Mallory Jones had only been working at Sprinkles Donut Shop two days before her boss yelled at her.
“One of the other girls told me that you charged a cop for his coffee yesterday. Is that true?” he asked in a menacing tone.
Mallory couldn’t remember at the top of her head if a cop had come in on her first day, but once she gave it some thought she did recall one stopping in about three hours into her shift and ordering a coffee.
“You’re not supposed to charge cops for coffee when they’re on duty,” her displeased boss said.
“Why not?” the young and inexperienced waitress asked.
“Because, they’re putting their lives on the line to keep us safe! The least we can do is give them free coffee.”
“Do they get free donuts, too?” Mallory then asked.
“No they don’t get free donuts! Those things cost money to make. Jesus! You didn’t act this stupid when you came in for the interview!”
Mallory thought it was odd that the risks cops take for us warrant a free cup of coffee yet aren’t worth a honey glazed, but she was afraid to say anymore, so she went back to work.
The next day the boss yelled at her over a complaint he had received from a little old lady.
“I heard about what you did after I left,” he said. “You’re supposed to put a fresh square of wax paper in the bag for the customer and not the one you used to grab the donut.”
“How come?” Mallory asked with all sincerity.
“Because no one wants a piece of wax paper that your grubby hands have touched in with their donut. They want a fresh piece.”
“But, in order to put a fresh piece of wax paper in the bag, I would have to touch it with my hands,” Mallory explained to her boss.
“Yes, but it will be new and fresh,” her boss said in return.
His logic made no sense to her and neither did his employee training program.
“You remind me of my mother,” Mallory told him.
“Oh yeah? How so?”
“Back when I was four, I was out on the front yard of my family’s house playing ball with our dog. The ball got away from us and rolled out onto the road, so I ran after it and got hit by a car. I ended up with a fractured right arm and leg, and had to spend most of the summer in bed recuperating. My Mom screamed at me like crazy when we got home from the hospital. ‘How stupid can you be?!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t you know enough to look both ways before crossing a street?!’ She then told me I couldn’t watch television for the rest of the summer as punishment for breaking one of the most basic rules of the road. She was always freaking out on me like that when I was a kid. I’d break a rule and she’d punish me. I’d break another rule and she’d punish me again. When I pointed out to her that it would have been nice if she had explained the rules to me before I unknowingly broke them, she slapped me across the face and said, ‘Being a smartass is also against the rules. Now you know.’”
“What’s your point?” Mallory’s boss asked after she finished her little speech.
“My point is, you need to lay out the rules of the game before the game starts; otherwise it’s no one’s fault but your own if the players don’t follow them.”
Mallory was promptly fired.
“You should listen to your mother and not be such a smartass!” he yelled at Mallory as she headed for the back door.
“And you should throw out all of your donuts!” she shouted in return. “You know that Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning To Work sign you have hanging up in the bathroom? Maybe I obeyed that rule or maybe I didn’t. There’s really no way for you to know for sure, now is there?”
Rule breaking Mallory then headed for home.