Where’s the Tylenol?

Pam and I have been cleaning out and disposing of numerous old books that we’ve had for years. The bulk of them are what I call “Management Books” – all those Seven-Habits-Who-Moved-My-Cheese-kinda books.  One of the books, shown above, reminded me of something that I witnessed at Buzzy’s Country Store a couple years ago. 

A local construction crew was remodeling a beach front house below Buzzy’s.  Every evening they would stop in Buzzy’s for a couple beers before heading north.  Occasionally, their boss/owner of the company would stop in with them.

When they had completed the overall job, the crew popped into Buzzy’s a little earlier than usual to celebrate.  As the 4 of them sat around the bar they discussed their boss wanting to take them fishing that evening on a charter boat he had booked out of Solomon’s.  They noted that while they recognized that the boss was trying to do something nice for them, none of them wanted to go on the fishing trip that evening.  They were tired and they had other things to do.  One of them noted “Hell, if he wants to do something nice for us, just give us the money he’s spending on this stupid fishing trip.”  

They then discussed and semi-argued over which one of them would use the “Got to take the kid to practice excuse.”  They resolved the issue by working out just who would use what excuse for not going on the fishing trip that evening.  (In addition to the kid excuse another one chose the wife-booked-something-else without-telling me one.)  The third guy, unmarried and no kids, planned to use the friend-in-need excuse.  The fourth guy said simply “I’m just going to tell him that I don’t do anything  involving boats.” 

When their boss rolled into Buzzy’s a couple minutes later, he was in a pretty good mood.  He bought the boys a round and sat down with them to discuss the fishing trip and what time they would be leaving the dock.  One by one each of the crew trotted out his excuse for why he could not make it.  The boss came back with “Hey, I got the boat booked and none of you want to go?  WTF!”  Silence.  I turned the music up a little to try and liven things up and they all adjourned to the porch to smoke and I guess try and change the subject.

After a couple more rounds bought by the boss, one by one the crew peeled off until only the boss was left.  He migrated back into the Store and took a seat at the counter adjacent me.  He then confided about how pissed and disappointed he was that none of the crew could make the fishing trip after all he had done to arrange it.  He was upset about the cost of the charter as well as the fact that none of his crew wanted to hang out with him. 

I listened and sympathized with him and tried to write it off to not knowing just how these young folks of today were going to react anymore.  He responded “Well you can bet your ass I won’t do this again.”  I debated telling him what I had overheard from his crew about “just give me the money” as a bonus/gift.  However, I didn’t want to get him any more riled up than he already was and let it drop.  Eventually he began making calls to try and talk some of his relatives and friends into going fishing with him later.  I never did hear how he made out.

I’m not too sure what lessons are to be learned from my Buzzy scene here on how to or how not to reward employees, but I do have this video for you on the subject.  Clarke’s reaction is the best.  (One of the comments following the video noted that in 2020 just having a job is your bonus.)

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