Wednesday, 16 March 2016


A Bit of a Pickle

The setting is an ornate corner office rich with polished rainforest wood and antique furniture. If the mechanized vertical window coverings were open you could almost see Europe, Canada for sure if you looked to the left. This aerie is the uppermost of the toppermost. There is exercise equipment, a fully stocked bar and an alarmingly large statue of a creepy corporate mascot proffering a tray of double-decker hamburgers. The following transcript is a meGeoff world exclusive and was obtained through the inadvertent courtesy of one of the allied Five Eyes signals intelligence agencies; somebody pocket dialed their new Apple iPhone 6S.

Administrative Assistant: Mistress?

Chief Executive Officer: Come in, Minion. We might as well get down to it. What was Wall Street’s verdict on last quarter’s results?

AA: Ah, gee, below analysts’ expectations. Our same store performance here at home is perceived as stagnant rather then steady, although that disappointment was offset somewhat by our increasing overseas sales in Third World markets.

CEO: And how has this affected our shareholders?

AA: Share prices have dropped a few points since the announcement and media subsequent reaction.

CEO: What are we really talking about here?

AA: About one or two cents per unit.

CEO: Oh for fuck’s sake; who the fuck is Citibank or Goldman-Sachs to tell me how to run my company? They don’t sell fucking hamburgers, do they? They’d have to buy them from us, wouldn’t they? Who fed the families living in their cars at a reasonable price during the Wall Street-induced 2008 recession, fuck me, for fuck’s sake!

AA: Yes, Mistress.

CEO: Just for fun, tell me what they’re saying.

AA: Ah, gee, there are a couple of suggestions out there. One is that we expand our menu offerings in the wake of increased and varied competition in the quick service industry.

CEO: Really? So, we’re to sell meals and beverages we’re neither known for nor good at? We’re to compete with non-competitors? Mocha soy lattes to Starbucks denizens? Hero sandwiches to Subway customers? Change our store interiors and re-jig our proven food production line?

AA: Ah, essentially yes, I guess. The other is growth through acquisition, perhaps an unfriendly takeover of a synergistic complementary competitor.

CEO: Synergy means a clash of entrenched corporate cultures. So then we start closing redundant stores and putting people out of work. Piss off every engaged consumer who, for whatever idiotic reason, likes us on Facebook. Genius. Look at Sobeys’ buy of Safeway up in Canada. Both banners have lost customers. They can’t sell ice to hockey players. And that scenario would never dilute the value of our brand, would it? Mixing brands and logos? Our brand image only took 60 years to assemble, painstakingly, a nudge or a suggestion at a time. So fuck it? Chuck it through somebody else’s drive-thru window, is that what they want?

AA: Ah, Mistress? We could always do the usual and slash our own middle management? Double the survivors’ workloads while adding hidden tasks to their existing job descriptions? HR's all over it. We’d recoup those pennies in the eyes of the analysts.

CEO: Put the pennies on their eyes! Minion, you know more about Hamburgers 4 U than I do. We can’t keep getting rid of the knowledge base that actually makes this company function. Fuck me.

AA: Yes, Mistress.

CEO: Stop it! That was just an expression, not an order. White male sexist little monkey. Christ, we’re talking about two cents a share here, maybe one. Do up a press release. Say something like we stand by the best hamburger in the world. Add the standard bullshit about how we work with our vendors, no, partners, especially American farmers, for locally sourced, organic, quality – you know, valued customers, loyalty, the usual blah-blah-blah.

AA: Will do. And one other thing? There’s the board meeting tonight.

CEO: Thanks for the reminder, I totally forgot. What’s the main item on the agenda?

AA: Ah, gee, endemic childhood obesity in America and our role in perpetuating it. In terms of litigation, we’re right up there with the tobacco and soda companies. Do we settle or go to court?

CEO: You know, Minion, one of the reasons I’ve always been content with sustained, status quo, same store sales is because nobody’s supposed to eat six hamburgers a day. Hamburgers 4 U has always been positioned as a treat, a time for families to get together. We’ve never been about a couple of extra cents for stakeholders. Why the fuck don’t these people sue RCA for inventing colour TV or Microsoft for X-Box? Who makes couches and Oreo cookies? And Apple; by the way, where is my iPhone? Oops, I’m sitting on it. Anyway, those fucking parents should sue themselves for raising a waddling generation of fucking anemic diabetics who never went outside and played ball. Nobody takes any responsibility for their own actions or worse, their own inactions. I am so fucking tired of victims. Everybody’s a fucking victim.

AA: Yes, Mistress.

CEO: Sorry, lost it there for a moment. Fuck, Minion, ain’t this America? Nobody sues Colt or Smith and Wesson, just a hamburger chain, like we’re the fucking bad guys. We sell tasty, reasonably priced specialty food; they sell death. Fuck.

AA: Ah, gee, yes, Mistress. Of course the sodium levels in our meals are abnormally high. And we do partner with film franchises and toy companies from time to time.

CEO: That press release? Add this: tell the world we’ll add more sugar to all of our condiments, add pink slime, cereal and steroids to our beef, guarantee traces of nuts in everything we serve, we hope unsupervised small children will choke on bits of plastic and we’ll upsize all of our fountain soda containers. Fuck ‘em all.

AA: Ah, gee, maybe Mistress would like to take a moment and contemplate Her last instruction? May I suggest an internal e-mail which perhaps I could afterward arrange to have wiped from the company servers?

CEO: Brilliant, Minion. You are the brains of the operation. Give me a cigarette. Thanks, it’s lit, yes. Oh my, Christ, that’s good. I dream about the day when we’ll be able to sell cigarettes, alcohol and pot alongside the world’s best hamburger. Think of it, Minion! They’d be fiddling with themselves on Wall Street.

AA: I think they already do, Mistress.

CEO: Anything else?

AA: One last thing. There are concerns on social media regarding the gender equality of the washrooms in our stores. Some people are confused, a very small percentage.

CEO: Oh Christ, you’re not making this up, are you?

AA: Ah, gee, alas, no.

CEO: All right, all right, let’s just put a generic toilet sign on all of the doors. Done.

AA: But some of the washrooms will have urinals, some won’t.

CEO: Fuck ‘em. I don’t care if you stand, squat or sit to piss. If you gotta go, you make do. Put a sign or two in every toilet telling everybody to clean up after themselves and to leave the space tidy for the next user. Flush! Who the fuck cares about anything else?

AA: I’ll tack on a genderless washroom initiative to the official press release, shall I?

CEO: Yes, great idea. The press’ll eat that shit up. Oh, and tell them we’re all about free run eggs too or whatever the fuck they are. Happy bacon! So, we’re done?

AA: Oh, I’m sorry, Mistress, I forgot to mention that Donald Trump is still calling about his proposed Make America Great Again Signature Halal Cabo Trump Fiesta Burger. He keeps going on about orange American cheese. It’s ‘great’ or ‘huge’ or something, like his brand of steaks and vodka.

CEO: Tell him to fuck off permanently and leave us alone. Actually, check that. I’ll phone him myself. I need to blow off some steam or I’ll get violent.

AA: Ah, gee, I’ll just see myself out then, shall I?

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