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Another Portland Blog

Friday, March 12, 2004

 

No Packy, no penguins

I've heard horror stories about company-wide meetings (AKA corporate pep rallies). I even reported on a nightmarish meeting held by The Gap a few years ago for a college magazine you may be familiar with.

The one I attended today was nothing like that but it still managed to be fairly surreal. The meeting took place in a convention hall underneath the zoo's main entrance for starters. Now I once considered. The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" to be the worst song ever recorded. It has now been officially replaced with a nightmarish "YMCA" retread. The chorus goes a little something like this:

"It's fun to be a part of the T-E-A-M
It's fun to a part of the T-E-A-M
We can work together
and achieve our goals
together we can 'cause
it's fun to be part of the...."

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

To make matters worse, they were running this on a loop in the foyer AND in the bathroom. While waiting for the meeting to begin, people were hiding out on a veranda, just to get away from this audio Frankenstein.

On the plus side, there were free bagels. Cake too.

The meeting itself was dry and dull. After being treated to a video of smiling happy workers talking to customers over U2's "Elevation," we sat through 2+ hours of bland sales figures and pie charts. The lone amusing part came when a sweaty middle manager tried to push an in-house employee promotion. We were each handed five door tags covered in logos and screaming text. If we march around our neighborhoods, looking for houses that show signs of using our competitor's service, we're to place these hangers on their doorknobs. If they agree to switch over to us, we in turn score $5 for our spying.

Ugggggh. On the other hand, there were no totalitarian manager's screaming at us to applaud like mad. No party favors or terrified child models either (read the article for further info.). But Packy never showed. In fact, I only managed to see one animal the entire time, a mountain goat near the zoo's entrance.

The highlight of the day was a quick glimpse backstage. If, for some strange reason, you've ever wondered how they keep those trains that run through Washington Park clean, here you go.

Four words: High. Powered. Air. Guns. No water necessary. I want one.

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