Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The trolley-case economy

Overheard snippet from an onlooker at/of the IR rally in Melbourne today:


“I’m em-PLOY-able.”

Meaning, I assume, that the pro-collective bargaining masses, then marching by, were not “employable”, or certainly less so than herself.

Such a view has some basis in animal behaviour science – the weak(er) need to shelter together, etc.

But while she was playing queen of the jungle, I was doing my own assessment of her role in the corporate food chain.

She was wheeling a trolley-case – one of those things midway between a briefcase and a suitcase, which didn’t noticeably exist until a decade or so ago. These cases seem extraordinarily popular around the CBD, and I’m genuinely mystified what they might be used for. Here, I rule out “travelling”, as in containing clothes etc that one would take on an overnight business trip – the spatial distribution of trolley-cases in central Melbourne is much wider than any possible to/from the airport vector aggregate. Most trolley-cases seem to be for “day” use, then.

Laptops? Quite possibly, but the things are much bigger – and uglier – than even a petite woman (women dominate as trolley-case owner-drivers) could possibly need or want to comfortably and fashionably carry a 2kg package around the city.

Sales paraphernalia? This is my guess (just don’t ask me what specifically). Yes, the oh-so-suave and confident ranks of independent (trolley-case) owner-drivers are a new, hybrid species of travelling salesperson. Unlike their traditional, universally-male forebears, the new breed presumably lug props, rather than stock, around. Plus, they’d have office bases, too – an important factor in preventing their trolley-cases taking them over, like a shell does a turtle.

Whether these modern flourishes are sufficient to re-constitute travelling salespersons – a once-despised class – as the new Rulers of the Corporate Jungle, I’ll leave up to you. But as supporting evidence of their upward mobility, I cite the above-quoted woman’s enunciation: “I’m em-PLOY-able”, instead of “OIH’M em-PLOY-able” – the former is said with a Pru/Trude, subtle but impeccable sneer, while the nasal, “Kimmie” delivery of the latter would undercut its asserted message.

The Prince said, "Well, we're all bosses now."
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?