I recently finished a temp job, during the final week the managers arranged an Employee Appreciation Lunch of expensive pizza and cupcakes. I grumbled that if the company really wanted to express its appreciation, they could skip the free lunch and pay me higher wages so I could buy my own lunch. I am sure my ingracious comments were not appreciated by management.
The artisanal cupcakes were beautiful. I mentioned how much I like vanilla, and a coworker said, “We have Double Vanilla!” But it was too rich for lunch, so I kept it at my desk and saved it for later.
When I prepared to leave work, I realized it would be tricky to transport the cupcake home without mashing it or getting frosting all over my car. One of the managers said, “The cupcakes fit perfectly in our big paper coffee cups.” I said, “Oh, I have a better idea.”
The way the cupcake paper was folded reminded me of the way we used to wrap potted plants in decorative foil, at our family greenhouse business. I can’t even guess how many hundreds, maybe thousands of chrysanthemums and poinsettias I have wrapped this way. We would fold and staple cardboard boxes and pad them with newspapers so the customers could transport them easily. So I grabbed a stapler and a leftover paper plate from the pizza, and made it into a box in just a few seconds.
My manager saw me working and said, “That doesn’t seem better, it’s a lot more complex, with dozens of folds and staples.” I cushioned the cupcake with a few spare napkins and said, “It turned out better than I expected, it’s as beautiful as a flower, you should see it.” She looked and said, “You’re absolutely right, Charles, that is superior in every way.”