Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Different Kind of Profiling

When I head overseas for work, I bring a whole bunch of treats, like chocolate covered cherries or salt water taffy from Trader Joe's. I'll toss the container in the middle of the conference table, and it gives us a friendly starter (American snacks!), especially if I'm meeting with strangers. As a bonus, the sugar keeps me awake if I get a jet lag hit at the end of the afternoon.

I also bring sweets to my teams at home on the return trip, and I'm happy to have rediscovered milk chocolate, a richer, smoother taste than the often overly-sweet American version. On the last trip, I brought back some bags of mixed candies instead and noticed that while most flavors were consumed immediately, everyone consistently rejected the licorice pieces. Person after person kept pushing them aside, and now there was a pile languishing in the empty bag. Americans just don't like licorice the way that Scandinavians do.

I thought of our one local Scandinavian - we'll call him Lars - who has lived in the US for decades, and headed over to his office, wondering if he'd recall childhood preferences.

"Hi Lars, do you like licorice?"
"I LOVE licorice!"

Perfect. I handed him the rest of the candy and he was delighted. I later recounted the story to SwingDaddy, and he exclaimed, "Hey, that's racial profiling!"

1 comment:

mayberry said...

That's a great idea, for the meetings. And tell SwingDaddy I like licorice and am not in the least Scandinavian (although my pale self was once mistaken for Finnish while I was in Italy).