- Announcing: War Stories
- Steve’s War Story: It’s All Going To Burn
- Tamara’s War Story: What the Hell? Don’t you knock?
- Tell Us Your War Story
- Vanessa’s War Story: DDoSed in Vegas
- Dan’s War Story: Focus, no matter what!
- Priya’s War Story: Taking empathy to a whole new level
- Tom’s War Story: Go with the flow
- Mary Ann’s War Story: Be Prepared
- Leo’s War Story: No, We Really Meant the User
- Nicolas’ War Story: Do you want me to act?
- Diane’s War Story: Interrupted Interview
- Kelly’s War Story: Pictures are language independent
- Susan’s War Story: The trust dance
- Gavin’s War Story: It’s 4:00 a.m., Do You Know Where Your Ethnographer Is?
- Dan’s War Story: Shanghai Surprise
- Fumiko’s War Story: Goodbye cruel world
- Greg’s War Story: Taking notes, getting detained (sort of)
- Jon’s War Story: Beware of Trap Doors
- George’s War Story: Skyfall (or A View to A Kill)
- Lisa’s War Story: When Rapport Goes Too Far
- Sean’s War Story: Pockets full of cash
- Francoise’s War Story: Black glances cast our way
- Brandon’s War Story – CATastrophe
- Greg’s War Story: Biting off more than I can chew
- Michael’s War Story: The glass is more than half full
- Raffaella’s War Story: Learning to deal with expectations
- Greg’s War Story: Culture shock
- Elaine’s War Story: I thought my client was going to die
- Dennis’s War Story: Negotiating between sympathy and empathy
- Debbie’s War Story: Sometimes Ignorance is Bliss
- Carla’s War Story: A dirty diaper sitting in the mud
- Apala’s War Story: Whose side is the researcher on?
- Jaimes and Aico’s War Story: Sumimasen!
- Elysa’s War Story: Keep The Swiffer On Your Right
- Sharon’s War Story: Broken Windows Theory
- David’s War Story: Footloose
- David’s War Story: Suit yourselves
- Prasad’s War Story: Skin in the game
- Daria’s War Story: Human Thresholds
- Jen’s War Story: Trust your gut, it can save your life!
- Ryan’s War Story: Enthusiasticus Interruptus
- Valerie’s War Story: Rank order
- Rachel’s War Story: Subject Matter May Be Inappropriate
- Cordy’s War Story: A Crisis of Credibility
- Marta’s War Story: On confronting judgement
- Whitney’s War Story: Stories of War
- Kavita’s War Story: Managing money, oh joy!
- Ilona’s War Story: First Stop the Bleeding!
- Elaine’s War Story: They call me Mister
- Tom’s War Story: House Rules
- Alicia’s War Story: Don’t hate on a tinkler
I’ll never forget the sight of that poor kitten munching on a cockroach. Our mission was relatively simple. Being employed by a large computer peripheral maker, we were to interview small businesses to see how they were using our products. The visit that brisk winter morning was to a costume rental shop that also did some tailoring. Upon entering the store, we were greeted with a smell, which if called pungent, would be a kind and generous description. The owners, well, they must have had very large hearts.
I am actually a cat person (maybe it’s their independence I admire). So, the presence of a gaggle of feline friends could have been a welcome site. But unfortunately, I don’t think the owners were up to the task of caring for that many cats. In 2012 terminology, they would now be referred to as “hoarders.” This was not a well-heeled, venture capital-rich setting; the building had a raw plywood floor and the employees were doing the best they could to make a go of it. However, that flooring clearly did not help the smell-retention factor for animals that have periodic bladder control issues.
In many ways, the visit was worthwhile. As might be predicted, their computer system was not the latest, and it was good to see the struggles they had installing our software because of it. But, once that installation was underway, we experienced perhaps the slowest moving progress bar known in existence. Or maybe it just felt that way. Minutes drifted by before another column of pixels filled. It could have been the fumes playing tricks on my eyes, but I swear I saw that progress bar move backwards on occasion.
My teammate and I began to develop various coping mechanisms. At first, we would periodically take breaths using the tops of our shirts as a crude filtering system. We were able to pull this off because we had positioned ourselves outside of the main office area, and outside of view. Later, we began to make excuses for trips out to the car for supplies (aka fresh air). How were they to know we really weren’t low on batteries or videotape? Unfortunately, the moderator was not so lucky and remained stuck with the participant. Yes, I do feel guilty about that.
Our minds drifted and I began to wonder why anyone would actually leave clothes for mending there; perhaps their skills or prices were amazing. It was around this time when another creature joined the party. A cockroach skittered across the floor. A kitten gave chase. It did not end well for either, in my opinion. My teammate made that face which looked like she was gagging at the sight. Maybe this was just for effect…but maybe not.
The visit ended uneventfully once the product was finally functional. In reality, I escaped with an interesting story and some clothes that needed freshening by the cold breeze entering my car during the drive home. I’m not so certain if those cats had a similarly good fate.