My classmate was organizing a triathlon event and he needed logistics personnel to do the nasty-ish jobs for him. He advertised that he needed people that would only do minor works for 2 days in exchange for easy money. Well, he had me at the easy money part.
The tasks varied from installing the tarpaulins, attaching the buntings, carrying the boxes of freebies, distributing the snacks, arranging the tables, and whatnot.
My task was to distribute water to the participants. The instruction was to give the bottled waters only to those participants who were wearing their wristbands. My fellow logistics personnel approached me saying that a person was asking for 5 bottles of water. And yes, the 5 bottles of water that were demanded were not coming from a participant.
As I approached the person, I can see that he was starting to get pissed off. He had a stern penetrating look on his eyes. His body was leaning a little bit closer, not usual for a person asking for a request. His jaws tensed from the denial of his request. And his lips were pressing against each other suppressing a hint of anger.
He said in a controlled voice, “Could you give me 5 bottles of water for the sponsors?”
I knew the instructions were clear. Give the bottled waters only to those participants who were wearing their wristbands. I assessed the situation and replied, “I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid to tell you that we are prioritizing the participants.”
He responded abruptly, “So, do you mean that sponsors are not a priority?”
I know it was not for me to decide who should be the priority and who should be not, but I didn’t want to be torn between the situation of being the one responsible for the shortage of the supplied bottled waters.
In a diplomatic way I answered, wait, I didn’t even bother to answer him anymore. I immediately gave the 3 bottles of water I was holding. I then asked my fellow personnel to give me 2 additional bottles of water.
It was so embarrassing to withheld those bottled waters to the persons who probably sponsored the participants. Oh well, easy money ain’t that easy after all.