Last week I beheld a new level of business torment.
A woman devoid of support and overrun by systems, elements and offspring.
How do people manage to combine kids and commerce?!
I was visiting a packing-and-sending place.
It was hot out and not much better in, as a loading bay countered the office air conditioning.
After a while, a flushed woman emerged from a corral of half-wrapped plasma screens.
Her smile was drawn.
To her right, a baby inched off a foam mat.
From another room came toddler talk, followed by a clattering sound.
‘What are you doing, Jason?’
The woman dashed to the noise.
Maid to Measure
She returned to the counter with an apology.
I asked for a quote to send my package.
She rifled back and forth through a price book that looked as worn as she did.
Finally, with what seemed great mental effort, she calculated the fee.
I chose to buy cardboard tubing and post it myself.
As the woman cut the tubing to size, she nudged the baby back onto the mat and glanced to her left for Jason.
He emerged from her right and confronted me with a large, whippy, metal tape measure.
The woman disarmed him and shepherded him back with the tube before laying it on the counter.
‘Five dollars, thanks.’
‘No worries; could I have a receipt please?’
As she took out an old-fashioned receipt book, the phone rang: a customer inquiry.
She put the prospect on hold, fished for carbon paper and failed find a blank receipt.
She fossicked in a drawer for another book with such mounting despair that I told her not to worry.
But she pressed on, scribbling out the details of a cancelled receipt and writing mine.
I apologised for taking up so much of her time for a measly five bucks.
She nodded her thanks and returned to the phone, but the prospect had hung up.
The baby crawled.
The plasma screens beckoned.
And the hot wind slammed the front door behind me.
I simply could not work under these conditions.
Do you know others who juggle business and family?
Tell us a story!
We’re sitting comfortably …
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire