Thursday, 14 March 2013

Corporate Blues
An Allegory

I felt like a beer last night and went into a pub. Pouring my pint, the barmaid said

“Wannanysnax? Peennuscristwillets?”

“No snacks thanks”

Then she handed me a receipt. A receipt - in a pub. I then noticed she was wearing a uniform. A logo on her tunic generously told me the company was Oakdene Leisure Inc.

The pub had been corporatized.

As I sat down a young man materialised with a clipboard. “Customer satisfaction survey, sir” he said. “On a scale of 1 to 5,” he said, pointing his pencil between my eyes, “where 1 is ecstatic and 5 is utter despair, how do you rate your Oakdene experience?”

“The woman behind me has a very annoying laugh. So 4.”

“And how do you rate your Oakdene beer?”

“I’m getting some great satirical ideas which probably are nothing like as funny as I think they are. So it’s working fine.”

“I’d like to ask you to rate your Oakdene beer on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is….”

“I know. A minute ago it was 2. Now it’s 5. That’s beer for you.”

A smart woman appeared behind the clipboard man.

“Hello sir, I’m your Oakdene manager. Just to let you know that while you’re relaxing with your beer we have a range of mid-drink entertainment experiences for you. Justin Bieber is available on the muzak, or if you’d prefer smooth classics….”

My response dripped with sarcasm. “Why don’t you just offer me your mid drink swimming pool experience so I can go and drown myself?”

“I was just going to mention the pool, sir. Or perhaps you prefer to take advantage of our executive sauna. And after that, have a drink at our Caribbean themed bar”

“I thought this was a bar!”

Just then a wrecking ball crashed through the wall.  An earthmover cleared away the rubble and an army of workers moved in under a sign “Oakdene Leisure Centre under construction.”

The woman triumphantly ticked a box on her clipboard.

“Not any more it isn’t!”


  1. In the garb of humour, I think you make a telling point. About corporatisation. About BIG. It seems that by being bombarded with images of many others "having fun", we convince ourselves to believe that we must be having fun too. We lose the ability to think for ourselves (or are scared to buck the trend). Some things, in my view, are best left small. And, frankly, it is upto us to keep it that way, by voting with our feet.

  2. How right you are! Small is definitely beautiful - especially with pubs.