Stress Test

If I were a Fearless Leader, one of the things that I’d like to know is the stress level of my minions. There are several ways to gauge this stress, of course.

You could:

1. Bring them all into a meeting and announce that the person who finds the golden ticket hidden somewhere in the room and is the first to carry it out the door won’t be fired and see how quickly they resort to physical violence.

2. Invite them all to meetings with an “efficiency expert” and have them describe what they do in a day and see which people start weeping first.

3. Watch the snack machine.

While methods 1 and 2 might seem like an awful lot of fun, they are also time-consuming and possibly illegal in some states, so I’d go with the third method.

It just so happens that there is a Staff Only snack machine in the lounge here at the Palaver Palace stocked with overpriced chocolate and salty snacks of all shapes and sizes. This snack machine is refilled roughly once a month and has provided me with unexpected insight into the Stress Level of the staff.

Normally this snack machine is slowly emptied over the course of the month, with the last snacks to go being the chips and crackers. In fact, I’ve seen several months where the snack machine guy didn’t even have to refill those trays.

Lately however, the snack machine has been emptying more quickly than usual. In fact, this month the snack machine was empty of everything but those onion chips that even goats think twice about munching on by the 10th.

This is interesting because with a largely female staff one would expect that the closer we got to warm weather, the more self-conscious people would become and the less snacking they’d do as a result. The fact that snacks are disappearing even faster than normal implies that something else is going on.

It is well known that there are only a few things that will make an adult unexpectedly devour snacks in great quantities; sporting events, break-ups, weddings, funerals, Sunday afternoons, Thursday evenings (because you deserve it), and possibly being fired at the last minute by bureaucratic asshats whose own education ended with “writin’ and figgurin’.” In any case, all of these things tend to cause stress in people and it is just possible that the more stressed out the staff becomes the more snacks they consume in an attempt to alleviate it for a few minutes.

Still it’s not like the staff here can’t handle a little extra stress. These people are professionals, after all. It’s not really like they work that hard, anyway…

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to cut this post short. Apparently the snack guy just showed up to refill the machine and my colleagues are swarming over his truck and making wild demands; I need to go before all the Snickers are gone!


One thought on “Stress Test

  1. stumpsmcgee

    Being someone who studies human behavior for a living (which isn’t hard with teenagers), I also noticed this phenomenon known as the “stress test”. So much so that I decided to do a little experiment of my own. I kept a candy dish on my desk for my students and any staff who needed a little pick me up. I noticed that during certain times of the year (like during state testing) I would have to go into hock to keep the candy dish filled. Then, I saw the true definition of “stress” when I decided that I could no longer afford to keep the experiment going and stopped providing candy. My office was filled with people in tears and anguished cries of “why?!” when they realized there was no chocolate to be had (and some of them even came from other people besides me)!


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