‘Stop nudging customers and pay attention when they nudge you”

It isn’t nice to be nudged. I’m talking about the physical kind here, the unmistakable human shove of body on body, shoulder on shoulder, accompanied by that indignant, self-righteous sigh, to let you know you have transgressed some kind of social norm in a queue or on a crowded train. Even pre-Covid, it would hit your defences like a low-level assault, arousing an awkward emotional cocktail of surprise, guilt and affront: ‘What have I done?’

It could be effective though, cutting through more viscerally than words to prompt you to move or adjust, perhaps with a meek smile or apology. It could also go wrong. Any sense that the assault was unjustified would be met by standing your ground, digging in, or even nudging right back: a high-risk human strategy lending some drama to low-stakes human interactions.

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