Nobody Reads Nothing

Not Toasted
Not Toasted

I’m deliberately abusing the English language grammar rules to make a point. I think I get to do that in a title. I point this out because I have grammar gurus, word nerds and rule mongers following and editing this blog. In case you’re one of those folks and you are having a hard time with the whole wrong-word-used-for-effect thing, let me just say that I’m confused and upset and frustrated. Or, I’m confused, I’m frustrated and I’m upset. Or, I’m confused, upset and frustrated. Or I am all of those things, said the right way with correct punctuation.

The picture in the upper right corner didn’t start this little rant, but it pushed it out of my brain and onto the page for two reasons. First, this isn’t the first time this (I’ll get to what this is in a minute) has happened, and second, this isn’t the only place this happens. What happened was that they toasted my sandwich.

I explained to the clerk that I was buying the sandwich to have for lunch. I do that sometimes when I haven’t brought a lunch and when the weather forecast is such that I don’t want to have to go out for lunch.

The first thing that bothers me is that the clerk has to add “Not Toasted” to my order. I would think that “Toasted” would be the option, but no. “Not Toasted” is a button on the cash register. It prints on the receipt, on the order slip (pictured) and on the screen above the woman who makes my sandwich. I can see the screen from the counter. I actually yelled over to the woman as she was putting my sandwich in the oven: “the ham and cheese sandwich is not to be toasted!

Slide, slam, toast, ding.

Huh? You didn’t want this toasted?

No.” That’s why I added “not toasted” to the order.

Her response was to replace the French Roll that the sandwich is served on. They have done this every other time when they have made this mistake. This time, I decided to be a jerk about it.

If you don’t mind” I was trained to be polite, even when being a jerk. “If you don’t mind, I’d like a new sandwich, not just a new roll.

But the new roll is not toasted.”

But the sandwich was toasted and the cheese has been melted and I’m not eating this thing until noon” (it was 6:15 am).

Apparently, any old clerk can waste a roll. Wasting ham and cheese requires a manager.

Not Toasted
Not Toasted

The manager looked at the slip, looked at the sandwich, looked at me and said “you should have asked for this not to be toasted when you ordered it.

Seriously?

I wanted to say “you just read the slip. The slip says ‘not toasted.’ How do you think that got there?” But I simply said “I did.”

He looked at the slip again and agreed that the whole sandwich should be replaced. Then he instructed the sandwich maker to read the slips more carefully in the future.

While I’m on the subject, another thing that nobody seems to read is email. I send out invitations to events held by a professional association. For a few years, we were offering people who couldn’t make it to the event in person, the option to attend over WebEx. The email invitations were two paragraphs long. The first talked about the event. The second paragraph described the logistics and ended with: “If you can’t attend the event in person, we can arrange for you to participate over the Internet.” If you registered for the event, there was a separate price point for Attend via Internet. We charged less for that option since we couldn’t serve breakfast over the Internet – all we need is that Heisenberg Compensator, sorry, you know, Star Trek.

Without fail, at least one member would send me an email asking: “I am unable to make it to this event in person. Is there any way you can stream the event over the Internet?

I’ll be voting later today. The polling center I am assigned to divides the list of registered voters according to street. I am usually in the second group of streets. Last year, perhaps because they expected a lower turnout, there were fewer tables, each covering more streets and I was in the first group. While I was in line, I watched three people go to the wrong table. Each time, they ignored the sign and went to the table (I assume) they usually go to.

Now for the event that started this rant. There are signs on several doors in our building reminding people to open the door slowly since the door open out into a hallway. Three people have been clobbered by a door in the past month. Nobody reads nothing.

82 thoughts on “Nobody Reads Nothing

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  1. Here is one for you and for your word guru (Hi – Muriel!). I often see this sign on lift (elevator) doors when I am in hotels throughout the world. “Do not use the lift in case of fire”. To me, that means that I can never use the lift because ‘in case of’ means the possibility of the event, not ‘in the event of’. My wife just shakes her head and uses the lift!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, boy….me and email. If you sent me a two-paragraph email, that would one too many paragraphs. I scan, delete, maybe go back and then ask the person about their email….you know, the one I should have read. Tell me what you want in two lines or less. :D

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’d never have that sandwich problem at Tim Horton’s ;-)
    All kidding aside, my observation is not so much that people don’t read nothin no more, but that we’re all just in such a rush that we don’t read instructions. To counter this I’ve taken to putting my 2+ paragraph emails into numbered point form whenever possible. I find it’s harder for people to skip over steps if they’re listed out; 1, 2, 3, 4…and yet still some do :-(

    Liked by 3 people

  4. LOL I think we could all chime in with examples. Mine would be that I am in charge of communication for our MG group, but I always have someone ask why I didn’t send an email about topic X when in most cases, they have gotten more than one message already. :-) I’m also thinking that the vast majority of those under 50 are use to tweets and texts and an email is too much to ask them to read since they’ve probably stopped using email in their personal lives. Life is harder these days when you are asked to read two whole paragraphs. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I chuckle to myself thinking about how I did homework, took notes, studied for tests all with no TV, no radio, no phone – just quiet space. Now, my ten-year old grandson can juggle playing a video game on the Xbox while watching a You Tube video on how to play that game on the tablet on his lap, and keeping another game going on a phone.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I did vote at 6:10 am. Of course, this isn’t the election that is making all the news. This is the year of local elections for us. Those bozos in the national/international news are running for office in 2016 :( Thanks!

      Like

  5. See the problem here begins when you fail to read the sign that says DUNKIN’ DONUTS, at which point you would have said to yourself, “Oh, these are the people who can’t read their own instructions,” and would have gone someplace with better service. ;)

    What’s weird to me is when people read a post and then ask a question that was answered twice in that post. Speed reading at its worst, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At work I often thought of mounting a big red button on the door under a sign that read, “do not push button”. Of course the button would then sound an alarm so that everyone could glare at the person who pushed it.

    The lesson would be one in human factor engineering… when you create a button that screams PUSH ME, do not be surprised when people do. A sign or a caption is always the last thing a person looks at.

    Beyond that – there are still a surprising number of people who cannot read – and more who cannot read English. In the Twin Cities, with its 160,000 immigrants from Somalia, Laos, Burma and Central America, it is pretty common to encounter them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “So, we need “Open Slowly” in 16 languages? “

        Uh huh, that is pretty much what is happening. We have a large number of immigrants from Laos, Somalia, South Sudan and Burma in the area. If anyone thinks they speak “Laotian”, “Somalian”, “South Sudanese” or “Burmese” they would be wrong. There is really no such thing. Those are places, not cultural groups and each place has a host of cultures and languages…..

        Just so we can all get oriented correctly, I remember waking up on a bus in Guatemala in the middle of the night and realizing I was the only one on a crowded bus who spoke Spanish.

        Like

  7. I don’t read email.
    I use the search feature in email to find an email I want. Usually I’m looking for Promo Codes. I did recently return an item (a first for me.) It took way too much effort, but I did read all of the instructions on the email.
    I can’t believe the insanity of asking for a non-toasted sandwich. Like, really, isn’t that simple enough? So much hoopla over a basic request!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After your comment and Elizabeth’s I am feeling even better about the fact that you guys read my blog posts. Damn, I’m honored! The worst part of the non-toasted sandwich deal was the fact that the guy didn’t read the slip before blaming me for not ordering not toasted. It’s why I try to avoid fast food places.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I always feel bad when I know that my complaint will get the other employees in trouble. They are so conditioned for that job. There are signs all over the place with the “seven steps to a successful sale” printed. Each order is timed, and the average time and the goal is glowing in the corner. If I did lose my temper, I’d have to stay a while to explain that the service is bad because he won’t let the people stop and think about what they are doing.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. *applauds* Well, you must have known this post would resonate with ME, Dan! For a professional editor, the world is a target-rich environment, I assure you. The examples I encounter daily are like nails on a chalkboard. And good for you, standing up to the Toasting Authorities!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can only imagine your pain Paul. And, since I think you grew up knowing how to write notes, remember details and make change, the world much make you want to scream. Thanks for reading over here and for leaving well-written comments :)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had a good friend, a psychologist, who warned me that you have to tell people things three times in three different ways for anything to stick. If they charged extra for toasted sandwiches I bet this wouldn’t be an issue. As far as email – yeah, people only read the first and last lines, if they read anything at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d like to think your friend is being overly harsh, but he/she is probably right. I tell people stuff all the time that doesn’t stick. Email is the worst. I actually have people tell me that they didn’t read the email when I follow up with them. Thanks for the comment (I read it).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. The senior discount was a bit of a shock. I get it, but my older and, in my opinion, much older looking friend does not. I’ll take the 10% but I wonder what makes people decide that you are, in fact, over 60. Don’t worry about the comma, the editor not only noticed it but will toss it up to me with “and he’s an author” tacked on for good measure.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great rant. You write better rants than what I wrote professionally. Mumbai is more worse than this. Cars parked where it says No Parking. People pissing where it says No Pissing. People spitting where it says No Spitting. Train announcements saying please don’t cross the rail track, only when the train has passed or is right in front of you. Its a funny world.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, seems funny, but that’s the annoying ground reality here in India. Indians are very good at boasting about their festivities, rights and sacred culture and so on, blaming the West for bringing in the corrupt corporate culture and so on, but no one talks about their responsibilities, because you know what, India is a democratic country, I can say what I want, do what I want, piss around on the streets, throw trash on the road, offer poor pathetic service because I’m getting a low salary and the government doesn’t give a shit about all my personal suffering. So blame it on the government. I’m pissing on the road because government doesn’t build public toilets. I’m offering poor service because government doesn’t increase my salary. I’m parking my car in a no parking zone because government doesn’t build parking lots. Its time Indians should start thinking – Who Chose Such Government?

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh God. Not the Grammar Nazis. Oh well, is the name of this sandwich place Pete’s Toasted Subs? Maybe they are so used to toasting everything? It was funny about the order and I am glad you were polite BTW. I think people get distracted. One point, among the many here in this long comment, is when I read a page with a lot of info on it, I tend to skip over important stuff sometimes. Do you bold the part about Internet participation. And I think I would mention it more than once for people like me. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried bolding, underlining, I haven’t tried numbering like Norm suggested but I probably will soon. I skip stuff too. It’s a product of the pace of work/life these days. I know that the people at the Donut shop are working out of habit, but clearly they’ve anticipated people not wanting things toasted, since they added a “Not Toasted” button to the cash register.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I guess you just have to take a deep breath or count to ten when you get another inquiry about online participation. The Not Toasted thing is something all right. Maybe they have made the mistake so many times they had to have a special button for it and then it still doesn’t work. Gads!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I wanted to begin this comment by saying, “That bit about the sandwich is just unbelievable,” but unfortunately, I know that this terrible habit of not paying attention is quickly becoming the norm in the world. I’m SO glad that you called them on that nonsense this time, Dan. I can’t even imagine them just putting the same meat/cheese on a new roll, as if that’s acceptable. I always like to be polite too and give people the benefit of the doubt, but in this case? Brother, that is just unbelievable. (You know what I mean.) O_o

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wendy. I have watched them make this mistake so many times. I actually hurry up to the pick-up end of the counter, where I can see them making the sandwich to try and warn them. It was the manager’s comment that really got me.

      Like

  13. Dan, yep I read every word! That’s part of the old nurses’ training! I’d say people have multiple things on their minds, and miss what’s right in front of them. Even in conversation! I use the 1,2,3 system for e-mails. It could be steps, and it could be just comments, questions, or plain information. Believe me, that sometimes doesn’t even work! Next step forward the original email! Phew! How about a hand-made sign NOT TOASTED to wave at the sandwich maker? 🍔 Chryssa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am definitely going to try numbering steps in my next long email. I can only imagine how important it is for nurses to read everything, and how hard given the way they seem to be stressed these days. Thanks for reading! and for leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 🙊i can’t even get started or I wouldn’t stop. I feel your pain. On the flip side of that I have a friend who actually toasts all his sandwich breads before taking them for lunch. As well as only using mustard on them, no matter what yhe meat is. Bacon and mustard? It’s one of those things we simply don’tt alk about…😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can eat mustard on a lot of things, but I couldn’t put it on a BLT. Nope, no can do. I know people who toast bread before bringing lunch to work, but I would not want to deal with that.

      Like

  15. Now, more and more, we get a short line sent to us asking us for an estimate to refinish their grandmother’s table. No name, no phone number, no nothing. I write back and ask for images of the type of damage, and name, rank and serial number. I don’t get it, and they don’t realize that they might be a little out of our area (NYC?) so there are reasons to ask. I should try sending six emails, each with a different request. Also, I have had people go OFF on me for asking. So what, they want to remain anonymous while we work on their furniture? NO. But I always go back and review my emails to make sure I wasn’t crazy… And I am not going to spend my time doing and estimate (it doesn’t take five minutes) unless they have skin in the game.

    Good rant. I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine some of your pain Kate. I lost so much money providing estimates and design sketches that people took to other contractors or to home centers. Fortunately, I had my shop in the days before email. Refinishing seems so easy, but I know that it’s not. Refinishing and repairing is a whole ‘nother thing. Doing both right is a WHOLE ‘nother thing.

      Like

  16. Good rant! Something similar happened to us at a restaurant last week. He-Man always says “no mushrooms” if something he orders has mushrooms on, or in it. He ordered his food “no mushrooms” the waitress wrote it down, and sure enough his entree came with mushrooms.

    The waitress took his meal, and ticket back to the cook and we watched her show him the ticket and the error. He made a new omelette for He-Man. The funny thing was not 10 minutes later another waitress took back a plate of food, and the ticket to the same cook. That cook wasn’t reading nothin that night! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Was it a scene in ” Five Easy Pieces ” with jack Nocholson in the cafe , chicken sandwich ? that I am reminded of with the toasted sandwich . Anyway , take a few deep breaths and shake it off , Dan .

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Everyone is entitled to food prepared the way they like, Dan.Dan Especially since “The customer is always right!”
    I have over my nearly 60 years been a server or in old days, a waitress for shout 15-30 years. I have repeatedly told people in my own family or “party” at restaurants that they can ask for separate checks, items cooked the way they like (or not cooked as you prefer, Dan) and being specific is important. Never assume anything. I get mad at Bob Evans when I ask for “real butter, please” and I get margarine spread. There is a policy at my last place I was working a 2nd job to pay for college courses, Cracker Barrel, to serve butter unless asked for Promise. I also dislike when I order at drive thru’s, asking for specific things, I wait to “pull around” until I see, “Light ice” or “mayo on side.” They have to see it on the board, then on the message to each area of the place to get these right. Even then, tonight, I received 2 Big Macs instead of 2 Quarter Pounders in my bag and no tortilla chips for on my Southwest Salad. Did I go back? No, I am in Cleveland suburbia. In my small town I have all sorts of ph #s and call to inform them a mistake was made. A manager’s name will get me “free stuff,” next drive through. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I usually avoid the drive-thru lanes, and if I do stop there, I check the bag at the window. There are so many “systems” in place (I can snark at systems, because I write systems) that I think people are numb to the messages. I thought restaurants were required to serve Butter. I have noticed that lately, I have to ask for it. If I’m having pancakes, there will be butter on them. Thanks for the comment Robin, you’ve caused me to jot down some additional notes. I sense a follow-up post in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is good to know I may have triggered some more thoughts for part 2, Dan. :) I used to be able to count on service if the drive thru screen “said” my order. I like when I have a passenger, or I were the passenger, to check the “to go” bag.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I write as though I’m British. In other words, I’m comma happy.

    Dan, I think the problem is that ‘everyone’ is hooked on digital so if it isn’t on a screen of some sort, they aren’t likely to read it. (I don’t know what could be wrong with your emails though.) Welcome to the ‘Digital Age’!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nope, nobody reads nothing, Dan. I can attest to that, especially the email thingie. Everyone is busy and trying to skim whatever it is they have to read, or their mind is elsewhere. I almost replied to your post last night, after skimming through it while watching Star Trek (truth). But I can’t do justice to your post or my comments without the enjoyment of reading it thoroughly. Nope, ain’t gonna do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, thanks Mary for your full attention. I can’t compete with Star Trek, even if you’ve already memorized the dialog. If you ever see me liking a post in the evening but not commenting until the next day, it’s for similar reasons. Sometimes, I just can’t form a proper response.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Your title implies they read something and that is true. They read every other word.
    Now think about my comment as read in that manner.
    Your implies read and is they every word. Oh – that’s confusing! Why even bother reading? I will go where I want! Here’s your sandwich, now eat it! (meant as a joke)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Nobody reads nothing! Indeed. I first observed it at the university. Notices would be pinned on the department noticeboard but they would all be ignored. Then later on, someone would come to inquire about what should have been very obvious in the first place. However, one day, a certain frustrated wise guy, who had been trying to pass some information in vain, pinned a notice with the title: “DO NOT READ THIS!”
    Well, you can imagine how much it was read. There was even a crowd at the board.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Good rant; well written. Is it they ain’t reading nothing or they don’t think it applies to them? We had a run in with the ‘owner’ of an unleashed, running amok dog on the trail yesterday right under the ‘zero Tolerance for Unleashed Dogs’ sign. I’m usually a mutter-under-my-breath person but this guy got my full wrath unleashed because of Hub in his walker and the possiblity of the large dog banging against his fragile healing knee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had an earlier rant about “special” people Sammy. You may be right. I walk Maddie through the park every weekend, and we are constantly trying to avoid dogs that are off-leash – despite the numerous signs. I don’t know what would make you feel that “this law is for them, but not me.” If it ever comes to the point of conversation, it won’t be pretty on my end – I can be a jerk :)

      Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  24. Haha, I liked this from the title to the photo captions. I know it’s a global thing, this not reading, but since moving to Italy from Slovenia I’ve been noticing it even more, the vast difference between the nations. Here I haven’t seen anybody read the newspaper, for example, whereas there it’s a common practice (even though in decline as well, I’m sure). The signs and warnings – here nobody gives a damn about what they prohibit anyway, even if anybody would read them (they don’t). But the biggest surprise was to see how nobody took a split second to read what my t-shirt says that I like to wear at concerts. I have learnt to separate reading from just staring. :D

    I put that down to lack of subtitles on Italian TV (or German, or American…). Smaller nations, we have to get used to reading subtitles very early, and hence we automatically read whatever comes into our field of vision. I know that there are people who do that as well, no matter the conditioning, but possibly there are less of them if it’s not encouraged.

    I grew up in a family with newspapers and books everywhere and reading came early to me, children gathered around me in kindergarten so that they could hear me read. Now, however, post-TV devices encourage more reading again, it appears.

    (And if you are curious about the t-shirt, here it is at the end of this post: https://manjamaksimovic.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/top-five-concerts-of-all-times/)

    Like

  25. Given the comments, it does sound like not reading is an international thing. I think I would read that tee shirt though :) It’s funny that you mention subtitles. When I go to places like a bar, that has TVs on but without sound, I am fine watching and not knowing what they are saying. It’s usually sport news and it’s so repetitive that you don’t need to hear the story, the headline is enough. But, if they sho subtitles, I feel compelled to read them. Maybe it is conditioning, we were raised to read. Thanks for the comment.

    Like

  26. This one was so much fun, Dan! (Although not for you, it sounds like.) People find it hard to read negatives when they’re in a hurry, so clearly “Not Toasted” is a bad way to go. But what would be the alternative? “Raw Bread”? :)

    Liked by 1 person

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