Posted by: seasonaire | November 4, 2013

A Bit of Competence Wouldn’t Go Amiss

This is something I couldn’t publish at the time of writing in case I was busted by my employers. Once upon a time (well about three weeks ago)…

I was working as a chef (please don’t be angry, actual chefs, I know I am a charlatan) for a rather fancy food retailer, cooking in a godawful mall (then again, I think all shopping centres are horrendous) on the outskirts of London. Probably sounds a lot more glamorous than it actually is. In fact, cooking is not a huge part of the job, most of it seems to be running around the store awkwardly looking for ingredients, stealing price tags and talking to old ladies in a slightly patronising tone. When you are allowed to cook, the main requirement of the job is constant yabbering, like a decidedly mediocre QVC presenter. This sort of local celebrity (very local given that we never leave the shopping centre) creation is, I think, the whole point of the exercise. Some sort of entertainer aimed squarely at the now rapidly retiring middle-class baby-boomer with plenty of disposable income. The sort of person who actively enjoys The One Show.

To totally segue to the point; working in the promotions industry for a couple of years, the main thing I have noticed, is that the people who work in the back office roles (marketing, PR etc.) seem to have a lot of trouble dealing with the on-the-ground running of the activities they are attempting to organise. They have carefully imagined how things might pan out, but life seems to disagree, so invariably, they have failed to plan for all manner of crazy eventualities. The main result of this lack of imagination and therefore lack of preparedness, is the escalation of stress and indecisiveness, enveloping all who are unlucky enough to come into contact with said individual/s. This was no different, the powers that be spent a lot of time shrieking, changing their minds, and faffing spectacularly. All very entertaining except for the fact that the poor frontline staff are often the ones caught up in the middle.

I know marketing and PR people are just doing their jobs. I understand that marketing has changed from merely emphasising the merits of your product, to a cut-throat race to invent product attributes that are psychologically appealing, whilst still adhering to trading standards legislation. What gets me is the sheer number of people who fall for this shit, critical thinking skills are supposed to be instilled through the education system. Judging by what I witness on a regular basis, the majority of the population are impressively idiotic, and will buy any old bollocks if it is presented to them by someone off the telly.

In conclusion, I suppose it is a good job I no longer have to do this shit for a living, as I have run off up a mountain again. Somehow being bombarded by marketing bollocks in French and German is much less soul destroying. It almost makes me wish I was less literate in English.

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