On his lucky day after a long spell of joblessness, a young man secures a job as bottle collector at a bottle store. He is so happy he is willing to defend employment with whatever it takes.
On reporting, he joins a few other guys hired as security personnel. Together they form a formidable team stationed at the entrance of the pub, a hot spot in Lilongwe’s Area 25.
Right on the first day on the job, acustomer walks in and by the door familiarises with the bottle collector and the security detail.
‘Wawa abale. Zikuyenda?’ the customer greets the muscled men with friendliness, to which the guys answer with satisfaction.
‘Wawa Biggy. Zikuyenda Boss,’ the bottle collector answers back and wishes the customer a happy stay.
Sometimes a simple greeting is all people need to feel loved and respected.
Two or so hours later, the customer is dragged out by not less than five irate men who, at the top of their voices, chorus their concern on how naughty the customer is becoming.
The tide is too high for the customer as he cannot stop his ‘deportation.’
By the entrance, the bottle collector and his perplexed peers are thrown into a guessing game on what might have become of the ‘honourable’ customer who by now has his clothes ruffled.
‘Ndileretseni.Andiphatu anthuwa,’ the cornered customer shouts to the bottle collector and his team for help.
For the bottle collector and his muscled friends, it is perhaps the first test on how to deal with unruly shenanigans who come to trouble customers.
Like a well-coordinated choir, the rescue team inches into the brawl to rescue the customer.
Seconds later, with the customer freed and now at a distance on his escape, it is discovered one of the customer’s ‘assailants’ has a horrible cut to the head courtesy of the bottle collector’s swing of an empty bottle.
It is when statements are taken at the police station where the guy with the cut, who is the owner of the bottle store, discovers his attacker is actually a new employee at the pub!
The biggest mistake was that the managers at the pub, having exercised their due authority to fire the previous bottle collector and the security team the night before, were yet to brief the owner on the new faces around.
As fate would have it, the owner had walked in unexpectedly early to cheer customers and acquaintances. Innocently, he then made his way past the power team by the entrance thinking they were just customers.
Inside the pub, the owner and his acquaintances had taken offence as the customer, under the influence of booze, was beyond a nuisance.
In all this was a simple management lesson; if you take communication and protocol out of the business scene, it can cost you blood.
Today, communication has taken its rightful place and the bottle collector is among the most reliable employees.
Even ‘tiny’ updates are now shared promptly and tirelessly across the business! There is even a uniform to speak to the eye where words cannot suffice!
For the pub owner, a reminder on the importance of protocol rests on his head—it is a scar which he kept ‘caressing’ throughout his narration of the ordeal. He even happily gave me a go ahead to share his lesson! n