You know what’s bullshit?
When someone says, “I’d love to help you, but my hands are tied, I can’t.”
I can’t take that charge off your bill.
I don’t have the authority to change your flight.
I can’t let you in, we’re at capacity. And you’re wearing ugly-ass shoes.
I can’t bring you sushi, we only do sashimi.*
(*The last one challenged by my friend Avo, my comrade-in-arms in the fight for off-menu rights.)
OK, sometimes the person could lose their job for saying yes.
I know. I once said yes to a barback who pleaded for just one free draught beer after his shift, and lost my bartending job. But that was mostly because I sucked a bag of dongs as a bartender.
Most of the time, the person saying “I can’t, it’s the rules,” is really saying “I can’t because I don’t want to all that much.”
Policy may be written in stone, but whether or not to stick to it is a matter of some person’s mood.
I’ll use yesterday as an example.
The day started out a nightmare.
There were no watermelon chunks on the shelf at Citarella.
That’s not the whole nightmare, but it’s part of it.
I’m a bit “Rain Man” when it comes to my routines.
Morning watermelon chunks are my Wapner. Time for watermelon chunks. Time for watermelon chunks.
Yeah, there are other options in the cut-up fruit department. Mango? Had that all winter. Citrus sections or cantaloupe? Remind me of a breakfast buffet at a Radisson.
So I did something my husband keeps telling me to do, because of my “plastic waste footprint:” bought a quarter watermelon and brought it home to cut up myself.
I felt very DIY and eco-virtuous, even though I cut it on a paper towel to save myself the trouble of rinsing off a cutting board.
I put my chunks in a bowl and carried them smugly over to the table, all ready to eat with my iced coffee. And then, took a bite and gagged.
You know what I tasted? A cheesy nightclub and/or a public restroom.
I tasted 1999 and bad decisions and cheapness.
Whoever cut that watermelon was either doused in the same cologne my salsa-instructor ex-boyfriend used to wear (and the same amount) or had just washed his hands with liquid pink disinfectant hand soap. Neither of which you ever want in your nostrils or mouth.
I’ve also had watermelon that was cut on the same board as an onion, which is awful, but this was worse.
So this morning, when I was at the register with my two containers of watermelon chunks — because not having them yesterday drove me into “scarcity mode” and I needed to double up –I asked to see the manager.
I told her about yesterday’s watermelon. She asked, “Do you have the receipt?”
No, I didn’t have the receipt. Some days, I make a point of saying “I don’t need the receipt” because I don’t feel like having it handed to me. I’m that lazy.
“If you had the receipt, I could give you a refund.”
“I know,” I said. “I just wanted to let you know for future reference that your food handlers are getting some scent on the watermelon.”
She shrugged and repeated, “Well, I can’t do anything without the receipt. It’s policy.”
She didn’t get it.
I was trying to do a public service by telling her about the watermelon. Not get money back.
OK, fine, I also wanted money back. I’d been hoping she’d offer me a free thing of watermelon chunks.
“It never occurred to me to take a receipt. I get watermelon here every single day and never have a problem. Is there any way you could offer me one of these as a courtesy?”
She shrugged again.
“OK, you can have both of those for the price of one. Carmen, charge her for just one.”
When someone tells you, “I can’t break the policy, my hands are tied”?
Don’t believe that. Get your free watermelon chunks.
When’s the last time you heard “I can’t, it’s policy”?
Did you get that person to change their mind?
How do you feel about rules?
Do you like to see them bent, or are you a goody-goody?
Are you a tattle tale?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.