Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Help Wanted

157 Help Wanted

You can find out some surprising stuff in the newspaper classifieds. But sometimes you have to read them for awhile before you understand what you’re seeing.

If an ad runs over and over and over again, day-in, day-out one of two things is happening: either the thing’s a flop and no one is responding or the thing’s a big hit and the advertiser is keeping the action going.

But individual ads are much more fun to question and deconstruct. For example: Wal-Mart is looking for “over the road truckers.” Apparently they have enough “under the road truckers.” These Over-Roadies are required to have driven at least 50-thousand miles a year for each of the last three years and must have a minimum of 250-thousand miles overall. Oh, and they have to have a “hazmat” endorsement on their licenses.

Further proof that Wal-Mart is toxic and knows it.

Here’s one for a telemarketer, starting at eight dollars an hour and reminding us that that’s just the beginning because “…many of our people earn between eight and 14 dollars an hour including commission.” Which means that some people never earn over eight bucks.

Another telemarketer says it “sells heavily discounted subscriptions” to the newspaper. So why are so many of us paying full price?

Then there are the companies that don’t tell you what they do. Like “New Pig Industries.” They make or sell workplace storage and safety items, like cardboard boxes and non-slip floor coatings. But you’d never know that from their quarter-page help wanted ads.

Can you be a “self starter” and a “team player” at the same time?

What about the carpet cleaning company that advertises on TV about its “trained technicians” but whose help wanted ads say “no experience necessary,” and not the phrase “will train.”

How many of the listed jobs go unfilled? How many of the listed jobs are filled before the ad is placed?

Some ads we’d like to see:

“School Supt. Short hours, high pay, must be strong in pubic relations. Rap sheet okay. Knowledge of creative accounting necessary.”

“Convenience Store Clerk. Some nights and weekends. Must speak Hindi, Farsi or Arabic Only”

“Sears Holdings seeks an experienced merchandise liquidator. Must have proven track record as we join the ranks of Woolworth’s, Grants, McCrory’s, EJ Korvette, SKlein, Orbach’s, John Wanamaker, Famous Barr, BAltman, Marshall Field, Master’s and Wetson’s Hamburgers.”

“Restaurant Help: Kitchen, wait staff, bus staff, hosts/hostesses. Must be slow moving, dour, slovenly and inaccurate.”

“Director of Homeland Security: full knowledge of historical and other major landmarks a requirement. Must never have set foot in Manhattan.”

“Airport Security Officer. Start at $7.12 an hour. Must be available nights and weekends. Uniforms supplied. EOE employer, M/F.

“Airport Baggage Handler: $29.55 an hour. Candidates with blank looks preferred.” Union benefits.

“New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera updating our image. Open auditions for heavy metal guitarist, drummer. Rap and hiphop artists. Own tools. No knives or firearms.”

“Radio announcer: high pitched, nasal, for modern rock/entertainment news station. Inexperience preferred but will train.”

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