Too Many Rules

A typical sign in a typical public park in Tokyo:

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERABasically, you are allowed to sit quietly on a bench with both feet flat on the ground
and your hands folded neatly in your lap.

Then there’s this one at a public skateboard park:

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAWell, now, some of that is just common sense.

I’m not a big fan of rules, but Rebel Without a Pause Rochi goes absolutely bonkers about rules. Case in  point: McDonald’s is doing a special promotion. If you order a large set meal, you get a wonderfully tacky Coca-cola glass, and I’ve always been a big fan of tacky glasses. (Glasses get broken. It’s a self-limiting thing to collect. Plus, they’re tacky so if one does get broken, who cares?) So we went to McD’s for lunch. We ordered the large sets and the counter lady laid out two of said glasses. Mission accomplished…or so I thought.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERARochi: Can’t we choose the colors?
Counter lady: No, I’m sorry, you can’t. But you can change one of these if you like.
Rochi: But you just said we can’t choose.
Counter Lady: Right. You can’t. But you can change one of these if you like.

Noting his furrowed brow and sensing an oncoming tsunami, I intervened.

Me: That’s OK. I like these colors. These are fine. (Really, they were.)

So we took our loot upstairs and sat down, but Rochi continued to grumble about the catch-22 situation with the glasses.

Me: You really don’t get it, do you? She’s not allowed to let us choose the color, but by bending the rules, she can offer us a different one. Say I wanted a pink one instead of the dark blue one, I cannot say, “I want a pink one.” But she can take away the dark blue one and replace it with others until she gets to pink and then everyone is happy and no rules have been broken. It’s a rather twisted way of getting things done, but it works.

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7 thoughts on “Too Many Rules”

  1. I love this. Some places* I’ve been follow this kind of odd logic. i.e. “Your month long gym membership has expired. Yes, but I got used it for one week, then you closed 3 weeks for renovations. Yes, would you like to renew for another month?” Then other places* when they don’t put a fence around a hundred foot drop because they assume anything with opposable thumbs is smart enough not to fall into a giant well marked hole in the ground. And other places* where 3 adults, two kids, an infant and a goat on a motorbike is completely reasonable. Safety and rules are as cultural relative as anything else.

    Note the use of * so I can generalize without generalizing about *some places.

  2. Haha! Brilliant. I love the no stark naked skating. Takes all the fun out of it eh? Nice buy with the coke glasses and figuring out the ploy of the counter girl. 😉

  3. I like the cup story a lot:) I get a bit annoyed sometimes when I ask for a dish without bonito flakes (as a veggie) and the Chef is consulted about whether this is possible. Surprisingly often, it isn`t…

    1. Thanks! Turns out I misunderstood the situation a bit, but it still makes for a good story.

      I get the bonito situation. I once asked for omu-raisu without the raisu at a place we eat at all the time. Major panic, but they came to terms with it. You never know when Conformity-sama is going to rear his ugly head.

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