People Don’t Listen

Yesterday I had a craving for "kapsalon". It is a local delicacy consisting of french fries, shoarma meat, lettuce, and cheese, all crammed together in a small aluminum tray.

It looks like barf in a bin, though I think it actually tastes better.

When I order a "kapsalon" the standard reply from the guy behind the counter is: "Do you want hot sauce and garlic sauce with that?" When I answer "yes" then everything is fine. But yesterday I tried a slight variation on that. Here's what happened… (real story!)

Guy 1: "Do you want hot sauce and garlic sauce with that?"

Me: "Yes, but I want only a little garlic sauce."

Guy 1: "No hot sauce?"

Me: "Yes, I do want hot sauce. And I want garlic sauce, but not much."

Guy 1: "You want MUCH garlic sauce?"

Me: "NO, I want a LITTLE garlic sauce."

Guy 1: "Ah, ok."

So guy 1 starts preparing my "kapsalon", and after a while he is joined by guy 2, who, for some reason, thinks guy 1 needs a little help. When the two of them have almost finished my simple order, guy 2 takes over:

Guy 2: "Do you want hot sauce with that?"

Me: "YES, I want hot sauce!"

Guy 1 to guy 2: "But he doesn't want much, only a little…"

Then I decided to give up. I saw no point in me discussing the difference between hot sauce and garlic sauce. I simply accepted that the world has many people in it who prefer talking over listening. I took my "kapsalon" with me, and at home I tried to ignore the fact that my meal contained very little hot sauce, and no garlic sauce. It almost tasted like barf in a bin.

Now, I would love to present this as a metaphor for people in the workplace, whether they are managers, employees, customers, or team members. But why bother? For those for whom my message is intended, it would probably fall on deaf ears anyway.

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  • Jean-Paul

    I can’t help laughing.
    I’m sorry for the food and let me say it is a nice metaphore.
    Listening is one of the quality I tried to develop in my daily job.How can I know what’s happening around me if I don’t listen?
    You can talk, but if you don’t listen, you will not be able to have quality conversations with people.
    Thanks for this nice article

  • Sanil

    LoL! This is an awesome post, that shows how important it is to listen(carefully) to people.
    In my life, I too encounter these types people, who won’t listen to me. I keep asking them, but they won’t answer it correctly, coz they didn’t listened to me in the first time.
    Totally, that’s a frustating experience.
    I on the other hand likes to talk less, listen more and I know since ever, it’s a good quality!

  • Mike Schaffner

    I think it is a matter of listening (or not) and getting stuck in a routine. I once ordered a BLT sandwich (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) a common item in the US. Immediately after writing down my request I was asked, “Do you want lettuce and tomato with that?”
    Hmmm lettuce and tomato on a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich – interesting combination

  • Avi

    Usually people stack overflow example, correct request is :
    “Yes, i need regular hot sauce and little garlic sauce”
    instead of
    “Yes, but I want only a little garlic sauce.”.
    Some people still need upgrade from 16k of memory. 😀

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