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Friday, May 03, 2013
Love Lies Bleeding - Friday
‘These sales figure are just not acceptable.’ Grumbles the bean counter boss, as he clicks his laptop tracker pad angrily. The stark figures flash up on the collapsible screen and there is nowhere to hide. Under the cheap laminate hotel table isn’t an option and there is no under-stairs cupboard immediately to hand. Not any more.
One-by-one, the pernickety figure-fiddler, reads out the sales, lettings and financial services performances, office by office, as if we can’t see for ourselves - those not too vain to don glasses.
H my short-arsed rival manager sits beside me and grins. His office is top of the pile, about the only time he can claim to be higher than anyone else – unless the circus is in town. But even his lucrative patch isn’t generating the sort of figures it once was. His ex-wife won’t be blowing such a big bonus come year-end...
It comes to my office and after all this time I’m almost beyond squirming – almost. Tell him to go f***k himself urges that mischievous inner-voice that really should stay tethered to a blog or anonymous Twitter feed. As if he could do any better continues the gobby Gremlin, as I try to focus on the bean counter’s rhetoric about shaking trees and rattling something, other than begging bowls.
I offer up some platitudes about renewed effort, a tele-sales push and re-visiting failed valuations with more vigour than I can truly muster for idiots who want too much money and aren’t prepared to pay a fair fee. The spotlight moves on and I sit back, heart pumping, trickle of cold sweat running uncomfortably down my back. One day I really will just stand up and tell him to stick his budget projections where the sun doesn’t shine. I’ll march from the hotel room, head held high, muted applause from my colleagues urging me to the car park – where I’ll find my company car and a glove box full of failed endowment statements and my latest mortgage deficit – one day…
‘Anyone in this room can be replaced.’ Snarls the bean counter unpleasantly, as I wonder if people behave like this in the public sector? Those that are not on long-term, fully funded, sick pay.
He’s bullying the girl from the office at the bottom of the list now. I’d like to jump to her defence. A younger, more chivalrous me, a man who had yet to compromise his principles with credit cards, life cover and more debt than a banana republic, would be standing up for her, pointing out the office had a crap location, too many competitors and a poor housing mix – but then she’s just come back from maternity leave, so at least she’s had a break from this childish nonsense…
‘We can’t buck the market conditions.’ Suggests the girl weakly. It looks as is one of he breasts is leaking through her blouse, unless it’s a milky teardrop.
‘You need to up your penetration.’ Says H from alongside me. He can be such a big prick for a small man.
‘That’s right’, agrees the bean counter. ‘We must take market share from the weaker players. Let’s shut some of these other bastards down.’
And the local estate agents’ association wonders why nobody attends the monthly meetings.
‘How about another price reduction competition?’ I find myself suggesting, to groans from around the table. It works, it worked in the past, but it’s not palatable unless you can explain the benefits to all.
‘My vendors won’t reduce, they keep reading surveys telling them price are going up.’ Counters a manager with a town boasting near on full employment. God I wish I could ban, pointless, contradicting surveys by vested interests. Strange how owners never latch on to reports showing declining values.
‘I can sell everything I can get.’ Boasts H, as I use all my willpower not to stab him with the plastic knife I couldn’t cut the bacon gristle in my greasy sandwich with. ‘I just need more stock.’ Continues H from somewhere around my ankles. ‘There are plenty of mug punters.’
‘You alright?’ I say to the new mother in the foyer.
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