I have come to the conclusion that my agency is not really an agency. That my job is not a job, but a form of therapy designed to exorcise me of my love for shopping. My shrink – my ‘creative director’, the chosen form of therapy – ‘100cc of shopping centre direct mailers – non diluted’ and the evil nurses that chain me to the bed and force the bitter medicine down my throat – ‘the account team’. All of them I’m sure in cahoots with my husband who figured that paying for such an elaborate set up would be far more cost effective than having to shell out for a life time of my extravagances.
Like all sods lured to the loony bin under the pretence of a visit to the Zoo or a day at the beach, I was promised the chance to do cutting edge work on high fashion brands and premium centres. I had visions (what they call hallucinations in here) of Alexander McQueen, Roland Mouret and Bill Blass.
I should have realised that things weren’t ok when I was given Primark instead of Prada. This isn’t want I’m meant to be doing I protested! I’m destined for bigger, better things I claimed. Of course you are the nurses cooed as they ruthlessly hosed me down. Soaked to the skin and trembling in fear I went to my boss. ‘What’s going on? This isn’t how it’s meant to be’ I said. He made me lie down on his couch (another clue) and asked me about my childhood. ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I said. ‘Oh everything’ was the reply.
‘Don’t worry’ my husband said when I complained ‘they know what’s best for you…just listen to what your Doct… er I mean boss says.’
In the last 6 months they’ve been working quietly on me. The brochures, the Sale ads, the radio commercials with the jingles that remind me of women with triangular haircuts, blue eye shadow and shoulder pads. A sample ‘It’s got the look, it’s got the hook, it’s got style, it’s got space. It’s got the look, it’s got the hook.’ Words that will make even the most intrepid shopper quake in her heels.
I try to protest. I try to write interesting, witty copy. But I look up on the screen and see ‘have a bright, glittering Christmas with Randy the Reindeer. Move over Rudolph’. I try to delete the words but the key seems jammed. The words cannot be taken back.
The Christmas rush is over. A quiet has descended over the agency. I try and drum up enthusiasm for the Boxing Day sales. 50% off Chloe blouses at Selfridges. Tweed jackets a steal at Monsoon. But my brain refuses to co-operate. The latest edition of Vogue sits unopened on my desk. ‘They’re winning’ the last, sane refuge of my brain whispers to me.
Snatches of conversation reach my ears. ‘Easter promotions …’ ‘… next Father’s Day’ ‘ Summer sales’. The words surround me like a designer straight jacket binding my arms to my sides. They’re mounting their next and final attack.