The first head of procurement

10 August 2012
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementKiss off No pecks please A post about National Kissing Day on the SM Facebook page got a whole lotta love last month. According to etiquette expert William Hanson, kissing – digital and actual – is “rampant” nowadays. He says: “You should only put a kiss or hug on the end of a text, email or Facebook post if you would actually kiss that person in real life. For those you have not met, you work with, or you’re not the best of pals, it is advisable to steer clear of the ‘x’s and ‘o’s.” To which I say: “Thanks Wills xxx.” Celebrity sarnies Lunch legends Actor George Clooney is the most popular fantasy lunchtime companion, according to a survey. He beat footballer David Beckham, US president Barack Obama and ex-Friends star Jennifer Aniston to the top spot. But even Clooney couldn’t sway the anti-social majority, with 58 per cent wanting to eat their sarnies alone. There was also good news for manufacturers of indigestion remedies: the poll found 16 per cent of workers spend less than 10 minutes eating their lunch. Fiscal fun Trivial taxes Nudity, tattoos and bagels are all revenue raisers for parts of the US. Some of the more inventive ways for states to cash in include a tax on carved pumpkins in Iowa and New Jersey; a 10 per cent tax on services sold to patrons by ‘nude or partially nude’ workers in Utah; a 6 per cent tax on tattoos in Arkansas; and an 8 per cent tax on ‘altered’ (i.e. cut and filled) bagels in New York. Whatever next? A tax on reheated pasties? Oh… Hand gestures Signs of the times A study has found that imitating inverted commas is the most irritating hand gesture. The full list of 20 also included ‘talk to the hand’, hand-punching, ‘I’m watching you’, ‘call me’, a fake yawn, cutthroat, ‘zip it’, ‘time out’, ‘peace’, a direct point, ‘email me’ and salute. It’s probably for the best that you can’t see what I’m doing right now. Gaga idea Babies on board London cab firm Addison Lee is allowing employees to bring their babies to the office to encourage staff to return to work after maternity leave. Following a successful trial – which featured in a BBC documentary last month – it has now formally instituted the policy in their London offices. A similar trial in the SM office resulted in a lot of screaming and crying, although the babies were very well behaved. On the plus side, it gave new meaning to the journalistic tradition of a liquid lunch. Tax avoidance Cash crisis Exchequer secretary David Gauke announced last month that paying tradespeople in cash was “morally wrong”. An entire nation shuffled uncomfortably, wondering where their chequebooks were. Luckily, London mayor Boris Johnson rode to the rescue, admitting that he paid cash in hand “a lot”. Phew! If Boris does it, it must be okay. I look forward to hearing from any suppliers who have tried this when dealing with the Greater London Authority. Overtime Sick of the office The average manager now works around 46 days of unpaid overtime per year, according to a report by the Chartered Management Institute. The Quality of Working Life 2012 (italics) report revealed that, compared with 2007, managers today are working longer hours due to larger workloads, increasingly suffering from ill health, including stress and depression, and are more likely to come to work despite being sick. The study also found that directors have a rosier view of the situation – possibly because they’re getting a bundle of free work out of their staff. Happiness Rural bliss Perhaps all those stressed managers should move somewhere they’d feel happier. According to a study on national wellbeing carried out by the Office for National Statistics, people living in built-up or former industrial areas in the UK are the least happy, while those in rural areas report the highest levels of life satisfaction. The happiest campers live 
in the Scottish Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Rutland, with people in the West Midlands, Merthyr Tydfil and Luton less impressed with their lot. If anyone needs me I’ll be in my bothy.
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