The obliviousness epidemic

It’s everywhere. You’ve seen it day in and day out.


  • People standing at the checkout counter while they’re still deciding what items they’re going to buy, unconscious of the long line behind them.
  • Drivers going under the speed limit in the fast lane.
  • Cashiers too busy chatting with their colleagues to notice you waiting to check out.
  • Shoppers blocking the aisle with their cart as they examine their options, clueless there are others waiting to pass.
  • Street parkers who pull up so close ahead/behind you that it takes great difficulty to get your car out.
  • Parking lot drivers who park so close it’s nearly impossible to open your door to get out.

The list goes on. It is becoming so common, I’m thinking it’s an epidemic. People so consumed with their own world they are unconscious to how their actions are impeding those around them.

But the bad news is none of us is immune. I’m chagrined to admit I am occasionally afflicted. I don’t intend to be so focused on my own needs that I hold up others. Sometimes we just don’t notice.

What’s the cure?

  • Work to be more mindful of how your actions could affect others.
  • Act to mitigate the impact on others, even if it’s more work for you. If you realize you’ve parked too close, get back in and repark. Move over if you’re in the fast lane going too slow. Move your shopping cart over to the side before you examine your options.
  • Apologize when you see you’re hampering others.

What about when you are the affected?

  • Give people a little grace. Since none of us is immune, give someone a chance to move or modify before you speak up.
  • Gently say something like “Excuse me,” or “May I go ahead while you decide?” — not with an irritated voice tone.
  • If there’s no way to communicate your anguish, use the time to relax or do something else with your mind other than fuming.