Yesterday I got an invite from a Big Company to a day at the Oval next summer. I was offended. Livid. I rang to complain about this blatant bribery.
And to ask why I’d been downgraded from Lords.
“Calm down dear,” said the flak. “We aren’t doing Lords this year. Would you still like to come?”
Flaks complain that it is much harder to get hacks along to entertainment events than it used to be.
Partly that’s because company rules have tightened. And partly it’s because hacks are over-worked and management see less benefit in letting us escape the office.
It’s a mistake in all directions.
The Big Company that tolerates me at the cricket each year wouldn’t possibly say it has had favourable coverage from me over the years. In fact, it might have a case to regard me as a total pain in the elbow.
But because we’ve spent a few sociable hours together we understand each other much better than we would. I understand where the company is going. I even like some of the executives.
The dismissal of these events as jollies that serve no good purpose is just wrong. Hacks and flaks get better at their jobs for time spent conversing away from the pressure of results day.
Sometimes, you even pick up a story….