Vending machines, you win

On this day, May 21, 2015, at 3:53pm, I declare all vending machines in the universe the all mighty victor in the cat and mouse game of “Will the Chips Fall”.  It is a game I have played occasionally since the 1990’s.

Ever full of hope, I eagerly step up to the plate each time and deposit my coins (with no extra change in my pockets).  I press a complex combination like “A3” and watch as my selection slowly grinds its way through a labyrinth of complicated coils originally designed to ward off all kinds of evil in some other universe.

My stomach grumbles in anticipation.  The coils stop abruptly as if to mock me; dangling from the last curve in the serpent is my purchase.  I study my reflection in the glass.  I am disgusted with myself for falling for this trick again.  I point at myself and curse, swearing I will never fall for this trick again.  I walk away a few ounces lighter due to the lack of food and high caloric burn rate brought on by the rage.

Today is different.  Today I walk away for good with a score of Jenny 6 and vending machines 8,902,304 as my beautiful York Peppermint Patty dangles helplessly from the tentacles of doom.

Invest zero time in toxic complainers (TC’s)

Unfortunately, many organizations have at least one TC: a person who complains endlessly about everything but offers no clear explanations regarding the actual problem and offers no potential solutions.  The person just seems to enjoy yelling and complaining in general.  The person will often throw in tears, threats or violence to juice up the drama.

If management is paying attention, TC’s are easily identifiable by how they react when discussing other employees or issues they have encountered during the workday.  It is best that TC’s are dealt with immediately because their lack of clear communication skills, lack of patience and lack of respect for others in the workplace have a severe impact on morale and work performance.

A few suggestions on how to best deal with TC’s is as follows.  Please note: these suggestions have not been tested on actual TC’s.  I’ve only attempted these strategies when working with my hamster Mr. Snowflake Brownie:

  • Remove all communication devices from the TC’s office (phone, email, instant messaging, and internet web forms) so the TC is stuck with only one method of toxic complaining: verbal, in person.
  • Hire someone to be the liaison between the TC and any other human within the organization for times of the verbal, in person toxic complaining.  This liaison would stick to a “young child” approach when dealing with the TC.  The liaison would use methods such as baby talk when the TC begins a tirade, petting the TC on the head to calm him or her down and ordering “time outs” during extremely heated toxic complaining sessions.

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