Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Kickbacks] How To Use Your Position To Get Kickbacks

Posted by Lex Fear on February 19, 2006

Two weeks to go till The Clown departs. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post how we joked for a long time he was working on his own business from home when he called in to tell us he was “working from home”- which turned out he was! Well another joke became reality last week.

Since The Clown handed in his resignation he’s been using up his holidays (naturally) and his sick days (yes that’s right- sick days), and generally any days he has been working, he has been using up in customer visits. He’s even been asked to be in the office to hand over major accounts and projects, but it seems he sees it as vital to visit as many customers as possible, rather than us who will be taking over with the customers.

It’s been a private joke between us desk-based monkeys that he’s simply having a laugh and not at all interested in doing any hand-over. That he’s simply visiting customers for a bit of a chin-wag and probably promote his own business. Last week I had the privilege of attending a visit to one of our large (and difficult) customers with him, and discovered this was indeed the case. This is a well known household name company so due to sensitivities I can’t mention any specifics, so I will call this customer [Blue Pencils].

The Clown took me round a number of different work areas within Blue Pencils site. Each area we visited he was well in with the managers, security staff and important people. Aside from one important serious meeting which lasted an hour (out of a 6 hour day), it was one big coffee morning. Each area we walked into he would walk into the office, greet and ask for a cup of tea/coffee, even at one stage making his own way to the kettle and putting it on himself. He would then devote all of 10 minutes explaining the role of the team, and a full hour or two, to chatting with the team/manager, telling stories and talking about his new business (showing them his website and asking them to order stock).

Now some background information. When I have a problem and communication breaks down with a customer, I usually have to ask The Clown to step in and bring the customer round. Blue Pencils was the exception, he would just never back me up and continually make me out to be in the wrong not helping one bit and not really helping me to do my job (which would be to offer correct support). Blue Pencils is fussy and it’s a big account, but there was always something fishy about the way he would bend over and let them ram it up our arses.

My suspicions were confirmed when we visited the 3rd area and met with his favourite manager. Part way through banter he indicated that something he had at home (a product our customer makes) had stopped working. This prompted his buddy to enquire as to whether he wanted a new one. Feigning surprise and modesty he declined the offer but the overly accommodating manager pushed and so he accepted. Coming back with one off the shelf from the downstairs warehouse, the manager then enquired as to what else The Clown needed. He suddenly started rattling off numerous items and add-ons and they then both agreed that The Clown would make his way back over at the end of the day to pick up the extra gear.

These were not just cheap marketing knock-offs, we’re talking expensive stock, stuff which their paying customer would pay more than £100 for. I was pretty much dumbfounded. Here we were in one of the most secure sites in the UK and my manager was walking around with this stuff in his pockets (though all other items on this occasion had to be signed off by the manager for security, as they were too big to carry in your pocket). It turns out that he gets these little gifts on every visit and amazingly has never been pulled by security, so much for their security.

Overall, I think in 6 hours we did about 1 hour and 40 minutes work. The meeting itself didn’t actually resolve any previous issues, it only helped to put faces to assholes.

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