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what time is it?

September 19, 2007

Photo by Duncan McNeil (dmcneil) on flickr.com, under a Creative Commons license.
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So am I nuts, or what?

This morning I had coffee with some very good friends in a local cafe. It’s brand new, with minimal decorating. Other than furniture and a small fireplace, the most prominent piece in the room is an enormous clock, probably 2 1/2 feet across, visible from every seat and table (not the clock above — that one is in Scotland).

I’ve been there four times. Every time, the clock has shown the wrong time. It’s not just a little off — it’s way off, not even close to the hour or minute.

The first time, I figured the place was new, with many details not yet worked out (want cream or milk in your self-serve coffee? You have to ask for it. The cashier hands you a gallon jug.).

By the fourth time, I was amused and a little irritated. I’m enjoying a coffee, staring at an enormous clock face which tells me it is 4:24 in the afternoon. Huh. I thought it was more like 9 in the morning. Silly me.

It’s not important, just disconcerting. So today I timidly asked the cashier if she could maybe set the clock to the proper time.

She looked at me like I was nuts. “It’s decorative,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be set.”

I hemmed a bit and commented that it was running, so would it be too difficult to just set it to the right time? “I don’t have the authority to do that,” she replied.

Um, perhaps the manager could set it? “He doesn’t have that authority. Only Corporate does.”

I must have looked astonished, because she got defensive. “Look,” she said, “we figure everyone has a watch or a cell phone. No one needs to look at the clock for the time.”

I was speechless.

But am I nuts?

(p.s. You still have to ask for the gallon jug to put white in your coffee.)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2007 11:12 pm

    Well, I do think it’s insane to assume everyone has a watch or cell phone–I have neither and really appreciate businesses with prominently displayed clocks–of which there are often very few and I guess now I know why. But having worked in corporate type stores, I do sympathize with the mentality of crazy rules you need to abide by as an employee and not being able to make even the simplest decisions.

  2. September 20, 2007 10:03 am

    If I wasn’t allowed to set a clock at my job, I wouldn’t last long. Um, wait. I’m unemployed. (perhaps unemployable?)

  3. September 25, 2007 8:25 am

    It seems like it would drive the employees crazy not knowing if they’re close to the end of their shift! I wonder what they would do if YOU tried to re-set it:)

  4. October 22, 2007 6:51 pm

    I think *I* know what time it is….time to start frequently a new coffee shop!(but then again, I’m just type-A that way!)

  5. February 1, 2008 2:13 pm

    I love that the clock is always wrong. I think it’s funny and offbeat. Most coffee shops don’t have clocks so this one is really just decorative and a conversation piece — and it got you talking!!

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