People really are sheep

Last night I went to Chili’s with friends. It was pretty late and the server was very scarce all night. As we were talking, I noticed a smell reminiscent of overdone campfire marshmallows, and my dining companions directed my attention to the folks sitting behind me. They’d gotten fajitas, which come on a hot iron skillet, with a little mitt-like thing over the handle. Their mitt had caught fire, and was now smoldering robustly.

Their reaction? To hold the smoking mitt out in the aisle, trying to catch the attention of some staff person.

My friend said, “dunk it in a drink, or stamp on it,” and when no action was forthcoming, went to get a glass of water to put it out.

I got up, took the mitt, put it on the floor, and stood on it for about 20 seconds. Problem solved.

What is wrong with people? One wonders what level of danger would have caused them to act on their own, rather than vainly waiting for an “authority” to come handle it. These women were prime candidates for the Milgram experiment.

Probably something more ferocious than a smoldering oven mitt. . .

They’re probably posting on another MB right now about the two people they met in a restaurant last night who went into hysterics about a smoldering oven mitt while they were calmly waiting for wait staff to take it away.

Yeah, probably “danger” was too strong a word, you got me there. But these people were themselves pretty riled up over it, they were just totally ineffectual at solving the problem.

I won’t dismiss your original premise, though.

The most sheepish thing I see is when people are leaving a movie theater where there’s double doors and everyone is slowly exiting through only one of them. Really strange.

Oh you want to talk about Sheep? Allow me to point you in the general direction of Orlando and tell you to go witness what people pay to be sheep at the theme parks. I used to work for Universal and it never amazed me what people would do and what they wouldn’t do.

I must admit when I go to theme parks for fun my favorite thing is to start a fake line. If I and 4 or 5 friends are there we’ll find one of the non-working storefront doors and line up against the wall, maybe in pairs but it must be obvious that there was a line. And people would literally line up behind us and wait. The real trick was to time it right so when you had 6-8 people in line behind us, we’d all walk off and keep straight faces as we dispersed into the crowd.

I swear people check common sense and logic at the door of the theme parks…

You have just become my hero.

This well and truly boggles my mind - Mr2U and I were up at Arlington last weekend and saw the same exact thing happening. The front of the building (facing the paddock) is nothing but doors upon doors upon doors - yet all the people are slowly filing in through one or two. GAH - it drove us both NUTS!! WHY must people do this?? I am not even going to get into my “hmm - the middle of this busy walkway looks like a perfect place for me to stand here while mulling over the meaning of the universe while people can’t get around me and no, I don’t know how to move with a purpose” rant - that’s a rant for another day.

Well I’m glad :slight_smile:

I mean, I know tourists are people too. But a theme park is not going to hold your hand and stuff.

When I worked there, I worked at a special effects show (lasers, fire, water, no riding) and people would stand in line and stand in line and stand in line and then get to the front where they’re about to be loaded into the show and ask where the roller coaster was.

In the words of a comedian I’ve heard, ‘Here’s your sign.’

If you’re not cognizant enough to find out what you’re in line for, you deserve to lose that time.

I have to say, though, one of the things I find MOST entertaining is when some dude in too much of a hurry to wait in the damn line goes charging for the closed door and impatiently pushes/pulls, only to find out the hard way (involving a head-smack into the door or a fall on hiss ass, respectively), that the sheeple were avoiding that door for a reason. Same thing with ticket vending machines/ATMs. If you’re too good to wait, and you don’t notice the “out of order” sign or just don’t want to wait in line, and go try to use the broken machine in your impatient superimportance, I ain’t letting you back in line. Let your elongated wait serve to remind you that sometimes, rats avoid the poisoned foodcake for a reason.
In agreement with the OP, however, wasn’t there a Scandinavian country where a prominent politician was murdered in a department store and no bystander did anything, becuase they were superconditioned to wait for the police? I don’t remember which country it was, so Googling is not helping as much as I thought it otherwise might.

Oh yes, amusement parks. At Disney World, there’s a great example of failure to pay attention or consider others. The theater shows queue you up in a waiting room, admitting exactly the number of people who can be seated in the theater. When they let you in, they repeatedly instruct everyone to move to the last seat in each row, as the theater is “sold out,” and every seat has a good view. It never fails that some idiot family would plop down in the center of a row, forcing others to climb over them and severely holding up traffic.

We started calling them PIMERs: Peope Incapable of Moving to the End of the Row.

The single-door phenomenon is repeated at toll booths everywhere - three lanes are open, but there’s a line at one lane. I’ve seen people change lanes to get in line to wait!!!

Addressing the OP: If the mitt on my fajitas started smoldering, as opposed to open flame, I would wave it around in the aisle too. You said the wait-staff was sparse…I would toss the mitt out into the middle of the aisle and see how long it took for someone to notice it. Then I’d report the place to the Fire Marshall.

As long as there was no immediate danger to me, I would make life as tough as possible on the server and the restaurant for such lax attention.

You’re probably thinking of Anna Lindh, foreign minister for Sweden. However, I haven’t read anything about bystander apathy. The accounts I find make it sound like people didn’t realize what was happening until it was over.

That sounds like fun.

Here’s something I’ll do if I’m standing in a long line: When the line is not moving at all, I’ll step forward. One inch. The person behind me, thinking that the line has just moved, will also step forward. One inch. Repeat for the person behind him. With any luck, you can start a ripple effect with every single person behind you moving up. One at a time. One inch.

snerk Whenever that happens, I always mutter “Moooo. Mooooo. Baaaaa. Moooooo,” mostly to embarass my husband.

I did that in line at a gun show once. Thousands of people trying to funnel down to three entry ways. It caught on. Within 10 seconds, the whole crowd was mooing and snorting. The high point was when one of the ticket-takers started singing “Ghost Riders In The Sky.” A memorable show. :smiley:

Hurdles at the olympics make me sleepy. Now I know why.

As strange, is the mixed looks of shock, fear, awe, and repulsion you get when you actually walk up to the other door open it and leave.


My favorite “People are sheep” moment came about two months ago, when I was on a plane coming to New York from Amsterdam. As we landed, my mother and I started talking about people who clap when a plane lands and how stupid it is. I said something to the effect of “Durrr, when I got on this thing I knew they could take off and fly it, but I didn’t realize they knew how to land it too! Amazing!” And I sarcastically clapped my hands two or three times. Within five seconds, the whole plane was applauding. My mother and I were red in the face, laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. The memory still makes me slap my forehead.

Back in college, my friend and I split up to do research on different floors and agreed to meet in front of the elevators on the first floor in a couple of hours. I got there first and was waiting a bit off to the side. People walked up and stood around until I noticed and told them the elevator light wasn’t on, thinking they’d press it to call the elevator. Nope, one guy went over to the stairs and started walking up and then they all followed. Usually people press the button when it’s already obviously been pressed, but not that day.

It happens crossing the border as well, even when there’s a big old green light indicating the lane is open and an agent is waving at people. Also, checkout lanes.