DISTRUPTION MISSION: connecting with cardboard cutouts

I was browsing in a shop the other day when the salesclerk approached me. The following conversation ensued:

Her: Hello. How are you today?
Me: Fine.
Her: Can I help you find anything?
Me: No I'm just looking.
Her: Ok. Let me know if you have any questions.
Me: Ok. Thanks.

A few minutes later another person entered the store. The salesclerk approached her and the same exact conversation occurred between them. That got me thinking. How many times a day does this poor salesclerk have this same conversation? How many times as the shopper do I have this exact exchange with every sales person? I started thinking about the lady working the grocery store checkout line. The hot guy at the gym. "How are you?" "Fine. Thanks." End of story.

These encounters are so typical and so boring that we don't even notice them. In fact I refer to these people as cardboard cutouts. It's disgusting and terrible I know. I am always so lost in my own thoughts it doesn't occur to me that this is a real person in front of me. I am certain these working people feel the same about me. "Here comes another boring customer. Ho-hum."

Announcing the first official DISRUPTION MISSION

How many times a day do I miss an opportunity to meet someone new? Discover what they are like? Maybe surprise them a bit by actually caring enough to find out more about them? Maybe I can brighten someone's day. Maybe they spark a new idea for me. Who knows what can happen.

For the next week I am going to try to engage random strangers in an interesting conversation. I am going to attempt to connect with the cardboard cutouts and see what happens. I am going to cease being a cardboard cutout to others.

 As I feel our culture is highly lacking in personal relationships this will be an opportunity to challenge my own rut. We have no problem friending acquaintances on facebook, but taking time to meet people face-to-face seems to be a dying art. For the next week I am going to step outside the BORING ZONE and stir things up. I will report my results in next week's post.

The Challenge

And I challenge you. Next time that dude at the gas station asks how you are doing maybe shock the bored-to-death guy by responding in a unique or humorous way. These cardboard cutouts are real people. How often I forget that. Let's have fun pushing the comfort zone!

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