Friday, July 13, 2012

Eats Quarters, Service Has Been Called

Executives say inspirational things pretty often. I don’t think they realize the positive impact of their words.

Today I was by the vending machine and saw a woman standing there pounding on the soda machine fruitlessly.

“I lost two dollars,” she said, and stomped out.

I remembered that earlier in the day I had been there and saw a handwritten note scrawled on a paper towel. It said, “Eats dollar bills.”

Without really thinking about it I left the galley and went about my business. Now I felt guilty. That sign had been ripped down, or fallen, and somebody lost $2 for no reason.

It occurred to me that I’d lost money in the vending machine before, here and elsewhere. But I never did anything about it other than curse under my breath.

Somebody else was sitting there as I thought about this. She said, “You could just go to the grocery store and get a six-pack. Six for two dollars, instead of two dollars for one.”

She had a point. The whole vending machine thing is wasteful. But still, did the woman deserve to lose her money because she buys convenience food?

Suddenly a quote from an agency executive came into my head. I remembered it because I had written it down earlier. He had said:

“If you have a supervisor who discriminates against have a responsibility to raise that to a higher level.”

You have a responsibility.

Another time the same executive said something else along these lines:

“You no longer have the right to talk about the Agency in the third person.”

In other words, if you see something broken, fix it. (Actually he said, “See Something, Say Something,” the Homeland Security tagline.)

I had never done this before, but suddenly I picked up the phone and called the vending machine company. As the sign said:

“For Fast Courteous Service Please Call SUN DUN, INC. OF WASH. (301) 937-2731.”

Someone picked up the phone pretty quickly. I told them where the problem was. They said they would have the problem fixed tomorrow.

So I put a sign up on the machine. Shoved a piece of paper inside. I hope that it will stick.

On second thought, maybe I better get some tape.

-Edited slightly from the original. Photo by me.