I noticed a stainless-steel Beatrix Potter biscuit tin with Jemima Puddle-Duck on the countertop in the kitchen of our office. There were two types of biscuits in the large tin, and the flavors were changed every month. This way, various cookies had featured in the tin; chocolate bourbon, chocolate chip cookies, peanut cookies, white chocolate chip cookies, oat & raisin’ cookies, salted caramel cookies, ginger cookies, chocolate waffles, biscuits, granola slices and Oreo’s. The Oreo’s were wrapped in small packages containing four cookies each, and those were gone very quickly. Very predictably, it was always the same people taking the Oreo’s out of the tin. They did it very casually: first they made a cup of tea, and then they sneaked around the countertop to the biscuit tin. When they thought nobody was watching, their hands were searching for the silver blue Oreo packets, with a dexterous speed that characterizes the hands of a street poker player.
It was once again time for the monthly change of the cookie collection in the biscuit tin. Luckily there was someone who was keeping a close eye on the ups and downs of the cookie jar, and that was Mila. Mila was a catty manager who herself too often grazed in the cookie jar. She loved using her authority whenever she could. She was so fast to complain to HR when the bottom of the biscuit tin became visible. On this occasion, Mila made a strong effort to ensure that more chocolate and chocolate chip cookies came into the cookie jar. To reach her goal, Mila created a questionnaire, with questions such as:
‘What is your top 3 of cookies?’,
‘Why are your cookies in your top 3?’ and;
‘Do you prefer a certain chocolate-chip cookie brand?’ She must have thought about her questions very long and strategically, as she did with every dilemma at work.
The questionnaire was lying next to the biscuit tin for a week, and it was an easy target to mess around with. My colleague Julie and I got into a discussion about the qualifications that our ideal cookie had to meet. A cookie had to be crispy, had to have a nice shape, not to be too sweet, be a little filling and had to give me a boost to be able to work for another hour. A number of cookies passed the review. One cookie tasted good, but fell off our list because it crumbled too much. A ginger cookie was a little bit filling, but it didn’t look as attractive as a gluten free pink Pink Panther waffle. This was only the beginning, as various other elements came into the mix, such as the total number of carbohydrates, unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. It was a long meeting, we were talking in the kitchen of the office for about twenty minutes until Mila happened to walk in. She looked at us and then turned her eyes to the biscuit tin, and asked:
‘And ladies, which cookie is it going to be?’ After carefully considering all the pros and cons, we said rather pickily:
‘We actually agree that it should be a gluten free, sugar free, and fat free cookie’. Mila’s face fell.