I’m not a person who has the personality type that some would describe as anal. Grumpy yes, but not anal. It’s not as if I get stressed out about things that are relatively trivial just because I happen to disagree with something or if something doesn’t go my way or fit a correct pattern or if something seems out of place or as if I let the little things really niggle me unnecessarily. Or even because I’m really looking too much into something and then go on and on about it. No, that is not me at all!
But last week at work it was “Customer Service Week.” I know, you’re excited about it too aren’t you? I bet as you read that you almost instantaneously and with an impulsive reflex jumped up from your current position, throwing yourself into the air with a fist pump of jubilation shouting, “Woohooo!”
Or perhaps you, like me, when hearing this, felt absolutely nothing. Dead inside. Nothing, but a cold empty cavern. Empty of any emotion, any care or consideration. Devoid of giving any shit at all. Any enthusiasm spewing out of management at me would simply bounce off my force field of what managers would call, “Negativity,” but what I would call an aversion to all things bullshit!
I’m busy in my job. Those who follow my post regularly will know that I work within the high octane, adrenaline inducing, cut and thrust industry of insurance. I’ve got things to do, problems to solve and claims to turn down. To hear the familiar chorus of, “What is the point of having insurance?” spat out at me in anger having been told that their complete lack of care and maintenance of their shithole of a house does not mean that they can claim for the complete restoration of their home. This is insurance. It is not and never will be the popular BBC TV show DIY SOS.
So when some sheets of paper are thrown onto my desk with some fun puzzles to complete in line with Customer Service Week, with a chance of prizes galore, I choose to ignore them. Opting for the mind-set of, I’m too busy for this shit!
Half an hour later I had almost completed them all, without cheating unlike many of my colleagues who were straight onto Google quicker than a married man who suddenly get’s the house to himself! One set of puzzles remained incomplete and I was growing more and more frustrated. But I wouldn’t cheat! It was a word association game where it would give you three words and then you had to find a word that corresponded with all of them. For example, if three words were, Foot, Field & Bearing, the word they were looking for was Ball. However, after completing about half of them I still struggled and so I decided to enter the word “Wank” for all of the remaining answers. The interesting thing was I then realised it would work with any of the words given. Ok, so you may have to use your imagination at times but the outcome was usually feasible. Dog wank, Frog wank and wank fighter, all make complete sense to me!
I thought that it might not be prudent to hand that it in to my manager so I left it.
Then we received an email stating that there was yet another opportunity to win big in a creative way by writing an amusing poem or limerick about customer service.
This was my time to shine. I instantly wrote an amusing limerick about customer service. The creativity flowed through me like a stream of subconscious genius. Fellow lyrical geniuses and poets commonly state that the best songs are the ones that come so easily, without almost any thought. Call it instinct, intuition, a gift, whatever, this was such a time. It would be arrogant to say it is on a par with Lennon & McCartney but equally I don’t find false modesty an endearing trait. I felt confident that this was in the bag. I was going to be the winner in this game. I got two B’s in English GCSE and therefore compared to some of my colleagues, I am practically a professor of English.
I submitted my winning limerick no more than four minutes after the email was sent. Some would have said that surely, I would need to review it and work at it to truly make it the best it could be. Those people are wrong and would be completely ignored. I know poetic perfection in five lines of industry related brilliance when I see it.
A couple of hours went by when the judging had finally been completed. The results were emailed out to everyone. I had been glaring at my screen for the past two hours, without blinking, waiting for the familiar sound of something in the inbox and the preview of the email appearing in the bottom right hand corner of my screen. My reaction to click on it was nothing short of cat like.
I didn’t win.
Okay, I’m not bitter about it and it was after all just a bit of fun. I would shake the hand of the winner in a magnanimous display of respect for the greater poet. But not today. Why?
Because the poem that won was shit!
I’m not going to go on about it but I genuinely couldn’t believe that the poem that won was neither amusing, a limerick, or rhymed correctly.
“A poem doesn’t have to rhyme.” Correctly stated one of my colleagues who couldn’t help but overhear my completely justified rant. The thing is that technically, poems don’t have to rhyme, but when the style is clearly using rhyming couplets throughout but has a line ending with promise and the next one ends in compromise, clearly they’ve put in a word that’s spelt similar but isn’t actually pronounced the same. It doesn’t rhyme; it disrupts the order and pattern of the poem and doesn’t follow the same rhythm. I explained this to my colleague who sat with eyes glazed over, mouth open, looking like they had drifted off into a daydream about sausage rolls. After my explanation into the technical errors of the winning poem, the gormless flycatcher responded with, “But a poem doesn’t have to rhyme.”
Like, I said, I’m not anal about it and I won’t go on.
The poem was wrong, completely wrong and in my opinion wasn’t worthy of the win. It didn’t follow the specifications outlined in the brief and was written with the skill of an eight year old. If you’re going to submit a poem for a competition, it needs to be technically correct at least.
If anything, this charade of a competition is equally a poor reflection of the judging panel’s grasp of poetry and has brought the standards of any future competitions into disripute.
I’m not bitter, but if anyone deserved that £10 voucher it was ME!
I still got a £5 voucher just for entering. But imagine the spending madness that a £10 voucher would have given me! Double what I now have! Double I tell you! Double!
The competition was nothing more than a fallacy.
I will not share the winning poem with you because I refuse to have such shit spread onto the pages of my blog and it would be disrespectful to you reading this highbrow piece of journalism.
But I guess I should share with you the fruits of this poetic virtuoso. The fruits that didn’t get the true recognition they deserved. Just another artist, struggling to get recognition and yet trodden on by critics who have no real idea of anything other than mediocrity. They fear something new. Something ground breaking. But rewards are merely badges of mediocrity.
Brace yourself, here it is.
There was a young bloke called Merv,
Who always endeavoured to serve,
Customers thought he was the best,
Thanks to his heavy breath,
See sometimes it pays to be a perv.
It’s not autobiographical. I wrote it using my own imagination. I had to because a Google search for customer service limerick finds jobs in Ireland.
Brilliant isn’t it? It’s about customer service, it’s amusing, it rhymes and it is a limerick. It ticks the boxes and should have won!
But there you have it. What’s done is done. I won’t go on about it.
Would it be worth challenging the decision to HR?