One of the things I like about being a writer is that it is a fairly ethical job. It doesn't exploit people in the third world, has a low carbon footprint and it doesn't torture animals. As far as I'm aware, my computer is the only thing that has a carbon footprint, my books are only available in e-format so no trees were cut down to print my scribblings and the only animal that was tortured was my cat as he claims I'm starving him of both food and attention. But unfortunately my writing doesn't bring home the vegetarian bacon, I need another source of income.
I do like my day job, the day goes quickly and I meet a lot of interesting people, but you probably don't get a more massive carbon foot print than an airport! Then there is the cosmetics. There are some brands we sell that are ethical but I do realise the majority of them do use animal testing. A practice that is horrible and has no place in the modern world. I'm far more comfortable selling cigarettes and alcohol, neither of them are good for the human health and they cause a lot of suffering, but humans have a choice about what they put in their bodies and these days, cigarette packaging leaves no doubt as to how damaging smoking is to your health. Maybe cosmetics should come with pictures of cute bunnies that had to endure horrific experiments, that might stop the practice.
This month I've been enjoying my work even more, my employer has decided that in June we collect for l'action contre la faim (action against hunger) an orginisation that hopes to combat world hunger and it is nice to not only be there to sell things. So if you're passing through a French airport, pop into the duty free and make sure that next to buying some cheap booze, you donate something to this great cause too.
As regards to the writing job; I've been busy with editing Language in the blood 2, again with the guidance of my editor Penny Hunter. We are nearly done and I need to get busy with my camera and design a front cover, but it should be on the virtual shelves soon.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Friday, 18 April 2014
Europe, its nations and cultures continues to provide a rich source of inspiration for me and is also the thing that makes my job so varied and interesting. Selling perfume and may not be the most riveting of jobs in the world, but the fact that your customers have a completely different profile from hour to hour is. I’m not talking about national stereo-types but every flight has its own quirks.
For example, cigarettes must be expensive in Switzerland and as it is a tax-free destination we sell lots of cigarettes during the Geneva and Basel flights. I rather like the Basel flight as there are a number of German speaking customers on it.
During the morning we have an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, which means clear the decks and roll up your sleeves as everything must be expensive in Moscow. Wine, fine Champagne, cosmetics; basically if the Moscow flight is a bit light we won’t have a good day. It also helps to learn a few words of Russian such as Boarding card and transfer (Biljet and transit if you’re interested) I’m currently working on ‘Bon Voyage’ (Schastlivogo puti) but not managed it yet.
Being surrounded by all these nations, it is tempted to start by asking for a boarding card, but this should be avoided at all costs. There is nothing that annoys a French passenger more than being spoken to in English in their own country, so I always lead with ‘Votre card d’embarkement s’il vous plaît’ and only ask for a boarding card if you receive a look of utter panic of your passenger.
Then last there is the British quirk, like it or not you are in Europe, therefore you have to pay European union prices (not tax-free) It is best to explain this before you ring up the purchase, otherwise you end up cancelling the sale when they find out they can’t buy tax-free. Maybe it is the fact that Brits can’t buy cheap alcohol and cigarettes on their holidays to the continent that is stirring up this anti-European rhetoric. To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me.