When prospective clients visit the Whitepebble Research Institute they are not impressed. They see the long folding tables covered with pizza cartons and sports pages, and they begin thinking they’ve stumbled into the Home Depot break room, not the office of a prestigious thinktank. Of course, our people are real smart. But to reel in the new business, they and their surroundings have to look smart.
That’s why the Whitepebble Institute's CEO, Tom Whitepebble, decided to do some extensive remodeling last year. Razzle-dazzle clients: that was the goal! Say goodbye to bargain wood paneling! Out to the curb with the moose head! Say hello to a sleek shiny showroom replete with smart touches: a chess set with fancy glass pieces, for example, to sit on the coffee table. Smart people do nothing but play chess. And other items:
A deluxe globe, so that visitors can see right off we’re no dopes who can’t locate Europe or Uranus on the map.
And of course, a prehistoric skull. Nobody here’s falling for that “Adam and Eve” rubbish. Let Sheepandgoats of the Institute's religious wing whine all he wants. Business is business.
At this year’s annual meeting, participants were heartened by progress made to date. We commended the entire team, for they had all made sacrifices. For instance, you should have heard them scream when they thought they’d have to give up Yahtzee, Sorry, and Chutes and Ladders! And give it up for chess, no less, which is a hard game. But they jumped to conclusions! Whitepebble, who himself plays a wicked good game of Sorry, relented. They could still play their favorite games, just in the back room, out of the public eye!
Purchasing a new globe, too, went without a hitch.
The only significant cost overrun involved the prehistoric skull, and ironically, it was occasioned by an effort to save money. Sometimes you should just pay the going rate and be done with it. Our purchaser didn’t really buy his skull from an established scientific supply house, because they want…..well….an arm and a leg. But there was this fellow in an alley who offered a deal too good to pass up. Our man didn’t pass it up, but he should have. It turned out that his newly purchased skull wasn’t prehistoric at all, but belonged to a party in last year’s West Bogbottom triple axe homicide case. So not only were we out the skull, but the ensuing legal costs to beat an accessories charge were astronomical!
This killed the budget, and we thought we wouldn't be able to afford that necessary touch, stocking the Institute showroom floor-to-ceiling with fat books. (tomes) Smart people never speak on TV without tons of books behind them. Some of the staff offered to donate moose heads and antlers, but we knew these would not do. We’d just carted those things to the curb!
Ingenuity saved the day! They sell “book” wallpaper at WalMart for just a fraction of the cost of actually buying books. We grabbed a few rolls. Then, for 3-D effect, employees brought in old phone books. When you cover them with cloth dust jackets, they look impressive enough. We stacked a few of these on the coffee table, between the globe and the chess set.
Now if we can just teach our staff to walk slo-mo, like they do on TV. That's cool! We're working on it, but we have a ways to go. It looks so cool to see long hair, especially on an attractive woman, gently bobbing and falling with every step. But not pot bellies on middle aged guys.