Okay, maybe "tragedies" is a little strong.
People revert to a sort autonomous state when they're shopping for things that don't involve their individuality, or are a painful requirement. So working at CVS, it's not uncommon to see customers become cliche-spitting mounds of flesh. Here's a small example of what I'm babbling about:
[Customer comes up to the register]
Me: Hi, how are you?
Mound of Flesh (M.O.F. for short): Yes I have my CVS card. (Shuffles through purse)
M.O.F.: What. Wait what'd you ask?
Me: I asked you "How are you?".
[Quietly repeat "dumbass" in my thoughts]
M.O.F.: Oh. I'm fine.
In approaching the transaction as though it were a program their hard drive was executing, they'd forgotten that there is a person behind the register who has a set of emotions and can react accordingly. You know, as opposed to vomiting expected phrases. Foregoing that, they respond with the same set of words in the same order, and don't bother to be an individual in the process.
Don't get me wrong though. As much as this pisses me off, I have my fun with it. Here's my favorite gag:
Me: Do you have a VHS card?
M.O.F.: Yes, hold on it's on my keychain.
I somehow doubt that.
Another little sociological atrocity is how customers don't look me in the eye during an entire transaction. They'll perform actions such as handing over items or using their card, maintain required conversation, and even at the end, when I reluctantly happily wish them a good day, they pause for a small second, gaze aimlessly to their left, and respond.
All the while, they keep their eyes low, darting left and right at nothing in particular.
This is a coincidental picture of Stevie Wonder.
Certainly, one-by-one these things aren't a big deal. But collectively, we perform these little required transactions dozens of times on a monthly basis. It'd be hard to suggest that, if we perform these like robots every time, that it does nothing to the way you treat people and respect their individuality. I can only imagine that it slowly erodes it.
Not to mention that it kind of homogenizes one's personality bit by bit, as you avoid practicing your own style of being for a style that's as exciting as a 0-0 soccer game. That lasts 6 hours.
Yay a World Cup reference (Sort of!)!
So be yourself as much as you can when you're doing these mindless errands at stores and supermarkets. Trust me, the cashier'll appreciate it, and you'll feel happier doing so. Or at the very least, I won't make fun of you behind your back.