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Old 09-26-2005, 09:34 PM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Why do so many people seem to have difficulty following simple instructions?

I'm hoping that this won't have to be moved to IMHO, but if that's the fate it must suffer in the absence of any factually based info on how the brain processes information, well, such is life.

I see it on a daily basis, from people who can't seem to enter the correct auditorium at a three-screen theater despite being told what direction to go in and the color sign to look for to people who can't seem to get their clothing on the hook on my massage room door in spite of the fact that I physically touched the hook when I told them where to hang their clothes to, well, I told you to get under the sheet, yet here's your bare ass smiling at me in all its un-sheet-covered glory.

I can understand if there's a language barrier, but I'm mainly talking about native English-speakers who can't seem to comprehend the simplest of directions.

Is there some psychologically based reason for this, some neurological wiring thingy that makes them unable to process "left, blue" or "clothes here on hook" or "under sheet"?

Or are they simply not paying attention?




Just so you know, this time I checked very carefully to make sure I was on the forum page before re-posting this
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Old 09-26-2005, 09:47 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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People don't listen when they think they know what to do. It's really that simple.
  #3  
Old 09-26-2005, 10:48 PM
xash xash is offline
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I don't think we can get any fact based answer to this.

Moved to IMHO.

-xash
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Old 09-26-2005, 10:58 PM
Critical1 Critical1 is offline
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cause people are stupid?

seriously thats the best answer I have. while working in a resteraunt I got the question
"whats bigger a whole or a half?"

at least once a week...
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:48 PM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
I don't think we can get any fact based answer to this.

Moved to IMHO.

-xash
General Questions Moderator

Well, it was worth a try, but I was really kinda hoping for something more than speculation on the part of individual posters here. But then again, it probably isn't a hot topic for psych students' doctoral theses.

Still, if taken in aggregate, the speculation of many different individuals with differing views on the subject might possibly average out to the truth.
  #6  
Old 09-26-2005, 11:57 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Sometimes the problem is that people's brains don't all process written and verbal information the same way.

Take this instuction that's part of a "how to build a garage door for the sims 2" explaination:
Quote:
Garage doors must be placed only on the joint between one driveway and one extender or between two extender pieces.
I read this, and had no idea what the hell they were talking about. What do they mean by "between"? Is there a way to leave a space between the driveway piece and the extender? To me that's "between" and that doesn't seem to be possible. What joint? Nothing moves, does it? If not, how could it have a joint? Every set of instuctions I found had this wording in it! I think it was cribbed from the guide.

After trial and error and using some floor tiles to mark off where the driveway met the extender, I finally got the door placed properly. After over 30 minutes of effort. Had I been able to see a picture of what they meant, I'd of realized that they could have said "on the line where the pieces meet" rather than "on the joint". But that rewording only helps people like me; there were plenty of people thanking the people who made the threads, so they obviously were able to grasp what was meant.

If something bugs you a lot because you need to explain it all the time, consider making a visual aide, or if verbal information doesn't seem to come across, write it up too.
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Old 09-27-2005, 12:19 AM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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Reading and deductive reasoning don't seem to be stressed as much as they once were-read the book has been replaced with watch the movie, although you learned more from the book. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-27-2005, 12:56 AM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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elfkin your example seems to me to be simply a set of poorly written instructions. Probably the people who understood the instructions had some kind of background in construction or carpentry, or at least watch "This Old House" on a semi-regular basis. Probably most people think of a joint as something that bends or moves (like an elbow or a knee) and wouldn't be aware that the word means "place where two pieces of wood meet". Anyhoo, yeah, that's definitely a situation that calls for a diagram. And anyhoo, instructions for any kind of construction project, even a virtual one, are way more complex than what I'm talking about here.

Also, it's kind of hard to create a visual aid when you're in the middle of tearing a ticket. "Go to the left, it's the theater with the blue sign" is fairly clear and concise. At least I thought it was. But people couldn't seem to comprehend such simple concepts as "left" and "blue", and would instead go straight on to the theater with the yellow sign, then come and bitch to me that the movie was half over.

Also, when I tell people where to hang their clothes, I physically touch the hook, so, yeah, there's a visual with the instructions, but half the time the clothes still wind up in assorted other places around the room- often on the little stool I sit on when I'm working the neck muscles, so I have to pick them up and hang them on the hook myself.

And do I really need to draw a diagram when I tell people to lie face down under the sheet which is turned down the way a sheet on the bed is?

In any case, I'm giving instructions that include descriptions of objects that are within my instructee's visual field, so visual aids shouldn't be necessary.
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Old 09-27-2005, 12:59 AM
Giant_Spongess Giant_Spongess is offline
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I am acquainted with a girl who, after being harangued (repeated verbal instructions accompanied by a diagram drawn on the board) by a teacher to write her name on the back of the test booklet (to avoid bias), wrote her name nice and big on the front page.
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Old 09-27-2005, 01:03 AM
Giant_Spongess Giant_Spongess is offline
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In her case, it's because she's a spoiled brat who thinks the world conforms to her needs, not the other way around.
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:24 AM
Large Marge Large Marge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Asbestos Mango
I'm hoping that this won't have to be moved to IMHO, but if that's the fate it must suffer in the absence of any factually based info on how the brain processes information, well, such is life.

I see it on a daily basis, from people who can't seem to enter the correct auditorium at a three-screen theater despite being told what direction to go in and the color sign to look for to people who can't seem to get their clothing on the hook on my massage room door in spite of the fact that I physically touched the hook when I told them where to hang their clothes to, well, I told you to get under the sheet, yet here's your bare ass smiling at me in all its un-sheet-covered glory.

I can understand if there's a language barrier, but I'm mainly talking about native English-speakers who can't seem to comprehend the simplest of directions.

Is there some psychologically based reason for this, some neurological wiring thingy that makes them unable to process "left, blue" or "clothes here on hook" or "under sheet"?

Or are they simply not paying attention?




Just so you know, this time I checked very carefully to make sure I was on the forum page before re-posting this
I find that people comprehend more of what I say when I have direct eye contact. If I don't, they begin looking around, thinking about other things and are only partly listening to what I'm saying.

You could try posting signs, too, like a sign right on the stool that reads: "Clothes on Hook Please" or something like that.

I'm at a loss as to why someone would leave themselves uncovered when you asked them not to. Perhaps they're nervous?
  #12  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:15 AM
cowgirl cowgirl is offline
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People are stupid. That's about the size of it.

There are a few people in my life who I love dearly but who I KNOW sometimes aren't hearing what I'm telling them. I can see them nodding and saying "Yes, I get it" but for whatever reason they don't. Why are they nodding? Usually it's some combination of:

- because they think they understand what I'm saying
- because they don't think it's important
- because they don't believe me
- because they aren't really paying attention

If it is important I make them repeat it back to me and half the time they can't. I say it a different way (sometimes a few different ways), sometimes I grab their shoulders and make them meet my eyes, and often I preface it with "You're not hearing me," then they get it. Usually.

Sometimes a well-placed kick helps things.

In the case of strangers who can't find their way to the theatre, I expect it's something similar. But since you (usually) can't kick them, other means are necessary. Never underestimate the common sense of the public. Make things as easy for them as concievably possible. Signs, colours, notices, eye contact, SPEAKING ... VERY ... PURPOSEFULLY ... AND ... SLOWLY ... these things help but are not infallible. People remain stupid and lots of people remain stupid in their own little impenetrable worlds. All you can do is make it as difficult as possible for them to do the wrong thing.

After one fateful trip on the Paris metro, I gained an enormous appreciation for the (seemingly) idiot-proof colour scheme on the London underground. And yet people still get lost. There's nothing you can do.

Perhaps kicking should be allowed in such situations.
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Old 09-27-2005, 09:27 AM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Large Marge
You could try posting signs, too, like a sign right on the stool that reads: "Clothes on Hook Please" or something like that.
Are you kidding? People don't read signs either. I can have signs all over my booth at outdoor fairs, and people still ask, "Who do I make the check out to? Do you take credit cards? Is there tax on this?" All of which are covered by the sign right in front of them.

I answer them politely, but Good God Almighty. Why do they even bother teaching reading in school?
  #14  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:34 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlett67
Are you kidding? People don't read signs either. I can have signs all over my booth at outdoor fairs, and people still ask, "Who do I make the check out to? Do you take credit cards? Is there tax on this?" All of which are covered by the sign right in front of them.

I answer them politely, but Good God Almighty. Why do they even bother teaching reading in school?
I chalk this up to sensory overload. I run into it all the time at my job (conference center). Some people, when they arrive at a new place, have trouble separating out significant things (directional signs) from insignificant (potted palms). Their eyes just glaze over- as though the entire landscape is flattened from their perspective.
In these cases, it's just easier to ask someone.
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:16 AM
Mint Julep Mint Julep is offline
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I sit next to the fax machine in my office and every day one of the employees sends a fax that for some reason (did not dail the number correctly, or lacking area code etc) and they will get on of those loud annoying misdial recordings blaring...There is a cancel/stop button that they all begin to pound on like mad...However it does not stop the fax transmission attempt unless you read the screen that says "to confirm cancel, press 1".

So all throughout the day, I hear loud annoying messages blaring from the machine and angry co-workers pounding the same futile button.

I have told each of them that they must PRESS 1, but they NEVER do.

It would be comical if it were not so disruptive.
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:47 AM
Sierra Indigo Sierra Indigo is offline
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It's a simple enough sentence:

"You have the incorrect username or password stored in your dialup connection software" (or ADSL modem, as the case may be).

The page even goes on to confirm that yes, they have typed in the right user name and password on the error screen, they just need to retype it in the box (where it says "Username" and "Password") before they connect next time.

But for the love of god, I've seen notes in people's accounts that show they've called us more than half a dozen times in the past couple of months for the same problem. Each time we tell them how to fix it. Each time they get the same error screen, and each time they call us back to get us to tell them how to fix it again.

Some people's brains just tend to shut down when they're being given instructions. That's the only thing I can think of to excuse this type of idiocy.
  #17  
Old 09-27-2005, 10:49 AM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I have a suggestion for the sheet issue. Hang a big framed photo of an unsheeted sumo wrestler getting a massage, along with the instructions to please lie on the table under the sheet.

I think the timing or order of the information is important. People don't need directions to their specific theater until the hallway forks, so they ignore the ticket taker's premature directions. People don't need to know where to hang their clothes until they're naked. People don't need to know whether they should be over or under the sheet until they get up on the table. Perhaps you could try a recording "Please enjoy this musical selection as you disrobe for your massage (music) please hang your clothes on the hook beside the door (music) now get on the table and cover yourself from the waist down with the cotton sheet provided. Enjoy this musical selection and your massage therapist will be with you soon (1812 Overture)."
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:18 AM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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I think that in general, most people are lousy listeners. So it's not so much that they cannot follow directions as that they don't listen to them in the first place.
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:29 AM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Here's some hard numbers for you. I have taught a class of approximately 90 students for five semesters. I ask them to fill out the name section on their computer-scored bubble sheets with their last name first. Each semester, I have increased the number and variety of ways that I tell them this.

I tell them orally as I hand out the exams.

It is in the DIRECTIONS section of the test, which I read aloud for them.

The bubble sheet says: NAME (Last First).

Yet 1 or 2 people EVERY EXAM put their first name first. My hypothesis is that once you have about a hundred people in a room, it is nigh impossible to get them all to complete any single task correctly. But what really blows my mind is that there's always someone who gets it backwards, it's rarely the same person from one exam to the next. Somebody who got it wrong last time suddenly figures out, "Uhhhhh, derrrrrrr, last name first!" but apparently there's a constant, quantifiable amount of "stupid" in the room, so the "stupid" has to jump from that person's brain to somebody else's so the person beside will be thinking, "Was it last name first or first name first? Hmmmm. Oh no! I've forgotten wha I was thinking about! Oh, yeah. Pie. I really like pie."
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:35 AM
MLS MLS is offline
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In the case of signs, part of it is the sensory overload. I CAN read, very well. But I can't tell you the number of times I've asked for directions to, say, the ladies' room and had someone point out the large red electric sign directly behind them that says "Rest Rooms ->".
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:36 AM
Little Bird Little Bird is offline
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Most people think they are smart, or at least smarter than you. They think they know what to do already, so they tune out the instructions. Simple as that.
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Old 09-27-2005, 12:15 PM
billfritter billfritter is offline
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Every class I teach on the potter's wheel I start by saying "Put your left hand flat on top of the wad of clay." Then for some I always have to add "No, your other left hand."
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Old 09-27-2005, 01:06 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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This is actually a very good question, that would interest me a lot if I were a psychology or sociology grad student. I don't think the answer is simple, either. I think most of the reasons given already are all part of the answer; people don't listen, people aren't aware of their surroundings (just zoned out in their own little worlds), people are stupid (statistically, half of all people out there are below average intelligence), people all think they are special and the rules don't apply to them.

Add into the mix people who don't think like average humans (I'm one of them - if there's a way to misunderstand directions, I'll find it unintentionally), and the sloppification of the English language (word definitions, spelling, and grammar are getting looser every day), and it's a wonder that anyone can communicate at all.
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Old 09-27-2005, 01:29 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Why do so many people seem to have difficulty following simple instructions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
I don't think we can get any fact based answer to this.

Moved to IMHO.

-xash
General Questions Moderator
Sometimes the irony hits hard, and sometimes it hits hard, face-down and skidding...
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:04 PM
The New Guy The New Guy is offline
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Need more information, but just to guess:

If there are only 3 theaters, they figure they can find it themselves, and so they don't listen to the directions. Then they may or may not realize they were mistaken.

With the massage thing, maybe they don't want to get under the sheet. Could be exhibitionists. Or perhaps they just aren't shy, and mistakenly assume the sheet is provided as an option for their benefit, and figure they don't need it.

Maybe you're assuming that they didn't understand your directions, when in fact they simply chose not to follow your directions.

I'll give you an example: If I go to the doctor for an ear infection, and the nurse tells me to take my clothes off, sit on the table, and wait for the doctor, I may choose to sit in the chair with my clothes on because it's more comfortable and there's no reason for me to take off my clothes. The nurse might assume I don't understand directions, which wouldn't be true.

The hook thing just sounds like stupidity.
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:52 PM
LionelHutz405 LionelHutz405 is offline
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We are bombarded with so much information, instructions, advertisement etc. that we need to constantly filter out the crap. Like an email spam filter, sometimes good stuff gets caught by mistake.

Think about how much information the theater patron filtered out, before they got to you. If they attempted to actually pay attention to, and evaluate every single ‘instruction’ they would go mad. See this movie next week, buy this soft drink, park here, keep your stub…. All ‘instructions’ they safely ignored. So it’s no surprise to me that they accidentally ignored something that they really shouldn’t have.

Also, the designers of some systems don’t take account how people actually think and expect them to conform to the system. Last name first, is convenient for them, but ignores how most people think. If they let people write their name the most natural way (first name, last name) – problem solved. And a fax machine should recognize repeated presses of the cancel button means they really want to cancel, rather than this ‘press 1’ crap. It’s just laziness in the design.
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:06 PM
Dunderman Dunderman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlett67
Are you kidding? People don't read signs either. I can have signs all over my booth at outdoor fairs, and people still ask, "Who do I make the check out to? Do you take credit cards? Is there tax on this?" All of which are covered by the sign right in front of them.

I answer them politely, but Good God Almighty. Why do they even bother teaching reading in school?
I think this is a case of just noticing the people who don't read. You don't notice the people who do read, because they don't ask you.
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:56 PM
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I once asked someone which door to take to go the building next door. I was told to take the door on the left. When I got there, there were two doors on the left and two doors on the right. He had meant to say of the two doors on the right take the left. The didn't think to mention the doors on the left because they are always locked. :wally
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:57 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LionelHutz405
We are bombarded with so much information, instructions, advertisement etc. that we need to constantly filter out the crap. Like an email spam filter, sometimes good stuff gets caught by mistake.

Think about how much information the theater patron filtered out, before they got to you. If they attempted to actually pay attention to, and evaluate every single ‘instruction’ they would go mad. See this movie next week, buy this soft drink, park here, keep your stub…. All ‘instructions’ they safely ignored. So it’s no surprise to me that they accidentally ignored something that they really shouldn’t have.

Also, the designers of some systems don’t take account how people actually think and expect them to conform to the system. Last name first, is convenient for them, but ignores how most people think. If they let people write their name the most natural way (first name, last name) – problem solved. And a fax machine should recognize repeated presses of the cancel button means they really want to cancel, rather than this ‘press 1’ crap. It’s just laziness in the design.
I think you've got some excellent analyses of the situation here. I'm sure people's individual tolerance for sensory overload differs (and conversely, their tolerance for the embarrassment of asking questions) - but when it comes to signs in a crowded area, sometimes I simply don't see them. Sometimes I stop looking because I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at me. Not that I feel any overt emotion regarding the experience - but I just look around, and it's hard to separate the sign that says "Cash only" from the magazine rack with pictures of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. There's many situations where I think we're simply overwhelmed with the amount of information flowing at us (which feeds into a pet theory of mine that I won't go into - suffice it to say, we live in a world brimming with information in a way that our brains aren't naturally built to handle.)

And then there's that issue of design. Many systems aren't designed - as you say - for optimal use. Many of them require a specific pattern of operation even when there's no reason why it should be necessarily so, and even when it makes operating a device inconsistent with similar devices.

As for folks getting confused by "put your clothes on the hook" - well, every once in awhile you just have a brain fart. Things that should be obvious, or should make perfect sense, just don't. If someone's new to getting massages (which a large proportion of customers unfamiliar with a particular masseuse's practices probably are) there's the added nervousness of exposure, intimate contact with a stranger, perhaps body image concerns - someone who's preoccupied with worrying about getting a hard-on during a massage might not be able to understand directions quite as well as they would if they were calm.

Plus most people are stupid.
  #30  
Old 09-27-2005, 04:22 PM
The New Guy The New Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
there's the added nervousness of exposure, intimate contact with a stranger, perhaps body image concerns - someone who's preoccupied with worrying about getting a hard-on during a massage might not be able to understand directions quite as well as they would if they were calm.
Plus the uncertainty of not knowing if the massage comes with a "release".
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Old 09-27-2005, 04:28 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Originally Posted by The New Guy
Plus the uncertainty of not knowing if the massage comes with a "release".
Is there ever really any doubt? I mean, you know when you're going in which type of business it is. For the record, I'm pretty sure Asbestos Mango doesn't do that type of work.
  #32  
Old 09-27-2005, 07:43 PM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
As for folks getting confused by "put your clothes on the hook" - well, every once in awhile you just have a brain fart. Things that should be obvious, or should make perfect sense, just don't. If someone's new to getting massages (which a large proportion of customers unfamiliar with a particular masseuse's practices probably are)

Actually, a masseuse wouldn't care- she would simply assume that the client wanted the, um, full-service massage and proceed accordingly.

But I'm not a masseuse, I'm a massage therapist, and, dammit, I told them to get under the freakin' sheet. And anybody who has gotten a massage in a legitimate establishment in just about any state I can think of knows that you get under the sheet, that's the law, the client must be draped, so it's not a matter of being familiar or unfamiliar with a particular therapist's practices.

Harriet the Spry
Quote:
I have a suggestion for the sheet issue. Hang a big framed photo of an unsheeted sumo wrestler getting a massage, along with the instructions to please lie on the table under the sheet.

Perhaps you could try a recording "Please enjoy this musical selection as you disrobe for your massage (music) please hang your clothes on the hook beside the door (music) now get on the table and cover yourself from the waist down with the cotton sheet provided. Enjoy this musical selection and your massage therapist will be with you soon (1812 Overture)."
you are freaking brilliant.

Ethilrist
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Sometimes the irony hits hard, and sometimes it hits hard, face-down and skidding...
And sometimes people have trouble with their reading comprehension skills.

I was looking for factually based, or at least workable scientific-type theories, about this phenomenon. xash decided (prematurely IMO) that there was no way I was going to get them, and made a judgement call that the thread should be moved.
  #33  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:08 PM
Interrobang!? Interrobang!? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Asbestos Mango
Dammit, I told them to get under the freakin' sheet. And anybody who has gotten a massage in a legitimate establishment in just about any state I can think of knows that you get under the sheet, that's the law, the client must be draped, so it's not a matter of being familiar or unfamiliar with a particular therapist's practices.
If everybody knows this, why are you telling them to get under the sheet? Maybe if you left the room without saying anything, they'd do what you wanted.
  #34  
Old 09-27-2005, 10:00 PM
Fretful Porpentine Fretful Porpentine is offline
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I'm not sure this is quite the same thing, but I had a student last semester who spelled my name "Ms. Porpington" on the header of one of her papers.

I corrected it. On the next paper, she wrote "Ms. Porpeng."

I corrected it again. On the next paper, it came out as "Ms. Porpingtine."

N.B. 1) She was in possession of a syllabus that had the correct spelling of my name on it; 2) I have never, not once, told my students to put my own name anywhere on their papers. I know what my name is. I don't need them to tell me.



Anyway, after the third time around, I figured she was doing it on purpose and chalked it up to extreme passive-aggressiveness, although that might not have been entirely fair, since she couldn't spell anything else either.
  #35  
Old 09-27-2005, 10:14 PM
carlotta carlotta is offline
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Anybody tells me to go left (or right for that matter) my brain immediately freezes. First of all---your left or my left? Second of all---I will never be certain of my ability to distinguish left from right. It's some kind of minor brain defect (tell me to go east or west though, and I get it right every time).



The massage thing isn't hard to understand at all. Although I didn't practice as a massage therapist for very long, I gave hundreds of massages as a student. I've had hundreds of massages. People are generally nervous when getting naked or mostly naked around a stranger (or any non-intimate). I'm always a little nervous when getting a massage. So, in that state, I think it's perfectly understandable to fail to hear or remember directions.
  #36  
Old 09-27-2005, 10:25 PM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Originally Posted by Interrobang!?
If everybody knows this, why are you telling them to get under the sheet? Maybe if you left the room without saying anything, they'd do what you wanted.
Mostly, because it's professional protocol to do so, partly because enough of a percentage of clients are either getting massage for the first time and have no clue what to do with themselves in a massage room, or come from foriegn countries where massage is considered just another aspect of taking care of your body (along with eating lots of veggies and exercising regularly), possibly have legal prostitution and therefore don't have hookers advertising themselves as "masseuses" and don't have the hangups about nudity we have here and draping is optional. I've heard plenty of stories about therapists dealing with European clients (Swedish seems to be the most common nationality), finding the client on top of the sheet, explaining to them that they must be draped, and being told, "That's not how it's done in my country".
  #37  
Old 09-27-2005, 11:03 PM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist
Sometimes the irony hits hard, and sometimes it hits hard, face-down and skidding...
To be fair to the OP, she pretty much knew that and was just hoping to hear some sort of factual reason for it.

Saying "I know that the rules are supposed to be XYZ, is there any way we can modify them?" is a far cry from ignoring the whole sign or instruction in the first place.
  #38  
Old 09-27-2005, 11:04 PM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Wait, "masseuse" is a bad word? I knew someone who was trained in massage therapy who called herself a masseuse.
  #39  
Old 09-28-2005, 12:05 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlotta
Anybody tells me to go left (or right for that matter) my brain immediately freezes. First of all---your left or my left? Second of all---I will never be certain of my ability to distinguish left from right. It's some kind of minor brain defect (tell me to go east or west though, and I get it right every time).
That's strange. Not you, but that I had exactly the opposite problem for the longest time.

A friend of mine, an old boss, helped me figure out my NSEWs. I had to spend a lot of time with maps and landmarks, but now I can do it, I'm still directionally challenged and have to think about it, but I can do it.

But for the longest time I could only get "do I go right or left?" regarding directions to get places.

I spent 8 months working at a local gym chain before going back to work (Thank GOD) in my normal industry. I swear, it was so annoying how many people were so stupid.

I worked this past Easter with another coworker. We were seriously considering starting a change jar for the hundreds of callers that, after we answered the phone with "Good Morning XYZ Gym", they'd say "are you open today"?

NooooooOOO..we just couldn't think of anything better to do than come to work and answer the phone even though we're closed, NOT.

And on every Holiday the daycare center would be closed. Starting a week before the holiday we'd put signs all over the place stating that. Signs on the doors, the locker room doors, all over the place. And we'd still get angry people coming in on that Holiday with their kids yelling that "nobody told them".

Or on the rare occasions when we'd have to close one of the women's locker rooms down for repair (we only had male repair personnel). We'd put signs on the doors coming in, signs at the front desk, signs on each locker room door. We'd tell EACH and every person coming in that Locker room B would be closed for changing (they could still go in and get their items), and we'd STILL get at least 2 women who'd suprise the ppor workmen by sneaking in from the pool and then strolling out of the shower room naked.

And they'd always say the same thing "nobody told us, why don't you put up some signs"???

Noo, an earlier poster had it right, people ARE stupid. VERY stupid.
  #40  
Old 09-28-2005, 12:44 AM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Originally Posted by Excalibre
Wait, "masseuse" is a bad word? I knew someone who was trained in massage therapy who called herself a masseuse.
Is this, by any chance, a woman of a certain age?

I am aware that a lot of older people who have been in the profession for many, many years still use the term "masseuse/masseur" out of habit, but there are so many prostitutes operating under cover of giving massage that for the last several years, the term "massage therapist" has been preferred to set legitimate practioners apart from the other kind. Also, IIRC, "masseuse/masseur" is still the accepted term in Europe, so if she's from the other side of the pond, or was trained there, she may be calling herself a masseuse because that's how she was trained.

I think that MT's here in Las Vegas are a little more sensitive about the terminology because, well, we're in Las Vegas. The establishment I work in is within rock-throwing distance of three, erm, massage parlors, where I hear tell even female clients are offered the "full service" massage. If you ever come here, check the yellow pages under "massage". Sprint doesn't allow them to have pictures of the girls in the ads any more, but they still make for great entertainment.
  #41  
Old 09-28-2005, 12:57 AM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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One more thing, I have the "left/right" impairment myself- I have to remind myself that "left" is the side with the Man in the Moon tattoo on my well-defined pectoral, and right is the Jesus Fish on the back of the shoulder, so I am willing to cut slack in that department (I give clients directions to my workplace by telling them, "You want to head North on Valley View, then turn West on Sahara", which really knocks them for a loop, then they ask me, "is that left or right?" because apparently they don't know what direction the sun rises and sets in" then I have to make a virtual map of Vegas in my head, stand inside it, which is really difficult, what with the size of my body being much larger than the space inside my head, plus since my brain, which does the information processing, is also inside my head, I have to get my head inside the virtual map in my head, then remind myself that "left" is the side with the Man in the Moon...)

But still, if turning right will take you back out into the concourse of the mall, you'd think that most folks would deduce that left must be 180 degrees from the direction they're facing and go that way, then look for the blue sign. But they don't turn right, realize they're facing away from the door to the theater and turn around. They go straight ahead and go into the theater with the yellow sign.
  #42  
Old 09-28-2005, 01:24 AM
Large Marge Large Marge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlett67
Are you kidding? People don't read signs either. I can have signs all over my booth at outdoor fairs, and people still ask, "Who do I make the check out to? Do you take credit cards? Is there tax on this?" All of which are covered by the sign right in front of them.

I answer them politely, but Good God Almighty. Why do they even bother teaching reading in school?
Sorry, just trying to be helpful.

They may be teaching them reading in school, but they aren't getting it. I had orientation today for a new job, and each one of us had to do a bit of reading out loud to the others. I was SHOCKED at the reading level of the group. For some, English is their second language, but for the others? Sheesh.
  #43  
Old 09-28-2005, 07:10 AM
petalpusher petalpusher is offline
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Carlotta
Quote:
Anybody tells me to go left (or right for that matter) my brain immediately freezes.
Oooh, I get to fight ignorance at last! An easy way to learn to distinguish right from left is simply hold out your hands, palms down and extend your ring fingers and thumbs in "L" shapes. The left hand forms an "L". Now, did everyone follow directions correctly?

Funny aside, my junior high gym teacher gave us all a test to see who could follow directions. It was a paper with at least 25 "to do" items on it. Instruction #1 was read the entire list first. Numbers 2-24 were inane things like shout out your name, jump up on one foot, spin in a circle, etc. Number 25 was don't do #2-24, simply right your name on the top of this paper and wait. I think I was the only one sitting and waiting.
  #44  
Old 09-28-2005, 09:48 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry
I think the timing or order of the information is important. People don't need directions to their specific theater until the hallway forks, so they ignore the ticket taker's premature directions. People don't need to know where to hang their clothes until they're naked. People don't need to know whether they should be over or under the sheet until they get up on the table.
This seems to be the most prevalent part of it. People don't look or listen for information until they actually want it. When the usher is telling them where to go, they tune them out as "small talk." It's not until they discover a need for the info that they become receptive to what the usher has to say. It's also pretty insulting towards the usher: "I've got more important things to think about than what you have to say! I'm pre-deciding on the choice between Whoppers or Twizzlers!"

It's the same way with signs. Shoppers only see, "Buy 1 get 1 free" without looking at the words, "When you buy 2." And lord help you if you actually show them their mistake.
  #45  
Old 09-28-2005, 10:36 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petalpusher
Carlotta

Oooh, I get to fight ignorance at last! An easy way to learn to distinguish right from left is simply hold out your hands, palms down and extend your ring fingers and thumbs in "L" shapes. The left hand forms an "L". Now, did everyone follow directions correctly?
I think you mean index fingers (your first finger). While a lot of people wear rings on their index fingers, the third finger on the hand is traditionally known as the ring finger. And to quote one of my favourite bits from the Dope past, "Why do they call them fingers? I've never seen them fing. Oh, wait, there they go." I don't remember the original poster on that little gem.
Quote:
Funny aside, my junior high gym teacher gave us all a test to see who could follow directions. It was a paper with at least 25 "to do" items on it. Instruction #1 was read the entire list first. Numbers 2-24 were inane things like shout out your name, jump up on one foot, spin in a circle, etc. Number 25 was don't do #2-24, simply right your name on the top of this paper and wait. I think I was the only one sitting and waiting.
I encountered this test somewhere along the way, too. I was also one of the few people sitting there waiting for everyone else to get it.
  #46  
Old 09-28-2005, 12:57 PM
The New Guy The New Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
Is there ever really any doubt? I mean, you know when you're going in which type of business it is. For the record, I'm pretty sure Asbestos Mango doesn't do that type of work.
Uh, hello? Joke? Did you see the winking smilie?

His name is Winkie
  #47  
Old 09-28-2005, 02:02 PM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Asbestos Mango
Well, it was worth a try, but I was really kinda hoping for something more than speculation on the part of individual posters here. But then again, it probably isn't a hot topic for psych students' doctoral theses.

Still, if taken in aggregate, the speculation of many different individuals with differing views on the subject might possibly average out to the truth.
Actually, Ellen Langer at Harvard has pretty much made a career out of it. Her theory is that people can go through a good deal of their lives on autopilot. They don't tend to listen or observe very deeply unless it's really something important, or unless something shocks them out of their routine.
  #48  
Old 09-28-2005, 02:31 PM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
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I deal with cases of The Stupids all the time. Just this morning a particularly blank-looking girl came in, brought up a can that clearly said "SPRAY ADHESIVE" on the front, and asked, "Is this the fixative stuff we use to protect our drawings?"

Me: "Uh, no. That's spray adhesive. It'll ruin your work."

Her: "Oh. How come? It's not the same thing?"

Me: "No. That's glue that you have there. The fixative is not sticky at all, it just leaves a fine coating on the paper that will keep the pencil or charcoal from smudging."

Her: "Uh." *blinks, holds up can again* "But this stuff is cheaper!"
  #49  
Old 09-28-2005, 02:40 PM
LionelHutz405 LionelHutz405 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherlou
I encountered this test somewhere along the way, too. I was also one of the few people sitting there waiting for everyone else to get it.
Me, too. Although only because I thought something was fishy. Otherwise I’m sure I would have ignored the ‘read all questions first’ bit as well.

To me, this is perfectly rational behaviour. You don’t make it through school unless you learn to filter out the important stuff from the BS stuff. Since on a normal test there is no way the teacher could know if you read all the questions first or not, students would rationally assume it was a BS requirement and skip it if they figured it wouldn’t help them do the test. (Assuming the teacher is just trying to impose how THEY like to take tests.)

Blindly following instructions, without using your own brain first isn’t the answer.
  #50  
Old 09-28-2005, 02:51 PM
The New Guy The New Guy is offline
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That reminds me of the joke on "M*A*S*H" when Henry is reading instructions on how to diffuse a bomb: "...and cut the red wire. But first, be sure to...."
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