Hello world, we’re back after a brief interlude (I blame laziness and a lack of financial motivation). To kick things off this week, we have a great question from our Fail Bag. If you have something awful you’ve witnessed and want it addressed in the safe and warm confines of Society Camp, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next person to have their question posted will win a $10 dollar gift card to The Shopping Channel, our unofficial sponsors (i.e., I got it in the mail as a promotion). Now on to today’s question.
Norm from Paris, France
Hello from Paris! First off, we’re huge fans of Society Camp here, thanks to our affinity for cynicism and unfiltered Gauloises, which remind us of your unfiltered views of the world that burn with rage like embers (editor’s note: this motherfucker is gonna make me cry, that was beautiful). I own a small shop and often get clients who come to the cash wearing their stupid headphones or the little balls in their ears, and I’m forced to either speak above them or repeat the same sentence three times. To make matters worse, the ones that have their music on so loud that they simply can’t hear anything you’re saying, do that thing where they roll their eyes and take off the headphones as though you’re inconveniencing their quiet time with Taylor Swift. I’ve debated enforcing a no headphones policy in my shop, what do you think?
Thanks for the kind words, Norm. I always just assumed people from France were assholes, and not because of the stereotype that you’re all assholes, more so based on the stereotype that you all think Jerry Lewis is a comedic god. That is fucked up. Like serial killer level fucked up. Next you’ll be telling me that French youth are into Dane Cook, at which point, your future is beyond doomed.
We live in a world where eye contact and human interaction have been replaced with longing looks at our smartphones and the constant comfort of earbuds shielding us from the outside world. And really, I’m okay with this, as it means less interaction with so many awful people. But here’s the thing, we are still living in a society, and unfortunately, we still require some level of communication to make this planet slightly less shitty. But that is hard to do when people expect you to communicate over the Kendrick Lamar blaring from their headphones. There is a time and place to disconnect from the world and monopolize your hearing…speaking to your fellow man is not one of them.
I like your gumption Norm, but I think your idea about a no headphones policy is a bit askew. I’m all for a no headphones at the cash register policy, but not for the store as a whole. When I go grocery shopping or attempt to spend what little life savings I have at Nordstrom, I want to listen to my music or podcast or whatever form of friendship and comfort I find through those beautiful audio waves and their ability to let me ignore the people around me. No annoying retail staff trying to upsell you. No listening to a couple arguing about which pineapple to buy (hint, just pick one and hope for the best, as not even Nostradamus could predict the proper ripeness of a pineapple). All this to say that the majority of the time that I traverse this barren wasteland in search of retail therapy, I do so locked in the confines of whatever audio candy my phone has prepared for me. But the moment I walk to that register, or approach someone with a question, you can bet you’ll have the attention of both my ears.
I just don’t get people that walk to a register with their headphones still on. It’s pretty much the equivalent of walking to the register with a mouth full of crackers, as you’re removing one of your main forms of communicating with the world. How hard is it to simply take them off? We live in a world where the pause button exists. And also, your life won’t be incomplete if you miss 30 seconds of a Drake song that you listen to on repeat anyway.
Even if you don’t really need to talk to the cashier to pay for your gum, pleasantries go a long way to, you know, making society a fucking society. That person is just standing behind the cash all day hoping for a brief one minute exchange that can alleviate them from the mundane act of standing behind a cash register. Though to be honest, they probably rather have headphones on than be forced to talk to your dumb face.
Also, while we’re on the subject, turn that shit down, as I don’t want to hear your music when sitting next to you on the bus. Listening to Katy Perry is bad enough as it is, but made all the worse when I just hear the bass line and a sliver of her annoyingly catchy choruses. I’m not a violent person, but would like nothing more than to wrap the headphone chord around the neck of those people who seem to think you want to hear what their taste in music is. As though you’ll notice their listening to a band you mildly enjoy and want to become their best friend.
And lastly, as a simple point of pride and not wasting you money, stop it with the fucking Beats by Meh headphones. Those are garbage. There are better brands for the same, or even less, money and they won’t make you look like a tool. I just don’t get the draw, these kids weren’t even born when 2001 came out, and their parents were still virgins who drank juice boxes when The Chronic was a thing. I feel like most people who wear Beats think they are made by some engineer named Andre. If you see someone wearing Beats headphones coupled with a Canada Goose jacket, you can be assured that they are garbage humans, as that is the less expensive version of someone that buys a white BMW or Benz. Simply put, without even talking to them, I can guarantee you that they are selfish assholes with awful world views. Similarly, anyone wearing a Patriots hat also falls into this distinction, but they are just more frugal in how they show the world how awful they are.
Sentence: Anyone caught talking to someone, anyone, not even a cashier, while still wearing headphones, will receive a full day at society camp.
Reform Punishment: Chumbawamba, Tubthumping…all fucking day, coming from Beats headphones that seem to only emit bass and hatred (which is every pair). Let’s see if you’ll be able to get back up again after that.