07 May, 2008

Just Call Me: Crazy Problem Solver Girl

When I was interviewing for jobs last year I was baffled by one question. I have on my resume that I am creative problem solver. I am. I mean come on, you don't plan events for five years & grow up in the hospitality industry without knowing to recover at the last minute and pull things off without a hitch. This action is better known as: covering your bootie - or being a creative problem solver.

So the interviewer (now my boss) asked what that meant and for an example. The thought in my head, "I do it every day - you want an example?!?" I think I rambled something off about speakers canceling at the last minute, or the food not being right or something about printers... I don't remember.

I now have an example!

So we had a meeting in the office today - and since it's a org. my boss is connected to I was responsible for lunch. Sounds easy enough? So I called my (now former) favorite chain store to see if they could provide their tasty treats for our lovely lunch.

- "We don't deliver."
- "You've delivered before." (that's the fail safe line, right?)
- "Well I could lie and say we would, then the other manager would get here in the morning and tell you you'd have to come in. So I could lie..."
- "Or you could deliver." (<-- said in my head.) "But you have delivered to us before."
- "I don't know what to tell you, maybe if you had a car."
- "
Or you could deliver." (<-- repeated in my head.) And then, before I say words of false apology that we would not be using them then (or ever) he hung up on me.

I was annoyed to say the least - and quickly tried to devise plan B. I called several other places and asked if they delivered - ha no. I mean come on, it costs, what pennies to hire someone to drive - I think you would acquire unforeseen revenue from businesses looking for someone to deliver. Especially someone in an office building like me where we're not close to anything and we don't go out to lunch. (business idea: anyone want to open a lunch place that only delivers to working peeps - I think you could make lots of money!).

So I finally caved in after a round of annoyed quips in my head and proceeded to order Italian food
that somehow tastes amazing good from a second rate establishment. I went grocery shopping last night and was going to pick up some salad and fruit to go with the food but, um, forgot.

Maybe I should clarify at this point in time that most times why I have to be a creative problem solver is I am forgetful or procrastinate - or do the opposite of being soooo overly planned that we're done with enough time to spare for someone to get into trouble. or sometimes the unavoidable happens - but a good portion of the time I think it's me. anyway...

I get to work and realize my oops and consider taking the bus to Trader Joe's but think that a) will take too long and b) will require too much explanation. Beyond that, there are few people at work whose cars I feel ok taking because
one time I borrowed someone's car to get food I took her side mirror off - but we're not talking about that now.

I go to the cafe downstairs and basically clear out - though not all the way because I don't want to be greedy and take everything - their very mini salad bar. I come up with my $30 purchase and look at the measly food I have accumulated. It's sort of like shopping in G-Town - you come home and dump your finds on the floor and realize you just spent a pay check on a pair of shoes and some killer lip gloss...or so I've heard.

- "Is this going to feed 10 people?" I ask my usually optimist co-worker.
- "No." Was that a laugh I heard? Oh crap! What do I do?

Never fear, the
covering your bootie instincts kicked in! I called the place and added a few (very overpriced) salads onto our order and preceded to turn the measly fruit - some oranges, pineapple and watermelon - into a splendid salad using an apple and large banana I had in my lunch. I placed it all in a small bowl so people took less thinking there was more (love psychology!).

The food arrived with extra bread sticks and my added bags of salad. And to show my appreciation, while being
in the fury of slicing pineapple without cutting off my thump, I gave him a very big tip. (What's 30% of $60?). It's ok, he bailed me out with bagged salad and "extra" bread sticks. This is not the time to be a penny-pincher!

I have to say the lunch went off without a hitch - there were leftovers including a full plate of fruit salad I got to enjoy.

All thanks to those mad creative problem solving skills!

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© Amanda Lunday