Beating Them To The Punch-Line

, , , | Right | December 7, 2018

I’m a low-level manager and am getting ready to close the store one night. Part of the evening cleaning and straightening duties includes taking the broom and dustpan outside and sweeping up cigarette butts and small trash around the entrances. I’m sweeping away when I notice an older gentleman approaching me from the parking lot. Before he even gets in range where we can have a conversation, I already know what’s coming. Customers simply cannot resist making comments when they see an employee performing some type of cleaning job, whether it’s mopping, sweeping, straightening, etc. The result is always the same.

I’m sure they think they’ve come up with a hilarious zinger that the employee has never heard before and will roll around on the floor laughing. The reality is that we’ve heard, “Hey, you missed a spot,” “What did you do to tick off the boss?” “’Bout time you got some work done!” or any other variation a million times before, and shake with rage every time we hear it again.

I see the man approaching and decide to initiate contact and get it over with so I can courtesy laugh and get on with my work. I raise my head and say, “Hello, sir, how are you doing this evening?” He doesn’t say a thing, but opens his mouth and gets a look on his face like he’s searching his knee-slapper database for a real jewel. He stops next to me, and I can even hear him making nearly inaudible croaks as he narrows down which cliché he’s going to go with.

At that moment I stop, wipe off my forehead and go, “Man, I wish I hadn’t ticked off the boss to end up out here, and look at that! I missed a spot! Ah, well, ’bout time I got some work done around here.” Words cannot describe the look on this guy’s face as I stole the wind from his sails.

He couldn’t do much more than nod and head into the store!

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