This past weekend, my beloved Mrs H and I went to a barbershop for me to get a haircut, and it struck home again just how much of our society is now attuned to, and ruled by, extroverts. The second we got in the door, the entire staff of the shop turned and chorused,
“Welcome to BazookaClips!”
No, that’s not the real name of course. But it was such a turn that it should have been. If we hadn’t had a real good coupon we probably would have left.
Various other businesses are doing this, too, I’ve noted. I’m assuming (I can’t see why else it would be done) that it has something to do with making the consumer feel at home. I suppose that makes sense as long as the consumer is shallow enough that they don’t notice that the greeting is frequently given with a glassy-eyed glance, and in a monotone that is usually reserved for the recitation of a Biblical genealogy.
Oh sure. Some of the “welcomers” are extroverts, too, and probably enjoy it. They’re the sorts who would be happy to meet a bug on the wall. But why is it assumed that greeting practices like these will be universally welcomed? Probably because as I said in an earlier post, extroverts are running the show – and the introverts figure there’s no sense in speaking up. And since they stay quiet, no one ever learns that some find the practice uncomfortable, shallow, or even objectionable.
I will speak up, though, the next time it happens where I’m the only one affected. Voicing an objection to the folks at BazookaClips isn’t what I have in mind; they’re under orders from someone higher, so it isn’t fair to object to them. They’re just doing their job. But in a meeting with a pastoral leader some months ago, the fellow on the other side was using my name something like twice a sentence, clearly following some business advice written by hardcore extroverts. If I get one of those meetings again, I’ll stop them and say:
“Look, I understand repeating my name all the time is some sort of relational practice you’ve picked up for business, but would you mind not doing that? It creeps me out.”
Why should we introverts stay quiet when the babblers invade our sphere so, you know – invasively?
I’ll probably get a blank stare after that. There are too many signs that the extros have taken over and don’t get it -- it's sort of like the way fundy atheists assume the values of the modern world held in the Bible's times. The other day I was put on hold, and instead of music or silence – either of which I would have far preferred – I got an extended recording of a man saying, “While we have you on hold, let me tell you about this product we have…”
No. Let’s not pretend this is a conversation, shall we?
It’s so bad though that Mrs H’s mother used to have a microwave oven that, when it was through cooking, would flash a message on its timer: ENJOY YOUR MEAL.
What? Are we so lonely out there that we want our machines to wish us culinary blessings?
It sure is funny. We hear so much about how people are lonely and hurting, and how Jesus (your good buddy) can help you with that. With the way we’re anthropomorphizing even microwaves, it’s little wonder Buddy Jesus is the main way churches try to get converts these days.
Take a clue from this introvert: It’s better to look for real, depth relationships – in the right places.