It just occurred to me that my “countdown” is actually counting up–Thanksgiving will end up being Day 12 or something because, quite honestly, I have no frakking reason why I do some of the things that I do. Fortunately, I subscribe to the philosophy that dictates she who acts like he knows what she is doing will get away with most of that with which she hopes to get away. And ain’t that a sentence! I have a story I’ll use to explain, but first I’d like to give a shout out to the contributor of today’s themed photo selections. That’s right–real, actual, submissions from a reader named Don. Thanks for playing, Don.
Now, I once worked for a company with a spacious, beautiful, professionally designed and decorated lobby filled with modern, well-made and carefully maintained upscale furnishings. One weekend, a semi truck pulled up the the front and several guys in overalls got out of it and an accompanying van. One of them strolled up to the front desk with a clipboard with a stack of invoices attached. “We’ve got your new furniture,” the man said.
The guy at the desk was confused and said that he hadn’t heard about any new furniture, but the delivery guy showed him page after complicated invoice page on his clipboard while explaining that “corporate is replacing everything–half of the locations this winter, the rest next fall. Must he nice,” he added. “They’re sending everything back to Richmond, Virginia to auction it off.”
It all seemed to make sense to the desk clerk, but the security staff, the weekend auditor, and three other various employees putting in Saturday hours agreed it was probably not wise to antagonize the corporate offices, so when the delivery guy asked if they should just bring in the new boxes and stack them or “take all this old stuff out first and then arrange the new stuff as we unpack it,” the answer was “whatever works best.”
For the rest of the morning, while the staff went about their business four men in overhauls unloaded roughly 75 large cardboard boxes–most of them refrigerator sized or bigger and carted off all the other furniture. After three hours the delivery guy walked past the desk and said “we’re taking 30 for lunch.”
A half hour passed, then 45 minutes, and then more than an hour. Slowly, it dawned on a pair of custodians that they were going to get stuck unpacking all those boxes, and the resignedly went to work–although not for long. The first box they opened held a ragged armchair, the next a broken lamp that even a thrift store wouldn’t sell. Growing frantic, they ripped into the boxes : more decrepit, threadbare garbage. Deeper into the array, the crates and boxes were simply empty.
The loss was set at around $175,000, but the actual replacement costs were over a quarter million–in early 1990’s money. Sofas, arm chairs, side and end tables, lamps, even the carpets. I was not associated with that company for very long, but at the time I departed the authorities had yet to gain so much as a clue. The truck seemed to disappear, the fancy furniture with it.
So, yeh, it pays to just act like you know what you’re doing.