So technically we’re supposed to wear nametags when we’re at work. In practice this almost never happens unless there’s a corporate visit coming; sometimes someone will put theirs on for the hell of it and then it tends to spread virally; if a shift starts with one person wearing a nametag, everyone will have theirs on by the end of that shift, but it usually doesn’t happen.
Our previous work nametags are pretty utilitarian; they’ve got the corporate logo on them and a space for your name (printed on a laser printer and slid into a little hole on the side) and that’s it. Recently for some reason corporate has decided that our nametags need to be more “fun.” And we have a visit coming by a Lord High Muckety-Muck next week, and so the new, fun name tags need to be at least ordered if not actually on everyone’s shirts.
They require that, in addition to our names, we reveal our hometowns and, and this is the kicker, a passion. Like so:
Only it can’t say “butt stuff,” because, I dunno, reasons, and I also have to admit that I grew up here in Somewhere in Northern Indiana, which I find vaguely annoying. I should have just put Chicago and dared someone to correct it.
The problem is that “passion” part. One, I’m philosophically opposed to it. I’m a goddamn furniture salesman. I know that connecting with customers is supposed to be a great help in making sales and blah blah blah, but goddammit I’m at work and I’m doing my job and the fact that you want a chiffarobe does not entitle you to know shit about my life.
Plus, it has to be something that’s not intrinsically alienating to any substantial percentage of our customer base, and it has to be something that doesn’t lead to conversations with customers that I don’t want to have. So, for example: I could say politics! I am, in fact, passionate about politics! Only no, because the last fucking thing I want to talk to any of my customers about is politics for a wide variety of reasons. I could say writing! That is also a true thing! The only problem with that is that it leads to talking to people about my writing, which I really don’t want to do at work, and even if they happen to be sci-fi/fantasy people who might enjoy my work, handing them one of Luther’s cards would lead them back here, and that opens all sorts of potential cans of worms that I don’t really want open. I don’t badmouth my customers all that damn often and it’s incredibly rare (I can’t think of any examples, in fact, although I’m sure there are some) that I tell stories about specific individuals but still. I don’t need those worlds mixing. Books? Okay, but I don’t want to get into talking about reading (or the fact that my customers don’t read) with every jamoke who reads my name tag.
The other possibility is to make it a joke. I spent a long time considering just putting “Apples” as my passion, because hell, who doesn’t like apples? Another one I considered: extispicy, which is fortunetelling using the entrails of sacrificed animals. My manager shot that down for some reason, and pointing out that another staff member had chosen “charcuterie” did not gain me any points.
I ended up picking astronomy, which means that I’ll be explaining the difference between astronomy and astrology a lot. But it’s true and will probably not lead to obnoxious conversations. Fact of the matter is, once the muckety-muck is gone I will go right back to not wearing the nametag, so any amount of thought past the first five minutes that I put into this is probably wasted time anyway. But what the hell. I gotta do something when I’m not selling furniture.