Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What People Notice, What People Know

I was thinking about how I recognize people the other day. As some of you might know, I spend a lot of my time at the TCU Wesley Foundation’s house. This house has a parking lot that is often full of cars. I know the cars. I know the people in those cars.

I recognize who is there based on their car. Once I cross the parking lot, and enter the back door, I’m expecting to see a certain person there. If there’s a turquoise car, it’s Abby. A tan car? Bennett. A white van? Taylor. A blue truck? Kelly. If they are not there I feel a bit cheated. Of course in the middle of the day, most people just park there and then go to class. But if I’m walking in for Thursday Night Fellowship at 7 and your car is there, I’m looking for you.

Why are people’s belongings so recognizable? How do we make associations? I feel like a Psych major.

Another example in my life. When it comes to eating out, I’m a “If it’s not broke why fix it?” type of girl. I always order the same things at most restaurants. But this is more about the recognition of my choices. At the Starbucks near Target in Rockwall, I have established a relationship. For the longest time I was A-Grande-Caramel-Macchiato-With-Three-Vanilla-Scones-If-You-Have-Them Girl. The workers KNEW me, knew my order. Why did it matter so much to me? I was associated with my coffee order for the longest time, and I liked that. (Eventually we got on a first-name basis until I went off to college. Now there are new people working there, and my days as A-Grande-Caramel-Macchiato-With-Three-Vanilla-Scones-If-You-Have-Them Girl are over.) I worked at the Target in Rockwall, so I came to that Starbucks often, either for sustenance pre-work or for a OMG-I-Survived-Another-Shift celebratory drink post-work. They knew me because I was reliable, a quality that I both love and hate about myself.

Lest you think my days of building relationships with restaurateurs are over, I would like to inform you that at Red Cactus I am now Chicken-Taco-Plate-With-Flour-Tortillas-And-Double-Rice Girl. I’ve got two more years to get on a first-name basis.

I guess my point is, whether you like it or not, people know you by the things you do and the things you own. If you always drive a blue car, people know. If you get the same meal, people notice. Even people you might not expect to. People notice the good things you do and the bad. So be aware.    

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