It is disgusting to see helpers in supermarkets picking out polythene bags using saliva. They put food items into the covers with the same infected hands. It is harmful for the customers as well as the salesperson. Not only the managements, even the public should be aware of this dirty habit. They shouldn't hesitate to correct the person who indulges in it.

Apart from the helpers transmitting a good amount of harmful bacteria from saliva, their intake of chemical substances which they handle while touching their tongue for wetness could cause potential damage to their own health.

This doesn't stop with the supermarkets; it is happening in almost all public workplaces. It offers me solace when I see some banks using finger wet sponges while counting currency. While issuing tickets, conductors are notorious for using saliva. Government authorities should bring some sort of awareness among these public servants.

When I was a kid, I witnessed a conductor using his wristband as a finger wet tool for tearing off tickets. The band had a dial-like design with a small piece of wet sponge at the front. Why can't his good example be followed? Why can't government authorities provide those finger wet bands to all our bus conductors? It will be in the interest of personal hygiene of the conductors themselves as much as of the passengers. Knowingly or unknowingly, they swallow the chemical dye used for printing tickets.

The licking habit, is observed at many cash counters at workplaces. Thanks to online ticket reservation, this obnoxious practice is greatly reduced in cinemas. However, when you buy tickets at the counter, you can see the issuer using saliva.

A finger wet tool is a small stationery item. It is user-friendly, easy to clean, durable and costs you nothing. If you are humanitarian, do not wait for the authorities to provide it. Get one for yourself.

(The writer's email ID is srinivasan_vanaja@

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