“Tales of a Scorched Coffee Pot” — Chapter 92

Jason McGathey
10 min readApr 15, 2022

“What if we started havin, like, an Employee of the Month?” Shad suggests, from his chair in the last row, “then we could give them an incentive, maybe an incentive for the month, somethin like a parkin space by the front door…”

“Yeah, I think we’re gonna park that, for the time being,” Rob wisecracks, meaning not write it down or follow up on it, from his post at the front of the room.

So begins, more or less, this highly inclusive meeting of the minds, in the conference area at Central. With three rows of chairs, arranged in a loose arc, Rob standing in front of a white board, Friendly HR seated beside him writing things down in a legal pad. They have kicked things off by encouraging anybody at all to speak up with ideas on what needs to be improved at the Healthy Shopper Market. This one is apparently considered not all that pressing — which does make sense, considering many of the other topics bandied about.

“Can we not, like, start hiring some better people?” Vicky Fisher suggests, with her familiar, somewhat queasy looking half smile, “the quality of help we’re bringing on board here, I mean…all I can say is, seriously?”

“If you worked here six or seven years ago, you wouldn’t be complaining, trust me,” Edgar jokes. Well, it’s a joke in the sense that everyone laughs, anyway. He then adds, “we had some scary, scary dudes working here back then…”

“Dudettes?” Rob questions, and everyone cracks up all over again.

“Yeah, and dudettes,” Edgar agrees.

Vicky doesn’t necessarily look convinced, although her original question is somewhat lost, as somebody else pipes up with what’s at the root of all this. “I think we’re gonna have to start paying people more, if we expect to hire quality help, and keep them around.”

“This is something we’ve already made a decision to address,” Friendly HR notes, glances up at Rob, who nods in agreement. Speaking to the entire room, she adds, “we’ve made the decision that this is gonna be one of our top priorities, we’re gonna take a good look at what the industry standards are as far as pay for the various positions, you know, and try to get more in line with that.”