Our Mad Men office (AKA office drinking) started with a birthday party for my then boss.
She said she liked margaritas so we made them for her. We didn’t ask anyone permission and the only sign of concern was that the head of HR didn’t attend the party. She saw me heading into the conference room holding two bottles of tequila so she spun on her heel and went in the other direction. Our first party wasn’t sophisticated but our staff got terribly drunk. I used margarita mix and the only way I know to overcome the lip puckering pow of mix is ignore the recipe on the bottle and double the amount of tequila.
We moved offices and made continuous improvements on our margarita party. We bought tortilla chips from the food section of the local drug store and discovered Chipolte will sell a whopping glop of guacamole for not too much money if you go after the lunch rush. I brought in the blender my parents gave me for Christmas. The sticker on it says it has “super ice-crushing power”. We ordered in a taco bar, complimented margaritas with ice cream sundaes and assigned staff members decorating duties. Word spread and people from other departments started showing up when they heard the blender whirl. Each party was bigger, better and more colorful than the last.
And our most impressive improvement? Chair races.
Our new office took up a whole floor, with an arterial hallway running in a loop around a center section filled elevators and bathrooms. It was the perfect race track and we had the perfect wheels in our new office chairs. Teams were made up of twos; a chair rider and a runner to push.
It only took one race to pick up big learning. The track wasn’t wide enough for more than two teams. Office chairs don’t corner like a Porsche so slowing down, especially in the first turn, was vital or we risked taking out editorial’s copy machine or someone’s desk. And “Safety First”. Posting crossing guards along the race track was a necessity to avoid mowing down an innocent coming out of a bathroom. And finally, it’s easy to damage wall paper (even when it’s the industrial, office strength type).
Does it make the story better or worse if I tell you there was betting? I won $5.
I’m sure our management noticed the scuffs on the new walls but they never asked and the parties continued until one day, the President of the company showed up in my office.
The company’s turmoil reached an apex. Sold twice in a year, layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts were our reality and we slogged through our days. He peeled bills out of his wallet and asked us throw a July 4th margarita party for the bedraggled staff.
The entire department jumped into action. They hand-made decorations, shopped, found a second blender and turned our section of the office into a giant bar. And I made red, white and blue margaritas. White were plain, red colored with Grenadine and blue tainted with Blue Curacao. And for the record, Milagro tequila powered our margaritas.
The whole company showed up. And stayed. And stayed. There were no chair races that day – too many people on the track. But the margaritas, red, white, blue and glorious lifted sagging spirits. And that was even better.
Happy Memorial Day!
Coming Soon: Guacamole and a new look for Margagogo!