His mother had been trying all the years to get him out of bed early. At the beginning she tried it with the smell of breakfast croissants and strawberry cake, which she let flow into his room. Later she had construction workers showing up on the street and starting with the hammers and caterpillars. At last she even used an ejection seat from an old fighter jet and placed it under his bed. To no avail. The bed was found two blocks away, but Mike lay quietly sleeping on the Persian carpet. It seemed that in Mike’s room the laws of nature were out of order and gravity, blanket, time and room tied him to the bed. With other words: Mike was no early bird.
The more astonishing was it to see him that early combed and washed and with agile steps in the office. “Hi Mike, what…”. I did not succeed finishing the sentence, he dragged me with him in a fast pace. “No time to rest”, he babbled, gasping for air. “I have to be in five minutes at the press conference in Building 1. If I am not there in time, this vermin eat the best pieces without me.”
“Vermin? Press conference? Since when are you interested in press conferences?”, I wheezed breathlessly, while he pulled me through the corridors. “I’ll explain it later, but please do me a favour and pretend to be interested in those boring press statements.” Before I could reply, he put me on my feet, wiped the dust of my pants and pushed me in the conference hall. Distrustfully one of the board members looked at us, but before he had time to approach us, other people slipped through the door and blocked his sight.
“Go on, to the cold buffet”, Mike whispered in my ear. Pretend to be making small talk, nod agreeing to what the board members say and slowly work your way to the food. I still did not understand, what this all was about. “Could you be so nice and tell me, what’s going on here?” I hissed at him.
“Lord, don’t be so dull”, he replied inpatient and with a gesture of regret for so much inherent stupidity. “We are here to storm the cold buffet at this press conference. It’s more than just to get some good food as compensation for those boring press meetings.” And he was busily taking his first caviar sandwiches from the silver plate and filled with a routined gesture with his left hand three pieces at once in the mouth. In the mean time his right hand shoveled generous slices of the liver paté on his plate.
“Here, take this”, he murmured and at once I had 2 plates and 2 glasses of Prosecco in my hands. In the meantime the board member had gained free sight at us and stomped with a dark look at us. With a skillful maneuver I jockeyed Mike on the other side of the buffet and two elder journalists in front of the board member. This way he was forced to greet them and we had gained some time.
Mike already had reached the desserts and piled on his plate cream-puffs, chocolate cakes and vanilla pudding, when a nasty incident happened. An elder lady hit him with her walking cane on the fingers, and while the pain paralyzed him, she put the last chocolate ice cream in her insulated lunch bag.
“This hag! Greedy vermin!” Even I was outraged. Just in time I saw the board member, whom the masses threw from one side to the other, but this time he came directly in our direction. With a quick movement I hit one member of the greedy vermin with my elbow in the kidney and used the chaos t pull Mike and our plates without harm outside the conference room.
We hardly had reached a quiet corridor, when I took Mike at his sleeves and asked him angrily: “Could you please now be so friendly and tell me what’s going on?”.
Mike swallowed the last bites of his chocolate cake, wiped his mouth and looked at me with sympathy. “As you seem to be rather slow in thinking, I explain you slowly that I am a member of SAP’s Honourable Breakfast Society.” His look showed pride and seemed to expect from me the corresponding respectful reaction. At least falling on the knees and nodding knowingly. As his words didn’t have the expected effect on me, he gave up all hopes about my mental conditions and he confided me in his secret.
“Look, you dimwit, SAP’s Honourable Breakfast Society is an association, which’s task it is to inform all members about press conferences, customer meetings or other events, where there are buffets. In order to become a member, you have to inform the society about five such events. Only then you can become a member.”
“Are you telling me that you are member of that society and that you are regularly going on such raids?” I asked him disbelievingly.
“Tsatsa, raid!” He felt hurt. “These are not raids. Without us those conferences would be empty and the organizers had ordered all their food for nothing. The journalists, who are by the way the largest buffet eaters themselves, are mislead by the number of attendees and misinterpret that as enthusiastic interest. The consequence is: they write a nice article about SAP and make some advertisement. But what is more, I am vice president of the society.” And he proudly posed in front of me.
I understood. The matter became interesting. When I thought more about the poor salary that I was paid, I could save a lot of money on breakfast and dinner. And in addition I did something good to the event organizers. “How can I become member?”
Mike looked at me incredulously, but then he beamed. “Of course. I will make you, as my old friend will, my assistant. By chance there is a customer meeting in the afternoon in the training center. They are said to offer them a phantastic buffet.”
We immediately walked to the training center to stop the vermin to get access to the buffet ahead of us. On the way we discussed the best strategy for the fastest way to the treats. When we reached the corridors to the meeting room, security guards had already closed several the walk ways. Many people were already waiting for their chance to the buffet. If it shall become necessary, we would have to drag them by their-t-shirts and knot their Birkenstock-shoes. At the buffet we have no friends.
Once the meeting room doors opened, we started to run, without taking care of the younger colleagues. The unwary organizer collided with the shelves, some youngsters slid on my marbles that I had dropped as preparatory measure. Only the elder lady from the former meeting was faster than us and blocked the front side of the buffet with her cane.
We blocked the other side and started. Like a well trained team Mike took care of grabbing the Prosciutto sandwiches, ham rolls and chicken wings, and I put the prey on the plates, sorted by size and weight, building some nice food-towers. The pieces that fell, I caught with my tongue and at them right at the spot.
Suddenly I felt a stinging pain in my side. The food-towers dithered threatingly. A young colleague had stabbed me with a spoon in my side. “You rascal”, Mike hissed, “Go away, or I’ll force you to eat your access badge right now.” “How are you talking to your colleagues”, suddenly the event organizer barked at us. He had himself freed from the confrontation with the shelves.
“While you are here”, Mike started with a sour face, turned to the event organizer, without answering his questions. “What did you have in mind offering such a poor buffet? This salmon sandwich has definitely never seen any salmon. And this apple juice seems so pale, because it is ashamed having never seen an apple tree closer, when he still was pure water. And finally: do you have a license for alcoholic beverages?”
The event organizer turned pale and stuttered his excuses. He lead Mike and me to another room and put a bottle of champagne and some caviar sandwiches from a hidden refrigerator. “Please don’t report me”, he pleaded desperately. “I have five hungry mouths to feed, my old mother is pregnant and my dog has a bladder trouble.” Tears shot into his eyes. “Do you know how difficult it is to get such a license? And all this time spent from getting and filling out the forms. This would be our ruin.” He fell on the floor trembling.
<> Mike patted him on his shoulder and offered him a glass of apple juice. “Well, we are not like that. I’ll ignore the fact that you have no license. But the next time something like this happens, I will take action.” The event organizer kissed thankfully kissed his hands and stuffed some packaged cold meat in Mike’s jacket.
Mike was a professional, I admired him. It was not without reason that he was the vice president of SAP’s Honourable Breakfast Society. If there only were not these vermin, especially this elder lady. But we couldn’t do anything against her. Once an SAP secretary, she had retired and had become the president of the society.
More anecdotes can be found in the Humour@SAP weblog series.