Thursday, September 13, 2012
The working life: No cuts no butts no coconuts
What do you guys think is the right thing here? I was standing in line at the cafe by my office, waiting to get coffee, as this getting up at 6 a.m. is just not working for me. I had switched to decaf last summer, but now, the siren song of caffeine is luring me back into my old bad habits.
The line was slow because it was lunchtime and most people were ordering lunch. I watched the counter people as I calculated how long it would take for me to get to the order taker. It was going to be at least two minutes. Did I have two minutes to spare? Didn't I have Important Meetings? Things to Do? But how would I do them without caffeine? Why weren't these people working faster?
The line moved right past the cash register where the coffee person usually stands. But there was nobody there. Nobody at the coffee cash register because all hands were at the food stations. Which if I were running the place would be how I would do it, as well. If 20 of the 21 people in line are ordering food and only one is ordering coffee, you make the one wait a little longer rather than having 25% of your staff standing at the coffee cash register, looking at their fingernail and being bored.
A woman I know from work walked in. She walked up to me. Rats. I had to remove my earbuds and stop listening to the radio. I was not in a social mood. But. She is someone with power and I respect that. I am trying not to repeat the mistakes of my past, where I thought that only the work I produced mattered and not the relationships with the people who could do things.
We greeted each other. I said something about being there just for coffee. "You shouldn't have to stand in the food line," she said. "There should be someone at the coffee station."
I shrugged. I wasn't going to tell the cafe how to run its business, as much as I would enjoy that. I would even do it for free, as I think my opinion is so valuable that the world would be a better place if everyone would just do things my way. Eventually, riches would be bestowed upon me. I could wait.
Even though there were people behind me, she stood next to me. I wondered if she was trying to cut in line. I wondered how to tell her she couldn't cut in with me. Milwaukee is not Miami. Bless Miami's heart. Cutting line is not something people here do.
I moved forward.
She did not go to the back of the line.
I wondered what she was doing but decided it was none of my business. Which is unusual, because I think everything is my business. I am learning prudence in my middle age, I hope.
She stepped forward to the coffee counter. Stood there. One of the food people looked over. "Do you need something?" he asked.
"Coffee," she said.
My jaw dropped.
She had gotten to cut the line. Legitimately.
I HAD BEEN WAITING LONGER!
And she knew I had been waiting!
Reader, what do you think? Should she have said, "I want coffee and so does that lady there, who has been waiting longer than I have?"
Or did she, by virtue of demanding service, deserve to be served before me?