I don't like the title of this post, but I can't think of a better name for the phenomenon I want to rail against. I hate it when people are so oblivious to their surroundings that they gratuitously change things in their environment without noticing, or even considering that someone else might have left things in a certain state on purpose. At lunch today I encountered the example that constantly annoys me: people who walk into the restaurant and leave the door open even though it was closed when they got there. Who walks through a closed door and doesn't even notice whether or not it closes again behind them? Maybe there was a reason it was closed! Even if not, why pointlessly change the state of something? Unless you've got a reason to leave something different than you found it, don't!

Everyone knows that when they go camping they should pick up their trash and leave the place looking clean, and most people don't litter gratuitously. So why do they "pollute" their environment by making other careless, pointless changes? Maybe someone else is counting on something being a certain way! Maybe they arranged it that way for a reason, and your obliviousness is causing real inconvenience to someone who isn't an idiot! Maybe the door you so carelessly and thoughtlessly left ajar causes cold wind to blow on a fine, upstanding citizen who is innocently trying to enjoy a wet chicken burrito with no cheese!

By watching which people noticed the door stuck open and which didn't, I was easily able to differentiate the smart, observant ones from the morons. If I were a hiring manager, that's exactly the kind of subtle signal I'd be looking for while interviewing a job candidate.



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