Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Person Conducting an Interview at the Table Next to Me,

In my extensive experience as a patron at Starbucks, I've seen a few things.

Once, a woman asked me if it were possible for me to unplug my laptop so she could use the outlet. I obliged, and she proceeded to plop a massive sewing machine onto the tiny table I was using. The machine seemed to work very well, and had me completely enthralled. It was impossible to type, anyway, since the entire table was vibrating, and even my noise-cancelling headphones were no match for that level of volume.

So -- there was that.

I've seen people show up with massive quantities of papers to be signed by other parties. I've been privy to a number of first dates. And I've seen a number of very professional people conduct very professional interviews in Starbucks.

So perhaps I can give you a few pointers:

1. Don't schedule interviews at 15-minute interviews, then ask a half-hour worth of questions. Half the people in this store are waiting for you, listening to the questions you're asking.

2. "Tell me how you have the soul for this job" is weird. Ask a fake question, get a fake answer.

3. Don't hire the girl in the blue shirt. I have the back view, and I can see she has tucked her shirt into her underwear. This is Getting Dressed 101, and although it might be a one-time slip, it seems like the sort of thing a person should have mastered by her age (20, give or take).

4. The guy in the white shirt was standing in the hallway outside the bathroom, talking about what a "douche" you are and how the job was a "joke". Probably not in line for employee of the month.

5. To really nail the "pompous ass" thing, perhaps try to work in a few more comments like "110 percent isn't enough for this job, I need 120 percent." It's probably useless to point out that 100 percent is actually the maximum a person can give. But why stop with 120 percent, anyway? Wouldn't 200 percent be better? Or 400, for that matter? Maybe you could suggest that your newest hire find a way to clone him/herself entirely at the employee's expense? Perhaps there is a polite way of asking the employee to eliminate all demands on his/her personal life and the pursuit of actual career goals in order to work for a company that seems to pay only commission and provide no actual benefits?

Just some points to consider.

Yours truly,

So Not Interested in This Job

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Man Who Came Running After Me in the Parking Lot,

Thank you.

Actually, I had just unloaded two bags into the backseat of my car and was thinking, "Wasn't there a third bag?" when I heard you behind me, yelling, "Woman in the blue shirt!"

I turned and watched you coming toward me, but it still took a long moment for me to realize I was the woman in the blue shirt.

I'm sorry. Lately, my mind is always somewhere else.

But then you came closer, panting, and I realized that you were carrying my third bag, which contained a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi and a two-liter bottle of Diet Sierra Mist. I'm always slightly embarrassed when I'm confronted with the evidence of my diet soda addiction (cans, bottles, Big Gulp cups with massive red straws), and for a moment I actually considered saying that it wasn't my bag. But that's silly, because it was.

"You have got to be the fastest person I could possibly chase through a parking lot!" you said, still catching your breath. I am horrible at guessing ages, but I think you would qualify for a senior discount, and it was quite impressive to think that you had followed me all the way out the store, across the parking lot, and through the maze of parked cars, just to hand me what a well-meaning friend has termed "liquid cancer."

I felt pretty bad, seeing how out of breath you were, because the truth is that I am not a fast person at all. Actually, I am slow. Ask my husband, or read this blog post. Or ask my former co-worker, who told me, after seven years as colleagues, that he "didn't know I could run."

"Thank you! That is so... wonderful," I told you. And it was. Just when I was starting to think that everyone in my city was a pothead gang-banging tagger with an obsence moniker, someone went and proved me wrong.

I wondered what the appropriate etiquette was for this situation. A profuse handshake? A cash reward? Split the profits? (No, you take the Sierra Mist... I insist.)

I settled with, "I really apprecate it," and you said, "No problem," and walked away, moving very slowly.

Anyway, you know that part. What you don't know is that I've decided to pay it forward. I am going to become, any day now, the sort of person who observes things carefully and steps in like a knight in shining armor (or a rather slow-walking woman in handmade Greek sandals) to save the day.


A Diet Soda Junkie
(aka, Woman in the Blue Shirt)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Mosquito Hawk who has been in my shower since Tuesday,

I thought we had an agreement.

I thought from the way we eyed each other warily on Tuesday morning, the sun only a smudged blur of light outside the window, that we understood each other.

It was a two-part agreement, a contract where each party had a specific responsibility. My responsibility was to let you live. Your responsibility was to come no closer.

As it has been explained to me by very intelligent, well-meaning, all-living-things loving people, mosquito hawks are actually good pests to have around. They kill mosquitoes, thereby protecting me from a host of diseases, such as West Nile virus, malaria, and bubonic plague. (I'm iffy on the last one.) Recently, I have become aware that I am more of a target for mosquitoes than others. Exhibit A: Will and I spent fifteen minutes in the backyard last Saturday night. He emerged unscathed. I had twenty-four bites of varying sizes (pinprick to BB) on my legs. Therefore, my second thought upon seeing you against the far end of the shower, a winged horror against the white tile, was that I would let you live. I could adapt to this new set of circumstances. We could live together, you killing mosquitoes and me not killing you.

And then, you got greedy.

For no reason at all, you left your spot on the wall and took a dizzying flight, while I screamed, clutching a loofah close to my body. You flapped dangerously near to my face, and this was where I am sorry to say we had to part ways.

I would like you to know that I still hold your species in high respect.


The Girl Who Showers Alone