I’m not talking about deliberate and demented cruelty. Like torturing little animals. I’m talking about accidental and unintended actions that lead to an unplanned cruel outcome.
Today I decided to drive into a car dealership to look at some cars….mostly to kill time. I pulled in and as I pulled toward the door I saw three sales reps waiting to greet me. So I turned left and was going to park but saw two more sales reps standing near the parking space. So I turned left again and pulled into what looked like a “sales rep free zone” but as I looked out my side window there were two other sales reps standing casually nearby waiting for me to get out and look at a car.
I was psyching myself up to get out of the car and thinking of nice ways of saying, “I’m just looking” but before I could my wife texted me. And I texted back.
There was palpable tension anyone watching could sense and each of the seven sales reps were curiously waiting to see which direction I’d walk when I got out of my car.
So, to buy time, I texted my wife something totally irrelevant and we texted back and forth about it for about two minutes. By this time several of the sales reps were getting concerned and wondering what I was up to. A few looked like they were ready to write me off as crazy. One looked like he may have to call the cops if I didn’t get out of my car soon and start negotiating pricing on a new car.
I then felt stuck. I wasn’t texting any more but pretended like I was. One sales rep walked close enough to see that I wasn’t crazy but looked really fed up with my seeming to toy with him …if not torture him.
Once I realized I had crossed over into an inadvertent kind of torture of people I had no reason to dislike or harm in any way, I got nervous, restarted my car, backed up and drove off.
And swore I’d never do anything that cruel to car sales reps ever again.
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