B&Q closes at four o’clock on Sundays.
I was sitting in the car park about three thirty on a particularly miserable Sunday.
It was freezing cold and raining, beginning to get dark.
My daughter and I had got what we came for but she’d just spotted a café in the car park.
The café was actually a portacabin with a hinged front like an awning.
Jade said she fancied a fried egg sandwich and a cup of tea.
So, because it was raining, she pulled the car over next to the café.
I sat in the car, Jade went to get the food.
No point in both of us getting cold and wet.
After about ten minutes Jade came back.
She was wet, freezing cold, and with a burger and no tea.
I asked what happened.
She said she didn’t like to ask the lady to make an egg sandwich it seemed too much trouble, so did a cup of tea.
I asked how come?
She said when she got there the lady already had burgers on the grill.
She said she’d been freezing to death all day.
She looked really miserable.
She told Jade she nearly walked off the job she was so cold.
Jade asked her why she didn’t just pop across to B&Q and buy a heater.
She said it wasn’t worth it because on Tuesday she was going to have an audition to be a stripper.
One of her mates was a stripper and she’d told her about it.
She reckoned to get fifteen hundred quid some nights.
So that was her career plan.
Audition to be a stripper.
She was a big girl, could be either side of thirty.
She told Jade she should consider it.
Jade didn’t want to keep the conversation going so she forgot about the fried egg sandwich, asked for one of the burgers and left without the tea.
In the car we talked it over.
Was £1,500 a night possible?
If it was, for five nights a week that would be over quarter of a million quid a year.
She’d never get anything remotely like that.
But supposing she made £1,500 just one night a week.
That would still be £75,000 a year.
Even if she only averaged £200 a night for 5 nights a week that’s still £50,000 a year.
Being a stripper looks a terrible option to us, for instance Jade is an art director
We all get to work in nice clean, warm offices.
Surrounded by mainly young, attractive, friendly, intelligent people.
We do interesting work with lots of variety.
We can pretty much come and go as we want.
We get to eat nice healthy food, live in nice houses, wear what we like.
Most of the people we work with have university or art school degrees.
No wonder we can’t imagine wanting to be a stripper.
How degrading would that be?
But now view it from where that woman sees it.
She’s got nothing to lose.
She spends all day stuck inside a portacabin café in a B&Q carpark.
Bored stiff, frozen to death, broke.
So that’s the next twenty years of her life.
And by comparison stripping isn’t really such a bad option at all.
All she’s got to lose is a job she hates.
I often think about advertising: the worst day in an ad agency is better than the best day in a factory.