Why Are People Slobs?

I take a train to work almost every day. A few times a week, there are announcements about not leaving garbage on the train and taking all your stuff with you. Sometimes they specifically mention newspapers.

I think some people might think that if they leave their paper on the seat, some other person might get some use out of it. I find that to be a bit of a gray area when it comes to what's acceptable behaviour and what isn't.

Some people, however, are just slobs. Take this woman for instance. Here she is:

As the train made its way along, she was sitting in her seat with two newspapers in her hands, reading away. When done with the first, she just chucked it on the ground in front of her, as though that were the most natural place in the world for it. She didn't leave it where someone might use it. She didn't recycle it like some civilized person. She just chucked it on the ground, obviously thinking that the world is her personal trash can and that someone else should clean up after her.

It's mostly irrelevant, but it's worth noting that the seat next to me was empty, so if she had the slightest inkling that someone might use it, I expect she'd have put it there. Instead, she just chucked it on the floor for someone else to deal with.

My first thought was that maybe I should say something. Maybe I should point out to her that she had "dropped" her paper and perhaps should pick it up. My morning lethargy got the better of me though, and I just wasn't in the mood to make a scene.

My next thought, then, was to take her picture and publicly shame her. I figured, I've got my own personal media outlet with a global audience (of at least 3 people), so why not use it to do some good?

The problem with that, however, was that she still had her second newspaper up in front of her, so it was obscuring any opportunity to snap off a couple quick pics.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next.

Sure enough, she chucked the second paper onto the ground, to join the first as some maintenance worker's unnecessary bane.

It was too much to resist, so out came the camera phone.

So my question to the readers is this… firstly, do you know this woman? I'd love to get a first-hand explanation of why she finds it acceptable to just chuck garbage on the floor of the train. Is she perhaps a member of high society, whereby it is the duty of the legions to pick up after her? Is she perhaps mentally handicapped and just not know any better? Is she physically unable to carry the heavy weight of two newspapers the 20 yards or so to the nearest recycle can on the train platforms? If so, how did she get them to her seat? Were they there when she got there?

Secondly, what do you think of people who litter in public spaces? Are they doing society a favour by keeping other people employed to pick up after them? Are they just inconsiderate slobs? Do you think their mom's didn't hug them enough as kids, or teach them any sort of manners?

For me… I'll just look at them in disgust and expect that Karma will have some way of evening things out for them.

And here she is again, prettying herself up. I guess she's not expecting mobile beautician to drop by and take care of this for her.

0 thoughts on “Why Are People Slobs?”

  1. Three words: Sense of Entitlement

    What you witnessed was someone who doesn't bother thinking about other people, as long as she gets to have things done as conveniently for her as possible. How the self-entitled manage to become common peons, like us — who hold down jobs and otherwise remain contributing members of society — is beyond me.

    I know that there's a great deal of controversy around "outing" people who've abused public spaces (including the girl who let her dog use the subway as its toilet, without picking up after it, even), but I'm rather firmly of the belief that it can be the only effective way for otherwise-discarded social niceties to be enforced. If someone has to be made an example of, so be it. I have no sympathy for those who treat the world as their toilet and come up with a sob story once retribution finds them.

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