I was in a shop yesterday, a proper shop, with a counter and a man serving.
It was an electrical shop, so the transactions were not exactly brief, not like being in the newsagents where you just pick up the organ of record of your choice and hand it over to be scanned, make your payment and leave, not even having to indulge in the social niceties if you so choose.
And it wasn’t a big superstore shop, just a little independent electrical goods shop in a little independent market town.
It was quite busy, there was someone purchasing a new T.V., then a chap waiting to buy a specific type of bulb, me browsing for a new mixer and another woman clutching a packet of vacuum cleaner dust bags as she spoke on her mobile phone.
She wasn’t speaking quietly, people on mobile phones never do with the possible exception of my youngest bro, Willy Mumbles, who tucks his chin into his neck whilst holding the mic part away from his mouth and out into the permanent Lake District westerly gale howling around his head; and the signal is forever disappearing behind the next fell looming on the horizon or else being eaten by the sheep or something, resulting in conversations which consist of, on my part, “Sorry, didn’t get that, you’re breaking up, I can’t hear you, say again, did what?! and so on and so forth.
Obviously I can’t tell you what his part of the conversation goes like as I haven’t got a bloody clue.
Heaven help us when they actually get rail transport up there, I may have to break off all contact with him if he starts insisting on phoning from trains, which is, as I understand it, the de rigeur place to use one’s mobile.
But back to the lady who didn’t have a quiet voice, didn’t have her chin tucked into her neck and was certainly not exposed to a howling westerly gale, even in the westernmost part of South Yorkshire.
As we waited we couldn’t help but overhear, and the overhearing sparked our curiosity and pretty soon we were all listening to the one side of the conversation we were privy to.
And it became clear that the woman in question was actually interviewing a prospective employee!!!
Now I know some firms have started to do preliminary phone interviews, presumably because everyone these days has got 24 A* GCSEs, half a dozen Btecs that count as 3.33′ A Levels, a degree in Sports Theory and i-Tunes from Usedtobeapoly University and a personal statement that starts off, “Ever since setting fire to my pyjamas at the age of eight I have had an abiding interest in….”. It’s a way to sort out the wheat from the chav, as it were.
But I have always imagined that these interviews were conducted from an office somewhere. You know, a place with four walls, a window or two if the occupant is lucky, and definitely a door that can be closed, to signal to others that the occupier is involved in something that requires no disruption or interuption, no background chat or office high jinx, no unsuitable ears flapping as what is being discussed is private and confidential.
I never for one moment thought that such interviews could be carried out with the interviewer blabbing away loud and clear in a public place, where others are present and unable not to overhear.
(The candidate had to give a month’s notice, which was a bit of a problem as the interviewer was hoping to appoint somebody who would be up and running before Christmas.)
It was at this point I was sorely tempted to shout out,
“This person has no discretion.
You really don’t want to work for this person or their organisation.
You are so important to this woman she’s actually buying dust bags for the vacuum cleaner as you speak.
Plus there are four other people here who have nothing to do with this woman or her organisation and we now know quite a lot about you so just supposing I was actually your current boss you would shortly be finding yourself unemployed, not least for conducting your personal business on my time.”
But being the well brought up young lady that I am I kept my gob shut, just indulged in mutual eye rolling with my fellow customers who were not discussing private and confidential matters on their mobile phones.
But then when I got home I read an article in the paper claiming that bosses were a bit pissed off as people being interviewed by phone were likely to be using a keyboard, eating a meal, taking the dog for a walk or even using the toilet. EEuugh.
To all the people whose manners are so poor, interviewers and interviewees alike, all I can say is that you deserve each other.
Anti social networking
Field and Country