Thursday, February 08, 2007

The bearded soup smeller and policeing the coin cup

I just went to lunch in the near-by hospital’s cafeteria. There are numerous lunch items that are served by friendly workers. There is also some items like yogurt, sandwiches, and fruit in separate coolers and even a soup and salad bar. Sometimes I get a soup and salad because it is somewhat healthy and cheap. Today, however, I opted not to. As I approached the self-serve soup caldron things, a man with a terrific white Santa-Clause beard opened the tops of the soup pot, and stuck his face in the pots with reckless abandon in an attempt to smell the soup. His face was so close that at one point his giant beard touched the edge of the pots. He did this to both pots, but his beard only mingled with the contents of one of the pots.

When I realized what had happened, I froze and looked at him in terror. What hubris that this man had to stick his face in a community-shared soup pot! I have to hand it to him though, he really must take his lunch seriously. He obviously thinks that pre-smelling his food is more important than committing cafeteria soup-smelling faux pas. Usually, reading the contents of the soup is all I need to make an instant judgment of whether or not I will be eating it. If I am really being feisty, I might open the lid to have a look. At no point do I use any of my other 3 senses. I would have really admired him if he drank some out of the ladle before deciding. LOL!

He ended up not getting the soup and moved on to one of the lines where the food is behind the glass and you have to ask the lunch ladies for what you want. Although he didn’t ask to smell any food, it would have been fantastic if he did. It would be a truly awesome sight to see the lunch lady scooping up a spoonful of lasagna and reaching it out over the glass for him to smell. Some getting in his beard would be a nice touch.

This reminds me of another remarkable event that happened to me at this cafeteria. You guys know about the spare-change containers that sit next to many cash registers in gas stations and whatnot right? I don’t know about you, but my experience with those is that is the public’s money. Anyone can come in and claim it. Someone put it there because they didn’t want it, so any customer who is paying for something can use it. I think that is pretty fair.

Evidently a certain cashier at that cafeteria has some kind of code of ethics to go along with her change cup, and she has the authority to enforce it.

Here is what happened. On three separate occasions she has informed me that I should make sure to contribute to the change cup from time to time. The first time I used some of the change, she said, “make sure to give some change to the change cup.” And I said “okay”, and thought she was just reminding me how the cup worked.

The second time she said basically the same thing and I think I just ignored her. The third time she said “you need to give some change to the change cup, because it is unfair to everyone else”. Which I responded, “I do that sometimes”. Then she said “do you?” really insincerely like she thought I was making that up. She made it seem as though I am THE guy that takes advantage of the cup. I just walked away, wondering what just happened.

Now, mind you, this happened over the time span of several months, and she would have to have somehow remembered that I am the one that always has my greedy mitts stuck in the goddamn change cup. After that third time, I started to question my own morality based on using someone’s change that they left there for me to use for that very purpose. I wondered, do I use that cup unfairly? Am I taking an inappropriate amount of change out and too frequently? Am I robbing the poor? Am I stealing food from babies mouths? I tried to understand what would drive her to single me out or even care about the contents of the change cup to begin with. She actually used the word “fair”. I don’t see how fair enters into it, seeing how i was using someone's discared change. It was all very confusing.

I tried to get in her head and figure this out, but I have no idea what would possess someone to take their cashier job so seriously that they think their influence extends the 3” beyond the cash register and into the change cup. My understanding of being a cashier has 3 responsibilities:
1) push buttons
2) take money
3) make change.

Basic math, verbal skills, and eye-contact are not necessary. They have robots that can do this at Kroger. Fingers are important.

I think they need to get her a job with more responsibility. One that is more akin to the one she made up for her job: “Keep track of the change that reoccuring customers are putting in the community change cup”.

This is the end to my stories about the hospital cafeteria. Please, someone reassure me about what has happened. I should also mention that I never use that cup now, and try to avoid her cash register when I can. I fear her.

Comments:
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
if u put money in any other change cup in the world then u are allowed to take what u need, now is it like 5 cents or 75 that your taking if it is 75 then u are going a lil overboard if not then tell the bitch to ring u up and mind her own biz
 
That reminds me of the story my brother told me about a security guard at his old job giving him shit about not washing his hands after using the bathroom even though he actually did. Some people are dying to feel important and go as far as being rude to people for stupid reasons.
 
I like the expression "give him shit". I need to put it back in circulation.

cow: it wasn't alot at all at any time. no more than 20c. bullshit!
 
that change cup could have been her retirement fund. because of you, she will now have to eat cat food. i hope you are happy.
 
maybe the man with the beard was partly blind and couldn't see well enough to read what the ingredients were so he RELYED on his smelly sense? yOu never know.
about the change cup, well, i dn't know what to say about that. some people take up the strangest causes...
 
The title of this post alone was enough to warrant a "best post of the year" nomination.
 
cat food isnt cheap
 
UPDATE:
yesterday i went to the same cafeteria and bought some food. a different lady was there. when I went to pay, I didn't use the change cup even though my meal was 5.06 (In case the ladies talked about me).

This lady actually got the $0.06 out of the change cup for me! That is a pretty big difference from the other lady. Maybe they are twins, and one is the evil twin.

I bet next time I see the evil one she will have found out about the 0.06 infraction and ask me to pay it back to the change cup.
 
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