Casual Trust

How much do you trust random strangers you encounter every day as you go about your normal life? I’m not talking about lend them your car keys trust, but just the general assumption that the other person knows what he is doing or what is going on.

For example, say you’re in line for an ATM at the bank. The guy in front of you puts his card in, does a few things (you can’t really see what) and then takes his card and leaves without getting any money. As he’s walking away he turns to you and says, "It’s out of money."  Do you (a) trust that the machine really is out of money and leave or get in another line, or (b) walk up, put your card in and try to make a withdrawl yourself (possibly wasting your time there really is no cash, but maybe getting some money if the other guy was wrong)?

I was on the top floor of a building the other day, but when I pushed the down button to call the elevator (there was only a down button because it was the top floor) the button didn’t light up like it should have. I tried a few more times to make sure I had pushed it hard enough, and then assuming the button was just broken stood back and waited for the elevator to arrive.  Just then another guy shows up.  He looks at me, and then notices that the button isn’t lit. He looks back at me, and then back at the button and I could tell that he wasn’t sure if he should push it or not (since it was obvious that I was waiting to go down, and yet it wasn’t lit). Finally he goes up and pushes the button, and it doesn’t light up so he pushes it again (just like I had) and then decided that the light was broken and stood back to wait. About then he chuckles and says, "Not that I don’t trust you or anything…".

Well, doesn’t the fact that he had to go up and push the button just to make sure show that he really doesn’t trust me? And is there really anything wrong with that? We’d never seen each other in our respective lifes, so he really had no way of knowing that I hadn’t just forgotten to push the button. And yet when he showed that by pushing it himself he felt the need to almost apoligize or least explain that he wasn’t doing it out of a lack of trust (even though he most clearly was). Or maybe I’m reading too much into this or interpreting it all wrong. Comments? Use the feedback link.