Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do you measure a handful with a cup, ruler or scale?

What is the universally accepted measurement of a handful?

Apparently VANOC thinks I know, but I can’t find it in my handy-dandy Imperial to Metric and back again iPhone app.

You see, there are seven police officers and four military members who have been “sent home” from the 2010 Winter Olympics. (My B.S. monitor says that’s a euphemism for “fired.”)

The Vancouver Police Department is investigating two of the cops. A third, Sgt. Suzanne Denise Marie Martel of Ottawa, was charged with shoplifting from a Burnaby retail establishment. She is no longer part of the force and must return April 8 for a court date.

On Feb. 10, Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer and Rear Adm. Tyrone Pile of Joint Task Force Games said the Olympic experience ended early for some of their people.

Mercer said 14 went home for medical and compassionate reasons, while two were dispatched for violating “internal conduct.” Pile said 50 of the military members were gone, but did not indicate how many violated the military code of service.

VANOC, on the other hand, is measuring its rate of attrition as a “handful.” I asked how many people in the workforce have left their duties for whatever reason. Death in the family, illness, injury, misconduct, etc. This is what I got as a response:

“Our volunteer numbers have been great,” wrote communications director Chris Brumwell. “We’ve really only seen a handful of our 19,000 Olympic volunteers leave the team through attrition. The majority are overwhelmingly enthusiastic and in some cases we’ve seen volunteers show up for extra shifts.”

Still waiting to find out if a handful means two, 20 or 200.

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