General Question

live_rose's avatar

Why do small things annoy us so much?

Asked by live_rose (1223points) June 28th, 2009

I’ve noticed at work (I’m a cashier at wawa) that the following things bug me:
Bagging things that dont need to be bagged
bagging newspapers
being told someone doesnt need a bag . . .when its obvious ( like for a cup of coffee)
Having people put money on the counter instead of my open hand
Holding money up in my face till I take it
Ask for matches before I offer them
Pay with 100 dollar bills
Act like Im wasting their time
The list goes on and on I actually plan to mark off how many times I get annoyed at work tomorrow. My question is why would small unimportant things . . . such as bag politics annoy people? Well maybe the bag thing is just me but you get my point

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36 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As you are counting how many times you get annoyed tomorrow, as yourself if people who get annoyed easily are annoying.

TheWatcher's avatar

That is a good question. Maybe your a picky person. But then again no one is perfect in this world. Not even Jesus was.

live_rose's avatar

I dont make it public that im annoyed with people Im not the bag Nazi I give anyone matches and bags to their heart’s content. But yeah i’m a bit anal

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think small things – especially small things while you’re working – bother you so much because you have to deal with not one small annoyance, but a number of small annoyances, throughout the entire work day. Because you’re working, probably getting tired as the day goes on, the annoyances will build and seem much more significant than they might otherwise.

TheWatcher's avatar

I never got that expression…..being anal about sumthing….

live_rose's avatar

@TheWatcher I think it has to do with over analyzing things . . .I could be wrong

juwhite1's avatar

I’m going to give you some free career advice… you are in the wrong job. You are working in a customer service position, but are very easily irritated by almost everything your customers do. The good news is that customer service doesn’t pay much, so you’re not really missing out on a big paycheck. The bad news is that you really ought to start job searching, even though the unemployment rate isn’t in your favor right now.

TheWatcher's avatar

True. Of your gonna work at a job, try working at a job you love. Not just becuz your getting paid.

live_rose's avatar

@juwhite1 I’m 19 years old this isnt my lifetime career goal and yeah . . .I dont think the job is right for me. I just sucked in the deli a bit more than I did at ringing people up but Im willing to grin and bear it because I want to make some money I dont want to be a bum. But Im not a people person to say the least . . .and customer service not my calling

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You’re just upset with people being stupid. As we all are…

Try this, use the experience as a lesson in diversity… then write a book about how different people want and expect different things. You’ll make a million bucks on the story but don’t sell yourself short on the movie rights.

You’re at the ground level on the front line to get this knowledge and pass it along to another bagger in another life who wonders the same thing. You owe this great service to humanity… So do something positive to address this great evil. The world is depending on you.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You’ve spent a lot of time thinking of reasons people annoy you.

Now try the opposite.

Try to find one good thing in everyone you come across at work.
If you’re not a people person, then work on that. It’s going to be hard looking for a job where you don’t have to deal with people.

gailcalled's avatar

@All: “Anal Retentiveness” is a Freudian term.

“The term anal-retentive (or anally retentive, anal retentive), commonly abbreviated to “anal”, is used conversationally to describe a person with such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others, and can be carried out to the detriment of the anal-retentive person. The term derives from Freudian psychoanalysis.”

TheWatcher's avatar

Look you have a job and your happy. Think of it like this. Your costumers might have to deal with worse when they go to work. Don’t feel annoyed at them blame it on fate and chance.

juwhite1's avatar

@live_rose – Maybe trying jobs with less contact with the public for your next one would be good. Lots of people aren’t “people people.” Your fit for the jobs you take is really important to your overall happiness. You spend a lot of your waking hours working… don’t waste those hours of your life doing something you hate. I’d keep this job just long enough to find a better one for you.

TheWatcher's avatar

Ah frued….of course..

juwhite1's avatar

@live_rose – Being easily irritated by working with the public doesn’t, in itself, make @live_rose anal. It may very well be that this job is a horrible match for her and puts her in a bad mood, causing her to focus on everything she doesn’t like.

gailcalled's avatar

@live_rose: Technically not really. Anal retentiveness was used psychoanalytically to descrive a phase a young child goes through and relates directly to bowel control and the ease or difficulty of toilet-training a toddler.

@The Watcher. Remember, he is Fr*eu*d.

live_rose's avatar

@gailcalled . . .alright then not so close

live_rose's avatar

Just so everyone knows Im not always unhappy at work I do like some of my customers . . .I like stacking cigarettes and I get free icees. So I dont despise my job. just certain actions.

lillycoyote's avatar

You must not live too, too far from me if you work at a Wawa. Anyway, I’ve had several cashiering jobs over the course of my life and that was about the most annoyed I ever was. I think it might be the sheer volume of people that pass through your life when you’re a cashier. A fair percentage of people are just annoying and you have to deal with a constant stream of people, one every couple of minutes. Even if 5% of them are annoying that adds up to a lot over the course of an 8 hour shift.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Hate the sin, love the sinner.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

There are annoying things in my job as well. I often get truck drivers through my gate with no real grasp of English. Some of the drivers speak English fairly well, but are too dense to understand simple instructions. But, I love my job, and look forward to going in every day. Even though I have to wear a uniform, which makes me look dorkier than normal and I also have to keep my visible tattoos covered, because that is part of the job. But it’s only eight hours a day, so that gives me 16 hours a day to dress like I please.

Sounds like you are in the wrong line of work. Try something where you are not serving the public.

live_rose's avatar

Yeah I need to find a line of work that isn’t people centralized . That’s why when my dad was trying to push me into the nursing field i was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be that great at it.

TheWatcher's avatar

Goose frabaaa….“anger managment movie”

juwhite1's avatar

Maybe you’d be a good surgeon!

TheWatcher's avatar

I wouldn’t trust her with a scalpel anywhere near me!

live_rose's avatar

@TheWatcher ouch! No faith in my possible abilities?

TheWatcher's avatar

I’m just kidding love, always had faith. Always will. In fact when I need open heart surgury I’ll ask speifically for you ok ;)

live_rose's avatar

@TheWatcher I’ll be sure to wikipedia open heart surgery before hand so we’ll be set

wundayatta's avatar

I suspect it’s because people aren’t really treating you like a person, but more like a machine, or worse, a slave. Convenience stores are at the bottom of the store food chain, and convenience store clerks are even lower than McDonald’s “associate.” Did you ever see Clerks?

Here’s Hollywood Video’s mini description:
A day in the life of two convenience store employees in New Jersey. One is an apathetic video store clerk who trades insults with the customers. The other works the counter in a mini-mart while his life passes him by.

It sounds like if you just start ragging on your customers for all the little things that bother you, it won’t matter too much. You might even get a movie out of it (j/k).

But seriously, convenience store clerks are seen as kids, foreigners, or slackers, or maybe all three, so hardly anyone feels like they have to treat you as they would people they respect. They are rude and uncaring, and probably don’t even see you. I would guess that anyone in your position probably feels similarly.

I think that you should keep some soured milk under the counter, and when an annoying customer buys milk, you pretend to accidentally knock it off the counter, then catch it before it hits the ground (“Caught it! Not a drop was spilled! You announce triumphantly). But while you are behind the counter, and out of their sight, you swap the sour milk for the fresh. It will help you learn manual dexterity and sleight of hand, and when you get outta there, you can be a magician!

casheroo's avatar

I used to work at Wawa, I remember hating all those people you described. I also get annoyed when people put change on the counter. So disrespectful.

dannyc's avatar

Usually we have bigger problems on our minds, the small stuff comes up, and we lash out…simple theory X human communication technique, mostly unproductive. We must override that mechanism to properly deal with these things, usually a function of Theory Y utilization of brain resources.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because the small things are the last straws that break the camel’s back, which means there’s something more fundamental that keeps irritating us. For example a partner always works late and there’s hardly any time to have a good conversation. But then in the kitchen we notice the fork put into the wrong drawer and get upset.

In a shop we might suffer from choice overload, but then we get upset about bagged things that don’t need to be bagged. And so forth.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


WTF are you talking about…? Nursing is great! We get to play with penis and vagina every day. You call that a people job?

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