Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Interview

We stopped for a cup of tea at a little shop in the mall. I found us a table while Joe went to get our tea. It's a place we like because they make the tea from loose leaf placed in a bag. It's good tea. I pulled my gloves off and then got my glasses out of my pocket. My glasses are kept in a long rectangular metal tube. I put them on the table where they promptly fell to the ground. The sound was disproportionately loud for what had happened. I don't understand the science behind sound but when the metal hit the tile, it sound near to a gunshot, everyone looked.

Now everyone was a group of elderly women sitting next to us having a passionate discussion about someone or something in Spanish. A young woman sitting on a stool against the wall. and two men sitting at the table behind mine. I was facing them and the three women were on my left and the young woman on my right. The glasses were on the floor by my right foot pedal. They lay there waiting for Joe to come back with the tea. I wasn't worried. Joe has picked up lots of things that I've dropped and he does it without even thinking about it anymore.

But. The glasses on the floor became a source of some tension. The women kept glancing at it, like they were wondering who would help me. The young woman simply turned her back to the scene and the two men kept on talking with the man facing me directly kept looking at the glasses on the floor and back at the man he was with. As it turns out he was interviewing the young man for a position in a store in the mall. The interview was happening over coffee.

At the point that the CRACK or the metal hitting the tile, the young man being interviewed was talking about being a people person, liking to help people out and being fully dedicated to customer service. I saw him notice the guy interviewing him glance at the glasses and he turned and did too, then went back to his testimonial about himself being someone who would be an asset to the store because he would make the customers feel valued. I was sitting there thinking, 'Come on man, get up and get the glasses, or at least offer ...' It was obvious that the interviewer was watching him and his response to the situation.

Finally one of the older women couldn't take it anymore and started to get up saying that she'd get the glasses for me. I assured her that I had someone to help me and they would be picked up when the tea arrived. She looked relieved, both to know that the glasses would be off the floor and that she would not have to bend down to get them. It looked like it would have nearly been as much of a challenge for her as for me.

Everyone relaxed.

The errant glasses would be retrieved.

The interview continued. Joe arrived, set the tea down and picked the glasses up. It was over.

About ten minutes later the interviewer wrapped up the interview. He said to the fellow that he had done a wonderful interview but he was disturbed that, when he talked about valuing people and wanting to help people out, he hadn't offered to pick up my glasses. "But he's not a customer," the fellow protested. The interviewer said, "That's absolutely the worst thing you could have said." They shook hands and parted. The young man, the interviewee, glared at me when he went by.

But me, I was OK, I had my glasses and my tea.

Sometimes I'm an object of pity, sometimes I'm and object of inspiration and then sometimes I'm just an object lesson. The common theme is 'object' isn't it ... and I kind of object to that.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I see your point...tho my first impression was to be glad that the manager did NOT hire him, and that the manager's explanation of why he did not hire him was honest and direct...that is unusual in a hiring interview...the manager did not seem to be seeing you as an object...tho maybe he was, you are much more able to identify that subtext than a reader can....
hope the cup of tea and conversation with Joe were pleasant and that the 'object lesson' did not linger.
clairesmum

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

The young man was given an opportunity he couldn't even have manufactured for himself - and he did NOT take it.

Shows what kind of person he is, reinforced by his own words that his compassion and helpfulness are limited availability items.

Couldn't have been more perfect if the manager had asked you to drop your glasses on purpose!

And then he glared at you? Three in a row. That manager was lucky not to hire him.