Tuesday, January 17, 2006

People To Hate: The "Enjoy Your Lunch" Police Brigade

This post is brought to you by the Welcome Mat. Nothing says "thanks for your hospitality!" like rubbing your dirty feet all over someone's symbol of welcome.

We have these security guards in the building where I work. It all goes back to 9/11.....no, wait, that is not right, they aren't concerned about our SAFETY - we need guarding from the Big Bad Media. Seems we got in a little bit of trouble with the IRS. Anyway, we have security now and you have to show them your badge every time you make a move. Going to the bathroom! Here's my badge! Going to get some staples for my Swingline! Here's my badge! And what happens when you forget your badge? Well, you can't get in is what happens. UNLESS you call somebody in your department who can come down and vouch for you and escort you around as the Badgeless Dunce and then you have to go all the way back downstairs to show them your badge once you locate it on your desk (or in the bottom of your purse afterall). And only then can you elevate your status to BadgeFULL Dunce.

I think this is overkill. See we have ourselves an overzealous Police Academy dropout. This one particular guard knows me by name - last name even. She calls me Mrs.! And then the one day I forgot my badge she refused my entry. And I should also note that they don't even LOOK AT THE BADGE. My picture is covered with the clip-on thing that I snap over it in order to shield mine and other unsuspecting eyes from the HORROR THAT IS MY PICTURE. Let me just say: Escaped Convict With A Bird's Nest For Hair...And One Eye That Got Shot Out In My Escape. See? That is not me. I have two eyes. And the bird's nest hairstyle is so seven years ago. So you could just flash some white look-alike badge (like, say, the access card to my apartment building) and you are IN. Break on through to the other side, man!

But you want to know what really irks me about the Security Detail? It is really not the badge hounding. It is for the simple fact that they have turned "have a nice day!" and "enjoy your lunch!" into a platitude - overused and abused. Yeah, what prickly pear did I sit on? Because what would be the alternative, right? "Get food poisoning!" "Have a sucky day!" Well, it may just as well be that because I note an underlying sarcasm with each utterance of these niceties - mounting sarcasm. Especially when it is shouted at you when you are - literally - one foot out the door. Yes, this one particular guard goes to excessive lengths to extol the wishes on everybody - you, you, and you - to have a ggrrreat lunch. And don't just have a great lunch NOW, have one everytime I see you. Because the Police Academy XII: Checking Badges cast (she has trained her co-workers now who used to not partake in her "game") now says "enjoy your lunch" ANYTIME you leave the office in between the hours of 11 and 2:30. 11:30 I run to the post office: "Enjoy your lunch!" 12:15 on Tuesday I go to an elementary school to read to a kid: "Enjoy your lunch!" Heading to CVS at three for a snack break: "Have a nice day!" I definitely get "enjoy your lunch" atleast two times a day - on my way out and on my way in.

I wouldn't have a problem if these words were spoken at the APPROPRIATE TIME. Like when I come back into the building - flashing my badge, of course - with a little brown bag in my hand and it is around noontime. At this time, one can safely assume I just bought my lunch. And most likely I am going to be eating it as soon as I get back to my office. "Enjoy your lunch!" to which I happily reply, "Thanks!" And my stomach says, "Gurgle."

And the real reason I have a problem with the frivolous use of "Enjoy your lunch!" and "Have a nice day!"is: Do you just say "thank you" in response every day - which is then sometimes three times a day? And not worry whether they think, "Gee, she sure eats a lot of lunch." Because I have tried the honest route, mumbling, "Well, I'm not going to lunch right now ACTUALLY, but thanks anyway," and frankly THAT just sounds bitchy, right? I don't think there are bigger issues to worry about right now.

I guess I am just mourning the loss of "have a nice day" and "enjoy your lunch" spoken with sincerity. The world COULD be a better place.

"Have a nice day" RIP.

That is off my chest. Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled program of worrying about things that really matter like when I am going to get my haircut and that zit that mysteriously appeared on my chin.


Morgan said...

How dare you smack talk about the fabulous security detail in that building and to think they are only there to protect the company from the media. The only thing that company cares about is your safety and even though they have seen you for years and often call you by first and last name, it is your responsibility to carry your badge AT ALL TIMES. I mean, what if someone goes through the whole process of getting a prosthetic face mask that looks exactly like you to infiltrate the halls and therefore put everyone's safety at risk? Why that would be disasterous. They are there, simply doing their jobs and trying to be upbeat about it and you sit there and just judge and expect...OK, fine. Even I can't keep this up. That is hilarious. You know, I think you should see if you could get the police academy one to investigate the bathroom bandits. At the very least, they should be able to tell who comes in every morning with the colostomy bag, which is the only sensible reason I can think of for missing the toilet. I wonder if they have to inspect it...you know, for 'safety reasons.' Oh boy...I think I just took it to far. My bad. :) Go Steelers!

Mav said...

I still have my badge somewhere. Maybe you could do a little experiment and show my old badge. Then you could write an expose on how "safe" the building really isn't. Suckers! Maybe then you really will have a nice day.

Morgan said...

Oh--I have mine, too. I keep wanting to try it to get into the garage...I think I see a sting operation on the horizon. Including lots of booze!