How I Imagine an Interview for Employment Goes at the Chain Coffee Shop on Michigan Avenue Which Will Go Unnamed
HIRING MANAGER: Hi! Thanks for coming by. We were really impressed with your application and I’m glad you could make it today.
APPLICANT is silent, stares at HIRING MANAGER.
HIRING MANAGER: Awesome. So I want to start out just telling you a bit about [COMPANY] and what we’re looking for. We’re a full-service coffee and tea shop. We have many locations across Chicago and are really leaning in, as they say, haahahahahaa, to disrupt the market, you know, as they say, right? And expanding. So we want team members, you know, to really be a part of the family. I want to see if you’re a good fit, so I want to ask a few questions. Okay?
HIRING MANAGER: A customer comes in. Chipper thirtysomething. She exclaims, in a cheery fashion with a friendly smile to the crew behind the counter, “It smells great in here! Wow! What is that? Muffins?” How do you respond?
APPLICANT: Just…nothing. No response.
HIRING MANAGER. (Smiles.) Well you’re off to a good start. Okay, next question. When there’s a line — and there is always a line at this location, always — and a customer gets to the register, what do you do?
APPLICANT: Wait for them to say something. Just stare at them. And then, when they start to talk, turn to someone else behind the counter and ask them something and then go to the warmer and put something in and take something out. And then return to the register and then just wait.
HIRING MANAGER: (Raises eyebrow.) I am…impressed. That’s exactly right. Okay: hot tea: served hot or stone cold?
APPLICANT takes out phone, plays Candy Crush. HIRING MANAGER also takes out phone. Text messages boyfriend.
APPLICANT: (Puts phone away.) Lukewarm?
HIRING MANAGER: (Laughs at her own text. Puts phone on counter and glances at it through the rest of the interview. She looks up at APPLICANT.) You got the trick question? Seriously? Lukewarm is exactly right — oh, and here’s a tip and don’t tell them I told you: when a customer asks super nicely if you can heat it up, be extremely, extremely sour about it. And make sure it takes forever. All right, we’re almost done. I see on your application you have no prior job experience whatsoever. Nothing. That’s perfect. Oh, also: there’s something called a cash register. Do you think you could use one?
APPLICANT: (Pauses.) Is it hard?
HIRING MANAGER: Not even a little. A baby could do it.
APPLICANT is silent, stares off into space.
HIRING MANAGER: I know it’s scary. But we’d train you. Well, another employee who has been on the register for one day would train you. Melissa. She’s the girl who gave you the application that came out of the printer that needs ink.
APPLICANT: I guess I could learn it.
HIRING MANAGER: You, my dear, are hired. Welcome to the family! Everyone here is family. You’re already invited to the Holiday Party! It’s here in the shop during business hours, so we’re closed on a Thursday afternoon at high traffic time. I don’t think people will mind.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t know what to write about California. I’m still mourning Paris. I can’t handle the anger and powerlessness I feel about citizens of my city being murdered by their fellow citizens every day. I can’t process, much less speak about any of this so I wrote this silly play. But I wanted to say that I’m as anxious and depressed as all of you and maybe this (possibly true) play will distract us for two seconds. I just want to know how a person chooses to cut a brother or sister’s life short. I can’t understand it and I try not to write about things I can’t understand. I fail all the time. But I can’t even approach this one.