Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You can't please everybody.

As you may or may not know, I am the chairperson for my company's Team Member Activity Team (TMAT) on top of all my other work. Well, not the entire company, just my site. So I have a little over 400 people to look after (which will be growing to over 700 by June of 2013). What TMAT does primarily is designate which charity we will raise money for each month and what activities we'll be doing in order to raise it. Usually it's just casual passes for $5 a week, sometimes though it's a Valentine basket auction or candy gram or participating in their Walk. We help different organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Humane Society, American Cancer Society, Scouting for Troops, local food banks, the Red Cross among many many others.

Quarterly, corporate gives us an allotted amount of money to have an appreciation luncheon or an appreciation snack. Last year I organized my first Quarterly Appreciation event and it was cupcakes and gourmet popcorn both from local stores. It was a huge hit and I was very proud of myself. Since this year I'm the chairperson I feel a pressure on me to please my site that I didn't have last year. This year it reflects directly on me. I let one of the girls on TMAT chose a BBQ vendor since in our meeting that's what we decided we wanted. She chose a relatively new BBQ place, sampled the food, and chose that place. I then stepped in and chatted up the owner and got him to come down to meet our budget.

Today was the big day.

It started with me calling the owner and it going directly to voice mail. So I left him a message a lot like "Hey, it's Jessica from Huge Financial Institution That Did Not Require a Bailout. I wanted to make sure you'll be here today by 11:00 to set up and be ready to serve by 11:30. When you get here just call me and I'll go down to the guard and have you signed in and help you serve." ONLY it was run together as I was extremely stressed out. Why the hell did it go directly to voice mail?! Did they pay him already and he's skipping out? OMGOMGOMG! Then the phone rang and our convo went a lot like this:

Jerry: Heyyyy Jessssssica.
Me: Hello Mr. Brooks!
Jerry: It seems we have a problem.
Me: Squeee What's that?
Jerry: It seems that we have you down for tomorrow, not today.
Me: *heart attack* WHATTT? NO! It's supposed to be today. February 28th, 2012. Today! Tuesday! (tears)
Jerry: I'm just joshin' ya! I'll be there no later than 11:00! Oh, but make sure you have cups!
Me: (tears still) You can't do that to a person Mr. Brooks...

That motherfucker. So at 10:15 I went and started preparing everything. Setting up tables, getting ice from the ice machine (a long process), getting cups, waiting waiting waiting. They got here at 11:22. They were SUPPOSED to be ready to serve by 11:30. So while they sat up I stood there watching employees line up in the break room, the line leading out the door and down the long corridor. I bit off one and a half finger nails. I tried to take my mind off my filling up cups with ice and tea and lemonade. I spilled 5 cups at separate times. One on top of a refrigerator-I'm not even sure how I managed that.

When things slowed down around 12:45 I got a plate myself and sat down and took in everything. I was breathing normally for the first time in hours. Other than the initial 10 minute delay, everything flowed smoothly. Everything I heard was positive. Everyone loved it. Then I got back to my desk and my department was less than impressed.

"The chicken was smokey." Well they cook it over hickory.
"The chicken was cold." Well you came in at 2:00...
"The bbq sauce wasn't traditional." Well vinegar based sauce may be "traditional" but tomato based is delicious and branching out never hurt anyone. (Besides, tomato IS traditional for me, I grew up on AL/GA bbq.)

Every time I heard a complaint I really just wanted to tell them 1) It was free, 2) it was a gift from your employer and many many employers out there do not give a shit if you eat or not, and 3) if it was so bad, why the hell did you come back for seconds? But I can't say any of that. I have to smile, nod, and say "thank you for your feedback".

I would think TMAT Chairperson is a thankless job, except that my boss boss boss (the national director of BK) came over to me yesterday and told me how impressed the leadership team was with my composure in meetings, my attention to detail, and my planning abilities. He also said how impressed he was with my attention to detail, my ability to articulate my words and my ability to justify my decisions.He said he was very glad I took the position because if I hadn't he'd never know all that about me and neither would the rest of the leadership team. So go me! Although, that was before people got served 10 minutes late.


  1. Doesn't that just make you want to reply, "Oh thank you so much for your feedback. And due to your expertise, I'll be sure to pass along your desire to be chairman next year."

  2. If I have learned anything in my life it is this:

    There are people on this planet that would complain no matter what you did for them. You could hand them a million dollars and they would complain about how heavy it was or that it was too much hassle to take it to the bank.

    It's a fact.


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