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This is a question Corporate Idiocy

Comedian Al Murray recounts a run-in with industrial-scale stupidity: "Car insurance company rang, without having sent me a renewal letter, asking for money. Made them answer security questions." In the same vein, tell us your stories about pointless paperwork and corporate quarter-wits

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:13)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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Mum's gone to Iceland
Iceland. Row upon row of microwaveable despair. If your mum has gone there, kill her and yourself. It's the only way to be sure.

I worked briefly for Iceland PLC. I was sixteen going on seventeen, and needed to get drunk a lot. My father, ever the pragmatist, took me to his local and introduced me to a staggeringly blubber-ridden golf-tee of a man called Rick. "This," my father proudly announced, "is the manager of Iceland!" Being an obedient little coward, I cooed in false wonder as my insides fucking died. I knew what was coming. "Rick'll sort you out with a job, if you don't fuck up the interview!" laughed father, emphasising the 'fuck' with a matey punch to the shoulder and vigorous, police-trained shake of my neck.
"Ha, yeah. Ok."
Rick looked on, ludicrously top-heavy and grinning with his mouth open. His face said to me, 'I had a shit earlier and didn't quite wipe my arse properly, but I'm ok with that.'
I hated him immediately.

The interview was predictably awkward. Sulky-but-polite teenage prick who secretly thinks he's better than all this, malodourous obese man with sincerely passionate devotion to the retail sector. Somehow I got the job - presumably my father had bought him a lot of pints and he thought I was from good stock. I later found out dad hated him too.

My first day rolled round far quicker than I would have liked. Rick proudly strutted the aisles, acquainting me with Iceland's exciting product range. "We're all about customer focus here," he chuckled at me. His geordie inflection turned the word 'focus' into a glottal stop bete-noire. "Fo-us, fo-us, fo-us! Fo-us!" He'd catch your eye on the shop floor and quickly jab at the corners of his mouth with his index fingers, mouthing 'Smile!' at you.

It was £2.15 an hour for a navy blue t-shirt and as much youthful spite and ineptitude as you could manufacture. We were all idiots there. Being an arrogant little cunt, I prided myself on being reasonably intelligent, but it was amazing how quickly my faculties failed me when it came to remembering which cabinet Mr Brain's Faggots were in. How many Ristorante pizzas could be stacked without jarring the freezer lid open. What the point of 'facing up' was. And at the bleeding edge of this institutional shitness was always Rick. An overweight wave of forced cheeriness and misguided instructions, loathed by staff and customers alike. And his world was soon to crumble in a pathetically unremarkable way.

The shop was bad, and complaints began to pile up. Absent products, a mulch-covered carpark, poor service ... everything was a target. One customer claimed that I scanned goods too fast. My friend's quiet singing was interpreted as ugly swearing. Nothing could go right in those walls; it was an unfortunate place where few wanted to be, and eventually the inevitable happened - the area manager arrived, full of Serious Business, and Rick's door was closed all morning.

Rick came out of that meeting red-faced, red-eyed, mopping at his face and forehead. Poor Rick. No more staff discount on those two-litres of Blackthorn. No more office toilet on which to while away those stale mornings. Pitifully, he insisted on each member of staff coming to his office for an individual goodbye. My co-workers streamed in slowly and out quickly, rolling their eyes and squirming, their lives untouched. My turn came. Rick sat behind his desk, still grinning.
"Well, goodbye then young man."
"Yeah, um, yes. Goodbye Rick. Urm, all the best."
"All the best. All the best."
"Ok. Goodbye."
After a moment's silence I turned to leave. Then Rick spoke again:

"By the way ..."

I stopped. "Yes?"

Rick looked at me with tears in his eyes. He choked back a sob.
"I'm ... I'm not a bastard."

I nodded and left.

Stay in school, kids.
(, Fri 24 Feb 2012, 22:38, 9 replies)

(, Fri 24 Feb 2012, 23:05, closed)

that gave me the sads and i clicked anyway
(, Fri 24 Feb 2012, 23:06, closed)
This is distressingly familiar and deserves a click.

(, Fri 24 Feb 2012, 23:10, closed)
I went to Iceland today, got a Chinese meal
It was well good and cheap
(, Sat 25 Feb 2012, 1:31, closed)

(, Sat 25 Feb 2012, 7:53, closed)
Asda's where it's at man.

(, Sat 25 Feb 2012, 17:00, closed)
Beautifully told

(, Sat 25 Feb 2012, 18:56, closed)
Oh dear.
This depressing tale has earned you a click.

At least you escaped.
(, Sat 25 Feb 2012, 20:49, closed)
When you are looking back on this 10 years after
it could well be you uttering that sad phrase.
(, Sun 26 Feb 2012, 16:32, closed)

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