Friday, February 23, 2007

Yesterday was all about free stuff at work.
I came back to my desk from a meeting to discover a letter from upper-upper management weighted down by a little heavy box. The letter said something about a sales milestone met back in November and how happy everyone was and how all of us made the whole half a billion dollars possible or whatever.
As I opened the box, I wondered how much cash could have been crammed into it and why it would be so heavy.
I saw a flash of gold inside and knew, instinctively, that it was pirate doubloons.
However, as strange as it sounds to say, I was mistaken.
It was (I think) a coaster.
But it was a very nice, brass and leather, cork-bottomed coaster embossed with the corporate logo and some sales figure.
I know may not seem like a big deal. I've gotten corporate swag before, but never addressed to me. Until yesterday, corporate commemorative items were things I'd inherited with cubicles.
Like the "Conoco Planet Day" rubberized disk and the "Making Cancer History" plastic cup from MD Anderson.
I found a one-hitter at my last job but it vanished from my desk again before I had a chance to find out where the lost-and-found was.
Corporate commemorative items were just things I picked up when they were discarded by whatever bitter employee preceded me.
But now, that era has ended. I've got a brass coaster and the paperwork to go with it.
While I was still reeling from this development (a few hours later) I got an email (along with everyone else in the company) from the management company that runs the building.
Yesterday was "plant refresh day" and there were a load of pink bromeliads that needed new homes. I've seen these notices before but had ignored them. However, this time I decided I wanted, no needed, a free plant to go along with my coaster.
I grabbed as many of my I.T. cohorts as I saw on the way, but I knew it was a mad dash with the rest of the tenants for the free plants. I had heard the competition is fierce, and I knew our floor was at a disadvantage because of the two elevator rides separated by a run through the sky lobby between us and the office. I let the people in the elevator know that if I needed to trip them or tackle them in order to get a free plant, I was perfectly willing to do that and make it look like an accident.
There were plenty to go around, I guess. This is a big building.
I grabbed a plant, thanked the people in the office, and headed back to the elevator to stash the plant in my car. I rode down with several women who work in some area of my company other than I.T. Accounting maybe? What is it we do, again?
One remarked that there were never a lot of men who head across for the free plants.
I told her simply that I had heard that bromeliads were mildly hallucinogenic.
The rest of the elevator ride was strangely quiet.

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