Thursday, February 26, 2009

Offering service during goodbyes

Ever said goodbye to a Mormon? If you have, there is a high probability that they said back to you “Well, let us/me know if there’s anything you need.” You felt good because they took an interest in you, and offered a free bit of service, which you good-naturedly declined (if you followed protocol), and they felt good because they extended the offer of service without having to lift a finger.

Again, if protocol was followed.

If you did not follow protocol, and you mentioned an act of service that requires more than a two minute time investment, be prepared for a blank stare. If you have seen the episode of Star Trek where a robot is asked a paradoxical question, and their internal circuitry basically melts because there is no logical answer, you will be prepared for their response. Confusion and a reluctant or hesitant acceptance of their fate will follow,

This leave taking is the Mormon version of “awareness”, a trait exposed by White Person expert Christian Lander. Awareness is the act of making people aware of some type of problem, and then handing it off to someone else to take care of. Awareness is highly desirable because a person only has to make people aware of a problem (Deforestation in South America is bad!), without having to do anything about it. This leave taking is the same thing, and the official protocol is as follows:

1. Goodbye said.
2. Offer of “anything we can do” extended
3. Good feeling by offeree, good natured “Not right now”, “I’ll let you know” or similar acceptable response given
4. Good feeling by offerer, service offered, not rendered

There is, of course, the alternate or “nuclear option” protocol which is as follows

1. Goodbye said.
2. Offer of “anything we can do” extended
3. Good feeling by offeree, thoughts of “House will finally get painted!” entertained
4. Offer of service accepted, great feeling by offeree
5. Confusion followed by bad feeling by offerer, service offered and accepted, Saturday shot to heck.

Please note, sometimes offerees will jokingly respond “Sure [snickering], you can paint my house!” and both parties enjoy a hearty guffaw. However, offerers should carefully note facial expressions when analyzing responses for mocking tones, as it would be considered extremely poor taste to laugh in the face of someone genuinely asking for a bit of service.


karen said...

Yeah, but when I offered, I didn't really want to help you move/paint your house/babysit kids/cook dinner. I was just doing my bit as a member missionary. Geez...

Meg N. said...

So true! Saying it when leaving is a nefarious way to pressure the visitee into not accepting, because explaining the problem and figuring out a time for it to be solved would hold them up.