Tuesday, 27 March 2007

We're potentially getting into a pretty interesting time

The Apprentice is back tomorrow – check out this year’s crop of unpleasant obnoxious over-achievers, who still don’t get the basic premise of the show, which is that Sir Alan simply doesn’t like youngsters who are likely to be more successful than him, and especially those with more than 3 GCSEs. So he fires them.

On the subject of salesmen, as I barged my way into the station during rush hour this morning, a glossy piece of paper was thrust into my hand by a young buck lurking by the perpetually malfunctioning ticket machine. Such pieces of paper are usually ads for gyms, art fairs, bars, and most often of all the local Conservative party asking commuters to moan to them about the trains (you think I’m kidding?)

Not this time, however – I was the lucky recipient of something called a ‘CareersLife Outlook newsletter’ – written very much in the style of Jehovah’s Witness literature – lots of open ended, existential questions about the meaning of life and whether the reader has ever seriously considered just why the hell their pathetic little existence is so utterly pointless.

And is the same way that seemingly innocuous dinner parties held by the fervently religious result in a call to give your heart to the Lord over pudding, the leaflet invites the reader to ‘discover more’. And so I did.

After digging about on their website for five minutes (and ignoring the irritatingly clichéd quotes from ‘wise men’ such as, um, F.W. Nichol, liberally sprinkled all over it), it turns out that these fellows, who live in a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Portsmouth, have invented some certificates that they sell to their grateful clients. You start as an ICC, progress to ICDF, and if you’re really good, you make it to ILA. You then spent the rest of your life explaining to baffled interviewers what these initials stand for. I’ve forgotten already.

I’m guessing that the ICDFs mentor the ICCs, and the ILAs mentor the ICDFs, meaning the only thing needed to maintain the momentum is an endless supply of fresh candidates for the ICC. Which brings us neatly back to the chaps lurking in the station this morning. Brilliant.

A couple of questions, though:

  • If you accept FG’s central thesis that most jobs are crap, and that they offer a failsafe superhighway to a better lifestyle, why do they spend their time hanging around stations doling out newsletters?

  • Is there the slightest possibility that in order to become an ICC, ICDF and/or ILA, you may just have to pay them just a small sum of money?

  • The website disclaimer claims (or perhaps disclaims) that ‘“FranklinWaugh” is a registered trademark of Franklin Waugh Ltd.’ Yes, well…this isn’t strictly true in a couple of key respects – firstly it isn’t a registered trademark, and secondly, FranklinWaugh Ltd doesn’t exist. As they themselves quote so memorably on their website: "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters" - Albert Einstein.

To finish on a lighter note, here is a strong contender for the most boring wikipedia entry on earth. Any other ideas?


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Anonymous said...

Those guys at the station are still going. Run by a con man called Paul Stephen Waugh (possible name change), Apparently it costs £25k to buy into the inner circle these days and now they are trying to scam money to help kids www.lighthousekidz.org

listen to their leader talk about how successful their business is. FYI franklinwaugh recorded £0 in every one of its accounts.