Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Owning up

Every day an unexpected, critical issues rises from the deep requiring hours of concentrated management team debate followed, without hesitation, by one or more key decisions. Yesterday, this issue was the pitiful state of the kitchen - a wasteland of abandoned cups, left-overs, an empty-but-still-beeping microwave smelling of dog, and ten tea bags alone and sagging on the counter top like old ladies camped on a park bench gossiping about absent friends. That was yesterday.

Today the strategic management issue claiming the time I always reserve for such occasions was fines. More precisely, fines associated with speeding or parking offenses. So that we both know what we're talking about: speeding means driving faster than the law allows (clues: things go blurry, the roof-rack blows off, air rushes by so swiftly that you can't hear the radio) and parking offenses means leaving your vehicle stationary in a manner not accepted by people whose lives are brightened by wearing police uniforms and police hats (clues: a wounded dog is stuck to your front right wheel, you are upside down in a garden, looking around you seem to be in a department store and your seat-belt is still fastened).

Yes - rental consultant person - you are driving on work time. But - rental consultant - you still need to obey the law. Drive too fast, then own up to it. Kill a kitten while attempting to reverse into tiny space, then accept the consequences. Fines come in centrally to the office with time and place and date of the offense stipulated. The name of the consultant is not stated, naturally, as the crime is frequently recorded by camera and the camera cannot not quite capture the name and address printed in tiny letters on your driving license.

One of Charlotte's many thankless tasks as office manager is to quiz everyone on receiving a another traffic fine by post (in official envelop) from the local authority. Blank looks. Denial. Finger pointing. Checking the car-reservation agenda has little value as consultants deliberately scribble unreadable junk in there - enough to claim the car if in dispute, but just too little to be able to deny having used it if there is a fine to be paid.

If there's a doubt, then fair enough. It's natural not to want to pay a fine if you only 'probably' are guilty. But if confronted with incontrovertible evidence - even where the colleague who was sitting next to you shops you - then raised eye-brows and mock shock make my blood bubble.

My blood is bubbling.

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