I had to buy a set of replacement registration tags for the pets, because someone not me had lost the originals. This was my first time at Hume CC’s payments desk, which I note is arranged (not uncommonly for this kind of facility) so the customer/client is standing at a counter behind which sit the officers. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be behind the counter, sitting down, looking up at the people you are dealing with all day, but I will say I feel like I am being invited to ogle the Council’s employees up close from a bird’s eye view, i.e., look down ladies’ tops. Today, the people I dealt with had dressed with this scenario in mind and were modestly attired, which I was relieved about, because I never like that kind of experience frankly, I think it demeans us both. But surely this happens a lot and it can’t make anyone feel good about themselves, ultimately. Even just the weird arrangement of one person standing and another sitting makes the whole thing feel strange.
We had this exchange.
She: There is a replacement fee for the tags
Me: I know, I talked to someone about this on the phone a while ago.
She: (A lot of trying to enter details on a computer screen etc)
Me: (Waiting boredly)
She: It’s $4.35
Me: So that’s $13.05?
She: No, $4.35 each.
Me: (Thinking well, whatever, I still think I’m right but don’t especially care)
She: So that’s $13.05 (No acknowledgment that I am a brilliant mental arithmetician).
Me: Can I EFTPOS that?
Oh it was all so dull I can’t believe I wrote it down.
I think I wanted to make a point not that I was right, right, right but that in a dull jobsworth job like hers there are no brownie points, indeed, no point at all in trying to jump across the steps. You just do what you do in the correct sequence. Also, that the way we are physically arranged in relation to each other gives neither of us any reason to respect the other or even acknowledge each other as people.