In our company, all our staff get a company phone and a monthly allowance to go with it.
Most of our boys are street-smart, twenty-somethings with personal identities dependent on what gadgets can do for their image. So it’s no surprise that they’re not too impressed with the mid-range Samsungs we’ve given them.
Thanks to the cult of Apple… nay, the Religion of Apple that’s sweeping the world, they all want an iPhone and nothing else will do.
For a long time they’ve been trying various strategies to persuade us to replace the Samsungs with company iPhones.
“But why do you so desperately need an iPhone?” we ask.
“You wouldn’t understand Boss because of the Generation Gap. We are the Young Generation.”
When their group strategy doesn’t work, they try individually. One by one they approach either myself or Mr HW and put forward reasons why they (and not anyone else) should get an iPhone. Like teenagers, they even try to play us off against each other.
When their pleas fall on deaf ears, they head over to Rolla, a neighbourhood in Sharjah, and come back clutching the latest shiny, glitzy knock-off from China. A few weeks later when the knock-off has died, the cycle repeats itself.
This time was different. This time they came back from Rolla buzzing with excitement and not a knock-off in sight.
As soon as we stepped into the office the next morning, they swarmed around talking over themselves, each one wanting to be the first to tell us about the leaflet in his hand.
“Look Boss. This offer from Du. You get a free iPhone and all these free minutes and texts!! It’s only a one year contract. You pay half, we’ll pay half! Yes?”
“Even if we pay half, it’s still more than what we’re paying for you now. Plus it’s Du and currently we’re on Etisalat. You can’t transfer your telephone number from Etisalat to Du. How does this benefit the company?”
“It will look good for the company that the staff have good phones. Good for your reputation! Everyone will be impressed and want to do business with you! We’ll put a sticker with the company name on the back of the phone so when we use the phone everyone can see your name.” He holds his Samsung to his ear at a painful angle to demonstrate the easy visibility of the publicity sticker on the back.
I grin widely at Mr HW. They want this phone baaad.
Mr HW keeps a straight face. “Okay, this is what I’ll do. I’ll let you have this iPhone and I will even pay all of the contract fee. Just one thing. The phones will belong to me.”
Their faces drop and we can hear their hearts sink through the floor.
“That’s no good boss. The phone should belong to us.” Sadly they leave the office commiserating with each other.
I look at Mr HW. “You offered to pay for the entire contract?”
“When do you think they’ll realise they’ve turned down the company iPhone that they’ve been asking for from the beginning?”
“Well, they are the young generation… so it could be a few years yet.” he chuckles.
UPDATE: Very sad to say but this lot got one up on us. It turns out that a group of them were colluding and defrauding the company. Quite a big shock I can tell you. We found out before it got too big and they ran away, somehow sneaking out of the country in the dead of night. Read about it here.