Friday, January 11, 2008

Working for coins

When the world and I were younger than they are now there came a time in my life when my father decided that I should work for coins, I don't know what prompted him to this momentous decision because its not like he ever gave me any pocket money or anything, but he decided one day that it was about time I was out there in the wide world and working for my weekly coins.

I was five years old at the time.

I kid you, I was six.

No actually I was about fourteen years old, had no requirement for coin, went nowhere that needed coin, my playground were the fields at the end of the road, my shopping mall was the cricket field where we played football all day long to the extreme annoyance of the cricketers, my requirement for refreshment was quenched in the beck that ran clear as crystal (most of the time) (ok we never checked), through the playing fields of our youth.

But still, he sent me out to work.

I went to work for my Uncle Ralph at the world famous Headingley Rugby and Cricket ground, selling programmes at the rugby and scorecards at the cricket initially, then working the dozens of bars in the ground when I got older, I was never paid along with all of the other workers by my Uncle Ralph for he always told me to "come back later when the rush has gone", and I did, he paid me in coins, scant few coins, I suspect that my dad took a cut from my wage, but I had no need for coins, I still don't, I'm like the Queen, I don't carry cash at all, haven't had any cash in my pocket for months, sure its embarrassing sometimes when you can't pay the parking meter but you'd be surprised how long you can abandon a car in a no parking zone for before someone tows it.

And so the time came all too soon for my own daughter to learn that out here in the real world we have to sell ourselves in a commercial world to the highest bidder, or sometimes just be grateful that there's only one bidder.

As a university student she absorbs money like a sponge, on the rare occasions that I am to be found with money on my body it does not stay attached to me for long, I empty my pockets when I walk in the door and thats the last time I see it as its usually completely by coincidence that on those days she has an important student meeting to go to that evening and she comes home in the early hours of the next day and throws up my money into the toilet before declaring "never again" and going to bed, my money is converted into cheap wine quite easily it seems.

So she's had a few different jobs but the one she has now is by far the most ridiculous - she is a call centre questionnaire-ee.

She is one of those annoying people who ring you up just before you are about to sit down with your evening meal with the question "Would you mind taking part in our ten minute survey ?" and by her own confession most of them hang up after she has kept them answering questions for twenty minutes.

Who invents these surveys ?

Fekkwits thats who.

She sits at a computer screen not knowing which question is coming up next and not knowing how many more questions are coming, they are randomly generated on behalf of an anonymous customer who presumably thinks that ringing people at home and annoying them for half an hour on the phone is a genuine and sensible way to garner public opinion on their anonymous product, because of course the call centre workers aren't allowed to submit responses such as "why don't you go fuck yourself", in fact they aren't allowed to submit any survey unless the computer says that all of the questions have been answered and she often sits there for four hours and doesn't reach the end of any questionnaire - finish four in a night and you are a gold star champion of the telephone.

So the next time that someone rings from a call centre with a request to carry out a survey then put aside forty minutes of your life and agree to answer whatever it is they require of you - just give the stupid answers thats all, just to piss off the end user client, just so that somewhere, someday, in a glass corporate tower somewhere, some marketing twat will stand up to address the board of directors with the astounding finding that 8 our of 10 customers prefer beef gravy on their corn flakes in a morning and that 9 out of 10 young mothers prefer to wipe their babies bottoms with a number 3 coarse sandpaper.

Only then will the curse of the call centre cease to be a valid tool, only then will my daughter be able to find more productive employment, like selling programmes at Headingley for instance, it was good enough for me...


Sam said...

I worked in Headingley cricket ground once. I met the late Richard Whiteley. It was the highlight of my three day career.

Zoe's Dad said...

Dude, I can't do it! I get annoyed when people I know call me.

Gary said...

Sam...The highlight of my working career at Headingley was knocking the australian cricket captain Greg Chappell on his arse when I literally bumped into him one evening. :)

Zoe's Dad...Just think of the poor student on the other end of the line who needs his/her beer money for tonight.