On Monday, a group of Cleveland Tea Party Patriots went to go play the game “cat and mouse” at the State House. After several committee meetings were canceled regarding the Ohio budget, and then rescheduled for Monday, we took our chances and drove to Columbus. Halfway there, we get the call that it’s been canceled again. We’d already rearranged our work and children’s schedules, so we decided to plow forward and try to turn chicken s**t into chicken salad. We decided to visit all senate offices with a quick intro of who we were, how many we represented and three quick talking points to pass to their bosses. One of the messages was to keep ALL EARMARKS out of the budget.
The first office we went to was Senator Grendell’s. This was the only Senator’s office, with an aide kind enough to invite us to sit down, and took a few moments to answer some of our questions. Ms. Crowe gave us a lot of information on where the Senator stood on some current budget issues and wished us well, on our journey to other offices.
Well, saddle up Patriots because it was a rough ride from there. A couple Senator’s aids were polite, but I sensed no real motivation or urgency whatsoever to help us. Overall, it felt like a bad zombie movie. You know the ones where you’re normal and talking to someone who looks normal but nobody’s home?? Well my friends, that’s the State House for you. They look normal, but they’re not. If you want to get a real clear picture of why we’re in such a hot mess, go do what we did, but take your Zoloft with you.
I don’t expect a damn spa treatment with a non-fat mocha latte when I drop into my Senator’s office with my questions or concerns. But I do expect the same respect that my staff gives to our customers. Everybody says that if government operated like a business we’d be a lot better off. Well they’re right, and a couple senators in particular need to drop kick some staff to the curb. I can’t fire them, but I can and will call them on the carpet, and unapologetically so. We pay for you to sit there; we get to tell you when you suck at your job.
My first victim is going to be Senator Gibb’s front desk aide. Picture this. Upon entering that office, she was sitting behind her desk holding a bag of chips. We stood there, while she just looks at us, and if I’m lying I’m dying, continues to eat chips. No “Hello”, no “Can I help you?” Nope, nada, nothing. This girl just stares up at us and eats. We told her who we were, why we were there and asked her to leave Senator Gibbs a message. She sighs, puts her hand back in the chip bag and looks up at the ceiling then pops another chip in her mouth. She made no attempt to even pretend to be respectful to the people her boss works for.
Well Chip Girl, shame on us, apparently we interrupted snack time. She must have caught the look of horror on my face because at one point, she pulled her hand out of the bag with no chips in hand, slouched her shoulders forward and then rolled her eyes. She was like some spoiled nitwit teenager who just was told to clean her room. It was truly unbelievable.
On our way out the door we mention the library protest that was happening outside. This is when she apparently decided to get her face out of her bag of chips and finally swallowed enough food to speak. With enough attitude to cut diamonds, the compulsive chip eater says “The Library funding isn’t an earmark”, rolls her eyes, takes a deep breath like we’re something to be wiped off her shoe and proceeds to shove more chips in her mouth.
With all the attitude flying around her I didn’t catch her name, so she will be forever referred to amongst us as the “chip eating nitwit.” We left there and stopped outside the office and looked at each other in disbelief. Senator Gibbs should be congratulated for having a staff that really knows how to show that he cares. If she worked for me, and I witnessed that, she would have been fired ON THE SPOT. If she was my daughter, I would have grabbed the bag of chips, told her to sit up straight, wipe that smug look off her face and show some respect.
Evidently, it is mostly the lobbyists who drop in to visit Senators. I want to know who lobbies for the taxpayer. Who lobbies for the taxpayers who say “enough?” Who lobbies for the Constitution? To steal a quote from an April 15th speaker at our Cleveland tea party, “The Government should account for every penny they take from us.” Amen sister. Well guess what you chip eating nitwit? You’re parked in that chair because of the taxpayers. And if you can’t even pretend to be pleasant, maybe bill collecting would be more up your alley. You can get paid to be nasty, and due to the current economic crisis, I’ve heard business is booming.
You are supposed to answer to us, account to us, listen to us, and help us. So in the future, when us regular folk come for a visit to those we put into office, a little more respect from your staff would be fabulous. Think, “Oh look, here’s my meal ticket” kind of respect.
So, in the spirit of kindness, I’ll share some free tips from a girl who has trained a few office managers in her day. If I, as a business owner must train people well, then I expect the same from you. Please feel free to add this to your own training packets as part of your Human Resources program.
1. When you say you’ll take a message, take a message. A piece of paper and a no.2 pencil are nice. If there is some new technology that includes an invisible, robotic pen with magic ink that secretly takes messages, then I apologize. It’s just that since I didn’t see anyone physically take a message, I, the customer, got the impression that you had no intention of relaying the message. And remember, the customer (taxpayer) always comes first.
2. Try to not look so surprised when people walk in and ask to speak to the Senator. The deer in the headlights look isn’t comforting to the taxpayer. And in case this is because regular concerned citizens don’t stop by for a visit enough, for training purposes we will volunteer to schedule more Ohio Tea Party Patriots to routinely visit with our latest “message”.
3. Even if you don’t care, try to pretend that you do. It makes a girl like me feel like I didn’t pollute the environment driving 240 miles for nothing. Save the Earth right?
4. You are a reflection of your boss. If you are rude, arrogant, and dismissive, and have a smart-ass smirk on your face, then we’ll assume your boss is that way too. If this doesn’t bother your boss, he should be fired at the next election. If you are cool and look me in the eye, maybe crack a joke (shout out to Mr. Youngstown) I’ll assume your boss is cool and a straight-shooter too.
5. If it’s a busy day and you’re eating on the fly when a customer (the taxpayer) walks in, discreetly slide the food over and ask “Hello, can I help you?” Eating in front of a customer is not only rude, but maybe they are hungry from roaming the halls of the State house trying to get you to do your job. If Senator’s aides eat in front of the hungry, taxed enough already taxpayers, it may be considered discriminatory and unfair and worthy of a “redistribution of lunch” program. Since we can’t afford anymore programs, and to avoid any problems with the ACLU we recommend not eating in front of the constituents at all.
And to you, you chip eating nitwit, your behavior was deplorable. But I must credit you as the inspiration behind my new idea. On my long drive home, and after talking to the team, we’ve decided that we will begin giving awards to the wastes of space in government. So, on July 3rd at the Cleveland Freedom Fest, we will ask the thousands who gather, to email us with suggestions as to what the name of the award should be. We will then put a pole on our site and let them vote. After all, that’s how the system works right?? As a consolation prize for being the inspiration behind this yet to be named award, upon my next visit I will personally spring for a bag of rippled Lays potato chips. In the future dear, might I recommend the baked and not fried variety?
With blistered feet I made my way back to my Government Motors vehicle and dug in my purse for my valet ticket as the guy asks how my day was. My response as I pointed across the street the State House, “Oh it was great. Go spend a couple hours over there and you’ll get why we are all so screwed.”
More to follow….You can bet on it.