The tools of my trade

June 12, 2008

I cannot get by without my BlackBerry Pearl (WARNING: PDF). It’s a nice size (looks like a cellphone) but manages to contain all my email as well, although my 40MB inbox limit is a sonnofabitch and causes me more grief than it’s worth. If everyone in my department handed over $10 we could probably afford, Oh I Don’t Know, a terabyte or two of data storage. It sucks.

My arsenal includes my trusty zip-up folder thing (is it a portfolio? I don’t know what to call it) that contains paper, pens, coffee card, business cards and which goes to every meeting. It almost didn’t survive lunch with DPF because I plonked it on the ground near the table and when I retrieved it discovered it was sitting in a pool of something sticky and foul… and it wouldn’t wipe off properly, but that’s what baby wipes are for (are they made out of real babies, I wonder).

Some folk seem to think the most important asset in my kit bag would have to be the corporate credit card, and it’s true it does have a certain Staff of Power-ishness about it. However, with any great power comes great responsibility and frankly the paperwork involved in using said credit card drains my very will to live.

(I exaggerate – it’s actually painlessly easy, but where’s the fun in posting that?).

No, by far the most powerful, versatile and instantly gratifying weapon in the modern PR Troll’s arsenal has to be the Corporate Cab card.

This gold beauty has no associated paperwork (unless the driver gets zealous and forces me to sign something. I leap from the cab when that happens with a cheery “No, no need for a receipt. It’ll only confuse me”) and produces squeals of delight from those caught in its power.

“Oh, you ordered me a Corporate Cab. How very nice. Thank you so much,” is not uncommon. I can attend an event and order “Cabs for Everyone” and the service is exemplary. Best of all, I can send drunken journalists home, safe in the knowledge that a: they’ll get there, b: I won’t have to hold their heads and/or keep their hair out of their … faces and c: the driver will be so professional it makes me look good just for ordering one.

I’ve only had one problem driver with CC. An aging racist piece of trash who wanted to talk about how “Brown drivers” can’t navigate. I wrote an angry email about it to the company.

Typically they’re polite, knowledgeable, will chat if you want and shut up if you don’t and have had interesting lives worth having a natter about.

Oh and if you call the service they’ll know more about you than your own mother and that makes life very easy.

“Going back to the office, sir?” they’ll ask and there’s no need to tell them the address as it’s all pre-loaded. Very nice.

Plus John, on the other end of the 0800 number, is one of the nicest chaps I’ve never met. We like John.

I had a chat with a driver in Wellington once, who told me he’s finding plenty of Dads are buying cab cards for their daughters so they can go out on the town and get picked up at ungodly hours and be assured of a decent driver (typically an ex-cop) who can return said wayward daughter to her flat/home/garret without fear of losing her on the way. He and I agreed that this is a great idea and as he points out, the only real problem with it is when said daughter has over-used the card and needs to call Dad for a top-up. He always finds those calls really funny.

This is the way of the PR Troll. There are many like it but this way is mine.

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