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Your Other Left

, , , | Working | May 2, 2022

I’ve quit smoking and am using nicotine patches to help me through the post-quitting phase. My local pharmacy keeps the nicotine patches, gum, etc., on a shelf behind the cashier station.

Cashier: “Hi, can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I’d like a box of [Brand] nicotine patches, please.”

The cashier turns around so she is facing the nicotine products, with her back to me.

Cashier: “Hmm, I don’t see any nicotine patches. We have nicotine gum and lozenges.”

From the cashier’s point of view, facing the shelf, the nicotine patches are to her left, and the gums and lozenges are to the right.

Me: *Pointing to her left* “The patches are there, to your left.”

The cashier doesn’t turn around to see where I am pointing. Instead, she moves further to the right.

Cashier: “Where? I don’t see them. All I see are gums and lozenges.”

Me: *Still pointing to her left* “No, right there, to the left. See where I’m pointing?”

Cashier: “Where? I still don’t see them.”

Still not looking at me, she moves further to the right, away from the patches.

Me: “They’re to the left. No, your other left. There.”

I point more emphatically.

Still not looking at me, she moves even further to the right.

Cashier: “I don’t think we have them.”

Me: “No, to your left. I’m pointing right at them. You have to look at me to see where I’m pointing. That’s… That’s how pointing works.”

In the end, she never turns around or moves to her left, and she can’t figure it out. Finally, she has to ask one of her coworkers for help. The other cashier finds the patches right away.

Cashier: “Oh, there they are! They were to the left. I didn’t see them.”

Me: *Facepalms*

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