Local Service Replicant

I had a customer drive up to my ramp booth. She informed me that I had two lights on. The light for ‘Cashier’ was lit up over the light for ‘Credit Card Only’. She then told me she didn’t know if a person was there or not.

The booth is basically a fish bowl. It was well lit and I was standing right in front of the window. I was on display for all to see.

I must assume that when I’m not properly labeled with a sign indicating that I’m human it isn’t necessarily apparent that I am indeed an actual human. I’m going to spend the rest of the year contemplating this new existential crisis involving my exclusion from the human species. I have gone to such effort over the years to appear as a normal human, but my attempts have obviously failed.

They have been slowly mechanizng the ramps. I knew that one day my job might become obsolete. It just didn’t occur to me that my human identity might become obsolete as well. Management must have mechanized me while I wasn’t paying attention… or maybe I was always mechanized. Yet my memories of my human life seem so real. Maybe I should have been suspicious all these years that upon my inception date at this job I was given a number to identify me.

I guess there are worse things to be than an android. Besides, just because I’m not a real human doesn’t mean my feelings aren’t real. Be nice to your local service replicant. We do all the hard work so that you humans don’t have to.

18 thoughts on “Local Service Replicant

  1. Yeah it sucks when that happens.

    I used to work at a gas station and there were people that treated me poorly as well. I don’t make much money these days either, but I try to treat people right, seeing as I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty awful customers in the past.

    It’s worse in the restaurant industry, because they aren’t paid as much and have to depend on their customers to be happy for tips.

    • I’ve worked various service jobs over the years. The one I have right now really isn’t bad at all. I don’t take much personally. This particular incident mostly just amused me.

      To be fair, she was an older lady, maybe in her 60s. It’s possible her eyesight wasn’t perfect or that she was distracted by all the lanes and signs. The new system with more machines and fewer humans does confuse people. A surprising number of people seem to have forgotten even what the word ‘cashier’ means.

      So, I’m not offended that she didn’t notice me and my existence as a human. All kinds of people have their humanity ignored, dismissed, or devalued. My fate as a parking ramp cashier isn’t so bad. I’m rather philosophical about it.

  2. There is probably also something class based about this.

    I have found that wealthier people do often look down on those who are not as well off.

    • The rudest and most condescending customers I’ve had usually are middle-to-upper class white people. Middle aged wealthier white guys in sports cars are the worst. Even annoying drunk people I’ve dealt with tend to be white frat boy types. I rarely have bad experiences with working class people and minorities. I’ve had many construction workers in my ramp recently and they tend to be well mannered and often friendly.

  3. I think that there is a collective lack of empathy amongst the wealthier class.


    Part of it may be a downward cycle as inequality rises, the rich get stingier.

    It may be the tendency for upper middle class “business types” who can afford higher end vehicles tend to look down upon others because they see themselves as “self made men”. They are the kinds of people that politicians like Mitt Romney tried to appeal to. They look down on others because they see wealth as being the only thing worthy of respect.

    Interestingly enough from my time working for a Pizza Store, it was joked that smaller homes and apartments gave better tips than large homes and well off customers.

    • It is wealthier people, especially those who flaunt their wealth, who act like the world owes them something and that they deserve special treatment. With some people like this, I get the sense that they are used to getting their way by complaining enough and acting authoritative.

      They don’t understand that I’m a unionized government employee and I simply don’t give a flying fuck about their status in the world. I just have a job to do and their wealth means nothing to me. They could complain to the president of the United States if it makes them happy, but they aren’t getting out for free or whatever. Nor are they going to get me fired by throwing their weight around.

      In a public parking ramp, everyone is equal. No one gets special privileged treatment. Get in line and give me the money, just like everyone else. And if there are technical problems, then ask nicely and there will be a worker to help as soon as they are available. It’s all rather simple.

      As for tipping, i fit the pattern you describe. i always tip well. I know what it is like working service jobs, even though I’ve never been a waiter or delivery driver. Anyone who has to constantly deal with people on their job should be paid well.

  4. I’m in agreement.

    There are good wealthy people of course, but percentage wise, the data is showing that high levels of inequality make the rich inti monsters.

    • The fact of the matter is the vast majority of people are well-behaved. A significant number are even friendly. Conflicts and unhappy interactions are rare. Even most wealthy white men in sports cars are nice decent humans. But the few that aren’t can be real assholes.

      Still, I find it fascinating that I have so few negative situations involving minorities, despite the stereotypes. For example, I have many black people drive through my lane every day and yet I can only think of one time years ago when there was any conflict or rudeness.

  5. Another thing that I think the rich don’t realize is how hard the poor have it.

    The mentality of “just study hard and work hard, then you will succeed” does not apply very frequently to the poor. I’m not saying that hard work doesn’t matter, because it does. But the point is that with social mobility so poor, hard work does not assure success.

    These days, even the upper middle class is under incredible siege.

    • There is obviously significant overlap between working hard and success. It’s just that plenty of hardworking people aren’t successful and plenty of successful people aren’t hardworking. We don’t live in an actual meritocracy, rhetoric to the contrary. But I can only speak for the US. Maybe some countries do have functioning meritocracies.

  6. The problem is that the US is not a meritocracy. Ironically the conservatives screaming for a meritocracy are doing everything they can to make society less meritorious. They will destroy social mobility, pass developing world levels of inequality and so on.

    • I wonder. What is the best example of a meritocracy that is both actually functioning and is successful in results? I’d assume it would have to be a country with a strong social democracy, a culture of trust, political engagement, great education and training programs, low poverty and inequality, and high economic mobility.

      For a meritocracy to work, there would not only need to be social mobility upwards but also social mobility downwards. The hardworking poor would get richer and the lazy rich would get poorer. That would mean inherited wealth and power would have to be close to nil. This would require extremely high inheritance taxes to level the playing field.

  7. The irony here is that the nation’s closest to a meritocracy have rejected the libertarian capitalism ideology in favour of social democracy.

    The Nordic nations look at the US and it’s style of capitalism with worry. Even as inequality has risen, support for egalitarianism has remained strong.

    The other question is how can society be equal when we have other challenges like people born with disabilities? That sure isn’t there fault.

    • In response to your question, a society can’t be equal with such basic inequalities as disabilities. Of course, inequalities always exist, but their presence and significance can be greater or lesser, depending on many factors. Disabilities is a good example. Environmental factors and social conditions, especially in terms of externalized costs, are known contributing factors for many disabilities: pollution, toxins, healthcare, nutrition, etc.

  8. The answer is that libertariansim and meritocracy are largely unattainable ideas.

    Ironically the kind of society that such people advocate for would render it less meritorious, not a level playing field.

    Yet we live in a world where such ideology is used to rationalise gross inequalities.

  9. The other big problem is that meritocracy has become just another excuse to build a feudal aristocracy, which is what the current wealthy have become.

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