Colleagues’ unimaginative piss-taking forces man to take voluntary redundancy

When draughtsman Eamon Kelly was given the opportunity to transfer from his employer’s South Croydon headquarters to their office in rural Ludlow, he jumped at the chance.  Making this move would not only entitle Kelly to a substantial pay rise, but also a cleaner, healthier way of life among the fresh air and green rolling hills of Shropshire. 

However a mere eighteen months later and Eamon is putting his new home up for sale and handing in his notice, taking voluntary redundancy and joining the growing ranks of Britain’s unemployed.  But what is the reason for this dramatic U-turn? The answer lies in the unremitting, unchanging and unimaginative mickey-taking from his new colleagues. 

At first Kelly found his workmates to be extremely welcoming and friendly.  Knowing that he was a stranger alone in an unfamiliar town, they went to great lengths to involve him in social activities.  ‘They’d invite me to the local pub on quiz night, or take me out for an Indian now and then – it was great.’ He recalls. 

However things started to turn sour when during one tea break, one of his new-found friends said ‘Hey Trigger, pass the sugar.’ – Trigger being a reference to the intellectually-challenged character from TV’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’.  ‘I’ve always been taller than average and I guess I look a bit like him.’ says Kelly, ‘and of course I’ve got what they call a ‘London’ accent, so I took the remark good naturedly and thought nothing else of it.’

But unfortunately for him the nickname stuck and soon everyone was calling him by this sobriquet.  ‘Ludlow is a small town and the name spread fast.  People I didn’t even know would come up to me and say ‘Hiya Trig.’ It was embarrassing.’

Events took a turn for the worse one afternoon when Eamon was at his desk, concentrating on a project.  ‘One of the lads walked past and shouted ‘get in the car Marlene!” This puzzled Kelly as this was the catchphrase of another ‘Only Fools’ character, Boycie.  ‘That opened the floodgates.’ he continues, ‘I couldn’t go anywhere without someone shouting ‘get in the car Marlene!’, ‘I’m not claiming to be Dukie’s father am I?’ or doing that bloody awful neighing laugh that Boycie has.’

‘It’s drove me mad – I tried my best to keep a level head and point out to them that, a: they’re getting Trigger and Boycie mixed up, and b: why didn’t they think of something else to say? But they didn’t take any notice – all I got was ‘get in the car Marlene!’ – constantly! Day in, day out, every second the same bloody piss-take! Eventually I snapped.  I marched straight into my manager’s office and said that either they went, or I did.’

Unfortunately the majority of the workforce is related to the manager, and so Kelly felt that he had no other option but to leave and applied for voluntary redundancy that very same day.  ‘It was a terrible thing to do – I couldn’t afford to buy a new house in London but I sure as hell wasn’t going to stay in Ludlow.  I had no option but to move back in with my parents in Lambeth while I looked for another job.’

‘At least the lads had the decency to see me off after I’d packed everything.’ he continues, remembering how his ex-colleagues gathered outside his house on the morning he departed.  ‘I thought they must’ve felt guilty or something, until I reached for the car door handle and one of them shouted ‘get in the car Marlene!”

 (Written 6 Mar 2009)

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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