The Attendant

There has been a deluge of visitors owing to peak production season. It started with the visit of a Middle-eastern trade-intermediary. Then an Australian came. A Swiss Trade partner is expected to visit middle of next week. Not to forget, the Mexicans are expected to arrive in two weeks’ time (“Mexican Delight”).

As most of the existing over-seas clients are being liaised by B, I am not called to attend these meetings. The customer is first taken to CEO’s chamber. The B and VP who would have arrived from the factory specifically for these meetings will wait for CEO’s call. After B and CEO join the meeting, it will go on for hours.

Intermittently, the CEO will call me on the intercom with various questions.

It does remind me of various comedy movies that I have seen. The comic-conman in the movie will use a dead phone to impress the visitor and the potential victim sitting in front of him. This scene never failed to produce laughter especially during Black and White movie era.

In the modern age, the same scene is written in a different way. The conman will call a number. A crony in the other end will receive the call. The conman will speak into the phone receiver and the crony will mutter a few laugh-evoking dialogues on the other end. The victim will give out the usual expression of having got impressed.

“I called a few minutes back…where were you?dont you realize the meeting is going on…you should be ready for back-up…tell me….when are the certification body visiting us”

Fact 1: Even if I was not on my desk, he could have reached my mobile phone to speak to me. But CEO is particular about talking on inter-com only. By mistake, I walked out of my cabin without seeking his assent to go to the wash room.

Fact 2: He very well knows that the certification body is visiting on next Monday.

“Remember we had discussed about company PQR the other day….how many tonnes of wheat starch are they producing?”

Fact 1: We never discussed about company PQR.

Fact 2: Wheat starch is not even remotely linked to our existing business.

Fact 3: I have no idea whatsoever on the volumes of Starch Industry. If he would like to show off in front of the American, he should do it alone. He need not call me on intercom and have a fake discussion to support his claim that he is expert on trends across various industries.

“when the certification body comes for audit, tell them that we would like to have the certificate as if it is renewed from the date it last expired (in august)…..no no…I wont accept your argument that we have changed to a new certification agency and they wont give certificate from retrospective effect….”

Fact 1: He would have accepted the Australian’s request without considering the practicability. After talking to me, he would have mentioned to the Australian proudly “I have spoken to my manager and we will get the certificate with the back date…don’t worry….your requirement will be fulfilled”

Fact 2: The previous agency which certified us was unrecognized and illegal. They were untraceable when we wanted to renew the certification.

“What are present prices being quoted by Chinese?”

Fact 1: The Chinese company clearly knew that we are a competitor to them.

Fact 2: The curt email received from them read “We can’t quote prices to you”

Fact 3: I can’t say Fact1 and Fact 2 on the intercom, as the CEO as per his usual habit would have switched on the speaker phone in his intercom equipment and the Australian visitor would be hearing the conversation.

The Conman scene may be an exaggeration, but what CEO does during a business meeting with the help of an inter-com is no less. The CEO uses a Phone-talk either to divert the issue that’s being discussed or to avoid taking a view on the matter or, most importantly, to show off in front of the visitor.

The inter-com buzzed one last time by late afternoon.

“…………………………………….”

Fact 1: He does not expect any response. (This fact will replace all the facts posted under each dialogue).

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