COOKIES: Yours? Mine? Ours?
There is a modern-day parable about a woman traveler who
was so pleased with herself for making the decision to buy a
bag of gourmet cookies just before boarding a plane as she
traveled on business. She had missed lunch and, though
overpriced, they would serve to tide her over during the long
Upon boarding her plane, she quickly found her window seat
and was pleased when the stewardess announced the closing
of the cabin door. This meant that the middle seat of the
three-across row was going to be empty. Both she and the
man sitting in the aisle seat both placed their belongings in the
empty seat as soon as the plane took off.
As she started reading through her work papers, she matter-of-
factly, reached over and took one of the cookies from the
package. It was hard to keep her composure as she saw the
aisle passenger’s hand in the peripheral vision reach over and
extract a cookie from the package. It was all she could do to
not address this shocking lack of manners. But she decided to
let it go.
As the flight continued it seemed that every time she took a
cookie so did the aisle passenger. Was this person trying to
make her mad? Were they “hitting on her” in a sophomoric
way? But she still held her tongue.
And then. And then, there was one cookie left. And then,
…this total stranger took the last cookie.
They had the audacity to take the last cookie. And, to add arrogance to
the equation, the aisle passenger broke it in half and offered half of
the last cookie to her. When she looked him in the eye he
actually smiled at her. He smiled at her. She said nothing.
But, all the way to her parking space she mumbled to herself
about the rudeness, the lack of manners and the absence of
any social graces to even ask permission to have “one” of her
When she got to her car she fumbled in her purse for her keys.
Something kept getting in her hand’s way. When she stopped
fumbling and actually looked into her bag she saw something
unexpected. She saw her bag of cookies right where she had
put them when she got change from the cashier.
Moral of the story: Communication is critical. It is quite often
at the heart of all misunderstandings. In the workplace, it is
essential to check your facts (or presumed facts).
Jumping to a conclusion…ever do that?
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