It’s the little things: teensy floor mats

Part of this job involves standing behind a counter, often for hours at a time. The floors are tiled concrete, which isn’t especially comfortable. And this company doesn’t hire cashiers for their good health — I’m above average in physical fitness here, and I’m a middle-aged fat guy. (I’m thinking of one cashier in particular who’s been waiting months for knee surgery…)

Thus, to keep turnover down, we were provided with big black rubber floor mats that covered most of the register area. They were big enough that we could move around a bit, to keep our legs from stiffening up or to attend to things behind the counter, and remain in relative comfort.

But they were starting to wear. They still served the purpose, but when we swept back there, a few little black bits would come up.

This looked untidy. And even though a customer would have had to belly-flop on the counter to see that untidiness, it just couldn’t be left alone.

One day, middle manager Angie Breckenridge (the layer below RDO Doug Abernathy) made one of her periodic inspection visits. (The outer windowsills were dusty! And the rear emergency exit was smudged!) Shortly thereafter, the floor mats were replaced.

Not a problem, one would think, except that the new floor mats were much stiffer, only a marginal improvement over the tiles they covered. Also, they were smaller, by about three-quarters. They’re the sort of thing you might see in an office-supply store, designed to protect the carpet under an office worker’s desk. So much for moving around and keeping our legs from stiffening up.

“They looked bigger online,” an assistant manager told me, from which I infer that they were in a great tearing hurry to get rid of the old, adequate floor mats and couldn’t waste any time looking at the dimensions on the supplier’s website before ordering them.

I’m not that uncomfortable yet, but I notice the difference. And I have a decent pair of insoles and (I’ll repeat) am fitter than the local average. RIP that coworker’s knee.

But at least when Angie comes around, once a month or so, she’s happy.

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