CNPS numbers spotted 5 (910).
Jeremy, my director and me went down to the Shepherd's Bush Argos shop today to get me a task. The idea is that Hercules's labours were set by the king of Argos and so I'd decided that so I wouldn't be setting all my own tasks I'd get one from the manager of Argos.
When we got down there we spoke to a guy of about 22 in a tie and asked to speak to the manager.
"Which one?" he asked. Apparently there are lots of things that need managing in Argos. "I'm one of the managers," he told us proudly.
"Well can we speak to the main manager?"
"He's not in today. What's it about?"
I hesitated and said, "I need to ask him a favour."
"What is it? Can I help?"
I told him what I was doing and he said, "Hold on, I know who'd be good for this," and disappeared through a door.
An even younger guy in a hooded sweat shirt then came through the door almost as if he had been pushed. He looked confused, "What's this about?" he asked, "Why have I got a bad feeling about this?"
"Are you one of the managers?" I asked, surprised at his slovenly attire. He didn't even have a name badge nor nothing.
"I'm the stock manager," he replied, less proudly than the first guy. I suspected he was slightly ashamed. As stock manager of Argos he had the advantage that he was usually hidden away, with the stock, managing it. Now he had been projected forward into the almost daylight of the actual shop.
I told him what I was doing and his brain immediately set into motion. "Can it be anything?" he asked me. "Yes," I replied, "it can be a big thing or it might be funny just to send me out to get you some fags or something."
"So it can be something really humiliating?"
I was beginning to wonder if this had been such a good idea.
"It can't be anything illegal though I suppose."
Jesus, what was he going to have me do. Have someone wiped out? Maybe he had enemies at the nearest Littlewoods store.
"I can't think of anything off the top of my head."
"Do you want some time to think about it?" I asked. He said he did and me and Jeremy went for a coffee.
I was a little nervous about what this evil man might come up with for me. I had really been hoping that this would be a quick task and that it would be over by lunch-time and I'd be one labour nearer to completion. I suspected he might get me to build a wall in his garden or something. Or strip naked and punch a policeman.
When we got back to the store the stock manager had disappeared. Eventually the original guy saw us and said, "We've been on the phone to head office and we're not allowed to do it."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You'll have to get on to the PR people at head office and ask them to give you permission.
This was turning into a nightmare. I thought this one would be easy. That's why I'd left it so late.
I rang the PR people and they asked me to email over details of the show. Which I did. But they haven't got back to me yet. I have a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. Now the corporate side of this has got involved it's bound to go wrong if it happens at all.
I think if they refuse permission I will just spend ten minutes slagging off Argos for not having a sense of humour.
And I thought doing 12 Herculean tasks would be easy.