The other day, as I walked toward the accounting office off the front lobby, four of my co-workers (a tooling manager, an account manager, the document control specialist, and the procedures manager) were having a heated discussion at the front desk. Their backs were to me as I approached, heading past them to the accounting door. Just as I reached out to grasp the handle, I heard the procedure manager's charming voice rise above the others, "All I'm saying is that purchasing shouldn't be on there. Purchasing doesn't know anything."
I screeched to a halt, my open hand inches from the knob, turned my head toward the group, and cleared my throat, preparing to ask for an explanation. Four heads turned to me and jaws dropped. Time hung suspended for at least five seconds, everyone still like a freeze flash mob. Finally, I shook my head, said, "Yeah, I don't want to know," turned the knob and escaped into accounting.
It isn't easy being the only purchasing person in a company.
Later, the procedure manager slunk into the office, giggling, and tried to explain they were talking about the procedure for when it is okay to release a tool to a customer, in which, really, the purchasing department has no involvement. After trying in vain to stifle her chortles, she said she was trying to save me from having to do useless paperwork, and that I should thank her.
She's right. I should.
But it is hard to thank someone for saying the purchasing department (just me) doesn't know anything. I would have been a little bit more inclined to thank her if she had just added "about this particular thing" to the end of her sentence.
Would that have been too much to ask?