Scene: Exterior shot of large factory. Afternoon. Smoke from chimneys, lorries, fork lifts etc. Sign in foreground reads "Bodger UK Ltd."
Cut to: Scene: Interior. An office on the upper floor of a factory in the Home Counties. Afternoon. Nigel Bodger, chief executive of Bodger UK, is sitting at a desk strewn with papers, pencils, a desktop computer, a Filofax, executive toys etc. He is wearing a suit and tie. There is a bowler hat hanging on a hat stand behind him. There is a clock on the office wall. Charts are pinned to the walls. There is a portrait of Grandpa Bodger on the wall.
On the door behind Nigel Bodger are the words Chief Executive, running backwards.
The noise coming up from the factory floor can be heard.
Mrs Spanner, a worker in overalls grubby from the factory floor, walks to the door and stands outside the office. She is carrying a typewritten letter. She knocks at the door.
Nigel Bodger: Come in!
Mrs Spanner enters the office.
Mrs Spanner: Good afternoon, Mr Bodger, sir!
Nigel Bodger: Good afternon, Mrs?
Mrs Spanner: Spanner. Emily Spanner.
Nigel Bodger: Good afternoon, Mrs Spinner.
Mrs Spanner: Spanner.
Nigel Bodger: I'm very sorry, or I would be if I cared what your name is. Good afternoon, Mrs Spammer. How can I help you?
Mrs Spanner: Thank you for making time to see me, sir, I wanted to talk to you about this letter, see.
Nigel Bodger: Which letter?
Mrs Spanner: This one, what was on the company noticeboard opposite the tea machine, in between the pile of empty cable drums and the crate of Number Eight hexagonal nuts.
Nigel Bodger: Oh, that letter. What does it say?
Mrs Spanner: (incredulous at being asked) What does it say?
Nigel Bodger: Yes. This, ah, letter of yours. What does it say?
Mrs Spanner: But you wrote it, sir.
Nigel Bodger: Did I?
Mrs Spanner: Yes. See? (Points at signature on letter) Nigel Bodger, Chief Executive.
Nigel Bodger: Oh, yes. That letter. Yes, well. It seemed important to congratulate the work force on their stellar productivity in the last fiscal period?
Mrs Spanner: It turned out well for all concerned, I gather.
Nigel Bodger: Yes. Indeed it did. Do you know, we met every single target we set ourselves.
Mrs Spanner: No, sir, but if you sing the verse, I promise to join in the chorus.
Nigel Bodger: I forgot that you have such a tremendous talent for recycling old catch phrases.
Mrs Spanner: Did the company meet its manufacturing output target?
Nigel Bodger: (Buggers about with computer) Yes. See that? (Points) Exceeded it by nearly a million pounds. Jolly good show.
Mrs Spanner: What about the factory overtime cost?
Nigel Bodger: I can see you've been reading the financial pages. Ha, ha! (Buggers about with computer) That falls well within the contour of the optimal profile. Productivity has improved to the point that overtime has now fallen to just seventeen per cent of factory wages. That cost centre has reductated a lot since last year.
Mrs Spanner: Gosh, that means everyone on the factory floor was working harder.
Nigel Bodger: It does, and we in the board room are all very grateful to each and every one of you.
Mrs Spanner: Well, thank you as well for your kind words, sir. What about taxable profits?
Nigel Bodger: My word, you certainly are a smart little girl, aren't you! I'm not allowed to tell anyone the taxable profits because of, a, stock market regulations and, b, I don't want anybody to know how much money I trouser, least of all the people who work here. You can be certain that they are very impressive even though I can't disclose the details.
Mrs Spanner: More than last quarter?
Nigel Bodger: Oh, yes.
Mrs Spanner: More even than this quarter last year?
Nigel Bodger: Yes, indeed.
Mrs Spanner: So when you wrote in this letter (Reads) "I congratulate the entire workforce on this stupendous accomplishment," you meant overtime costs had gone down and so profits had gone up.
Nigel Bodger: Absolutely. Mrs Spooner, you can be very proud of yourself. I am very proud of you as well. This sort of profitability will certainly impress the stock holders.
Mrs Spanner: Whatever they are. So when can I expect a share of all this money?
Nigel Bodger: (Nonplussed) Share?
Mrs Spanner: Well, yes. I mean, I earned it.
Nigel Bodger: Earned it?
Mrs Spanner: Yes. I mean, I made all the stuff.
Nigel Bodger: You're not suggesting that we managers just hand the profits over to you, are you?
Mrs Spanner: Just a bit. Not all of it.
Nigel Bodger: Don't you realise how close this great company is to bankruptcy? If Bodger's went bankrupt we would all starve to death and it would all be your fault.
Mrs Spanner: Well, I wasn't asking for all of it. Just enough to make a difference. You'll have plenty left over.
Nigel Bodger: Oh, Mrs Spandex, if we could only scrape together enough money to pay you some more money, you can be confident that we would do so without hesitation.
Mrs Spanner: Well, what about all that increased taxable profit? Can I have some of that?
Nigel Bodger: No, of course not? I mean, unfortunately the taxable profit is the only source of funding for our investment programme. We can't just squander it on pay rises and bonuses.
Mrs Spanner: Oh, of course not.
Nigel Bodger: It would be selling the family silver and eating the seed corn. We would fall behind in a fast moving global market place.
Mrs Spanner: There isn't anything left over after making essential investments, then.
Nigel Bodger: Nothing, not a penny. We have barely two halfpennies to rub together.
Mrs Spanner: So in this letter what did you mean by "we would like to monetize our gratitude to our loyal and industrious workforce?"
Nigel Bodger: Exactly that, word for word. We would, indeed, like to monetize our gratitude to you. But we're not going to.
Mrs Spanner: Because you need the money for investment.
Nigel Bodger: Exactly.
Mrs Spanner: What are you going to invest in?
Nigel Bodger: Managers.
Mrs Spanner: Gordon Bennett! You've already got more managers than I can shake a stick at. How many more managers are you going to get in?
Nigel Bodger: That's the list over there. (Points at chart on wall). We have recently engaged, or are in the process of engaging, a Food and Beverage manager, a Management Information Systems Manager, a Chief Accountant, an Outreach Manager, a Buildings and Facilities Manager, a Production Manager, an Operations Manager, a Finance Manager, a Health and Safety Manager, an Equal Opportunities Manager, an Innovation Manager, a European Community Relations Manager, a Government Liaison Manager, a Specifications and Compliance Manager and a Logistics Manager.
Mrs Spanner: That's quite a lot.
Nigel Bodger: And an Office Manager.
Mrs Spanner: Of course, goes without saying.
Nigel Bodger: And a Project Manager.
Mrs Spanner: You fair keep Blue Arrow in business.
Nigel Bodger: And a Doctor of Homoeopathy.
Mrs Spanner: As far as I'm concerned, the fewer of them, the better.
Nigel Bodger: The company is stumping up a massive investment in managers. And good managers don't come cheap, you know.
Mrs Spanner: Well, of course everybody has to be paid properly.
Nigel Bodger: That's an area of financial policy in which this company takes a prominent and leading role. We've observed the Minimum Wage Regulations since the day they were passed into law.
Mrs Spanner: Though I must say I don't really understand why we have a Food and Beverages Manager.
Nigel Bodger: Because our research suggested that companies which have a Food and Beverages Manager make more money than companies which don't have a food and beverages manager. (Counts on fingers) Forte, Hilton, Beefeater, Macdonalds for instance. They all have Food and Beverages Managers.
Mrs Spanner: That is an astute observation. But in what way does a Food and Beverages Manager help this particular business?
Nigel Bodger: Spotting and seizing new opportunities, hacking out a living from the marketplace. Colin's an excellent Food and Beverage Manager. One of the best, if not the best in the world. When he became available it was an extraordinary stroke of luck for us that he chose to apply for a position at Bodger's.
Mrs Spanner: I don't think I've ever heard of him before.
Nigel Bodger: Never heard of Colin Bodger? He's in that office over there.
Mrs Spanner: How long has he been working here?
Nigel Bodger: Since he graduated in tourism studies at Slough University, of course. Two two degree, he got. Definitely not to be sniffed at.
Mrs Spanner: And who is the Specifications and Compliance Manager? I never heard of him before, either. What does he do?
Nigel Bodger: His name is Ebenezer Bodger and he is responsible for making sure that our products comply with regulations.
Mrs Spanner: He must have a lot of time on his hands, then. Our products are the same as they were when Grandpa Bodger died in nineteen thirty.
Nigel Bodger: Mrs Slammer, you don't understand the technicalities. If our products didn't comply with regulations then the European Union would send a van round, arrest the lot of us and blow up the factory.
Mrs Spanner: Don't you think they would ring us up first and tell us what was wrong with them?
Nigel Bodger: I don't trust these foreigners, I never did and I never will.
Nigel Bodger: (Picks up phone) Oh, hello, Ebenezer ? Yes. (Looks at watch) It is about the right time ? Two sugars, please, and one of those nice chocolate digestives. (Replaces phone)
Mrs Spanner: What about the Outreach Manager? I don't think I've ever seen him either.
Nigel Bodger: Her.
Mrs Spanner: I didn't know we had any women managers.
Nigel Bodger: Oh, yes, we support equal opportunities for the girls. And I have to say Mrs Elizabeth Bodger is a superb representative of the fair sex. An example to others, and very good looking as well. Does more outreach than anyone I've ever met in any golf club in England. E. O., as we managers call it, is so important to us that we have appointed an Equal Opportunities Manager. Do you know we have an Equal Opportunities manager?
Mrs Spanner: No, but if you sing the verse I promise to join in the chorus.
Nigel Bodger: Samantha Bodger. In the office over there, near the boilers. (Points). She's a real sweetie. She takes care of Equal Opportunities for us. We don't have to worry about E. O. at all.
Ebenezer Bodger brings in one cup of tea and one biscuit and sets them before Nigel Bodger.
Ebenezer Bodger: Tea and biscuits, sir. Colin says these are the finest biscuits of their kind in the world. He has them flown in from Venezuela by chartered jet.
Nigel Bodger: Much obliged, Ebenezer.
Ebenezer Bodger leaves the office.
Mrs Spanner: Mr Bodger, this factory makes dustbins.
Nigel Bodger: Does it? Do you know, my grandfather (Points at portrait on wall) coined the slogan "Don't say bin, say Bodger," which has stood us in good stead for a hundred years.
Mrs Spanner: No, but if you sing the verse, I promise to join in the chorus.
Nigel Bodger: Perhaps at the Christmas party.
Mrs Spanner: How did he get the idea for the slogan?
Nigel Bodger: He went to sleep one evening and, literally, dreamed it up. He had a terrible nightmare, so the story goes.
Dissolve to: Scene: Exterior. A clearing in the jungle. Morning. The year is 1900. Savages can be heard charging towards the clearing. Grandpa Bodger is dressed as a missionary and tied to a tree. Grandpa Bodger is about thirty years old. The savages emerge from the trees into the clearing. Each savage is carrying a spear and a dustbin over one shoulder. The savages surround Grandpa Bodger and in unison they plonk the dustbins onto the ground.
Grandpa Bodger: How did I get here? Help! Savages! I'm under attack!
Savage: Grandpa Bodger! Pay attention, for we bring your future.
Savages empty bins. Wood falls out onto the ground into a neat heap. One of the savages falls on his knees and cries out,
Savage: Oh great Ju-ju in the sky, strike this firewood with lightning!
Brilliant flash, huge bang. Firewood catches light.
Grandpa Bodger: My future? This is straight out of Quantum Leap!
Savage No. 1: (To camera) In tests, this bin holds more missionaries than any other bin on the market.
Savage No. 2: Don't just stand there. Fetch some carrots.
Savage No. 2 takes chef's hat from bin and puts it on. Savages take carrots, onions etc. out of bins.
Savage No. 1: (To camera) That's why we say,
Savages: (To camera, in unison) Don't say bin, say Bodger.
Savages hurl Grandpa Bodger and the vegetables into the bin, add salt and then stand the bin on the fire.
Savage No. 3: We forgot to add water.
Savage No. 2: There isn't any water because of climate change.
Savage No. 4: No water? Oh, no, we're all going to die.
Savage No. 2: Only in the long term, apart from Grandpa Bodger of course.
Cut to: Scene: Interior, night time, near darkness. Bedroom of middle class householder in 1900.
Grandpa Bodger wakes up from the nightmare in a cold sweat.
Dissolve to: Scene: In the office, continues.
Nigel Bodger: So the idea of the company simply came to him as he slept, and the product he designed has never needed any alteration.
Mrs Spanner: So why do we have an Innovation Manager?
Nigel Bodger: Christopher Bodger has a superb creative flair and he has certainly not been spending his time idly. He has been designing new products to extend our reach into a rapidly changing market and broaden our reputation for innovation and customer led re-featurisms.
Mrs Spanner: Well, as I'll have to make them, I would like to know what they are.
Nigel Bodger: (Picks up folder and takes out drawing) There's this anti-gravity dustbin for a start.
Mrs Spanner: What does that do?
Nigel Bodger: When you put rubbish into it, the rubbish doesn't weigh anything, so the dustman can pick it up and throw the contents into the dustcart quite effortlessly.
Mrs Spanner: (Cynically) That's a good idea.
Nigel Bodger: We're all working on it right now.
Mrs Spanner: What's that one? (Points to another drawing)
Nigel Bodger: That is the rivetless dustbin. Clean, elegant design straight out of Ikea, with no rivets to disturb the curvilinear paradigm of its external negative space.
Mrs Spanner: I don't remember making any of those.
Nigel Bodger: That's because we never took any orders for it.
Mrs Spanner: Didn't the customers prefer it?
Nigel Bodger: Regrettably, customers found that since it has no rivets to hold it together, this particular model falls to bits as soon as you take it out of the cardboard box.
Mrs Spanner: Becoming that which it contains.
Nigel Bodger: Don't we all? And then Christopher drew up plans for the Formula One dustbin, which is capable of travelling at nearly four hundred miles an hour.
Mrs Spanner: Amazing.
Nigel Bodger: You see? We're not just timewasters up here on the first floor.
Mrs Spanner: There's something else I have to talk to you about. I need another worker to help me in the factory.
Nigel Bodger: Aren't there enough people working in the factory already?
Mrs Spanner: Not since the cutbacks that you made to cope with the credit crunch.
Nigel Bodger: Oh, dear. I'm sorry, I don't seem to get into the factory much these days.
Mrs Spanner: Not since you had a lift built to take you straight from the car park to the offices on the first floor.
Nigel Bodger: I didn't like getting the grime on my suit. This suit comes from Jermyn Street, you know. Cost more than a factory worker earns in a year. Ho, ho! Anyway, you wouldn't want a whole host of managers getting under your feet when you were trying to, er, rivet.
Mrs Spanner: We used to have five production staff. A press operator, a galvanising tub operator, a sheet metal bender, a riveter and a packaging hand.
Nigel Bodger: And are you telling me that you can't cope with the work load?
Mrs Spanner: We used to cope quite well, but then you sacked the press operator for catching frogs and squashing them, you made the galvaniser redundant, the sheet metal bender got a job with Faceless GmbH and couldn't be replaced because of the recuitment freeze.
Nigel Bodger: That still leaves Marjorie, the packaging hand.
Mrs Spanner: Marjorie had an affaire with Edward Bodger and got promoted to Marketing Manager.
Nigel Bodger: So (Scratches head) you're achieving record productivity while working all on your own.
Mrs Spanner: Yes, apart from fifteen managers.
Nigel Bodger: You have indeed accomplished an extraordinary?
Mrs Spanner: None of whom every helps out in the factory.
Nigel Bodger: Mrs Standpipe, managers are chosen for their blend of entrepreneurial and organisational skills, not product specific behaviours.
Mrs Spanner: What you're saying is, I am the only person in the company who knows what we make.
Nigel Bodger: And I and my fellow managers wish to take all the credit for your extraordinary productivity, which is due to our exceedingly outstanding managerization.
Mrs Spanner: So you aren't going to give me a pay rise.
Nigel Bodger: Mrs Scammer, I can see that you deserve a substantial pay rise, but the only way I can make one available would be to promote you into management.
Mrs Spanner: All right.
Nigel Bodger: Very well. How do you fancy being Technology Manager?
Mrs Spanner: Is the money all right?
Nigel Bodger: More than adequate.
They shake hands.
Mrs Spanner: When do I start?
Nigel Bodger: Immediately. (Picks up folder) Your first duty is to accompany me to this conference in Switzerland: Collecting Refuse over the Internet, The Electronic Dustcart and the Twenty-First Century. Bill Gates is going to be there, you know. Pack a suitcase and I'll have the Logistics Manager phone for a taxi.
Mrs Spanner: Do you really think that the future of refuse collection is going to be on the Net?
Nigel Bodger: Oh, yes! There's loads and loads of rubbish on the Internet!
Mrs Spanner: And what's going to happen in the factory?
Nigel Bodger: Factory? ?Oh, don't worry about that. We'll outsource production to China.
They walk out of the office together. As they disappear off the set Nigel Bodger can be heard saying,
Nigel Bodger: How do you fancy changing your name by a deed poll to Emily Bodger?