will say, ‘oh fuck, my lights are on!’ You’re not announcing their address, fer cryin’ out loud!”
“You want me to announce it again?” said the first kid.
“Yes, in fact, I think that will be a good idea.” And I gave him the license plate number for the sixth time. They wrote it down. Finally.
I would like to report that this whole time I was patient and kind. But I don’t think I was. Especially at the end, when I finally walked away saying “holy smoke, you guys” in a most condescending tone of voice.
Why was it such a production to make an announcement that the lights on a car were on? Why was EVERYONE so reluctant to take such a small action?
This is the tip of an iceberg of disconnection.