Sunday, February 06, 2005

tales from the shop floor

Tuesday, tidying some books in the computing section while I swear under my breath – Dick Dastardly style – at the uncivil behaviour that doesn’t put things back where they were taken from. Or, often, doesn’t even put them back anywhere. But this is merely the normal level of schaaa-fruzzza-Mutley, the annoyance that surfaces when I have to do the same job I did yesterday and the day before and the day before because everyone else is a squealing Gucci little piggy. Exceptional muttering only surfaces at an exceptional event: the two books I pick up that are stuck together with a load of snot. A big loogie. Who has done this? And why, won’t someone please tell me why.

Friday, another “person” after a copy of Being Jordan. She has the standard issue equipment for a Jordan fan: bleached blond hair, lots of orange foundation, fashionable clothing, gold, gold, gold, infant (mewling), poor diction, lack of patience, heat magazine (suspected). Ugh. When I go to look for the book she comments that it must be difficult to find a book amongst so many other books, she then goes on to say how frightening she finds all these books. Books! Everywhere! Just imagine such a hellish world!

Later I hear a similar tale from a colleague. A woman was shocked and appalled by the high price of a textbook her partner was buying: “£70?! But it’s just words and paper!”. Ah, all just words, crumbling away to nothing. But doing it so peacefully and so refinedly, unlike all these yahoos.

But Monday (yes, a flashback) was undoubtedly the highlight. How I smiled. My appraisal notes were left in my pigeon hole for me to sign, along with a note from my appraiser detailing the procedure and feedback from said appraisal. Apparently the deputy manager recently put in charge of promotional gubbins was “concerned” about promoting me thanks to the “incident” with that bitch of an old woman some months prior. I love this side of business, that anything, no matter how minor, will be held over you for years to come in order for the company to exhort you in some way, be it withholding promotion or pressure to do some unwholesome task. Again you wonder, why bother to do anything good if only the bad bits are cited? Indeed, why bother to put in any effort daily at all? And businesses wonder why they have problems retaining staff (but no problems recruiting willing managers...?).


Anonymous TonyP said...

Your Monkey in a fez website was suggested to me by a music friend who is currenty in the states. At first I enjoyed, later I felt confused and, upon following further links to your rants, I was angry. You never pursue a thought to a conclusion, you are just critical, but not constructively.

A self confessed hater of the commercial world and a high brow thinker to boot. A man who concentrates his potential creativity into criticising those who he deems to be, not just his "mental" subordinate but, completely beneath humanity.
Last time I looked, Waterstones was pretty much part of the fucking commercial world. And yes, £70 for a text book is plenty of cash, surely you can appreciate that, its not like shop-floor wages represent the epitome of fiscal freedom, its not like you supply "Fair Trade" publications is it? And remember, most people won't get you 25% discount on text and paper! Although I agree with your sentiment, of course a book is, materially, text and paper, what it means is something entirely different and in some case priceless, perhaps you could charge them for the level of long term understanding or emotion they would get from the book instead? No, I suppose you would probably need a floor manager to authorise something that wasn't part and parcel of the great "waterstones" system. Come on, it's not like you work in black books with Bill Bailey now is it? As for the "Being Jordan" well, she is not exactly the most enviable person on the planet and yes she famous for pretty much one thing... ok, ok "two things". However, does your cutting criticism consider why people buy something like that? Do you yourself attempt to discuss this with them? Do you actually try make an active difference without trying to make someone feel less important than you? What is worse? Someone without high intelligence trying to make themselves happy or someone with intelligence using it only to impose some kind of intellectual caste system on a world that isalready bulging with enough bigotry and contempt? I say some of your comments are simply the flipside of the Daily Mail coin. There is no room in this world for extremism.

I picture you as a beared man who waves his hands around shouting "why can't all this be better?" without actually pushing to make a difference. Sure you have a website with some intriguing pictures, and a regular blog, but who cares? What are YOU doing to make things better?

I shall check back to see if you can placate my annoyance.

1/3/05 9:09 pm  
Blogger paul said...

Hi Tony,

I must apologise, I've only just seen that you'd commented here otherwise I would have replied to you much sooner.

To be honest I agree with some of what you say. This one was a bit of a rant, but sometimes that helps. It all stems from that frustration that I don't know what to do about that intellectual caste system. All I know I can do is create stuff and hope that some of it has a positive knock-on effect for both myself and others, philanthropy is surely the only way forward and passing on thoughts and ideas is something I feel I can at least attempt in life. On a daily basis this doesn't always come easy, I embark on a rant when I'm in a bad mood because I'm pissed off at what I see around me and feel impotent to do anything about it. But that's surely one of the problems we all have to deal with, squaring up your life philosophy with your actual day-to-day actions is a difficult prospect thanks to the outside factors that life throws at you (job, people, circumstances etc). No, I don't make a direct effort to change these peoples' views, I don't know if I could, I don't have the patience to try. And you are quite correct: I don't think through the situation, I don't know if they hold their opinions because they've spent hours thinking about them, because they've not had the privilege of a decent education or because they're simply not interested in this particular facet of life. Who am I to judge? No one. The same as everyone else.

On the strength of this piece I can see your point, but I wouldn't say I'm an unconstructive, extremist critic. I'm critical when I feel something warrants it, but I prefer to spend time celebrating good things. Perhaps I don't always follow an idea to its conclusion, but a lot of what this blog is about is engaging in a dialogue to try and stabilise and explore thoughts of interest. I don't always get as far as I'd like, but that's because I'm still learning how, still struggling with motivation and time and legitimacy. Still hoping that by doing this, by doing what I can do (yes, sometimes rashly or just plain badly) I can at least engender some small change that will eventually snowball with all those trying the same. OK, that's still an argument mostly based on hand waving and hope, but you've got to start somewhere.

4/4/05 10:57 am  
Blogger paul said...

Thinking about this further it's perhaps also the case that the creative projects I attempt tend to take me a long time, while a quick rant online acts as a pressure valve and only takes a few minutes. Looking back over this blog the consequences of this seem apparent, there is more ranting than construction, mostly reflecting brief mood rather than sustained endeavour. However, there are a few things in the pipe-line at the moment, so the monkey should be getting some more positivity soon.

4/4/05 11:03 am  
Blogger paul said...

And, in context, spitting bile is pretty fun... Chris Morris, Charlie Brooker, the Onion. In the wrong context I agree it is potentially disastrous, the Daily Mail is not funny just distressing.

4/4/05 1:14 pm  

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