I’ve been the subject of an office scandal for quite some time and I just now figured out what it was.
Office people are strange indeed and the floor I work on is no exception. It’s almost all women, all huddled in the same little cubicle farm, supporting the same overlapping group of people.
And my office is down the hall.
I’m immediately made the Smeagol of the group just as a matter of geographical fact.
I moved into my full-time position at work from a temporary assignment. It was a strange and mysterious ride that wasn’t really ever talked about. In fact, I wasn’t really every sure what my job was, what was expected of me, or if there was a desire by the higher-ups to keep me beasting about.
I don’t think beasting is a word. But I’m sure your brain has come up with something for it already so let’s just keep whatever you’ve got.
Anyway the point is that I was never really introduced, never shown around, and never really explained things in a very thorough manner. The nature of my job lies in its constant uncertainty. It’s an interesting and confidence-shaking place to be. And unfortunately because I am in a support role, there comes a time in my life when I have to do things like place kitchen orders.
There’s an executive kitchen on our floor that’s stocked with coffee, tea, chips, pretzels, and sodas of all kinds. Sometimes there will be leftovers in there from high-level meetings and the underlings are allowed to spread it amongst themselves.
Amongst is probably also not a word, but it should be.
Once in a long while, the kitchen supplies need restocked. Having never been walked through the process and wary to ask for assistance because I’m the Smeagol of the floor, I went about doing so with a lone sheet of paper, completed by the person formerly in my role and filed for safekeeping. There were handy little notes on there about how much of something we should typically have at one time and a firm reminder to inventory. At the time we were pretty much out of everything so I just decided to order ten cases of every kind of drink to get us back on par.
A week later, the kitchen was still bare. So I asked the most approachable of the cubicle creatures how I could follow up on the order since I only had a fax number and wasn’t about to scrawl an anonymous note with an angry face asking where my stuff is like a terrorist and fax it over.
She had a funny smirk on her face and said everything was already delivered. I told her it was my first time ordering so I just wanted to make sure everything was okay and everyone was happy. As if laughing at me, she assured me everyone was happy and escorted me over to a door, behind which she swore all the items were stashed.
I was confused – mostly because I’d always seen the delivery stocked immediately into the kitchen. And also because I was fairly certain the “closet” she was referring to was the custodian’s storage room.
But she was done with the conversation so I went back to my cave down the hall, wondering what I did incorrectly. She casually mentioned that I seemed to order a lot of Pepsi, which I thought strange because I pretty much ordered the same amount of everything. My mind spun a web of theories, most of which revolved around a secret email everyone was copied on except me regarding someone wanting a certain kind of juice or fruit snack that I failed to get their input on.
Office creatures are menial, but deadly serious folk.
The other day I wandered over to the kitchen to carry out one of the more degrading aspects of my job by heating up my boss’s frozen dinner and I noticed the kitchen closet was stocked with a rather large quantity of soda. I heard some sort of buzz that the person before me over-ordered Diet Coke and let it go.
But last night while I was milling about my apartment, it hit me: I ordered a massive amount of soda.
You see, the ordering form indicates that all orders are carried out in ‘cases’. Since I have a small apartment and a rather lax vocabulary, I call 12-pack and 24-packs of soda ‘ cases’. Since I used to stock third shift in warehouse clubs, I should have known that 12 and 24 do not warrant a case by any means. Rather, a case is an entire case of 12-pack and 24-packs.
And I had ordered ten cases of every kind of soda.
The kitchen order is in the janitor’s closet because there simply isn’t any room for it anywhere else. In fact, it’s a wonder they didn’t have to throw everything out of the office supply closet just to make room for the now-enormous selection of Diet Coke we now have.
I didn’t get the memo about the girl prior ordering a bunch of Diet Coke until after I sent the fax.
I tested my theory like I test most theories – by simply stating it casually in conversation and reading how the other person reacts. And sure enough when I made an off-the-cuff remark about realizing I ordered entire cases of soda instead of just packs of soda, my fears were confirmed as she nodded and said something like “drink up!”
I’m sure now that there is a secret email that I’m not copied on. It’s a picture of everyone laughing and partying under a waterfall of soda while they guffaw over my ignorance. ♣