Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gripy Whiny Pissy People

I'll Never Make This Mistake Again...

OK, I'll admit I forgot the prime rule of workplace survival... never volunteer for anything! Still, I've not yet managed to crush the last surviving specks of optimism and goodwill out of my soul yet, so when the request went out for people to plan and organize the departmental Holiday Feast at the last staff meeting, I was somewhat amazed to see my hand raise up in the air as if possessed...

It seemed simple enough. Organize a sit-down meal for 35 people, find a caterer, get a quote, then collect the funds. On the appointed day of the event, sit back, let the caterer do the heavy lifting, give him/her a nice tip, then accept the laurel wreath of praise for a job well done!

Heh. Yeah, right.

The first thing people here had to know was "What kind of food are we going to have?", and then threaten to boycott the event if certain caterers/cuisine choices were not up to their approval.

Second, these are the most stingy, tight-fisted group of skinflints I've EVER worked with. OK, we work for The Man, and he don't pay all that much, but still... For $30 per head, we could have had champagne and caviar, truffles and turbot, rolls of yeast and rare Roast Beast. For $20 a head, we could have had smoked turkey, yards of trimmings, and fantastic desserts.

Nope. Too rich for these folks. All people want to spend on a once-a-year event is $10 a head, and a lot had to have their arms twisted to pay more than $5 each.

You know what kind of meal you can get catered for $350? Ooops, sorry. $330. Two people already said they weren't attending since they won't share a meal with infidels. Well, that's not what they said, but you get the underlying gist of the message.

For $330, we'll get some el cheapo caterer that'll warm up some #10 cans of green beans, slice up some rubbery ham, and mix up a couple of gallons of powdered mashed 'taters. It'll all be served in those cheap aluminum pans that get icy cold in 10 minutes. Maybe if we're lucky we'll get some day-old rolls and a couple of gluey pumpkin pies.

So, when we finally get to the meal, people will bitch and moan at the poor quality (just like last year) even though they whined about the cost (just like last year) and refused to take part in the planning (just like last year).

If it was up to me alone at this point, we'd be having Pizza Hut and a couple of cases of scotch delivered. I doubt I'll ever do this again.

Update: This post got picked up by the electronic edition of the local paper, the Houston Chronicle!