At the end of winter semester, I had to put together a portfolio of all my work for my document design class. The teacher had warned us throughout the semester that it would be a lot of work to get this done, and told us several times to not leave it to the last minute because she would, under no circumstances, accept late work (this always brought back a vivid recollection of a friend who had taken the same class the semester before, calling me in a tearful panic because she was trying to get everything printed out but had forgotten her credit card and she didn't have enough time to go home and back if she wanted to turn it in on time).
I got the point: Do it in advance. Now I've probably set you up to think that this story is about me actually procrastinating what I had planned to do in advance. It's not. I did it in advance.
The thing was due on Saturday, so on Monday I went to Cougar Creations to get everything printed and organized for my portfolio. Here is an honest account of what happened at Cougar Creations.
There is a mac and pc lab at Cougar Creations that is not free; you have to pay by the hour to use the computers. It's beneficial to use them, though, because they print directly to the high quality printers.
The lab was not busy. Neither were the workers. The two girls at the cash register were very involved in their own conversation. I stood at the register. Girl 1 acknowledged me. Girl 2 saw me but didn't make any indication that my presence at her counter was supposed to alter her actions in any way. She continued to show her coworker pictures from a Pampered Chef catalogue and tell her what she needed to order. Meanwhile, Girl 3, sitting at a desk in the work area, watched---she seemed like she might have been the supervisor.
Finally, when Girl 1 finished her nice little chat, she decided to help me. We printed off a few things. The things I was printing required several trips to and from the cash register and specific instructions. Every time I went to the cash register, it was the same battle to get her attention again. At one point when I went up, Girl 2 had her hand bandaged in toilet paper and was getting help from Girl 1 to put red ink on the end of it so that it looked as if her hand had been severed. "Ketchup!" she cried. "If only we had Ketchup! Wait! Someone can probably run to the Cougareat and grab a couple packets!" I made eye contact with Girl 3: The Supervisor, and though she was clearly annoyed with the employees' behavior, she did nothing to stop it.
At another point, I gave specific instructions to Girl 1 about how I needed something to be printed. She cut me off half-way through, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it." She didn't get it. When it was printed, she handed me the printout and I had to say, "Okay, if you had listened to me, this is what I was asking you not to do."
The whole time I was in there, I was wondering about those who would procrastinate their portfolios until later that week. I, understandably, was frustrated with them, but I had six days to get this done, not six minutes. I was glad that I had planned enough time for their obvious incompetence.
After I was done and closing up programs on the mac, another lab user asked Girl 3: The Supervisor for help. She came over and in answer to the lab user's question, said, "I don't know. This is a self-service lab---the customers are supposed to know what they're doing. I've never used a mac. So it's not that we're ignorant. It's just that we don't have to know these things."
I couldn't help laughing out loud when I heard it. "It's not that we're ignorant. It's just that we don't have to know these things." I think that's pretty much the mission statement of Cougar Creations.