Those old service sector jobs (speculative?)

According to no less an authority than Danny Baker, this story is absolutely true.

Harrods in the sixties employed someone to be sacked- surely the best job in the world.

Apparently  the employee was paid to sit among the boxes on Harrods top-floor smoking his pipe and reading the Sporting Life. From time to time a bell would ring and he would be summoned to a department where an irate customer was  being mollified by the Head of the Department.

Let us say today that Lady Ponsonby-Waffles has discovered one of the precious china teacups she recently purchased is chipped.

The Department Head greets our friend with “Lady Ponsonby-Waffles is a most valued customer, your failure to check the quality of her china cups has led to her current predicament, you sir are fired”

Despite Lady Ponsonby-Waffles pleas for mercy, the Head cannot be swayed. Our friend slopes disconsolately to the exit. Lady Ponsonby-Waffles drops her complaint convinced to the store’s determination to enforce the highest standards. Our friend, once passing the Department’s exit, slips back to his Sporting Life and his Pipe, to await the next occasion he would be called upon to be sacked.

Here is the link from Henry Tapper, via Steve Stuart-Williams.

Comments

I'm skeptical about this. This is exactly the plot of a French novel by Daniel Pennac called "Au Bonheur des Ogres", translated into English as The Scapegoat (Harvill Press, 1999). While it's possible that Pennac got the idea from the same source as Danny Baker, it's also quite possible that Pennac's novel was misremembered some years later by Danny Baker as being about Harrods. Anyway, why is the story being reported without a link to the original source? Maybe time for Marginal Revolution to start employing fact-checkers?

That would spoil the fun.

Why employ them when you're doing the work for free?

I look forward to to the sacking of one of Tyler's team who made this grevious error.

At least one businessman was using that ploy when Drucker was young:

https://books.google.com.br/books?id=GyIuDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT255&lpg=PT255&dq=“peter:drucker”+”charge+of+complaints”&source=bl&ots=6YA-UeMPxf&sig=ycPEN0eo_fEpI64aHphiuj1tn0I&hl=pt-BR&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj5nfyPivjZAhXJGJAKHQ70BdoQ6AEwAHoECAAQAQ#v=onepage&q=”peter%3Adrucker

I dunno. When I google Lady Ponsonby-Waffles the top hit is MR. And Google image searches for waffles.

That is likely because MR puts a lot of time and effort (one could even surmise the regular scheduling of post is just one part of it) into being as google friendly as possible. And reaping the rewards.

You leave me speechless. Either you've not had your morning coffee, and thus don't realize that "names have been changed to protect the innocent", or this is an attempt at exceptionally dry humor. I'm going back to my breakfast - eggs and toast - no waffles. Oh, and coffee.

But from a flawlessly unchipped cup, one hopes.

https://books.google.com.br/books?id=GyIuDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT255&lpg=PT255&dq="peter:drucker"+"charge+of+complaints"&source=bl&ots=6YA-UeMPxf&sig=ycPEN0eo_fEpI64aHphiuj1tn0I&hl=pt-BR&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj5nfyPivjZAhXJGJAKHQ70BdoQ6AEwAHoECAAQAQ#v=onepage&q="peter%3Adrucker"%20"charge%20of%20complaints"&f=false

Danny Baker is a comedian. This story isn't told for the truth of the story but for irony. I suspect that Cowen, who appreciates irony as much as anyone, saw in this story our own Harrod's and the sacking of Mr. McCabe by the "justice" department head, Mr. Sessions, whose job it is to "enforce the highest standards" and thereby satisfy the "customer", Trump and his base, this despite protests from the base not to sack the poor Mr. McCabe a day before earning his pension.

Now, THERE's a thought. I like it.

Maybe the 'customer' is the rank and file at the FBI. They are probably more miffed at the bad press that the likes of Comey and McCabe have brought on than anyone else.

The best thing about Trump (not a high bar) is watching his minions try to spin his crap into gold. I wish he would just kill a hooker on tape so TMC could argue it was a Hillary-funded setup.

No Trumper loves McCabe, who sat in on conspiratorial meetings against the President with Stryzok and Girlfriend, who sat on Weiner's laptop for weeks apparently until NY FBI took it above his head, and whose wife received 500k from Hilbot Mcauliffe. So your comment really works better directed toward the firings of Bannon, Tillerson, etc.

Rather, a national treasure.

file under "Too good to check"

The Trump administration needs one of these people. Not known to the President, of course. Just someone that the staff can summon whenever the President is in a sacking mood.

I think the Trump administration needs at least one person who is not one of these people.

Indeed, the store is dedicated to shoddy quality. Suppose they invested a full person's salary towards achieving perfect quality? While they may still have complaints it's hard to believe they wouldn't also see any increased sales due to their improved quality.

This strategy, though, depends on the loyal customer not jumping ship over repeated failures of quality. Needless to say, the moment she returns a 2nd time and sees the same chap getting sacked the game is up.

+1
It may already have, but we will find out in 3 or 7 years.

Sounds like a variation of "The Bedbug Letter," which an ancient urban legend.

The earliest attestation seems to be the “professional fired man” in a story in the Printer’s Devil, March 1910, itself sourced to the New York Sun. Research by Barry Popik and Quote Investigator tracking down “The customer is always right”.

I'm picturing Basil Fawlty and Manuel.

Loved the story. My mother used to shop in Harrods in the 1950s and 60s. Unfortunately I can't ask her whether she was one of the shoppers who got him sacked - she would be 103 now if she had lived. She liked JP Priestly, so probably would not. (An Inspector Calls.)

No less an authority than Danny Baker

He'd be amused by that.
On obscure vinyl, and the lyrics of Steely Dan, perhaps.

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