Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's sometimes okay to patronize

As I walked into my tire store (well, not *my* tire store, but the tire store I frequent) wearing my Chief Wahoo Cleveland Indians baseball cap, the guy behind the counter said, "Chief Wahoo, huh? Named after Wahoo Sam Crawford, the ballplayer from Wahoo, Nebraska."

"Really?" I replied. "Interesting. I just wear it because I like it." It was a nice icebreaker that morning as I went in for a tire. And there was only one thing wrong with it. Chief Wahoo is not named after Crawford. He is simply a logo for the Cleveland baseball team, and I knew that.

So, why not correct him? I would rather ask, why correct him? What purpose would that serve?

All right, in not correcting the guy I was patronizing him. Yet I don't see what's wrong with patronization in such a context. He was only making conversation, and I didn't see why I should stick a pin in that. When dealing with innocuous items like the exact nature of a baseball symbol, let him have his fun. There's just no harm done.

Sure, I would kindly correct a friend or family member. But that's a little different; a new angle has been added. Why would I want to allow friends and family to be put in a potentially embarrassing situation of being called out by a stranger on an unimportant point? This guy was only my tire guy. I conversely did not want to embarrass him, so I let it go without censure.

In short, I see no evil in patronizing someone if the circumstances, I will say, merit it. There's no reason to be a know it all, and no reason to burst bubbles, with small talk. Only just don't patronize me by saying you agree with this if you don't.

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