Grab It, Trouser It and Leg It: a proper name for an estate agent
Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: The agency is now rebanding and our Ross doesn’t like it at all
Lauren has called all the staff of Hook, Lyon and Sinker together for a town hall – which is what people with morkeshing diplomas call a meeting.
As managing director, she says, she wants to answer any questions we might have on the corporate rebranding of Ireland’s joint-seventh most successful estate agency.
Fifty or 60 people are crammed into the room when I arrive, late, and I end up having to stand. Lauren is at the top of the room, standing next to a flip chort.
She goes, “Okay, is that everyone now?” which is passive-aggressive for, “Ross, you’re late”.
Lauren should be teaching Home Economics for a living and I don’t mean that to sound sexist.
“Okay,” she goes, “as many of you know, since I took over here, one of my priorities has been to create a new corporate identity for the agency. And I’m excited to reveal the new name for Hook, Lyon and Sinker is . . .”
She gives it the full Dermot O’Leary, 10-second delay, then she flips over the page to reveal the words “New Stort”.
I actually can’t believe the reaction in the room. People are turning to each other with big, delighted faces on them, repeating the words, then going, “I actually love it!” which is just what Lauren wants to hear, of course.
Unfortunately for her, I’m a tougher audience.
“Sorry to burst your bubble,” I go, “but I actually hate it – and I’m not saying that just because you’re a woman.”
Lauren’s there, “Ross, you don’t have to keep referencing my gender every time we have a conversation. Because then I will start to believe that you have an issue with your boss being a woman.”
“The point I’m trying to make is that estate agencies are usually called Something, Something and Something. All the best ones anyway. Buy It, Flip It and Flog It. Grab It, Trouser It and Leg It. I’ve never been afraid to call it, Lauren – and New Stort sounds like a chain of salad bors.”
Dave from human resources goes, “I have to say, I absolutely love it,” because he’s not one of those HR “good cops” who actually pretend to be on the side of their fellow employees. “I think it’s fresh. It’s positive. It’s a name you can trust. I’m very, very excited about it.”
Everyone – hilariously – claps?
Lauren goes, “The new sign will go up over the door this afternoon. Does anyone else have any questions?”
“Will there be badges and pens,” Valerie from accounts wants to know, “with the new company name on them?”
Lauren’s like, “Not only will there be badges and pens – there will also be baseball caps!”
A loud cheer goes up.
If you want to know how Donald Trump became the most powerful man on the planet, you just have to see the reaction to the free baseball caps announcement. Grown men are chest-bumping each other in front of me and everyone is shouting, “New Stort! New Stort! New Stort! New Stort!”
I slip out of the room, deciding to take an early lunch on account of Gordon D’Arcy’s birthday last Saturday. Lauren follows me outside. I’m actually heading for The Bridge when she calls me back.
She goes, “I want to talk to you about your parking space.”
I’m like, “My porking space? What about it?”
“I don’t want you putting your cor in it anymore.”
“Okay, don’t say you want me to get public transport to work – unless you want to see a grown man cry.”
“You’re getting a company car, Ross.”
“A company cor? Yeah, no, I’d prefer to keep driving my new Seven-Serious, Lauren.”
“I’m sorry. From next week, all of our estate agents will be required to drive one of these.”
She takes a step to the left, revealing – I swear to God, I’m not making this up – one of those tiny, single-seat, electric cors.
I’m like, “Lauren, in the name of all that is sacred . . .”
She goes, “There’s nothing wrong with electric cors. They’re reliable, they’re energy-efficient and they’re cheap to run.”
“How do you stort it?” I go, unable to hide my disgust. “Do you pull it backwards or something?”
This is south Dublin, Lauren. It’s bullying to ask anyone to drive anything under two litres
“In 30 or 40 years,” Lauren tries to go, “we’ll all be driving around in these.”
I’m there, “In 30 or 40 years, we’ll all be driving around on mobility scooters. It doesn’t mean I want to be in one now. No, I’ll tell you what, Lauren, take my porking space if you want it. I’ll throw the Beamer somewhere else. I could take on an unpaid intern and send her out every two hours to feed the meter with coins from petty cash. Or him. It could be a man, the whole equality thing.”
“You’re not listening to me, Ross. This is your new work vehicle. You are required, as a condition of your employment, to drive it to and from house showings – and to drive it to and from work every day.”
I see the “New Stort” logo on the side. Some smort orse has already crossed out the word “New” with a black morker and written “Won’t” in its place.
I’m there, “This is bullying.”
She goes, “It’s not bullying to ask someone to drive an eco-friendly car.”
“This is south Dublin, Lauren. It’s bullying to ask anyone to drive anything under two litres. Well, we’ll see what the union has to say about this.”
“You’re not in a union.”
That’s actually true. JP’s old man – who owned Hook, Lyon and Sinker before my old man and Lauren’s old man bought it? – hated unions. As a matter of fact, if he ever saw four or more members of staff talking to each other in a huddle, he would immediately sack them on the basis that it looked like they were trying to organise themselves to demand shit like adequate pay and natural light.
Lauren hands me a set of keys. “This is your vehicle,” she goes.
Vehicle? That’s a joke. Devin Toner could use it as a skate board. He’ll probably try to if he ever sees me in it, knowing the Long Fellow. I shouldn’t give him ideas.
I’m there, “Lauren, please don’t make me do this – I’m appealing to your humanity.”
But she just goes, “Happy motoring, Ross.”