Summer Of Sam's

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
Lesson One: Competence Is Only Skin Deep

Use Your Life Experience! It's time to pick a restaurant. Your weird maiden aunt with the bird feeders keeps mentioning places that closed down long ago, or stuff that sounds made up, or that one restaurant which is clearly a Mob front. Do you:

A. Bench her. Stick her doily-tatting ass in a blimp.
B. Nod your head at every interruption, getting nowhere, as the sugar crash renders the rest of the car into people like in 28 Days Later.
C. Institute the "talking stick" or "conch shell" method of debate.
D. Keep it cooking while she goes on and on, mentioning random bullshit, on the off chance that somebody will actually have an opinion as a result. ("Well, Doris, we're not actually in Hawai'i as you seem to think, but you have reminded me of a tiki-themed burger place a few blocks away. Are we feeling that?")

Answer Key:

Not A: It's the purpose of a good manager to actually use what's there, instead of turning somebody off based on what's not -- the whole "give Markus a thing and he'll tell you what's wrong with it" theory. Everybody's got a skill, or at least a use. Find it out.
Not B: Because there's no reason to encourage her at the expense of the team goals. By setting a poor example as manager, everybody will follow your lead. Misplaced "politeness" is trumped by getting the job done.
Not C: We're all fucking adults here, and it'll fall apart anyway, and it's disheartening to have to wait your turn while Aunt Doris tells everybody a story about her nonexistent sister that died on the Lusitania.
It's D! She's gonna keep going regardless, and that's a pretty easy snowball to get started, and once you do it, everybody else will actually start thinking, instead of just wishing she'd keel over already. Use what you've been presented with to better the team as a whole.

Tarek talks with his hands, overexplaining to Summer about how she needs to call a bunch of nearby restaurants and explain her whole "Sam's Club is for the small business" idea, and then beg them to come down during their narrow window tomorrow reason at all, beyond her asking them politely. She tries to explain that it's the dinner rush, and that as a restaurant owner, that's not only rude but makes your entire enterprise look sketchy, but he's not hearing it, because she's wearing eye shadow and he doesn't have time for "No." He's like, "Just get it done." Which is him being an asshole, but he's got nothing on Summer: She calls one place, gets shut down politely, and then...turns herself off like little Vicky on Small Wonder, staring blankly into space for the remainder of the day. Instead of doing anything whatsoever. And her issues with this -- that it's a really bad time of day, that she doesn't actually have anything to tell these people beyond "Hello!" -- are true, and even task-losing, but she would seem to have forgotten that she has other options. She could send out a mass email, as one forum poster suggested, and have the entire fucking thing done in five minutes. She could call at another time. She could force the entire team to understand that there's no hook here -- Lee would agree, and I'm sure others as well -- and try to work some of the budget into making at least a gesture toward incentivizing this non-event. Instead, she just sighs and stares into space, which makes her a bigger asshole than Tarek. There's no higher authority here, she doesn't have anybody to appeal to later: "What did you do?" "Nothing! Can't you see how helpful that was?!" And in fact, she's doing worse than nothing, because now she doesn't even have a defense against the ultimate question: "Stupid and wrong though it is, why not just make the calls? Couldn't conceivably hurt, dude." The inability to come up with viable alternatives is one thing -- maybe she's just not creative -- but the fact that she's cool with doing literally nothing, beyond hugging herself with the knowledge that she's heard of Sam's, is rather grotesque. Charmaine's like, "Summer seems nice enough, you'd think she'd at least be able to connect with these people on some level, but for some reason she gave up after one phone call. Which was unsuccessful."

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