Saturday, February 07, 2009

A right to be wrong

When I'm sitting at the information desk, I've noticed that people tend to collect in front of the desk and discuss their plans. And, even though there's a guy sitting inches away from them with instant access to any piece of information they need, they'll have long discussions about dinner menus (I've got all the downtown restaurants' menus here), show times (the movie schedule is taped next to my computer monitor), and all sorts of other easily-checkable facts.

And they get them wrong a lot.

I'm never sure how to deal with this. I don't want to seem like I'm eavesdropping, and it might be rude to not only interrupt their conversation, but to correct someone's facts (which, in the waning days of the age of political correctness, is somehow considered rude). So I generally let them be wrong and let them discover their errors the hard way. The exception is if they're working under assumptions that have major consequences. I had one of these a few minutes ago; a group was discussing where to go for dinner, and when to make reservations, and how much time they'd need to eat to make it to their 8pm show. And I piped up and politely informed them that the show they'd been discussing was at 6pm, 80 minutes from now. And they were unhappy, almost angry. I thought I was protecting them -- keeping them from missing their show, for which they had already purchased tickets. But they thought I was forcing them to change their afternoon plans by moving their show time two hours earlier, and depriving them of adequate time to eat a nice meal. It's not rational, and a bit funny. Still, I don't like being treated like the bad guy when I try to help.

I don't let this kind of thing change my behavior; keeping someone from missing their show is still the right thing to do. And it's probably better that they vent their grouchiness on me; if I had kept my mouth shut, and they'd gone on to miss their show, they'd probably spend the next few weeks kicking puppies at every opportunity....

Okay, done venting. Back to my day.

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