Jim_NoTieBy Jim D’Amico, President

This is the first (and perhaps only) Banana Report blog post from Coolfront Technologies.  You may, however, see future Banana Report spreadsheets.  That will depend on how motivated I am to keep counting bananas.

What is The Banana Report, what does it mean and why does it matter?

Perhaps the most important fact is that the circumstances surrounding the Banana Report changed my perspective.  Keep that in mind as you read on and the “what” the “why” and the “matter” take shape.  Yes…old dogs, new tricks.

The Banana Report is a tally of the number of bananas we provided our employees for their health-conscience consumption in the month of June, 2017.  

Why do we provide our employees bananas?  That is a very good question.  Actually, Courtney our HR Specialist, she’s a twenty something, got it all started.  I didn’t want to say Courtney is a Millennial for fear of getting into trouble for an age-related comment about the younger people now in the workforce.  For the record, I’m a Baby Boomer now drawing Social Security.  I remember when John Lennon said, “We don’t trust anyone over thirty.”  If he were alive today he might say, “We don’t trust anyone under thirty.”  Perspectives do change.

Anyway, back to the bananas.  Courtney started with us last November, and she said she had been hearing comments from our employees like, “There’s never any food here” and “We have this nice cafe’ now, it would sure be nice to have snacks available too.”

Being the curmudgeon that I am, my immediate thought was, “Of course there’s no food or snacks here, this is a business office!”  But I restrained myself from making that comment.  Then I thought, “Gee, when I came into the workforce, if I wanted a mid-day snack, I brought it with me and kept it in my desk until my stomach growled for a bite or two.”  I let that thought and comment whisk away too.

Of course, trying to remain, or become as it were, a caring boss and remain politically correct, I said, “Well, we used to provide trail mix as a snack, mostly because I like trail mix.  We can start providing trail mix again.”  (I actually stopped buying trail mix because of its contribution to my waist size.)  To which Courtney responded, “It would be nice to have some other choices too.  I’ll look into it.”

I decided on my own to buy other snacks like cookies, chips, bananas and tangerines.  A week or two went by and Courtney came to me and said, “Everyone says they would like healthy snacks.”  My immediate thought was, “I guess you can’t please these kids!”  Once again I refrained from comment.  However, the next thing I knew, we had a somewhat pricey proposal for “healthy snacks” from Snack Nation.  When asked if I approved, my mind went to a simple, yet meaningful text response that I have seen…“WTF.”  However, being the thoughtful leader that I am, I chose a one-word response instead, …”Sure,” I said.

In just a short time we had snacks on direct-ship to our office.  And while that helped with the task of shopping, (I was told shopping was a burden, and believe me it was), we, that is I, also continued to buy bananas.  And I couldn’t believe how many bananas were being consumed.  So one week in May I decided to count the bananas that our staff devoured…it was 47!  That’s a pretty big number for a staff of only 20 people in our home office.  Actually, 19 because Judy doesn’t like bananas.

The following Monday, at our leadership meeting, when it came time for my update on the past week, I reported that we consumed 47 bananas in the last week.  That got a big laugh.  So I decided it was worthy of a followup count for the month of June.

So here is our June Banana Report!

One hundred sixty four (164)! That’s a lot of bananas my friend. By weight those curved yellow fruits of delectability came in at 66.21 pounds! However, at only $32.45, those bananas are a real bargain. What could be better? A healthy cheap snack! Until one considers that the stem and the skin probably weigh as much as or more than the banana pulp itself, the only really edible part, unless, of course, you’re starving.

For the record, I want to give credit where credit is due. Our staff did not consume every banana. We actually had two guests stop by for a visit, one of whom is vegan. Their excitement about our company providing snacks, especially the healthy ones, brought each of them to consume a banana. So really, our gang only ate 161. I know the math doesn’t add up, 164 – 2 = 162, not 161. That’s because on June 30th just before the July 4th holiday weekend, I threw away one remaining over-ripe banana that didn’t get eaten.

So why the Banana Report? The Banana Report exists strictly for the fun of having something to discuss that everyone in our company can relate to.

What does it mean? First, it’s evident that times have changed and employee expectations about what the company should do for them has also changed with the times. It’s neither right nor wrong…it’s just different. Maybe we should blame Google or Apple for creating the hip environment where young people want to go to work, causing other companies to muster up their own hipness in an attempt to hire the young superstars and “keep them here.” Then again, instead of blame, maybe we should give them credit for taking the lead with a vision of, or should I say, a vision into the twenty first century that is changing so fast it’s now hard to keep up.

Everyone can draw their own conclusions, but for me, providing bananas (and other snacks) is a small way of showing that we appreciate what our people do for us. That we believe they are worth more than just what they can accomplish for the company. We want our staff to like coming to work. If a banana or two makes them feel good, that’s good.

Why does it matter? Although it sounds schmalzy, it’s not the bananas that matter, but its the little things done for others that really matter. Just maybe by having a giving attitude toward our staff, that same giving attitude will trickle down from our staff to our customers.

I can’t help but think that maybe this group of twenty somethings that comes in everyday with different ideas and aspirations just by being a part of our company have taught this old curmudgeon something too.

So the next time you’re at the supermarket and an old man is in your way selecting the perfect bunch of bananas, give him a warm smile. He may be bringing them back to the gang at his office.

To quote the words of Bob Dylan sung so long ago, “The times they are a changing.” Yes indeed.

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