The typical scenario is as follows. I go into a store and ask a question. During the conversation, I need to show them that they actually do carry an item I'm inquiring about (or maybe that something does contain a substance they thought it didn't or such). It could also be me asking how to find an option or information in their app.
In each case, it contains the following elements:
- some (partial, confusing or wrong) information is presented on my phone
- I don't know how to proceed my task due to said information
- they are expected to provide support, due to their professional role
Usually, they look at the screen and provide an explanation or express a surprise, leading to the next step (be that me leaving satisfying or them escalating the matter to a manager or second-line support). This is an expected and acceptable outcome.
On occasion, however, they get stuck too and, every now and then, start to touch my phone. I understand it's confusion combined with unfulfilled expectation about the contents on my screen that strikes them flabbergasted. One example would be following exchange:
Me: How do I get the nutrition information on this item?
Them: You look it up and it's right below the picture.
Me: I've found the item. There's nothing about carbs here.
[showing the phone]
Them: Mmmm... Maybe you should click on the image to get to deeper info.
[suspicion arises as they seem to alter the previous suggestion]
Me: Nope, that's not it. I've clicked on it and other places, too. I get to see the proteins and fats but not the carbs.
[possibly a few more rounds of unsuccessful maybe's and what-about's]
And here it comes. They start to lift the arm, extending their finger and want to click themselves. I understand the surprised frustration and the disappointed expectation of how things should work. I also get that one would question the observed phenomenon, leading to a trial by own hand (finger, to be exact). I also get - to some limited extent - that they may forget they have their own phone to try it on.
What I don't get is how to create a clear sense of the device being my personal belonging not supposed to be touched by others, unless explicitly requested to. I've tried to keep the phone inconveniently far from them while displaying the contents. I've tried to be very verbose about what I see on the screen to promote verbal interaction, excluding tactile aspect.
Finally, they reach for my phone and, as the last resort, I abruptly move it away from their reach. That creates the notion of heavy overstep, after which the interaction is damaged and best (and in many cases ends in infected and snorky cut-off). I don't get how to avoid it, as I'm dependent on their support.
I have twosome question.
- How to create a clear notion of boundaries regarding my phone while in an early stage of the interaction?
- How to avoid the fingering of my phone by a stranger while it's about to happen but in a way that is polite and not confronting?