Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The VIP Visit

Visits of corporate honchos to distant lands are often amazing events. Some companies take it cool, but in most companies, the preparations are taken to absurd lengths. If he is a real real honcho, then preparations rival those of a royal or papal visit. In my long experience, I have seen many such absurd happenings. Here's one for your light reading, and maybe a chuckle.

This is a true story from many years ago. A big VIP from overseas was visiting a factory, in which I was working as a flunky. The head of the factory was a terror. He decided that this VIP was unbelievably important and that everything must be done to make the visit perfect.

Amongst the problems we had to solve, was what to do with the cows which roamed the factory. Try as we might , we could never get rid of the cows and had come to accept that we had to live with them. But on this visit, cows were a no no. What would the VIP think if he saw cows in a factory ? No; they had to be got rid of, at least on the day he was visiting. How ? A bright MBA, new to the factory was given the title of 'Cow Driver" and was told that his future career depended on ensuring that no cow was to be seen during the visit !

Now the favourite place for cows to lie down was under a certain boiler, where it was warm. It was winter time and the cows found the warmth irresistible. I don't know what the bright MBA did, but come D Day, it did appear that he had solved the problem - there didn't appear to be any cows around.

The VIP arrived. He was fed, watered and bombarded with presentations. And then it was time to take a walk around the factory. A bunch of hangers on accompanied the VIPs and this group started to walk around the factory.

Our bright MBA was nervous. So he went a few steps ahead of the group to make sure everything was OK.

Sure enough; as they approached the boiler, there was a cow sitting underneath it.


The MBA panicked. He tried to shoo it away. The cow lazily got up and instead of going away, ambled leisurely towards the oncoming group. The hangers on panicked seeing the cow coming their way. They tried to drive it away. The cow, now thoroughly confused and alarmed, ran right into the centre of the plant and in full view, shat copiously on the gleaming shop floor. It then rubbed itself against the gleaming pipes and peeled off all the fresh paint that had been applied on them, just for the VIP visit. Instead of a white cow, a rainbow cow now emerged.

The post mortem was furious. Our bright flunky was roasted alive. How on earth did he get a MBA, if he couldn't even drive away cows.

Moral of the story : Business Schools must incorporate "cow management" as one of their courses !


Anonymous said...

Ha!Ha!, best VIP story I've heard in a long while. Reminds me of the tale (possibly apocryphal) another friend related. After drinks and dinner at the dead of the night (0100am) a legendary factory manager decided to honor the guest with a goodnight garland (Indian style). You do'nt have florists open in the middle of the night. My friend who was the factory flunky was dispatched to fetch the garland. Enterprising bloke, he headed straight to the burial ground, picked up the garland that was adorning the last corpse in, and lo & behold! our VIP was garlanded in less than 30 minutes from the order. That he got a promotion for showing such initiative, enterprise and calm under pressure was a different story. (A clue - this bloke is in Utrecht NL now!)

Ramesh said...

Oh yes - I can believe our friend in tulipland did that !

In the factory that I decribed in the post there was actually an account in the books called 'BIP Bisit" !

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. I can add another story that I have heard in a factory I worked. There were ducks which used to swim in a pool of water near the Admin building and obviously were an eye sore. When the VIP visit happened one action was to make sure none of the ducks were visible when the VIPs walked past the Admin building. This was easier said than done. The staff managed to get hold of a few but one or two evaded them so they hit upon a great idea. A stone was tied around their necks so that they are not visible and literally "duck" into the water. It was a masterpiece and no duck was visible when the visit happened. The anti climax was that when the inventory of the ducks were taken post the visit one of the ducks was found missing. With the stone around it, it had sank and drowned! Pradip

Ramesh said...

Ha Ha Nice one.

Hassan said...

able to recollect one more VIP visit where the VIP's fancy car got punctured on the way without a backup and had no other option but to reach the factory in a 'bish ban' we know which fty is being referred to here :)

Ramesh said...

Oh yes Hassan. The "ban ride" is very much central to that factory's experience !

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