Alix King

Freelance Copywriter

Category Archives: July

Raining on my parade…

…it’s extremely confusing. Hosepipe ban? Flooding? What’s happening? More importantly, it’s ruining the summer. Yes, yes, we have long days, light evenings, hell, it gets dark at 10.30 most evenings. Perfect for after-work drinks with friends, impromptu barbecues for dinner…BUT – how can we do this when this god damn rain keeps falling? And not just drizzling. (On a separate note, we are the only language that has a word for constant light rain. Probably because we are the only bloody country that has the stuff.)

It’s raining, pelting it down ALL the time. I know English people are known for talking about the weather, but that’s because there is a reason to talk about it. It’s so depressing! Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to do in the rain – Cornwall B&B owners ‘Bedknobs B&B’ have had a brainwave and created this site for every Cornish B&B owner – http://www.101-things-to-do-on-a-rainy-day-in-cornwall.co.uk which, as we have seen recently, could be the case for most of your trip away.

Even our nation’s capital has organised themselves for this very problem. TimeOut have a whole section devoted to it! http://www.timeout.com/london/feature/1365/rainy-day-london.

But, and that’s a big BUT, when you are forced to look at the situation properly, actually, London has a lot to offer that can all be spent in the warm and dry. We have the best museums and galleries in the world, we have a fantastic choice of wonderful, talented, clever plays and musicals on the West End – and then where to eat and drink? SO many places to choose from – whatever your taste – and as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, even if you get sick of the English food, you can bet your bottom dollar you will be able to find cuisine from nearly ever nation in the world. And all in walking distance or a short tube ride from each other!

We are a society which has been brought up to don the ‘smile-we-ARE-having fun-we’re-BRITISH’ even if we are picnic-ing in torrential downpours. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. There’s something quite patriotic about walking down the road and nodding with shock at complete strangers because the sun is actually out!

Give me a 99 with a flake and pass me my wellies. I’ll put my hood up.



Episode #326 part 2…

Monday morning has arrived. Lixy drives through the pouring rain, arrives at the car park and thinks her luck is in as she finds a space nearest to the building entrance. Perhaps this day has started off well! She parks her car, and, as she opens the door and steps out, she hears a shout from the ‘coffee room’ (where the damp smell must be getting worse in this rain) window. Fat ugly sales girl (*7) shouts out “Oi! You can’t park there! Matt parks in that space. He will just ask you to move!” charming. Lixy feels that her luck has ended for that day and parks miles away from the building.
After arriving in reception soaking wet, Lixy makes her way through the office amongst the animals, models and hooray Henry’s to find the welcoming sight of Emma fellow temp, and Zoe, a girl who she has temped with before. (*8)
She has just said her hello’s and has started to settle down when FUSG appears. She bulldozes through the room, and as she walks the full length of the bank of desks, whilst still pounding (*9) she rudely points at Lixy. “You. What’s your name?” she enquires. Lixy, rather put out with her tone, breathes deeply and keeps her cool. She retorts “Well it isn’t ‘Oi’. It’s Lixy.”
FUSG, who realises she has been caught out (and made a fool of herself) plonks (*10herself down in her seat, red-faced and embarrassed. She stumbles “Yeah well, yeah I, I didn’t know your name.” (Er, well yes you did, and that doesn’t excuse the rudeness).
Everyone gets back to their telephoning; Lixy is amazed to see even more members of staff in today; (what do they all do?) and is pleased to see that they all conform to the pretty-girl-in-office rule.
Lixy pops out to make the tea, sorts out who she will be telephoning today and can’t have been sat sorting her day’s plan for longer than 5 minutes when Jobsworth(*11) has appeared, standing over Lixy is a rather threatening manner. She barks “Is there a problem? Do you have a problem?” to which a rather confused Lixy replies “Errrr no?.” Jobsworth continues. “Because I heard there was some sort of problem about the car earlier?” 
A-ha. Jobsworth has been talking to FUSG while she was in the ‘coffee room’. Lixy looks over at FUSG. “Is there still a problem with the car? Am I parked in the right place now?” To which FUSG (who cannot get any MORE in the wrong by now) shrugs her shoulders and mumbles “Yeah s’pose.” Lixy then turns to Jobsworth (who has spoken so loud and rudely to her that she can feel the whole room looking) and says “Is there a problem with my work? Am I doing that wrong?” The whole room waits for a response from Jobsworth. “Err no, I don’t think so.” She retreats and sits back at her desk, which overlooks the worker bees. I mean temps.
Lixy looks over at fellow temp Emma and mouths ‘how rude!’ to which Emma replies. Mouthing ‘fuck that. I would leave’. Lixy mouths back ‘I think I will.’
Lixy shuffles together her papers, evidence of who she has telephoned so far. She gets up from  her seat, and walks over to Jobsworth’s desk. Lixy calmly, in a more polite volume, so not everyone in the office can hear, says “Here are my papers, of the work that I have done correctly. I didn’t have a problem, until you did that. Therefore I am going to leave. Thanks.”
Lixy smiles, turns, picks up her bag and, when out of eyeline of everyone else apart from Emma, gives her the ‘phone’ sign with her fingers and mouths ‘call me’. As she walks out, she can almost hear the silent cheers from the temps.
As she has almost reached the door, she hears Jobsworth shout out “yeah…thanks!” Great retort. I don’t think.
 
(*7) Oh yes, there was one. She must have been hired by mistake. Now known as ‘FUSG’
(*8) Maybe ‘welcoming sight’ is a slight over exaggeration. Although compared to the            ridiculousness it was relatively normal and welcoming.
(*9) FUSG didn’t really walk; she was more of a ‘pounder’. She pounded the carpet.
(*10) FUSG was a plonker; no that doesn’t mean……well it kind of does…oh, you get the idea.
(*11) Unforgettable name. Or her position. But you would imagine she was ‘overseeing’ something in some kind of way.


Temping Episode # 326 – it’s a long one!

After finishing a placement the previous week within a law firm, the recruitment girls at DN(*1) call her the following Thursday with an assignment, which starts the next day. Lixy is informed that she will be on the phones, calling schools, but will definitely NOT be selling or even cold-calling.
The business is only 10 minutes drive from her home, which is perfect as she is instructed to be there for 8.30 am.
Wanting to be early for her first day, Lixy arrives at the industrial estate at 8.20 and finds the correct offices. As she walks into the foyer, she calls on the phone which is marked “call for reception”. A voice answers and tells her to walk upstairs and enter through the double doors. She does this and is greeted by pretty girl (*2), who walks Lixy through to the second open-plan room and introduces her to two other temporary staff; Paul (who is there to undertake data entry) and Emma, who reveals that she is also representing the same agency, DT.   
Emma tells her that the job is a teensy bit ridiculous; the firm sells ‘community trips’ to South America, Asia and Africa for 15-18 year olds, in return for UCAS points towards their applications for University. Lixy’s role, much as hers, would be to call schools from a database and try to get someone of authority to agree to one of the company’s sales team to travel to the school, present to an assembly the trip idea, which hopefully the receiving pupils would then inform their parents, who then would return to the school on a separate occasion for that sales person to present the details of the trip to them; including the extortionate £3,500 fee for each child.
Lixy and Emma both agree that with it being the end of June and nearing the end of term, the frantic calls to the schools will probably be met by stressed teachers, which will not be helped by the fact that the temp staff doing the telephone calls do not know the ins and outs of the business. In fact both girls are left wondering why the sales staff, when not out at schools, are not doing the telephone calls themselves.
To make matters worse, Lixy is taken to the ‘coffee room’(*3) by Katherine, one of the sales team, to bring me ‘up to speed’ on what the company does/sells/hopes to do/delivers. She, to give her credit, believed in the product. I asked her what her background was and did she go to University. She replied ‘oh yes to do an IT degree but I moved down here to be with my boyfriend and found this.’ Lixy is then introduced to one of the founders of the company, Matt. He is extremely well spoken and wearing a pinky ring.  She establishes with him (as she guesses this company is his baby) exactly what he would like her to say to the member of the school she was calling. Excellent. Feeling up to speed, she is then led back upstairs to the ‘main floor’ where she is greeted by another founder, Jim and the rest of the office, who have arrived, as they are obviously not telephoning schools, at 9.00 am. Jim was even more (much to her disbelief) well spoken; one could even say plumy. Lixy looked closely for his leather elbow patches. No such luck but indeed a matching pinky ring.
Lixy settles down next to Emma and begins to make calls to schools, as required. After a while she offers to make tea and coffee for the few of them sat around the table. As she walks through the first open plan room to the ‘coffee room’ she finally gets to view the other employees. And an extremely strange view it is. There are no less than 20 employees; 4 of these being male, and that includes the 2 owners, Paul the data entry temp and a particularly geeky looking fella surrounded by 3 computer screens. The rest, oh yes the rest, were all females between the ages of 20 and 30, tall, leggy and not one of them would have trouble finding a suitor. Yes Lixy had walked into ‘office full of pretty girls employed by public school toffs who have too much money and a shoddy idea’. As she makes her hot drinks, she cannot wait to see what unfolds…
As Lixy makes her way upstairs, she is not disappointed. Not only are there 3 (yes that is 3) dogs (presumably owned by employees) roaming freely within the OFFICE.
Lixy delivers her drinks with a bemused expression. After a time (and many rejections from schools all over the country) posh Matt the MD enters the office with an older couple and points out several aspects of the business/office/kennel to them. As the male remarks that ‘this is where it all happens then’ it all becomes clear to Lixy. These are posh Matt’s plummy parents, the funding of the company, the silent partners, the naïve owners of this pretty-but-thick-staffed, good-idea-but-not-well-thought-out, extortionate-product-therefore-making-little-profit company.
But hey, Lixy thinks, she is but a temp and what is she to think of this company? She gets on with her telephoning, does as she is told, and towards the end of the day is greeted by Will(*4) who is, he says, the most senior member of the sales staff.  After telling her his complete life story, amongst which how he was a badminton champion (*5) and obtained a law degree in the USA which was pointless here (*6), he asks Lixy how her day has been. She tells him that she has had no joy with schools and tells him what Matt has told her to say on the telephone. Will immediately rolls his eyes, says that ‘That is NOT what you are meant to be saying. I must talk to Matt.’ He then disappears, to come back just before it is time for Lixy to leave for the day. He nervously asks if she will be returning the next week. She honestly replies that she was thinking of not returning, but if he could promise a better(!) day on Monday, then yes, she would return for him. She picks up her bag, steps over a Jack Russell, walks down the steps, holds her breath past the damp-smelling hallway, and steps into the open air for the weekend. What an interesting day!


(*1) ‘Dozy Numpties’. It is advisable to keep them anonymous; they could sue….
(*2) They were all pretty; differentiating between them was difficult.
(*3) Actually a pretty awful office kitchenette which had a severe damp problem.
(*4) Cocky salesman. Nothing he said was to be believed
(*5) See? Utter bullshit.
(*6) More bullshit.