6.07.2011

I Don't Need No Stinking Lanyard

I have to wear a badge to go to work. It's a stupid policy, born of bullshit corporate self-importance and lawyering, to try and protect us all from a crazed gunman or, worse, some kind of corporate espionage. If you don't know, I write jokes about iPods and laptops for a living. I work in a building full of people who build websites to sell shoes and jewelry. It's not exactly the fucking CIA, but you wouldn't know it from the pretense our corporate overlords put up...


Approach the elevators in the lobby and you have to swipe a badge to proceed. Fail to do so and an alarm sounds and a smiling man in a polo shirt approaches and, in that friendly-but-actually-creepy-and-threatening-way, reminds you to swipe your badge or, if you don't have one, see the receptionist.

I've resigned myself to being tagged like a wildebeest in a fucking game preserve because there's really not a lot of other options. Fail to bring your badge and you have to go through a lengthy "Yes, I really do work here" process with a bored security person who then hands you a badge that reads (seriously) "I FORGOT MY BADGE TODAY." Because the only thing keeping us from teetering into anarchy is the shame of not having a badge to swipe.

So I keep mine in my wallet. That way I don't ever forget it, and it's only a minor inconvenience to have to stop and whip it out to scan my way into the elevator or the bathroom or wherever else only top secret personnel should be allowed. Except yesterday an overly-zealous security guard accosted me as I scanned in.

"Sir, it's company policy that you have your badge visible at all times," he said, moving toward me holding a bundle of lanyards like handcuffs.

"I don't care," I said. I made excessively long eye contact. The wind completely left his sails.

"Oh...okay." He wandered back to his wall and I went to my elevator.

And that was that. I don't begrudge the guy; he's no doubt just doing his job (of course, so were the Nazis), and he's probably got a supervisor telling him to reprimand any non-badge-flashers and get them a proper lanyard so it's not all Lord of the Flies in here. Except I don't want a fucking lanyard, because A) It's a 50/50 chance I'll forget it in the morning, and B) I'm a fucking grown-up and I don't have to wear a fucking lanyard if I don't want to.

So I thought I'd struck a blow for the rights of unnecessarily-surly guys everywhere and I passed unimpeded through the same checkpoint the rest of the day with no trouble. Until today.

"Sir, you need to have your badge-"

"I don't care."

"Sir, I KNOW you don't care, but it's company policy-"

"Have Bezos call me, then." I bustled through and made it safely inside, joking with my boss that this was now escalated to a point where it would end with security tackling me and pepper spraying me in the lobby until I agreed to wear a stupid lanyard.

Then my boss got a call from some higher up in security.

"You got a Randall Cleveland down there?" he asked. Jason outed me. Next came the lecture about company policy, how it was REALLY important that I wear my badge, blah blah blah. "Oh, and apparently he told my guy to have Jeff Bezos call him," he added, "well there's no finer example of badge displaying. He ALWAYS has his badge visible."

Burn. I guess.

I'm still holding out. My boss, not wanting to be any more involved in this ridiculous Norma Rae quest I've set myself on, told me it's only gotten to this point because I decided to mouth off and he won't bail me out of company jail if it comes to it. I'm still waiting for my next encounter with the security guard; I'm particularly interested to see if he tries to corner me on my way out of the building, when a badge wouldn't theoretically matter.

Am I overreacting? Probably. That's kind of what I do. But either the badge fucking gets me in or it doesn't, right? What difference does it make if my badge is visible if EVERYONE IN THE BUILDING COULD ONLY BE THERE IF THEY HAD A BADGE? This is TSA-level "illusion of security" bullshit.

Based on the fact that they seem to pay at LEAST five different people to stand by the badge readers and harass people, I have no doubt they're running out of things to do and ways to justify their existence. Hopefully my next update won't be typed with broken fingers and a lanyard surgically-implanted in my throat.

1 comment:

javamatte said...

I particularly liked the "Have Bezos call me" line. The look on his face after that was priceless.