Chinese curse

7 May 2013
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementThe patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales. Chinese curse Chinese office workers are having a hard time it seems, after a report that some are so stressed that they are paying to scream abuse at a complete stranger on the phone, or vent online. They seem clearly in need of fruit (see main story), or a better job, but instead, a ‘curse absorber’ service offers callers either a ‘passive or active’ response while they swear, shout and rage their stress away. All very well, but surely then the people responding to these calls would need their own stress-relieving service and this would go on and on until the whole of China would be swearing at each other in a sort of opposite situation to Chinese whispers. I say put a stop to it now before it goes viral. 100 and counting Rather than getting so aggro, why not take a leaf out of Jim Clements’ book, an office worker at Active Security. He took the job on in the 1970s when he was bored after retirement. Now, at the age of 100 and a great grandfather, he is still there, making the teas, photocopying and answering the phone in the manner of a perfect gentleman, who, I’m sure would never dream of swearing at callers in need of security. He said he likes to keep busy: “It’s good to still be active. It keeps the cogs moving and keeps me young.” What a trooper. Give that man a fruit basket. Taken by the rap Imagine our excitement here at SM (yes, even as a saint, I spend time in the office) on receiving a press release to say that Chain-Z (a rap artist, I’m told – I do spend too much time on my cloud) is about to collaborate with The Purchasing Management Association of Canada to produce a new single highlighting the importance of strategic supply chain management. Off the Chain is to debut at the PMAC’s National Conference in Ottawa on 12 June. However, my suspicions were raised when a new dance was mentioned called ‘The SCMP’, based on PMAC’s Supply Chain Management Professional designation. The procurement business, although it has come close, has surely never been THIS much fun? I suspect an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. Shame though, I had my dancing sandals ready. Lookers out Last month, I reported handsome men are rewarded much more than your average bloke at work, with better pay, higher status, peeled grapes and all good things. But not so, it appears, in Saudi Arabia. There, three men were ejected from the Janadrivah annual cultural festival after religious police deemed them far too ridiculously good looking. An official said that the three Emiratis were removed because they were too handsome and the commission members feared that female visitors would fall for them. I’m sure all the women at the festival were relieved and grateful to be spared temptation. Fetching ferrets It’s always important that you check your suppliers carefully, as dog lovers in Argentina found out recently. On purchasing a rare breed of small poodle for hundreds of dollars, many got a shock on their first visit to the vet. There they were told that their pampered poodles were actually ferrets with blow-dried hair, which had been fed steroids to make them grow bigger. Seeing as these ferrets are known as ‘Brazilian rats’ in Argentina, no doubt this did not go down too well. Let’s hope the poor ferrets didn’t go back to their normal relatives with a superiority complex, creating havoc and bitterness in the ferret community. Top banana The results you’ve been waiting for are in – which is the office worker’s favourite fruit? There is no point in me continuing the suspense as the clue is in the headline, of course. Yes, the humble banana has won, with 68 per cent of people in favour. Grapes came second, at 14 per cent, followed by peaches and apples, says research from fruit suppliers Fruitful Office. I like a good strawberry myself, but these, it seems, did not get a look-in over the banana benefits of potassium and vitamin B and whatnot. It seems more than 95 per cent of Fruitful’s clients believe their staff valued having fruit provided to them in the office highly. Perhaps we could all bring in our favourite fruits and try to convince others of their superiority, with a score sheet and tasting sessions? Fun. In fact, I think this should be mandatory – and provide a scene rather like ancient Rome, but with more clipboards. Somebody peel me a grape immediately. Tweet of the month Talking management, procurement and technology. Not at work, but for fun, in the pub. I know how to groove my Fridays.” Lizzie McWilliams
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