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08 May 2006

like a happy meal in ethiopia

look at the locals... how cute!good god damn!! TheGeneral allowed me to purchase 200 polo shirts with the company logo and the site info on them to hand out to the customer, end-user, and labor who helped build the unit. they've been in the office since before i came back (over a week) and when someone would come in, i'd give them a shirt and that would be it. OH MY!!!

today, somehow word got out that there were shirts here and EVERYONE wanted one. we came in at 9AM as usual and by 10AM, we'd had maybe 30 people come in asking for shirts. at that point, emma decided we REALLY have to make sure the customer and end-users get shirts, so we shutdown operation and told everyone to come back after lunch (2PM). i even wrote up a nice little note informing them to come back at 2, STAND IN A LINE (because indians have no clue how to stand in line, they just MOB the point they are trying to get to), and i clarified that there was to be 1 shirt/person, first come - first served.

so, we locked up the office, shirts in hand to deliver to the customer. all went FAIRLY smoothly. some people questioned why we were giving them out like we were bribing them or they missed an occasion. turns out i over-estimated the small indians' concern for loose clothing. i ordered more larges than anything and EVERYONE wanted a medium... i told them they would have to deal and they will shrink.

the occasional person would poke their head on asking for a T-shirt, we reminded them... "i don't care if you are the crane operator or the truck driver or whatever... come back at 2PM and get in line". i'm guessing part of it is some of them couldn't read english. so emma and i ate lunch from 1-2PM. i intentionally locked the door because i knew people would pop in early. you could hear them try to open the door, but mwah hah hah, i had them beat. at 2PM, the chaos erupted. actually, it wasn't that bad. i was flabbergasted that they HAD ACTUALLY stood in a line along the building waiting patiently for their shirts. one of the customer's "supervisors" cut the line to ask for 30 shirts. i told him tat the shirts were here all week, and they knew about it, i don't care if they get mad, but i gotta take care of the poor peepz.

so we handed out our shirts. at 2PM when i poked my head out the door, there were maybe 20 people in line. i thought, huh, this might not be too bad., but once the shirts were moving, the whole site became a blur of people rushing to get in line. i feel bad because these people are poor and a free shirt, hell... it's like offering free pizza and pop at college just to get people to show up at your lame get-together. we handed them all out, there were many people left in line who wouldn't be getting T-shirts today. since then, they've come with lists of all the people who need shirts, they've come in asking like "hey, i know you got HIDDEN in here, i won't tell anybody" kinda of deals. i really do feel bad for them but we are fresh out. i've kept a few aside for the TAs who are going to be coming and a couple for some people who aren't onsite today, but other than that, i've told them time and time again (in telugu)... EYE-PO-IN-DEE... "finished", but they just won't take the hint.

i'm never getting site shirts in a third world country again.


Blogger themom said...

that is toooo funny. and to think with all that engineering knowledge you have to deal with long lines of "needy" indians. poor baby. just use your usual tact and diplomacy. *** how is the mosquito bite?


8:13 AM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

Hey dude, Did you save an XL for me? My address is... naw, just kiddin... How much longer you going to be there? Any clue at all?

5:55 PM, May 08, 2006  

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