I am totally in love with The New Yorker. It makes me feel like I am still in touch with New York, which I once thought of as My City but now only actually visit once or twice a year. It has reminded me, even during the dark days, that Americans can be perspicacious, edgy, progressive.
Years ago, I used to buy issues sporadically from the WH Smith in King's Cross station when I visited friends in north London. I didn't know of anywhere else that sold it and I couldn't afford a subscription. I cherished every issue, reading it a little bit at a time, savouring each article.
When I moved in with the wonderful man who unaccountably agrees to share space with me, he surprised me with a subscription. One day, a New Yorker came through the door of our new home, addressed to me, just like that. I was delighted. So now they come regularly.
And it turns out I'm completely crap at being a normal person reading a magazine. I feel a little oppressed by the relentlessness of their weekly arrival. So they pile up. I don't want to treat them thoughtlessly, thanklessly, so I kind of persist in keeping them for best, for occasion reading. This is crazy poverty-thinking neurosis. Their very abundance and reliability makes me simultaneously anxious that a) there are so many of them and b) that I must treat them like there aren't enough. See how that's crazy right there?
There are small piles of them in various corners of the house. I kid you not when I say that sometimes I crack a fresh-looking issue at bedtime and get halfway through it when I recognise an item and realise that I have read it before.
So last night, I was reading this article (yes from last September shut up). Do you know about Zappos? If you are American or need to know stuff about management and customer service, you will almost certainly have heard of them. They will send you as many shoes as will fit through your front door with free shipping, free returns, a whole year to decide if you want to return them and customer service that regularly puts them in the lists of top customer-service-oriented retailers. (If they could do this internationally, that would be some customer service right there.)
When I am in the US I like to order stuff from them in various sizes and colours, enjoy the enormous delivery of shoe boxes (oh joy!), try it all on and if nothing is quite right, just send it all back. The cheapest of thrills, that.
So in the middle of reading this article, I had a momentary daydream about working in their huge warehouse, imagining being part of the big team, enjoying the positivity, the can-do-ness, the high-fiving, the bowls of popcorn and nuts, the, er, five hour Samaritan-like phone calls (well, they all seem cheerful enough, but isn't that kind of a questionable expectation to have of someone who works in a call centre? and what if you need to go to the loo?) ... the high-fiving ... the ... uh ... bell-ringing ... the...snacks (do you know what they find in those?)
God, wouldn't it be awful, I mean really really awful? I think it would just push me off the precipice of selfish and grumpy and a little spoiled and lazy right over the edge into pure essence of evil.
A little history here if you don't mind. About a hundred years ago I worked in a hostel for homeless people and was told off by my boss for sighing too much, and this was in London, where standards for being shitty with each other are at a higher than normal level. And also? It was a homeless hostel. And I was too emo to work there. So I'm guessing that, even all these years later, a super-cheerful work atmosphere maybe wouldn't be the best fit. Oh, and did I mention that I actually did once apply to volunteer for the Samaritans and they turned me down? Even after I got through the assessment sessions and was interviewed, and also taking into consideration that they accept something like 75% of applicants. Yeah, so there's that.
Apparently, Zappos offer new applicants $2000 to quit to...I don't really know, test their mettle? Weed out the unsuitables?
I could use $2000.