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I’m talking about personal experiences I’ve witnessed and to which I was complicit, with some of them being relatively trifling deceptions and others not so much!  And I have quite a rich vein to mine on this, having been a management consultant in more than 50 companies over a 20 year period. 

At Sxxx, for example.  This was a contract bakery which made bread and cakes for most of the major supermarkets.  The first deception I encountered was by the supermarkets themselves who encouraged the public to believe that they baked the bread in-store.  The reality was that they bought in Sxxx’s par-baked bread and flashed it to completion in their own ovens, creating that seductive, homely aroma of fresh-baked loaves which wafted (and was sometimes piped) around the store.

But Sxxx promulgated their own tricks of marketing too.  They made “ciabattas” which were nothing more than standard dough mixes shaped into rectangles and seared with a few stripes.

Gxxx had a water bottling plant north of Glasgow which piped Adam’s Wine from beneath the Campsie Fells.  When I was inducted around I asked why there were so many small pipes entering the plant rather than one bigger one.  I was told they were designated for specific customers, so that each supermarket could say their water was bottled uniquely for them from springs under the Campsie Hills.  The deceit, of course, was all of them took it from the same underground lake.

One company colluded with racism, without which it wouldn’t have been able to function.  The majority of their workforce was from the Indian sub-continent, through which a caste system pervaded.  Superiors, for instance, from a lower caste held no sway over subordinates from a higher caste.  If the company wanted a viable management structure it was obliged to promote staff according to caste rather than on ability.  And women?  Forget it.

Additionally, if a worker chose to blob on their shift (for example, because he was driving his brother’s taxi that night) he might send in a friend or a family substitute.  It wasn’t so much that the company turned a blind eye to the practice but rather that it became absorbed through reporting channels as a cultural norm.

And at the Coal Board too where I spent the first 20 years of my career, senior management had a “blind spot” (let’s say) which enabled them to demonstrate profitability for donkey’s years.  It did this by applying a notional value of £40/tonne to stocked coal.  To be clear, this was coal they couldn’t sell because it had already fulfilled all its markets (power station, industrial and domestic).  Now think about that.  If this was a chip shop these were chips left unsold at the end of the night.  Only a self-delusional fool would count the value of these chips among the value of his sales.

Yet the Coal Board did this for years until Ian MacGregor looked aghast at the practice and with blinding simplicity told us “You can’t claim sales for something you haven’t sold”.

But perhaps the greatest scam of all was perpetrated by me personally; persuading companies to part with sums of money for me to advise them of the bleedin’ obvious.




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John Coopey

Thu 7th Oct 2021 17:52

Too right, MC. We are all at the mercy of “experts”.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 7th Oct 2021 16:33

I've often wondered how many cars are diagnosed with non-existent "faults" requiring work to be done when submitted
for their annual MoT test? Hard to dispute or contest - a
motoring "golden goose" that offers regular golden eggs to
those involved in the process!

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John Coopey

Wed 6th Oct 2021 21:48

And kill the Golden Goose, Leon???!!!

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Leon Kamm

Wed 6th Oct 2021 21:44

To quote Dr. Strangelove John -

Why didn't you tell the world, eh?

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John Coopey

Wed 6th Oct 2021 16:28

A contact of a contact told me that a similar scam applied on imported wines, Stephen A, with initial prices inflated so they could be marked down as bargains later.
Nothing wrong with stretching hours, Stephen G. When I worked on building sites as a labourer I spent the first half hour of every day “looking for my shovel”.
And thanks for the Like, Dawn.

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 6th Oct 2021 16:13

Fascinating, John. In my first job in the 1970s, I became aware of Civil Service overtime inflation, which made a lot of sense to those involved. Since lower grades were poorly paid to do a job in 40 hours each week, it made sense to be much better paid by taking 60 hours to do the same job.

I've done some consulting work since I retired but none of my output has been the bleedin' obvious. At least, not to me....!

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Stephen Atkinson

Wed 6th Oct 2021 12:16

Love a bit of inside info, John. Good stuff. I once worked in a builders yard, and in the shop part, they used to increase the price on certain products over a period of a month, and then when they announced a sale would drop them back down to the original price saying 20% off! Foxes

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John Coopey

Wed 6th Oct 2021 08:35

And not because I was tough skinned as you know, Kevin.
Thanks for the Likes, Holden and New Shoes.

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kJ Walker

Wed 6th Oct 2021 07:26

And that is where the comparison between you and a rhino came in🦏

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