Mankind has been through a hell of a lot over the last 2000 years or so. We really have had it all; disease, war, famine, genocide, natural disasters, Christmas. As a collective unit we have scaled Everest with nothing more than a piece of rope and some mittens, we have ventured to the poles and we have sent men to the moon, allegedly. We now have cures for diseases that were a death sentence only 15 years ago. Billions of humans have died over the years all in the name of the greater good. What a tragedy to know that your ancestors who died at Waterloo or fighting the Zulu’s did so in the name of incompetence.
The world is a changing place and it seems that the more we progress technologically the more stupid we become. In the old days, Generals could win wars with crudely drawn maps and soldiers could defeat German machine guns with sticks. Men were proud and tough, skinning a rabbit and eating it for dinner was the only way a British solider knew how to survive during the Peninsula war. These days, grown men go for pedicures, spray tanning and our only chance of winning a war rests solely on the hopes of our adversaries’ incompetence. We used to invent things like the steam locomotive, the automobile and the light-bulb; but not any more. Today we like inventing stupid things designed to make another mans life as miserable and as un-necessary as possible, presumably in the name of accountancy.
This weekend – between modelling in the desert and watching a dirty, filthy, scummy, plastic, stinking, odious, abhorrent, repulsive, vile, contemptible, despicable, shameful, wicked, loathsome football franchise beat my beloved AFC Wimbledon – I stayed in a top 5 star hotel in the nation’s capital city. The day was going quite well, sitting by the pool, lunch, reading a book and so on but then I got thirsty. This is where the problem started.
Dry mouthed and parched I gingerly approached the poolside bar. As I was to be driving later that day I could not have a beer, so opted to whet my whistle with something alien; a soft drink. Things were going quite well, I was asked by the bartender if I would like anything, why else did he think I was there? I played it safe and kindly asked the man for a 7-Up. The chosen refreshment was in my sight, in the glass door fridge directly behind him. The man instead walked off and returned some seconds later empty handed. He then looked at the fridge and upon spotting the 7-Up proceeded to take it to the counter-top.
I said to the man that there was no need for a glass, ice or a slice of fruit, but that the can on its own would be sufficient. Still, however, he attempted to pour it into a glass with ice. No matter. I was just trying to save him some clearly needed time. He then asked if I would like to pay for the item. Since I can’t afford to be a thief and subsequently put in the same bracket as Pete Winkelman of the MK Dons, I replied saying that I would prefer to pay, not steal.
Things were starting to get worse. The man went over to his point-of-sale and went about entering much data. I felt that he assumed I was also going to be paying for everyone else at the pool too; he was pressing an awful lot of buttons. After several minutes two copies of my bill were presented to me in a neat, leather book wallet together with a pen – which wasn’t complementary – and some promotional material. The cost of this solitary can of 7-Up was AED 15, that’s just short of £3. No matter, these 5 star hotels seem to be beyond the law of rational reason when it comes to such things and one simply needs to swallow it, if you’ll pardon the pun.
The only suitable denomination of money I had about my person was a AED 20 note, this meant that I would be furnished with AED 5 in change. I placed the note neatly in the leather book wallet and waited for the man to come back. Once he had finished chopping up the ice cubes he returned to me and took the payment back over to his point-of-sale. Again he proceeded to input lots of data into his computer and eventually, as if by magic, the till draw popped open.
To make sure everything was in order, and that the point-of-sale had done its job correctly, he got out the calculator. After three attempts it became clear that I was indeed owed AED 5 in change so he placed five, shiny coins into the leather book wallet, together with 2 copies of my bill before it had been paid and 2 copies of my bill after it had been paid. The pen had been removed but the promotional material remained. I scooped up the 5 coins, reluctantly said thank you and walked off leaving the leather book wallet and its contents there on the bar.
By the time I went to sip my 7-Up it had evaporated and I was 73 years old. Who on God’s green Earth decided that this process of buying a drink was a good idea? Identify yourselves to us now. Aha! The accountants! Well, the finance directors to be more precise. I know several accountants and they are nice, normal people. Put one in the boardroom however and what you have is a load of lazy bastards who are simply getting the underpaid barman to do the maths for them.
The whole escapade took several long minutes and I contemplated drowning the poor man at one point. On the customer satisfaction ratio this was on a par with finding a dead horse on your hotel bed or having the concierge hack off one of your extremities. It was insufferable. In my local Abu Jamal Grocery buying such a thing takes less than 5 seconds, why? It’s because the shopkeeper doesn’t fanny around with computers. No, he simply presses one button on the till, it opens, he puts my cash in and hands me my change back. I’m out of the door before I even went in and his books still balance at the end of the month.
Our forefathers fought for a world free of tyranny but it would seem that the very people they were fighting for – you and I – have betrayed them and embraced the tyranny of the accountants. That’s the scary thing, accountants are running the world these days and their number one weapon, the computer, cannot be done away with.
If the computers went away we might be back to skinning rabbits for dinner and war on horse-back, but at least we wouldn’t be thirsty.