"BOSS, the ANZ monthly business confidence survey questionnaire's here."

"Oh crap, not again — don't those people ever let up? Well, whose turn to fill it in this time?"

"Well, it'd normally be Joe-Joe's, but he's in Phuket on holiday, remember?"

"Damn … But tell me this, Steamy, how can he afford holidays in Phuket on the money I pay him?"

Advertisement

"Boss, you gave him a 40k raise just a couple of months back. You said he'd earned every cent for his work on the new driver contracts, so our company drivers now pay for their own uniforms, vehicles and diesel, and don't get paid for the non-driving bits like sorting and loading."

"Oh yeh, that was a real nifty piece of work — no wonder the country's doing so well with smart cookies like Joe-Joe on board. Okay, so who else can fill in this blimmin' ANZ thing?"

"Well boss, it'd usually be Justine's turn, but Justine's on leave in KL for a bust-and-bum reconstruction, so she's stitched up for a while."

"Steamy, I'm pleased to know we have good level-headed personnel like Justine on board who know how to take care of the basics. Salt-of-the-earth people like her minimise company slack with quality control from the bottom up. No wonder our figures are cranking."

"Okay boss, with Justine away then normally Trevor would do the survey, but Trevor's busy telling the shop floor workers how half of them are for the chop, and why the other half have to increase production by 50 per cent to compensate."

"Wow, this is not our day, Steamy … but Trevor's role is crucial to the company's continuing success — we'd better let him do his thing.

"How staff have trouble understanding why some of them and their families will now have to start sleeping in their vehicles I truly do not comprehend, given that the alternative could negatively impact our hard-working shareholders' dividends at the end of their hard-working day."

"Totally agree, boss, but it's certainly handy that Trevor's skills as an ex cage-boxer can take care of the occasional ingrate who takes exception to proven policy strategy.
"Now usually our office cleaner, Clarice, steps up for the survey if Trevor's otherwise engaged ... "

Advertisement

"What's the problem, Steamy?"

"Boss, Clarice says she's just had a gutsful of them. She says the questionnaire is so simplistic and generalised it's an insult to her intelligence.

"On top of that, she says that it has no implicit safeguards against institutional or personal bias, so the whole exercise is a complete waste of time and energy."

"You know what, Steamy, sometimes I think that that woman's more intelligent than me, even though I've got the best degree money could buy from Trump University."

"Oh well, I guess I can fill out the blasted thing myself. So what should I say, boss?"

"Steamy, I thought I'd made myself clear — mark everything way down."

"But boss, you said business confidence was booming."

"That's right, Steamy, but I had an argument with the missus this morning, and I've got to take it out on someone.

"Anyway, the surveys can't be as bad as Clarice says — surely they're sanctioned by ANZ top brass. By the way, who exactly is ANZ top dog?"

"Well, boss, New Zealand ANZ is owned by ANZ Australia, whose board chairman is John Key."

"You mean, THAT John Key?"

"Yes, boss."

"Say no more — Clarice is even brainier than I thought. That means only one thing, Steamy."

"She gets a raise?"

"Hell, no — get Trevor to give her the chop before she takes over our jobs."