Life skills: the surprising times you need them

Self-tutoring about life: the tutor mentions surprising skills people might need, and when.

Likely, just about all of us has been in the situation where we put money in a vending machine, but the dispenser jammed somehow and we didn’t get what we’d ordered. Moreover, we’d probably not be too surprised for it to happen in a hallway of vending machines at a busy venue such as a traveling station. At a hotel or on a cruise ship, in the laundromat, we might be a little more surprised to encounter such a situation. Yet it happened to my wife today.

I watched her put the coin carefully in the slot, then push it forward. When nothing seemed to happen, she pushed the coin return, but it wouldn’t return her token. “I just put the coin in, but it didn’t give me my detergent,” she complained mildly. “I guess I need to go to Guest Services.”

Going to Guest Services would no doubt solve the problem, but might take 15 minutes; I wasn’t willing to go there immediately. I joined her at the machine, whose dispensation area you had to be fairly flexible – or fairly small – to see into. I bent sideways to check into it.

“It actually did dispense it,” I commented: indeed, the box of detergent lay far back on the delivery shelf, standing vertically, so that someone feeling for it would have a hard time finding it. Moreover, you couldn’t see what you were reaching for unless you knelt down and peered in. This was easy to do, for me: I reached in and recovered the box of detergent she’d paid for, but couldn’t have recovered by herself.

It’s surprising sometimes, the skills you need and in what context. You wouldn’t expect a box of laundry detergent would be challenging to retrieve from a vending machine that tried to dispense it. However, so it goes….

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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