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OF THE WEEK
Last week, we took some friends to a new restaurant, 'Antonio's Place,' and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket.
It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.
Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired, 'Why the spoon?'
'Well, 'he explained, 'the restaurant's owner hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all of our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour.
If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.'
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare. 'I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now...' I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly.
Looking around, I saw that all of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So, before he walked off, I asked the waiter, 'Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?'
'Oh, certainly!' Then he lowered his voice. 'Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also learned that we can save time in the restroom.
By tying this string to the tip of our you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.'
I asked quietly, 'After you get it out, how do you put it back?'
'Well,' he whispered, 'I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon.'
We're often told to trust our instincts and go with our gut, but what happens when our instincts are terrible and our gut feelings just plain suck? Is it possible to override bad instincts to create better ones? Psychology Nando Pelusi believes that it is.
Pelusi explains his obsession with sugar as a child and what he did to overcome it:
I once loved sugar. I grew up a pudgy kid, "husky," according to some, but I knew I was chubby and I hated it. My parents came from the Old World and thought that fat equalled health. Then something happened. After learning of the health disadvantages of too much sugar, I convinced myself that sugar was an enemy, not a sweet friend. By looking repeatedly at the evidence, I changed my reaction to it. My newfound belief in sugar's disadvantages powerfully affected my taste sensations. I now find it unpleasantly sweet. I tell myself, "this stuff will rot my teeth and send my insulin skyward," thereby overriding one of the strongest instincts around—the craving for fat and sugar.
While I never had an addiction to soda or alcohol, I was concerned about consuming both in large quantities and was able to scare myself away from developing a problem with either. On one hand I do believe this method can be effective, but I worry about the implications. If you scare yourself out of one vice, what happens to your desire to indulge? If you're not able to indulge in anything, will you become unhappy? To some extent, I believe we need some vices or we can't fully appreciate life. While we can probably use knowledge to frighten ourselves out of acting on them, will that ultimately make use happier?
What do you think? Have you been able to convince yourself to make better choices by understanding the facts? And did it improve your life, ultimately, or make things more difficult? Share your experiences in the comments.
ST. CLOUD, MN -- A 21-year-old former criminal justice major is accused of FUI -- frying under the influence.
The troubles for man started about 1:25 a.m., when he tripped the alarm where he works, Pizza Hut in the 100 block of 7th Avenue S., authorities said.
"He had access to the building, but he just didn't reset the alarm," said Police Lt. Jerry Edblad.
Officers arrived and found the restaurant's back door open. They came upon the man inside and saw that he had tried to deep-fry some boneless chicken wings, police said. The marinara sauce must not have been to his liking. Police say he threw some on the wall.
After his arrest, the man was given a preliminary breath test for alcohol. His blood-alcohol content reading came back at .22, police said. That's nearly three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
The suspect was jailed on suspicion of third-degree burglary, but Edblad suspects that the man could end up being charged with a lesser offense, possibly theft, given that he is an employee.
The man had been studying criminal justice recently at St. Cloud State University but was not enrolled this semester, said school spokesman Michael Nistler.
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