From The Storyteller
January 15, 2018, Chair
During the late 70’s the Kansas City Star contracted with me to deliver their papers in Topeka. There were four delivery routes so four drivers were needed. They included two retired men, a teacher, and a young guy with two jobs. The papers were usually delivered to the Topeka office each morning around 3:00 a.m. The office was a small, one room, brick building, with no heat, one bathroom, an old Army Surplus metal desk, and a chair that made Army Surplus look good.
Shortly before 3 a.m. I would open the office so the guys could check in, pick up their papers, and get started. As you can imagine, at 3 a.m. conversations between those four usually amounted to hi and goodbye. On occasion, the papers were late, and when they were, those four had really amazing conversations.
These guys knew what they were doing, so my role in this early morning dance was limited to - open the office, sit in the nasty chair at the desk, make sure the papers went out, and stay out of their way.
I didn’t realize how important that chair was to them until the paper’s district manager made a visit. Having already opened the office, I was sitting in that chair when he arrive. As I stood to shake his hand, he immediately sat in that nasty chair. When the crew arrived, their response was most interesting. The fact they worked for me and I wrote their paycheck meant nothing. He was the guy sitting in the chair and I was standing. To them, furniture was the deciding factor on who was in charge.
The next day everything was back to normal. Life lesson - a chair can be the magic-anointer.
Moral: Never underestimate the power of furniture.