Tuesday, December 30, 2008

“I’m all out…”

Yesterday, I was grabbing a cup of coffee at a major international coffee retailer. As the scruffy young man at the register handed me the piping hot cup, I realized that it didn’t have one of those cardboard sleeves. I looked around for a second before showing him my cup and asking,

“Excuse me, can I grab a sleeve for this?”

With compunction on his face, he said, “I’m sorry, I’m all out of sleeves,” before giving me an extra insulation-cup.


As I walked away, his words replayed in my head. “I’m all out of sleeves.” I thought, “Is he really out of sleeves, or is this particular location of this major international coffee retailer out of sleeves? Even if he is the shift manager, I’m not totally sure that those are his sleeves.”

As I enjoyed my coffee, I reflected on the phenomenon of service professionals taking ownership of their product, and realized that this guy is not alone. There are others: waiters (“I’m sorry, I’m all out of the tilapia”), Foot Locker refs (“I’m sorry, I’m all out of the Air Max Court Executioner in a 12”), 7-11 cashiers (“I’m sorry, I’m all out of Fiesta Chicken Go-Go Taquitos”), and Banana Republic associates (“I’m sorry, I’m all out of the Charleston brown Relaxed Dawson Chino in 34x32”).

It seems to me that it would be smarter for these folks to pass the buck and say something like, “Yeah, our buyer Steve is constantly dropping the ball. I apologize for his negligence.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is really clever and quite true!