Every year, the company I work for puts together a Thanksgiving gift basket for an employee they deem deserving. Notice I said deserving and not in need. Even though the gift basket is generous in its contents (a frozen turkey, canned goods, stuffing mix, a grocery store gift card, frozen vegetables and a set of scented candles), delivery is a delicate matter. No one wants his or her co-workers to think he/she is poor or needs the basket, so the marketing committee pretends to hold a selection session based on merit when really we sit around and talk about who we’ve seen sleeping in his or her car.
Sad but true.
We met today to discuss the top contenders. We finally selected Robert, who has been spotted by more than one co-worker walking the 10+ miles from his apartment to work, and not because he needs the exercise. He looks like this:
But not so happy—or green.
Let’s listen in on how the rest of the meeting played out:
Marketing Head: “So everyone is amenable? Robert is our gift basket honoree?”
Co-worker #1: “Sir? I just thought of something...”
Marketing Head: “Yes?”
Co-worker #1: “If we give Robert the gift basket and he doesn’t have transportation, how will he get it home?”
Marketing Head: “How heavy is the basket?”
Group: [Raised brows. Shrugged shoulders]
Co-worker #1: “Even if he can carry it, what if it’s raining or sleeting? He might slip.”
Marketing Head: “Excellent point. People, I need ideas.”
Co-worker #2: “We could include a bus pass in the basket—”
Co-worker #3: “—A bus pass? He’ll be carrying a frozen turkey! We can’t ask him to ride the bus with a 20-pound turkey! We should pay for a taxi.”
Marketing Head: “Yes! A taxi! And how much money will a taxi—”
Co-worker #4: “—Taxis are very expensive. The fare might put us over our gift basket budget—”
Marketing Head: “—We cannot deny someone the gift basket just because he doesn’t have the means to get it home. That is in direction contradiction to the Thanksgiving Gift Basket mission.”
Co-worker #3: “Do you think he might eat some of it before he brings it home? It might make the basket lighter.”
Co-worker #2: “What’s wrong with the bus? Plenty of people bring large packages—”
Co-worker #3: “—Someone will need to help him onto the bus. If he took a taxi—”
Marketing Head: “Quiet, everyone! There won’t be a bus or a taxi. Someone will give Robert and his gift basket a ride home. As compensation, that person may leave 10 minutes early that day. Mrs. Mullet? Is that something you’re agreeable to?”
Co-worker #2: “Why should she get to leave early?”