Everywhere you go today, for a service, they’re trying to show you how to do their job. I ask the man at FedEx to copy a double-sided piece of paper for me – which I have much trepidation over and dread it’s as hard as I imagine it to be; NASA-like instructions, Japanese braille, and Egyptian hieroglyphic motif all compiled into one – and he points over to the copy machine – a prop from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil – and says, “It’s easy.”
Right, it’s “easy” he says; this is code for: I’m about to show you how to do my job.
“All you do is copy the first side by pressing the scan and paste button, next to the flashing green arrow, then the screen will ask you a series of questions.”
I don’t want to know how. That’s your job. I came here to pay you to do the job for me. I’m scrounging everyday for pennies to come in here and pay you with – one step removed from a guy next to a highway exit holding a sign reading “it’s not begging, it’s caring.”
That’s why you work here: to do it for me. You’re getting paid. I’m not. I’m paying you. You do it. Quit telling me how I could do it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to learn. In fact, I don’t want to learn anything here. That’s how paying for a service works. You’ve been trained, you know how, I pay: you do. Then the result is, I do nothing. That’s what I want to do. Like Spinoza, Sunyata, the guy from Office Space: nothing.
Even after you’ve implied you want them to do it – or flat out told them so – they stand at the machine with you, walking you step by step, convinced they’ll show you how to do their job one way or another.
“So you see, just press that. Can you take it from here?” they ask as though you’re a toddler pushing triangles into triangles, squares into squares and circles into circles.
When you see how it’s actually done you realize never in your wildest dreams you would’ve figured that out on your own. Rather, you would’ve been pushing triangles into squares for hours. There’s buttons and color options and size options and paper placement issues and saving and storing and arrows and calligraphy dissertations. It feels like a test course to becoming an astronaut.
You tell him, “No. I can’t. You showed me once. It would probably take 20 examples for me to attain a primitive understanding of how to merely get through one-third of the task. I didn’t know I was being graded, I didn’t want to watch, I didn’t want to learn anything – I didn’t come here to learn. It’s ten o’clock at night, I’m tired, my exhaust meter is out, I’m at my limit of learning capabilities and I have no desire to learn how to do your job. It’s your job. You. Yours. Not mine. You-yours-you. Your job. You. Not me. You. Got it? I’m paying to have a job done – not to learn something.”
Every time they show you how it’s done they conclude by saying, “So now that you know how, next time you can come in and do it yourself.” As though you want to come in and do it by yourself.
We’re swimming up stream again, for no reason whatsoever. Again, I don’t want to do it by myself. In fact, every time I come in here I want to arrive as dumb as I was the last time, and I want you to do it for me, every time.
It’s not my job. It’s yours. I don’t want the added pressure in life to learn another skill I’m going to use every Solstice or Equinox. It’s just not that important to me.
Besides, it’s the principal of what’s wrong here: you’re trying to have a customer do the work you’re responsible for. It’s what you’ve been trained for, not us. It’s what you’re getting paid for, not us.
Quit trying to teach or show or train the common layman how to do your job. It’s yours. You. Not me. Yours. You own it. You do it.