Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#118: The Promised Land

Back in the Ages Of Dark I worked in one of those annoying call centres - you know, the ones that ring your grandmother and force her to accept an appointment to have her roof cleaned even though she either doesn't want, nor need it and is senile and can't recall who just lifted a few grand from her bank account. Nice guys we were and the stories I could tell! Lord!

The people I worked with were the usual damaged goods one finds in such working 'environments' but one lady was a classic. She never had any money and stated that she was saving it for a trip. However, and no-one ever connected this series of dots, essentials like toilet paper and the like would often run out constantly. I believed that someone was stealing the odd roll, as does happen, but it was revealed when our pal announced at a staff meeting that she had saved enough money to fly return to Perth. The manager stood up and made a speech about how inspiring she was, how she'd saved all this money to reach her goal and on with the blah blah. Halfway through his speech another girl stood up and screamed, "Of course she saved all that money - she's been stealing all of the fucking toilet paper and coffee!!"

It soon transpired that she didn't just steal the odd roll of toilet paper, she stole entire BOXES! She'd lift those big industrial sized coffee tins, although why and how anyone could drink International Roast without any long term ill effects is beyond me. She's steal boxes of sugar and tea bags. She'd empty a 1.25 litre bottle of fizz and fill it up with milk that was supplied for coffee. To this day I still have no idea how she managed to sneak it all out without anyone seeing her.

She did this every day, and each week she'd take home another few boxes of essential goods. In this manner she saved enough by not having to shop to be able to afford a trip to Perth. Brilliant. No, she didn't get fired, she made too many leads. The response from management at the time was to merely shut the kitchen area down to everyone other than management and to restrict the amount of toilet paper supplied on any given day - and here's the kicker, the lady in question was part of the management team. So the stealing continued, yet the normal staffers were punished. Hey, she able to carry her weight in old lady leads.

Having lived through a my own Great Toilet Roll theft over a decade ago in the private sector it came as no surprise to me to learn the true reason as to why a pile of our Federal counterparts were running wild in the lobby. Initially I believed it was due to half priced coffee day. The Dole Busters usually come screaming out of the lifts like ants onto a sugar heap in search of discounted beans, but a real surprise was in store. Sometime the week before the Big Boss Of The Federals in our building decided to change cleaners to save money, and save money they have. The email was duly sent, new cleaning contractors, all would be well. By the Thursday little things like toilet paper had become a scarce commodity, traded like gold and even smaller things, like cleaning of places like the toilets were no longer hap-hazard, they'd ceased entirely.

Dishes began to pile up as paper towels went the way of honest politicians, although a cloth towel was left, but that'd not been cleaned since Paul Keating left office and often growled at people walking past. However this dirt encrusted disease bag was all that's been supplied for the Feds to clean cups, spoons, plates, body parts and the like. Not a preferred option so more often than not Feds are running around with wet hands in a state of distress.

By the Friday a couple of cubicles had no toilet paper at all. Come the start of the working week no paper was to be found and anguished screams could be heard as printed reports were finally being used for their real purpose, but jagged edges meant that grievances would be filed and proctologists state wide would be visited en masse to be kept in business and make sure that more Mercedes four wheel drives could be ordered. Even worse, there's no paper towelling in the said toilets to dry hands, meaning that the staff either have to walk out shaking water and urine at people, or merely walk around with damp hands until the next heat wave hits. Some have taken the initiative and brought their own paper in, but the underlying current is one of 'why should I have to do that when management need to supply it'? I agree, but surely personal hygiene ranks above management incompetence? Oh well. I'm waiting for the call to come, "The toilets are backed up and there's Richards floating down the stairwell!" I'll have the camera out that morning.

Meanwhile, down on the bottom floor, our toilets, managed by a different contractor, are fully stocked. I chuckle at the irony of being the 'poor cousin'. I do expect to see more of our Federal cousins running around aimlessly in the lobby, weeping and wailing, as they raid the poor little cafe for paper towels in order to clean cups, wipe hands, bums and the like.

And that's called 'good economic strategies'. Management will award themselves a nice little bonus for saving a few dollars and annoying employees. I guess they can always claim that by going down such a road they're ensuring that all staff bond over a common cause. And remember, if five people on a management board can prove that they've saved the organisation at least $5,000 pa then they'll be awarded bonuses of around $10,000 each. That's also 'good economic strategies'.

Stinky fingers unite and arise!!! Viva La Bog Roll Revolution!


Peter said...

It's actually OK for the feds to spend $10k on bonuses for saving $5k, since a fair whack of the bonuses are taxed at the full marginal rate, and is spent on stuff that is GSTaxable, and the remainder of what is spent can end up as someone else's income, which is again taxed.

PimpDaddy said...

Reading this is bloody hilarious.

Is it at all possible for some of you to go downstairs and flog some of their items?

Thats all we do.

Share and Share a like I say.

The Regional Support Clerk said...

No need for us to flog anything - we had the date roll, the idiots upstairs would rather come down with pained looks on their face, wandering around lost in urine stained pants than take the initiative and steal some paper.