Unspoken Rules

Unspoken Rules

What kind of rules do you follow? As a kid, did you ever think there would come a day when there wouldn’t be rules? I sure did.

I wouldn’t want to break the heart of my kid-self; however, there are always rules.

Some are still out there for all adults to see (such as speed limits and signs at the beach reading: No Alcohol, etc.).

Some rules are meant to be broken, like eat dinner before dessert or don’t wait until the day before your term paper is due to start researching and writing it. You have to break it to know if it’s a worthy rule to follow.

Some rules are unspoken. They’re innate. You learn from experiences that may end negatively because you didn’t follow the rules. Maybe you’re on the other side of the rule and it always sticks with you.

I’m about to let you in on an unspoken rule I follow and why. Don’t judge!

Unspoken Rule: Do NOT show up to a place of business at the moment or within a few minutes that they open or within 15 – 30 minutes of the place of business closing, depending on the business.

Why: I lifeguarded for YEARS. Sometimes, I had swim practice in the morning, and then would stay and work. Work started at 10 AM. The baby pool opened at 11 AM and the big pool at 12 PM. The WORST days were the ones where a family would show up any time between 10:55 – 11:10 AM with a big kid in tow so that the big pool would have to open right at noon. All pools closed at 8:00 PM.

I honestly can’t tell you why this was so terrible. It just was. Maybe it was because of the times where no one showed up, and when they did, it was slow for awhile. Maybe it was because Virginia can be so hot and humid, that the idea of getting paid around $5 per hour to sit in the sun just didn’t sound worth it that day.

Whatever the reason, it just meant that there was no stop. The moment I finished cleaning, I had to be on duty. There was not a break in duty. No extra break that is as we got a 20 minute break for every hour rotation. It seems petty as we were getting PAID to be on duty and looking back, I truly recognize how terribly lazy it sounds, but I still remember it being the WORST.

Except what was even WORSE, was when someone showed up at the pool right before close, especially if they unstacked the already stacked-for-the-night chairs. If there were no patrons left, we could walk out right at 8:00 which was the latest we could sign out. Even if the whistle blew to close the pool at 7:55 and there were swimmers there, we never left at 8:00.

Because of being on the working side of these experiences, I try to pay really close attention to a businesses hours. One reason is to be respectful of the employees and the behind the scenes issues I may not know about, such as not getting paid to stay an extra 15 minutes. A more important reason is because I have been there. I know what it feels like. And it stinks.

Recent Experience: I needed to get my car cleaned. Not just washed, but vacuumed. Seriously vacuumed. Seriously cleaned. My car is our go-to hiking, beaching, camping, OUTDOOR car, and it showed – a year ago.

There were two times coming up where I was going to have to transport more people in my car than myself, and therefore, needed to get my car cleaned. I went the night before the first outing to the great, local car wash not knowing what time they closed. They closed 20 minutes before I got there, and they were still working on someone’s car. My first thought, “Those POOR workers!”

Recognizing I was meeting my friends at nine the next morning, I resolved to get up and be at the car wash when they opened at 8 AM the next morning. UH OH – UNSPOKEN RULE!

The car wash was about ten minutes away from my house, so I left at 7:49. When I was about 5 minutes away, the panic set in. I did NOT want to be the person in line before they opened. So I decided to stay on one street that I had never traveled the whole length. I followed it until I was far enough away that I would not be at the car wash until 8:05ish. Phew!

By the time I got there at 8:04, I was not first, I was fourth! Apparently, this is not an unspoken rule that everyone follows.

What unspoken rules do you have?



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