Friday, March 11, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Adventures in the World of Fast

The End of This Story isn’t Really a Nail-Biter.

This week I had a large document that needed to be printed out, then copied. I want to stress this was not a complex document—no fancy graphics, no color photos— just straight black type on white letter paper.

So I sailed forth, plucky as the Pinta, the Niña, and the Santa María, believing a woman with a crowded schedule could get three sets of copies done inexpensively, in 20 minutes, without having to first notify her next of kin.

Things looked promising too: there was a manager and a management trainee on the floor, thoughtfully taking questions from new incoming like myself.

One of my questions meant the difference between a $20 versus a $100 copy run, and the manager, being management, said, “I don’t know. Patty! Can you help this lady, please?”

His employee Patty was already busy fielding the three other customers he’d helped over there, and—like a fish anxious to stay live—kept moving through a variety of tasks as she took my original. I posed my questions but unless that odd twitching under her eyes was a response, I wasn’t sure she had heard me, and meanwhile she was on the other side of the room, reaching for the wrong paper….

Armed with a spiffy padfolio and lacking only a cub-hero cape, the management trainee stepped up to ask if help was needed. I whispered, “Do you think Patty heard me?” The management trainee couldn’t be sure. But then training kicked in and she decided to ask Patty if she’d heard me. This took the next 5-10 minutes.

Finally I stuck two fingers into my mouth and whistled like Ben Cartwright ordering everyone back to the Ponderosa.

“We heard you,” said Patty, a little indignant at my need for coddling.

My document was copied in the nick of time, but then I needed a bold marker to address an envelope. Another employee found one for me, hovering near to ensure I didn’t try to make off with a Sharpie that predated the Clinton administration. Then, exit stage left, only to encounter the company truck blocking in my car, so their delivery guy could unload boxes. While waiting, new incoming—in the form of a little old lady asking the manager if he had change for a fiver. (What do you think?)

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