Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Service Industry and the Finite Theory of Fun

I can't take credit for this - my old floormate in first year university, Jay, told me that in High School he wrote an essay on the Finite Theory of Fun. Basically, he suggested that there is a finite amount of fun to go around in the world - and that when I am having fun I am inadvertently taking it from someone else.

He said sometimes you can see the finite theory of fun - for example, if one person were to punch another person - and you were to use a fun barometer on this show in slow motion, you could see the person about to punch gaining fun through their fist and the person about to be punched losing fun, the fun is redistributing itself. Bruce Lee and a little imagination demonstrate the point quite well I think:

Not sure what that musical track is all about. But here we see Bruce steal fun in the tiny space of an inch. What a man!

Last night I was working serving drinks at a gallery opening, and the theory was working like this:

Energy - Freedom = Alcohol (-Fun + Fun)

Now I don't know much about the maths, but the -Fun is my fun in having expended the energy pouring the alchohol, but the +Fun is the fun of the people at the event provided by my energy and lack of (temporary) freedom. This equation can be applied to any job, from serving coffee to trying on clothing. Energy minus Freedom equals a neutral lack of fun on your part and gain of fun on the customer's part. However, this is occasionally subverted by rebel factors, like service people (think Pretty Woman) who are mean to the people they serve. Then the equation would go:

-Energy + Freedom + Rebellion of Social Mores = Bad service ( - Fun)

The clerk's laziness subverts the equation adding new factors to neutralize their fun (being lazy is neither fun nor unfun) and decrease the clients fun. VERY occasionally the equation looks like this:

Energy + Attraction x Service = Fun x 2

This is of course only true when the service person, for whatever reason (be it social or sexual) is attracted to the person they serve, which usually somewhat neutralizes the situation and can lead to friendship and other dynamics that defy the Finite theory of fun.

And in a perfect world on a perfect day of course the equation can always go this way:

Energy x Fun = Exponential Fun

This is a freak occurrence when service becomes fun and all members have fun - happens most often in fun service jobs like video store clerk on a slow but steady shift - or while working with a friend who makes the Energy social energy and decreases the loss of freedom - but the customer should never assume this to be the case. If you assume the person serving you is having fun and they are not, it will double their negative fun.

(I apologize to Jay and all of scientific endeavor for what has preceded these parentheses. Let us only hope that in the future an alien race does not log onto this post to try and make sense of the history of human mathematics. Because that would equal -Fun)


a/k said...

are you sure you don't like filling in application forms!? ahahah very scientific

Miss Pearson said...

Can I fill in applications in bad mathematical equations?

Me +This job x lies = Money