35. 10pm. Bottom deck, in the back row.

The woman in front of me, Afro-Caribbean and in her mid-twenties, was speaking into her mobile phone. The subject: the income targets and reward structures in her job, which I gathered involved cold-calling people to sell them something.

‘Yeah, you hit the targets and they feed you out the shares, like you go for £100 and then you hit it and you get £100 of shares, and then you hit the next and it’s like another £100, and so on and so forth… You have to do some stretching, you get me, so they don’t think you’re getting lazy. They say we’re all a team and all that but you have to shine or you won’t get the next job. You can’t drop one single ball, like this week I passed every call I made but I didn’t answer the ‘probing question’ so I was like pfffft…

‘It’s jokes, man, the whole team thing. We did this exercise the other day about arguing your way out of a burning building, like why you should be saved rather than someone else, and everyone was so weedy like going on about their dying uncle and whatnot… Well, obviously I said that I owned every hospital in the NHS, ‘cos I’m an Arab and all these English people would have to save me…

‘Next month, I’m not gonna lie, in the words of Jay-Z I’m a business. I’m going to have a fucking spreadsheet…

‘It’s not like raising money for charity and being like, “Please give me some money ‘cos I’m a nice person.” It’s selling people credit, their piece of mind… No I don’t have a problem with it, credit is part of the system and it gets you ahead in life… it’s just, you know, those students with the trendy clothes they haven’t even bought themselves… pffft.’

At this the art students to our left gave a little collective shiver in their seventies knits.


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