11 am could mean only one thing – the sandwich lady has arrived at our place of work; her basket brimming with yeasty goodness…
…but ‘no’ we were told, ‘false alarm!’ A sandwich lady from a rival firm had tried to gain access to the premises in her stead, only to be repelled.
Guildford has not seen such an aggressive turf war since William the conqueror sacked the town a cheeky millennia ago, and even his antics pale when compared with two elderly females standing in the car park winging baguettes at each other; their primitive cellophane garrottes dripping with blood and mayonnaise.
It was a sad moment to see this most noble of professions brought low by petty squabbling. Having once witnessed a punch-up between two buskers (a guitarist and saxophonist if memory serves) I thought the bottom had been reached. As the final bread-based insults were hurled I felt the final bastion of civilization slip away.
The incident took a surreal turn when we discovered that the door to the boardroom had been blocked with a sign that read ‘Do not enter – room full of bees.’ We checked. It was!
Team moral was low (our lunch had been used as weapons). Someone needed to step up.
‘You know what this office needs?’ I suggested, ‘a toaster!’
The comment solicited a collective sucking in of breath and wincing. The general consensus was that we weren’t allowed a toaster as it has been deemed too dangerous. A bit of gentle probing ascertained the crux of the argument. It seemed that highly skilled IT professionals could not be trusted to heat food without jabbing in a fork and electrocuting themselves.
‘That can’t be right,’ I reasoned.
‘I had to go on a course to use the water cooler,’ came a forlorn and defeated colleague’s response.
It takes a fly by the seat of his pants, maverick project manager to tell those pencil-pushers at city hall what they can to with their snack-based rules, and I am such a man.
The following morning a toast dispenser had been installed / hidden under my desk, and I can attest that it is in fact pretty bloody dangerous. For a start I’ve almost burnt my feet on several occasions, and blaming the ‘toasty, burny, buttery’ smell on a laptop fault is wearing a little thin with management. We have had to resort to using an extractor fan, which rather detracts from the convenience element.
Other electrical appliances soon followed suit, and the joy of eating forbidden food has now been further heightened by the exciting possibility that at any second the heating implement balanced precariously between your knees may accidentally drop into a foot spa.