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Friday, May 15th, 2009
I had an interesting experience at my neighborhood grocery store the other day. I was walking down the soda aisle, looking for my favorite caffeinated beverage (Coke Zero), when I passed a store employee stocking the shelves. As he worked, he was also talking on a cell phone. “Yeah,” I heard him laugh, ”especially after 8 beers!” I don’t know who he was talking to, but my impression was that it was a personal call. The rest of his conversation faded from hearing as I walked on.
The good news, I suppose, was that he seemed to be enjoying himself. But enjoying your work is one thing. Enjoying yourself at work is something else entirely, and not necessarily a good thing, at least from an employer’s perspective. And by the way, this was not a teenager talking, if you’re wondering. If I had to guess, I’d put him in his late 30s to early 40s. Also, let me say that I have no problem with people drinking, in general. (Though 8 beers does sound a bit excessive.) My concern is with the message his conversation sends to me as a customer, and the questions it raises in my mind. Does he have a drinking problem? Should I be concerned about him? Is he drunk right now? Does management know? Is this some sort of drink-friendly grocer? They do seem chipper. Is there something else going on? Are other staff members drunk too?