Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Down frustration lane...

There are some people in this world...okay there are more than some...there are many people in this world who are born without that vital part of the brain, that enables them to understand directions. You put these people in a desert and point to the only road and say "Do you see a road here?" And they will say "Where?"

You get the point? In my profession, I spend a huge amount of time giving directions to people, mostly vendors to our office. So there was this new Gift vendor who wanted to come to our office to show me some samples. This is how my time was spent from 10 am to 2 pm today!

Vendor (calling on mobile): Where exactly is your office?
Me: Do you know Hotel ABC on Koramangala Ring Road?
Vendor: Yes!
Me: Great! Give me a call when you reach there and I will guide you the rest of the way.

45 minutes later:

Vendor: I have reached Hotel ABC!
Me: Do you see a road diagonally opposite to it?
Vendor: No! There is no road here!
Me: There is ONLY one road in front of it, and that leads to my office. Please come on that road.
Vendor: Okay!

Half an later:

Vendor: I have come down that road.
Me: Where are you now?
Vendor: Near the traffic signal (5 kilometers away)
Me: What???? Why did you go down the main road?
Vendor: You told me to go down the road in front of ABC Hotel!!
Me: %#$#%%@

Another half an hour later:

Vendor: I am in front of ABC Hotel again.
Me: Great! Let me open a bottle of champagne!
Vendor: Cham....what did you say!
Me: Never mind! You come down that road!

Half an later:

Vendor: I have reached Shoppers Stop!
Me: Jesus Christ!! Where are you?
Vendor: Bannarghatta! ( 20 kilometers way)
Me: But I told you to come to Hotel ABC on Koramangala Ring Road!!!
Vendor: Oh that road yeah? I thought you meant the ABC Hotel near BTM layout!
Me: *Unprintable*

As if that wasn't enough, such people don’t know how to take a hint too. Or do they? :-S

Time: 2 pm - He arriveth complete with a bag of Gifts that I had asked him to bring. We meet in the conference room!

Vendor: First I give company presentation.
Me: No thanks! Just show me the gifts!
Vendor: See presentation madam. Very good. You get good idea of our company.
Me: I have a meeting....
Vendor ( taking out an album): Our company, Thoughtful Gifts was started in 1897 by Ghansham Das Pyarelal Udham Suresh Haldiram!
Me: Can you show me the gifts please.
Vendor: One day Ghanshamdasji's grandfather was praying at the Sri Durga Temple in Saurashtra...
Me (digging into his bag): This plaque looks cool
Vendor: I will show all madam...and then the goddess appeared to him and...
Me: How much for this Clock cum pen holder.
Vendor: ...then Ghanshamdasji's grandfather had a vision and ....
Me: How much for this FM Radio?
Vendor:...founded this organization. We have dairy farm also!
Me: And how much for this World Clock?
Vendor (pained): Apne tho presentation suna hi nahin! ( But you did not see the presentation!)
Me: I did. Very touching story. So how much for this World Clock?
Vendor (smiling gently): Nahin madam. Tho batayiyen Ghansham Dasji ke beta ka nama kya tha? ( No you didn’t. Tell me what was the name of Ghansham Dasji's son?)
Me: Mooorrrthy!!!
Vendor ( triumphantly): Nahin!!!!! (incorrect)
Murthy (procurement manager): What happened? Why are you screaming like this?
Me ( in kannada): Get this joker out and I don’t want to see him again!!! grrr
Murthy: There is no force on this Earth that can do it. He will come up with a presentation telling me why it is better to do work with him. And I will have to sit and listen to him. Company practices you see. Every Vendor needs to be given a fair hearing :(
Me: How do I get rid of him?
Vendor: If you worried about price, I give discount. But only for bulk orders ji!
Murthy: Tell him that you are traveling to the US and will get back to him next year.
Vendor: Aapk log kya phoos phoos kar rahe ho! [Why are you two going 'phoos phoos' (whispering) ]
Me: Nice meeting you Mr Patel. Unfortunately I am being transferred to the US. So I will get back to you in case I have any requirement!
Vendor: We have US branch too!
Murthy: *Groan*
Vendor: I give US branch presentation!
Me: *Groan*

Today I met the Vendor again. He was giving a presentation to another department. The Manager of that department has suddenly been transferred to Norway. His assistant is going to Seychelles I think. Clever buggers!! They thought of places where Thoughtful Gifts doesn’t have a branch!! Guess I have a lot to learn! :(

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Real time training!

This post was inspired from an actual mail ‘exchange’ between our Sysadmin and my Boss.

Dear Silverine's Boss,

Hope you are in the pink of health as you should be, being Silverine's boss ha ha. I am writing to you with regard to her wonly. Ms Silverine is proving to be an invaluable resource for us IT folks in this office. And I am writing to you to request, that she be made part of our team as a valuable training resource for our fresher's and others. I know my request sounds a little odd, but please hear me out.

Whenever I have a fresher join us, I delegate him to attend to Silverine "only." In no time he either quits,saving me a lot of trouble or gets right back to his basics... which I could never get them to do. I have my fresher's now, hard at work re-reading their training course material that they never do otherwise. When they go home, they scour their engineering course material for things they had forgotten or didn't bother to study, as according to them "that girl has the entire computer problems in the world that we thought had been done away with."

It is so gratifying to see the overconfidence in these youngsters vanish after one trouble shooting session with Silverine. In my 20 years of experience in trainings freshers, I have never seen anything more effective than that girl in driving over confident youngsters to their training manuals.

I am also thankful to her, for graciously logging the most number of complaints ever recorded in the history of this company. This will keep my people on their toes and out of trouble for another year or so.

I don't have to scream till I am my face blue anymore asking these youngsters to do routine preventive measures like the dreaded 'windows/system32/config/system file is missing error' by backing up config folder! Now they do it on their own! Amazing!

This girl is an asset and I request that you relieve her of her duties and delegate her to us for our training and readiness purposes.

Yours truly,


Boss's reply:

F$%@ off!

p.s Why do you think I hired her? When the going gets tough and everything appears bleak, I have to only look at her and realize that things can get worse. And then I count my blessings.

Request denied!

Warm regards,

Silverine's boss

Friday, July 18, 2008

Badwill hunting!

Have you noticed the web advertisements of a job portal with this really catchy headline?

Fed up of your boss/colleague? Refer him to us!!

Very innovative no? What an incredibly devious way to get people to refer colleagues!!! Heh heh

And now...who was that %#$@ who referred my name to that site!!!!

Kindly raise your hands so that I can chop it off!! grr

Have a nice weekend folks. I will be very busy this weekend. Please pray that I catch him/her. And when I do....pray harder for him/her!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blue Screen Nirvana!

The other day I came across a vigilante know the kind that has news and updates about bad boy Microsoft, that we all read and then promptly forget about, when our Internet Explorer hangs or system reboots. Our "memory" is short and hence MS rules the hate waves bobbing up and down as swell and after swell of love-hate currents keep it afloat.

So I was at this site called Windowsvistasucksdotcom. I wanted to leave a comment asking why he uses Vista if it sucks and if he doesn’t use it then why is he grumbling, but comments were disabled.

The home page had brief snippets of articles titled, “Microsoft Sucks” and “Microsoft Sucks Big Time” etc with a clickable link to read the full story. There are people who click these links peoples. Yes, the types that are optimist that for once there will something new here like:

Microsoft is a rat
Microsoft is a donkey!

So here I was like a good Netizen reading up on the big bad wolf that we all hate to love and love to hate, when something caught my attentive eye. It was the layout of the news:

Dell refuses to discontinue Windows XP!

Dell, a major partner of Microsoft has categorically refused to discontinue Windows XP in it PC's and Laptops, due to consumer demand.....

Read more at BoycottNoveldotcom

The article at Boycott Novell also was truncated with:

Read more at CrushLenovodotcom

and then onto

Read more at Appleisnotbigdealdotcom

Read more at DecimateIBMdotcom

Read more at KillInfosysdotcom

Read more at TCSManagerssuckdotcom

Read more at StoneAccenturebecausetheyrejectedmyresumedotcom

Read more at CTSisaslavedriverdotcom

Read more at DownwithNarayanaMurthydotcom

etc etc

Notice anything strange here? Naah? I thought so.

Anyways after clicking through those links I finished reading the entire piece on how Dell refused to give up XP and then I came upon an interesting piece of news at annihilatetheworlddot com. It read....

"Microsoft has irked consumers and corporate customers with the most recent version of its Windows operating system,"

Wow! I thought. All the Windows haters must be dancing with joy right? Vista will kill Windows after Microsoft kills XP!! So I read on breathlessly...

Windows Vista requires, hefty investments in PC hardware and offers a paucity of compelling new features in return. Now there are signs that companies' are reluctant to install Vista so why oh why Steve Balmer are you killing XP *sob* Please don’t do this to us. Pleeassseee. How can you idiots ignore consumer’s demands!!! I hate you all!!! Microsoft sucks. Why do we bother with Windows when we have Linux and Ubuntu. Please Balmer, don’t scrap XP. I am begging you.....*boo hoo*

I couldn’t read a more...there was an awful noise coming from the site. Some .mpeg file I guess. I closed the Window and left. I can’t stand the sound of whining!!

That reminds me of this conversation that took place between me and Sam:

Hi Sam, got a minute?

I am busy da!

But you are doing nothing!!

System rebooting you see


Hey Windows is back again, we can talk now!


Wait...some fatal exception has occurred.


Oh no! Local scripting has been disabled!

You take your time Sam!

My Device Manager is also reporting an error! #$%@ Windows!!!

Why don’t you install Linux or Ubuntu???

Err hmmm ahem my system wont support them you see. These $#@ PC manufacturers are in cohort with the evil empire!! I hate them all!!! Oh thank god, Windows is back again!!

Now I am neither Pro nor Anti Microsoft as I have stated before. But I do believe that people who have a choice don’t crib. And those who crib, really don’t want the choice!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Internal marketing! A case study!

There are some times in your life, that you are faced with challenges that stretch your imagination to the limit. It is a do or die situation! And you cannot afford to lose. One such situation happened to me recently.

I was doing this marketing campaign across several cities last month. As part of the goodies given out during the campaign, we froze on Polo mints as an ideal give away among other things. We ordered several cartons of the same, branded with our logo on the label and felt pretty pleased with ourselves. The campaign was a huge success and we distributed the Polo to everyone and sundry who attended...or did not. After reaching Bangalore, we we were pleasantly unsurprised to find that we had another 100 cartons of Polo left with us. We had gone and ordered too much!! My work station looked like a retail warehouse!!!

While I was collecting my wits about me, the Boss walks past, takes one look at the heaped cartons and promptly collapsed laughing. If looks could kill, I would be in jail now for murdering my Boss! His 'ha ha he he' rang cruelly in my ears after navigating through the hundreds of cartons lying around my desk. Sticking my tongue out at his receding back, I did what I usually do when faced with such grave crisis i.e wonder what the big deal was and promptly got back to work happily ignoring the Polo!

By mid afternoon I was busy playing a rather tough game of Solitaire, my chair sitting precariously on six cartons of Polo, the external monitor of my Laptop atop four cartons of Polo and my laptop on two cartons of Polo. People passing by were chuckling and some really cruel jokes about someone’s breath rend the air which I ignored with practiced ease. Sometimes it got a little too much and I took some quality time out to throw a whole lotta Polo rolls at lotsa peoples retreating backs. Their *ouch* was sweet music to the ears, besides it succeeded in getting rid of some Polo. Very nice!

In the afternoon Boss called me and my teammates for a friendly chat. "Get rid of those Polo guys or I reduce one thousand rupees for every carton from your take home salary heh heh” he chuckled amiably. We looked at each other in dismay! That would make us bankrupt twice over!! We would now have to *gulp* eat dosas from the cart vendor!! “And you cannot throw it in the dust bin understood?” said the Boss, cutting in our reverie. "Remember company policy Anjali" he said wagging his finger "NO WASTAGE!! Now get rid of those cartons!"

With the threat of eating dosas from the cart vendor looming over our heads, we huddled together for a pow wow. People like mints, we reasoned. So we will offer them one. That’s it! Simple! We would have got rid of the cartons by the end of the week and eating dosas from Ballal!!! We were so happy!

Our week went somewhat like this.

Marketing Communications Group Member (MCGM) to colleague: Here’s some Polo for you!
Colleague: Thanks!!!

MCGM: Care for some Polo!
Colleague: Okay!

MCGM: Polo?
Colleague: No Thanks!

MCGM: Pol..
Colleague: NO!!!!

MCGM: Po...
Colleague: *thwack*!!!!

Our plan was in disarray and we were in dismay!! We had succeeded in getting rid of 20 cartons only!! 80 more cartons remained. So we hatched another plan. It was called the “SHOCK AND SEDATE” plan. According to the plan we would wait at the entrance in the morning and when people started trickling into the office, pounce on them, grab them, sedate them and when they woke up at their work stations, they would have their pockets, drawers etc stuffed with Polo!!! Whatay plan! We were so impressed by ourselves!! The plan had to be quickly shelved and renamed “Shock and Awe” when we realized that none of knew anything about sedatives. The Shock and Awe” plan was a success!

Hey Nagraj!! Look! A flying giraffe!!!

We succeeded in popping another 20 cartons this way. That left us with 60 cartons and people closing their mouth before saying "Where?"

Next plan was called the “Allure and Secure” plan. As per the plan we made posters. The posters showed a guy team mate eating Polo and being besieged by girls, (modeled by us gals).The guy seemed to be literally being molested in the posters. The poster attracted a lot of interest and we managed to reduce another 20 cartons from our kitty. However our celebrations were cut short when the Facilities staff rudely pulled our posters down after female colleagues complained of housekeeping guys, A/C mechanics and AMC guys reeking of Polo pacing aggressively before their cubicles.

We were now left with 40 cartons. Boss's deadline of "get rid of that thing before next weekend" was fast approaching. So we did what people in despair do. We are after all the communications team no? So we sent mails with subjects like this our dealers. "TAKE 100 BOXES OF OUR PRODUCT AND GET 10 CARTONS OF POLO ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! TAKE NONE AND YOU STILL GET 10 CARTONS FREE!!"

We got rid off another 20 cartons this way. The move led to a marginal dip in sales, but then who cares? That is the Sales people’s headache no? Duh!

We were now left with 20 cartons and all options closed. People were avoiding us like the plague and even our creditors ran for their lives the moment we said “Polo.”

So we hit upon another novel plan. A contest called “BREATH ANALYZER” was organized. Random people would be hauled up for a breath analyzer test and people with 1000 micro grams of Mint or less in their breath would take home three cartons of Polo. There was a mad scramble for Polo after this announcement and we got rid of another 10 cartons this way.

But we still had 10 cartons of Polo left with us. So we decided we will do what we had hoped we would not have to do. And that is EAT IT OURSELVES!!! Pretty soon we were gagging and had to think of another plan after the fumes had died down. So we generated the "RANDOM ELIMINATION" plan. We met with both failure and success in equal measure.

Security: Madam please swipe your Access card.
MCGM (deliberately hiding access card): I forgot it at home Yeshwanth!
Security: Then you will have to take a Temporary Access Card Madam.
MCGM: Sure! If you take a carton of Polo from me!
Security: Aiyyo!! No Madam! Married man madam! Two wife three children madam! You may go in madam! Tomorrow bring access card okay?
MCGM: @$#%@

MCGM: Mr Marketing Manager (MM), please approve the ads I sent to you yesterday!
MM: I am traveling. Will do it positively next week! Is that fine with you?
MCGM: Sure!! If you agree to take home two cartons of Polo!!
MM: @$#%@.

We got rid of the rest of cartons this way and were celebrating in exhaustion at the cafeteria when a colleague from another group, popped in to ask if we had any spare cartons to give him for one of his events. He needed approximately 100 cartons he said you see.

He never knew what hit him. But when he regained consciousness, he was in the hospital, holding empty cartons of Polo!