When The Supply Chain Issues Hit The Office

Several years ago, our office went from the old-fashioned Bunn coffee maker that made entire pots of coffee to Flavia coffee machines that make one cup of joe. The Flavia machines use little packets of coffee, like those pictured above, that you insert into the machine to get your brew. My coffee of choice is the Pike Place roast. It’s a medium roast coffee that Starbuck’s describes as follows: “A smooth, well-rounded blend of Latin American coffees with subtly rich notes of cocoa and toasted nuts, it’s perfect for every day.”

And I do, in fact, drink it every day when I’m in the office. Multiple times every day, in fact.

Yesterday we ran out of the Pike Place, which caused me to experience a momentary flutter of disquiet. Later in the day, the guy who fills our coffee stopped by to refill the supply of our Flavia coffee packets. I was relieved to see him and told him I was sorry I had guzzled so much of the Pike Place. He shook his head sadly and explained that there was no Pike Place to replenish the supply on our floor. He noted that our firm was totally out of the Pike Place, and when he called the warehouse to see why our order of Pike Place wasn’t delivered, he was told that the local warehouse was totally out of it, too. He then put up a hand-lettered sign above the coffee machine to explain the situation in hopes that it would prevent Pike Place drinkers from rioting in the hallways.

We’ve all heard of the supply chain issues that the country is experiencing, post-pandemic. I had not heard of coffee being affected, but apparently I wasn’t paying attention, because there have been stories about the coffee supply being affected by the weather and shipping delays, and shipping snafus caused by congestion at ports have compounded the problem.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things a shortage in one particular coffee packet isn’t the end of the world; I can just shift to Cafe Verona or even (horrors!) decaf in a pinch. (There always seems to be a very ample supply of decaf, doesn’t there?) But the tale of Pike Place coffee packets in one office in one city shows just how precarious the supply chain can be.

Cutting The (Linguistic) Mustard

Recently I mentioned, with some asperity, that a particular effort didn’t “cut the mustard.” Two of my colleagues looked at me in bewilderment. They’d apparently never heard the phrase before, and had no idea that “cutting the mustard” meant meeting a desired standard of performance. To them, it was just another inexplicable saying that would have to be added to their growing list of quaint “Bobisms.”

Where does “cut the mustard” come from? Like many idioms, its lineage is disputed. Some sources contend it is British in origin and refers to the physical act of cutting down mustard plants, which requires sufficiently sharp tools; dull tools therefore would not “cut the mustard.” Others believe that it is an Americanism, perhaps originating in Texas, where a use of the phrase was found in a Galveston newspaper in the 1890s. O. Henry also used “cut the mustard” in some of his popular short stories in the early 1900s, which may have helped to spread the saying to the United States at large. One source argues that mustard has long been associated with being strong or sharp, and “cutting the mustard” relates to that notion.

I have a related, but slightly different, theory: I think that because mustard can be so powerfully flavored, the other ingredients of your sandwich or dinner must be sufficiently tasty to hold their own and make their presence known. I’m guessing that, out on the dusty plains of Texas, a cowboy took a bite into a sandwich and realized that the meat and other sandwich makings were so insubstantial and bland that they were overwhelmed by the pungent mustard. He then packed his saddlebags, spurred his horse, and ruefully concluded that the unsatisfying sandwich wouldn’t cut the mustard.

Can it really be that “cut the mustard” has passed totally out of usage by anyone under, say, 60? If so, that’s too bad. It’s one of those idioms that adds flavor — pun intended — to our language.

This Year’s Down Yard Projects

I got a lot accomplished during my two-day Stonington gardening frenzy this past weekend. Mother Nature was a great help in the effort. It had rained for a few days before I arrived, so the ground was soft and perfect for weed extraction. During my visit, however, it was sunny and cool—ideal conditions for some heavy duty planting and general yard work.

Yard work and gardening have a sequence. The winter storms had knocked down a lot of branches, so the first step in the process was to pick up the debris and deposit it in our compost heap. That gathering effort also allowed me to survey the plants to see how they fared. I’m pleased to report that our major perennial plants all survived. I’m also pleased to report that the lupines and ferns I’ve been cultivating in the weedy, between the rocks areas of the down yard came through the winter in thriving fashion. You can see some of the lupines in the photo above and the photo below. The lupines and the ferns should minimize our weeding obligations and give us some pretty lupine blooms besides.

The next step was weeding. Last fall I had dug out and edged some new beds in the down yard, and the Borgish weeds had invaded in force. After removing them, I planted some orange and yellow marigolds and a nice flower I discovered last year called a verbena. The marigolds grew well here last summer, produce a lot of flowers, and also, according to local lore at least, have a smell that helps to repel deer. The red verbena are hardy, have a bold color, and should spread. I added a white geranium, shown in the photo at the top of this post, and a red geranium, shown in the photo below, for a bit of contrast.

The goal this year is to make the down yard for interesting, visually, and to use flower color to accent more of the rocks. It’s a risk, because the rocky soil is not great for planting. I used lots of potting soil while planting in a bid to compensate. I also repositioned many of the abundant rocks in the yard to better delineate planting areas. I’m pleased with the results so far, but we’ll get a better sense of how the experiment is working when I return later this summer for more weeding, watering, and mulching.

Button Crushing

Since I’ve started to wear suits and sport coats and button-down shirts and ties to the office again–just because I have a lot of suits and sport coats and shirts and ties, and feel like I might as well wear them and maintain what I consider to be a professional appearance–I’m using the dry cleaners again. That has the advantage of supporting a part of our economy that got hit hard during the pandemic, and also providing me with crisp, fresh clothing.

This disadvantage of using dry cleaning, of course, is the fatal button impact. Dry cleaning is the mortal enemy of all buttons on men’s clothing. Eventually a garment is returned from the dry cleaners and the buttons have met their maker. They’ve been smashed. Crushed. Destroyed. Splintered. Pulverized. Shattered. Atomized. Ground to a sad collection of fragments and powder, barely clinging to their home clothing.

On suit and sport coats, it’s the sleeve buttons that usually bear the brunt–as was the case with the sport coat above. With button-down shirts, it’s typically the collar buttons that get crunched. That’s irritating, incidentally, because you don’t notice the button failure until you’ve donned the shirt, put on your tie, and started to button down the shirt, only to realize that one of the collar buttons has gone to the great beyond, leaving only a pathetic nub behind so that the shirt can’t be buttoned down and you have to find a new shirt and start all over again.

What is it in the dry cleaning process that causes buttons to look like they’ve been in a combat zone? That’s not entirely clear, but it appears that the chemicals used in dry cleaning, the tumbling, and the pressing weaken the buttons to the point where they break–which is why some high-end dry cleaners specifically advertise that they will pay special attention to your buttons and, if the buttons are shell and bone, remove them before the outfit goes into the dry cleaning process and restore them after dry cleaning is done. I don’t have any buttons that fall into such exalted categories, so I endure the crushing.

The button mangling impact of dry cleaning makes me groan, but I expect that button manufacturers aren’t unhappy about it.

Why You Should Never, Ever Burn Your Bridges

In addition to living through the COVID pandemic, during the last two years we’ve also lived through “the Great Resignation.” Throughout the COVID shutdowns and remote working period, and fueled in part by the money they received through stimulus checks, millions of Americans quit their jobs and tried something else.

Now we might be living through what may become known as “the Great Regret.” How many of those people who quit their old job and got a new one have found that the grass isn’t, in fact, greener on the other side of the fence? A recent survey of workers has found that 72 percent of those who quit their old job during the pandemic ruefully admit that their new job hasn’t met their expectations. That percentage applied across the board to all employees who responded to the survey, regardless of their industry. What’s more, nearly half of the respondents–48 percent–said they would try to get their old jobs back.

And that’s why people should always heed their Mom’s advice about “not burning your bridges.” By all means, leave a job if you think you can find something more fulfilling, more remunerative, or more suitable to your intended lifestyle–but acknowledge before you leave that your new gig might not turn out as you hope, and conduct your departure accordingly. If you are friendly, polite, and express appreciation for the opportunity you’ve had and the friends you’ve made when you hand in your two weeks’ notice, you’re leaving yourself a bit of a safety valve in case you learn from bitter experience that the new job of your dreams turns out to be the stuff of nightmares.

Those of us who have been around the block a few times have seen people leave a job and later come back, or try to do so. Learning that a new job isn’t working out often happens, even during “Great Resignations.” If you’ve left your old job on good terms, you might be able to get it back, or at least use your old boss as a reference as you search for another position. But if you acted like a jackass, told off your boss, and made some flame-throwing comments to your co-workers, forget it. So why not act with a bit of class, and some foresight, too?

Jelly Analysis

We had St. Patrick’s Day-themed doughnuts at the office today. They looked very tempting—particularly the filled doughnuts. But filled doughnuts in a communal box present a real quandary: how do you ensure that you aren’t getting a dreaded jelly-filled doughnut?

Jelly is the Titanic of doughnut fillings. Whipped cream and custard are great, but jelly makes the filled doughnut risk-reward analysis truly daunting. No one likes it or wants it, but usually there is at least one jelly doughnut in every assortment, lurking and ready to hurl the unlucky into the pits of despair and, in most instances, a jelly-squirted stain on their shirt or blouse. Rational people therefore will do whatever they can to avoid one, but in a communal box it’s tough. Picking up a doughnut for careful examination of telltale jelly signs isn’t really encouraged at the tail end of a pandemic.

This morning, another wary lawyer and I decided to address the jelly analysis issues by securing a knife and making a dainty cut just sufficient to allow accurate identification of the filling—which fortunately was whipped cream. Armed with that knowledge and satisfied that we were not courting disaster, we made our selections.

Our kitchen later confirmed that they had specifically avoided ordering any jelly doughnuts. It’s just another reason why our kitchen staff is great.

New Words For A New Year

The other day I was talking to a colleague when I reminded her of something. In response, she said something like: “Sorry, if I once knew that I’ve offloaded it.” When I asked about that use of “offload,” she explained that the word was used in that sense in one of her frequent discussions with people who work in the marketing area, and she liked it and decided to incorporate it into her daily vocabulary.

I think using “offloaded” as a synonym for “forgotten” is a great language development, particularly for those of us who are getting up there in years. “I offloaded that” sounds a lot better than “I forgot.” It’s also consistent with Sherlock Holmes’ notion that the brain has only so much storage capacity, and it shouldn’t be cluttered with non-essential information.

According to my friend, another new language development in the marketing world is using “double-click” rather than “drill down” or “take a deep dive.” If an agenda item is introduced at a meeting and you are interested in getting more information from the presenter, you can say “I’d like to double-click on that point” and then ask a probing question. I like this word substitute, too, because “drill down” always makes me think of painful cavity filling at the dentist’s office.

These new uses of “offload” and “double-click” show that the English language remains a living, breathing, ever-changing thing. New words and uses are always coming into vogue. The venerable Merriam-Webster dictionary added a number of new words in 2021, and you can find other collections of new words that haven’t quite reached official dictionary status at various places on the internet, like this one. Some of the new words are pretty good. Here are some that I particularly like:

Whataboutism — when a person responds to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that someone else did something much worse

Digital nomad — a person who works entirely over the internet while traveling

FTW — the acronym for “for the win,” used to acknowledge that someone has just made a particularly compelling or funny conversation-ending comment about a topic or meme

Awe walk — to take a walk outside and make a particular effort to notice things around you

Doomscrolling — intentionally reading news that you expect to be bad (such as about COVID cases) on news websites or social media

I like these new words. Now, if only I can avoid offloading them!

Back To The Dry Cleaners

After months of wearing “business casual” in the office during this never-ending COVID/visual conference/work from home period, I’ve decided to make a change. Since the start of 2022, I’ve been donning a suit or sport coat, button-down shirt, and tie on work days, which means I’m once again using the dry cleaner bag after a long dry spell.

Why am I back to wearing traditional lawyer attire? Well, for one, I’m a cheapskate. I’ve got all of these perfectly good suits, shirts, and ties that have been literally gathering dust during the “everyday business casual” period, and I figure I might as well get some use out of them. Also, I realize that I actually kind of like the feel of a freshly laundered, lightly starched shirt, a well-knotted tie, and suit coat. It’s an outfit I wore on a daily basis for more than 30 years, and it feels good to go back to it. For that same reason, it’s a look that I associate with my profession, and wearing the outfit puts me in the frame of mind to do my job.

So these days when I get home I stash the used shirts in the dry cleaner bag again, we put the bag out on the front step on collection days, and we look for the shirts in the cellophane bag that the dry cleaner hangs from our front door after a visit. And when I select my button-down shirt for the day in the morning, remove it from its dry cleaner bag and paper sheath, and take off the plastic collar guard and the little clip that holds together the cuffs, it’s all part of the return to the old routines. Except that now, what was old feels new again.

Communication Confusion

Last night, a group of us were at an event when the conversation turned to punctuation and communication. This isn’t unusual. My friends and I have debated a number of punctuation-related issues, such as the appropriate use of exclamation points, the correct application of “apostrophe s,” and the new emphasis on the “em dash.” Some might find it surprising–and, frankly, boring–that lawyers would discuss punctuation and communication at a social function, but they really shouldn’t: attorneys will argue about anything, and lawyers arguing about punctuation and communication tools is like most people arguing about sports.

The conversation last night, though, was a bit different because some of the firm’s younger attorneys were involved. And it quickly became clear that these earnest twenty-somethings pay extremely careful attention to the crafting of the written messages they receive and the mode of communication employed, too. When they report to another lawyer and receive a “Thanks.” response, versus the more enthusiastic “Thanks!” reply, it has an impact on them. And they explained that a terse “thx” would be viewed as exceptionally dismissive, and perhaps even veering into the “personal affront” category.

Moreover, these thoughtful folks aren’t just reacting to punctuation and abbreviations, they also have views on messages conveyed the mode of communication. Email is viewed as the appropriate channel for work communication, and texting is for personal communication, so if you get a work-related communication via text that tells you something important. The “chat” function on our firm’s “Teams” application is somewhere between those two on the spectrum of work versus personal, and the use of the messaging function during a Teams video call has an etiquette all its own. And that doesn’t even begin to capture the complexities introduced by social media or, for that matter, emoticons or memes.

This discussion caused me to mentally revisit my recent communications to consider whether I have inadvertently engaged in communications that might be perceived as rude or intrusive into personal spaces. I typically send a “Thanks!” response, so I think I am OK in avoiding that faux pas, and I don’t really text about work matters. But the ever-changing rules of the game can be a bit overwhelming for an old guy whose career began in an era before email, cellphones, and social media were invented.

One important thing to remember is that communication is a two-way street, and that implicit messages that one party might read into a communication may well not be intended by a sender who is ignorant of the latest practices and sensibilities. Training on the new rules and tools would probably be advisable for fogies like me.

Swept Out

On Sunday I was in a house project mood. On long weekends that’s not an uncommon impulse for me; after a few days relaxing at home I get antsy and want to do something productive. When the urge struck on Sunday, I replaced some burnt-out light bulbs and generally straightened up, but my big project was sweeping out our screened-in back porch.

The back porch is our gateway to the back yard. During the breezy late autumn weeks, when we open the screen door to take out the trash or let Betty out to answer the call of nature, brittle brown leaves are blown into the porch. The leaves swirl and tumble and accumulate against the inner wall, get stuck in the cracks of the wooden floor, and find every imaginable nook and cranny. After a few weeks, the porch looks pretty ramshackle and in clear need of a good sweeping.

Sunday I took on the job and quickly discovered that the elements were working against me. The wind was blowing from the west, which meant that a good percentage of the leaves I tried to sweep out of the porch were immediately blown back in. Such minor setbacks only increased my resolve to see that the job was done right, however. I moved the furniture around, used the bristles of the broom to get at the leaves in the corners, and bent down to pick out the leaves that had become devilishly lodged between the slats or in the crevices between the screen and the porch floor.

By the end of the project I was on a fervent search and remove mission, striving to get every last leaf, stem, and crunched brown remnant out of the porch. I took the rug out to the patio and gave it a good shaking, to set free the little bits of crumbled leaves, and swept off the back steps for good measure.

When I was done, I surveyed the little porch, saw that it was clean, and gave an approving nod for a job well done. With my impulse thus sated, I went back inside, enjoyed the warmth, and settled down to read my book.

A Tipping Point

Yesterday we went to a restaurant. When we sat down after finding our way to a table on our own (“Sit anywhere you like,” the hostess helpfully said) we were confronted by this increasingly familiar QR code item on the tabletop. I’ve been in restaurants before where you use the scanning feature of your cellphone to connect in order to call up the menu.

But this scanning feature was more extensive. You not only called up the menu, you placed your order yourself–hitting a “send to kitchen” button when you were done–and then proceeded to pay for the order, entering in our credit card information on the key buttons of our phone. But when I got to the “tipping point,” where I would put in a gratuity for our waitress, I was stumped.

What is the proper tip amount under these circumstances? By the time I was entering the tip amount, our waitress had literally done nothing; the whole process had been entirely self-serve. By tipping at the outset, there was no connection whatsoever between wait staff performance and the tip, to say nothing of the fact that many of the traditional wait staff duties–providing menus, offering helpful information about what was good, presenting the bill and receiving payment–were being done electronically. We didn’t really interact with our waitress until she brought the food.

I still gave the waitress a good tip, because I appreciate anybody who is working under these circumstances, but not as much of a tip as I would under normal circumstances, when the waitress would offer the full array of services and I wouldn’t have to do 80 percent of the work. Is there a new normal for tipping under these circumstances?

The Job Hoppers

In 1977, Johnny Paycheck released Take This Job And Shove It, a country tune about a factory worker who quit his job after his woman left him. The song struck a chord in those of us who were working at the time and became a kind of popular anthem about worker dissatisfaction and boldly telling off the boss as you walked out on your old job.

Recently, many workers apparently have taken Johnny Paycheck’s lyrics to heart, because Americans are leaving their jobs in record numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in September 2021 the “quit rate” among American workers hit a new high of 3 percent. In the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy, the quit rate in September was 6.4 percent. In all, more than 20 million workers quit their jobs between May and September, 2021.

Experts are trying to determine what’s causing the increase in quitting, and employers are trying to figure out how long it will last–and what they need to do to attract new workers to fill the vacancies. Some experts think that the COVID pandemic is a factor, with workers leaving because of concerns about contracting the virus (or, alternatively, unvaccinated workers quitting in the face of vaccination requirements)–but the quit rate has been steadily increasing for the past decade, since long before the pandemic hit.

It seems pretty clear that a combination of factors are at play, such as better information about available jobs, a financial cushion created by stimulus payments that allows disgruntled workers to quit and look for another job without starving, remote work options that have opened up jobs for faraway employers, and a general perception that there is a strong job market and finding a new, better job is not going to be difficult. The latter point is important: one reason for the decade-long growth in the quit rate is that the rate hit historic lows during the Great Recession, when workers held on to their jobs with both hands. It’s therefore not surprising that the current rate is a lot higher than it was in 2009.

In the American economy, there’s always going to be movement among jobs. Economists speak of “entry-level” jobs for a reason: people enter the workforce, take a low-paying job, and then start looking for a better one. Employees have never been shy about looking for a better position that allows them to move up the ladder, find a fulfilling career, and live a happy life. And people who are chronic “grass is always greener” job-hoppers early in their working lives often settle in to long-term positions when they create families and assume family-related obligations.

The big issue now seems to be whether there is an attitudinal shift among workers, making them more likely to be dissatisfied and quit. And employers wonder whether these elusive workers are focused on benefits, or work conditions, or home-life balance, or concerns about individual well-being, or just the issues involved in having a boss, period. When you’re trying to fill holes in your workforce and build a corps of employees that doesn’t have constant turnover, these are crucial questions–and right now, the answers aren’t clear.

The Upward Downward Spiral

The Labor Department reported earlier this week that the Consumer Price Index–which attempts to quantify prices of a broad swaths of goods and services in the American economy–increased 0.9 percent in October, resulting a 6.2 percent increase in the CPI since last year. That’s the highest annual increase in the CPI in more than 30 years, since December 1990. And the CPI increase measured in some metropolitan areas was even worse: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, for example, that the CPI increase in that area was 7.9 percent, the highest increase in any city in the country.

It’s pretty clear that inflation is back as an area of significant economic concern. Just hearing that word sends a shudder of dread through those of us who lived through the high inflation period of the ’70s and early ’80s and the belt-tightening days when the Federal Reserve took draconian steps to halt the inflationary spiral and wring the constant price increases out of the economy.

The big question right now is just how persistent the inflationary spiral will be. The Federal Reserve says we’re in the midst of “transitory” price increases, but the most recent CPI data has increased market skepticism of that rosy outlook. The data showed price increases pretty much across the board, and not limited to more volatile areas that can react to temporary shortages, like fuel and food. Even if food and fuel prices are stripped out of the analysis, leaving only “core CPI” to be considered, prices are rising at a 4.6 percent annual clip, which is the highest “core CPI” rate since August 1991.

Even worse, the Labor Department reported that the CPI surge meant that real wages, after inflation, fell 0.5 percent from September to October. That’s a familiar scenario for those of us who lived through the country’s last big inflationary period, in which wage hikes and salary increases never quite seemed to catch up with the CPI. In those days, the upward spiral in prices put many people into a downward spiral in terms of their personal finances and debt situation and really hurt seniors and others living on fixed incomes.

Perhaps the Fed and Treasury officials who reassuringly contend that the inflation spike is temporary will turn out to be right–but what we’ve been reading about “supply chain” seems calculated to feed into more price increases, not less, and shortages that the law of supply and demand dictates will produce higher price tags as we head into the holidays. We need to do something about inflationary pressures and fix the supply chain problems before we find ourselves trapped in another upward-downward spiral.

Confirming The Obvious

Sometimes you have to wonder why certain medical studies get done in the first place. They don’t seem to do anything but confirm what should be obvious truths about personal health and well-being.

For example, you’ve known since you were a kid that going outside and getting some exercise is good for you. You probably first learned that when your Mom walked past the family room, saw you and your brother sitting cross-legged on the floor watching cartoons, and marched in, turned off the TV, and told the two of you in no uncertain terms to go outside, “get some fresh air,” and play with your neighborhood friends for a while. And in this, as in all things, motherly wisdom was unerring: cartoons were great, but messing around outside with your friends and playing football or riding bikes or exploring the neighborhood was even more fun.

And. not surprisingly, Mom was right about the benefits of getting that “fresh air” and exercise, too–as a new medical study confirms. The study looked at the impact of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when stay at home orders first took effect. It found that people who spent more time sitting during that time period–because they weren’t walking to their workplaces, or their cars, or conference rooms for in-person meetings, or to lunch with their officemates–were more likely to have higher symptoms of depression. And, of course, the depressive effect is in addition to (although possibly correlated with) the rise in obesity during the more sedentary work from home days of the pandemic.

The researchers of this latest “confirming the obvious” health study recommend that people working from home focus on getting off their duffs and finding ways to build some walking and outdoor time into their days, such as by taking walks before their workday starts, at a designated lunch hour, and after the workday has ended. It’s exactly the kind of instruction your Mom would have given.

Unexpected Consequences Of Remote Work

The prevalence of remote work has changed a lot of things in our world. From traffic patterns during rush hour to restaurant usage in downtown areas to what people are regularly wearing from the waist down that can’t be seen on Zoom or Teams calls, the reality of many people working from home has reordered our lives in more ways than we can list.

Here’s another change that you might not have considered yet: what are you going to do with that inevitable cache of leftover Halloween candy? You know, the excess that was created because you don’t want to be caught in the dreaded predicament of being the only house on the block to run out of candy while Beggars’ Night is still going strong, so you bought an extra bag or two of “snack size” candy bars and little boxes of Milk Duds?

In the pre-pandemic world, the solution to disposition of the excess Halloween candy was easy and obvious: because you didn’t want to keep the tempting little goodies in the house for fear that you would fall into a chocolate consumption frenzy, you took the leftovers to the office. Once your supply of candy was placed in a bowl next to the coffee machine, you could be confident that the candy would be fully and happily consumed by anonymous officemates within hours, if not minutes.

But with remote work, those rapacious hordes aren’t at the office every day anymore, and the office coffee station isn’t the hub of frantic consumption that it was in days of yore. You’re not going to be able to rely on “taking it to the office” to get rid of that leftover candy, unless the federal government declares an emergency and orders everyone to return to their offices for National Candy Consumption Day on the Monday after the Halloween weekend, to assist in the Snickers and Reese’s and SweeTarts disposition effort.

Give it some thought before you go out to buy your trick or treat candy this year and come up with your preferred approach. Do you buy less, to avoid any excess? Or do you follow your standard “avoid a shortfall” overbuying approach, and figure out an alternative method of getting rid of the leftover trove? Or do you head in an entirely different direction, disavow candy altogether, and offer trick-or-treaters those unappealing “healthy snacks” that nagging health authorities have been trying to get us to hand out for years, on the theory that while the kids clearly won’t like them, at least they won’t tempt you, either?

Welcome to the remote work world.