Daily Archives: February 9, 2010 11:56 pm

Prêt à tuer

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I was in Prêt à manger the other day, and the counter assistant (as she had been bidden by management, no doubt) started asking me with fake enthusiasm what I was doing in the area etc.

‘Oh research,’ she beamed, ‘how interesting! What subject? Ah! Education, how interesting. Just education generally, or some special subject in education?

‘Music education’, I replied. She might have replied ‘Oh cool’, and carried on. But instead, her face fell, and suddenly, her training and happy smile deserted her.

‘Eurgh’, she said, ‘I always hated music at school. I always think of music teachers as being, like, forty, and living alone with a cat.’

‘Really?’ I said, ‘that doesn’t fit any of my fellow students. Most of them look pretty cool, actually’

‘Yes, but if you think back to what your teachers were like when you were young.’

When I was young. She made it sound as if it must be so far back I could hardly remember. I was on the point of saying ‘Oh, yes, actually now you mention it’, but then remembered that wasn’t true. There were a few teachers who were mad or depressed or best left alone, but mostly my teachers were a pretty impressive lot. If we’d used the word then, I would even have said some of them were cool.

When I thought of that, this spinster-phobic waitress suddenly seemed very uncool. It was definitely not a good look, to be uncooled by your own coolness.

Ah well, that’s customer service for you.

By the way…a message from Bill Hicks to New Labour

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New Labour has just been admonished for allegedly breaking privacy rules by spamming the phonelines of 500,000 people with a pre-recorded message by Vera Duckworth from Corrie, according to the BBC. They were actually told off about it in 2007, but that didn’t stop them doing it again in 2009. Their response?  “Labour said it would examine the ruling and always tried to meet guidelines.” The ruling from 2007 said don’t do it.  They did it. How much examining do they need to do, and what part of ‘don’t’ didn’t they understand the first time round? How does ‘always try to meet guidelines’ square with failing to meet a ruling that was made two years previously?

It’s bad enough to fall on your own sword, but to fall on the sword of your marketing & spin department is surely worse. This is where I wish Bill Hicks were still alive to deliver his timeless message to hapless marketing people everywhere.  It’s better delivered personally, so see the video above.