Bad day at the office 9

UK Cash Cowboys logo

London digital agency win UK Cash Cowboys account

There was a big buzz around the creative studio at UK Cash Cowboys this morning. As if somebody had thrown in a box of bees and closed the door. Three big developments were playing out. First, we’ve apparently appointed a new London agency. Secondly it would seem we’re changing our company strapline. For anyone who knows anything about straplines this is serious shit. Straplines go everywhere. Next to your logo on all your marketing. On every page of your website. They’re the jingles at the end of your ads. They also cost about three hundred grand a pop, which when I last counted was about a hundred grand a word. Nice work if you can get it.

The third bit of news, which is currently trending, struck the whole Cowboys franchise like a broadside of torpedoes last night when foul-mouthed stand-up comedian Frankie Blowtorch called our Global Chairman Sir Rich Pickle a ‘mad cunt’, which I understand can be a compliment in Australia. Pickle had been tweeting his usual hypothetical bullshit about how global warming was destroying the Arctic and putting the habitats of polar bears at risk. He was calling for business and political leaders to show more bold leadership on conservation. Which is a bit like Hitler worrying about the declining numbers of Jews.

Blowtorch had tweeted back, “you own an airline, you mad cunt”. Which seems a fair point to make. No doubt if he’d had more than 140 characters he’d have pointed out that Sir Rich’s global Cowboys franchise actually owns SEVEN whopping airlines across Europe, America, Australia and the Pacific. Not to mention Cowboys Trains, Cowboys Galactic space tourism project, Cowboys Limousines and Limobikes and, oh yeah, Cowboys Formula One Racing Team. A real eco-warrior is Sir Rich. According to Wiki he owns about half the planet and since his hundreds of Cowboys’ business ventures over the last four decades have probably been responsible for the destruction of the other half, it seems a bit rich for him to be taking the high ground on global warming. You don’t build the kind of fortune Pickle has without being one of the most ruthless, unscrupulous business operators on the planet. If Sir Rich had to raze a dozen rainforests or hospitals to the ground to make a hundred quid on the side, the diggers would be going in now, make no mistake. But like our own CEO at UK Cash Cowboys, Cleopatra Le-Grande OBE (who models herself on Sir Rich), Pickle has never been one to let rank hypocrisy get in the way of a good PR opportunity.

So, as our Chief Marketing Officer Dick Holder got us all in a huddle round the photocopier at 10am to make an announcement, we were all ears. Dick has this habit of dropping his jaw open like Gordon Brown when he’s about to speak, and rolling his eyes back in his head as he rocks back on his heels, building up the suspense. I think he thinks it gives him some kind of gravitas. He’s wrong. He looks like he’s about to have an epileptic seizure. The bald head and Bilko glasses probably don’t help much.

“I wanted you to be the first to know the exciting news,” he said, pausing to milk the moment. “We’ve appointed a new digital agency.”

“Woo-hoo,” shrieked Norman Shylock right on cue as he high-fived Dick, the big creep. Norman heads up our Online Marketing Bullshit Division. Dick’s his boss.

“We’re delighted to announce that Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman & Shytter are our new agency.

I watched as one of our design team – Stig Churchwarden – mouthed the words, counting them off on his fingers as he worked out the agency’s acronym. It registered in his eyes like a row of dollar signs.

“Who?” asked our moustachioed veteran artworker Captain Benylin. The Captain works on Benylin time, which is usually about five seconds behind the rest of the world.

“They’re absolutely top-drawer people,” continued Dick, ignoring the Captain. “Their pitch was different class. We were impressed not only by the quality of their ideas and their understanding of us as a brand. But we’re also confident their work will help us drive home the message that UK Cash Cowboys is very different from other banks.”  Stig swapped me a look. Yeah, we both thought, shitter than other banks. Meaner, more hypocritical. Dick continued. “They unveiled a great new company strapline in their pitch that I have to say blew us all away, especially Cleopatra. She absolutely loves it. In fact it was the clincher to them winning our account.” Here we go, I thought. I can’t wait to hear this. If the agency has any kind of handle on us as a brand it’ll be something like, UK Cash Cowboys – Bankers to the Wankers. Four words. I could have written them myself. Saving the company four hundred grand.

“Vot is it den?” asked Zelda, one of the junior copywriters.

Dick rocked back on his heels, rolling those eyes and opening his gaping maw of a slack-jawed mouth like some village idiot. “UK Cash Cowboys – Everyone’s Getting On,” he said. His lip curled up in a satisfied smile. He paused again, awaiting a chorus of affirmation from his in-house creative team.

While he waited I ran a few contenders from Advertising Straplines 101 through my head to see if I could remember one as bad. A long roll-call of unadulterated agency tripe sprang to mind,  like Panasonic’s Ideas for life, Exxon’s We’re Exxon, and Olivetti’s Our force is your energy. I wondered how many millions the agencies had duped out of the marketing geniuses at those businesses to sell them such meaningless tosh. Or for the hospital passes they’d sold to organisations like British Rail (We’re getting there) or MFI (Take a look at us now). Maybe one day, I thought, just one day, Everyone’s Getting On might be up there among that prestigious pantheon of strapline howlers that sucked to the power of ten. I was mindful Felix Clay’s cautionary words about the danger of a badly thought through strapline, which pretty much said all there was to say on the subject:

“For every effectively memorable and only marginally annoying slogan out there, there’s about five that suck eggs. And then there’s one more that left egg-sucking behind and now sucks everything. It sucks so bad and so hard that the closer you get to it the harder it is to get away. Like a black hole of shitty marketing, it pulls you in, and you’ll never forget just how fucking awful this slogan was. It somehow managed to do the exact opposite of what the company intended, convincing you not to buy their product but to avoid them totally, because their entire marketing team must be cretinous jackasses with little to no understanding of the world outside their offices.”

Wow, I thought. I wonder if Felix had ever worked here at UK Cash Cowboys, to get such a brilliant insight.

“Oh c’mon! It’s not THAT bad!” Dick snapped. “Get with the programme people. We need to all get behind this. It’s who we are. It’s what we’re all about as a company. Part of our DNA going forward. Everyone’s Getting On, right?”

“Oh, you mean like, say, Cleopatra’s OBE, and her £2.65 million bonus she took last January,” I said, going way out there. “Like THAT kind of getting on? Oh, cool. I geddit.” Dick responded with a withering glare in my direction. He was not amused.

“He’s only kidding, aren’t you Frank?” said Shylock, through gritted teeth. Shylock’s my line manager, as it happens. My boss. Dick’s his boss. That’s why he spends all his day sucking Dick’s dick, and getting me to suck his. It’s how the banking industry works. Your boss bullies you, his boss bullies him, and so on, all the way to the top. Shylock gave me one of his ‘one more negative peep out of you Bukowski and you’ll be pulling your P45 out your ass with a pair of long-handled medical forceps’ looks.

“Sure,” I said, “only joking. It’s a great strapline. Bang on the money. Absolutely nails who we are as a company. Everyone’s Getting On. Couldn’t have written it better myself.”

“Thank you,” said Dick, as my sarcasm sailed several storeys over his Bilko dome.

“What does it mean?” asked the Captain, who had woken from his slumber.

“Hey, Benylin, shut, the fuck, up,” snapped Shylock. He was always picking on the old guy.

“No, what he means,” I said, coming to the Captain’s defence, “is like, what’s the subliminal message? You know, like what’s the take out for the customer? Everyone’s Getting On? As in? I mean, this has to resonate in the marketplace, right? It has to get inside our customers’ heads, yeah? So like, when it’s in there, what’s it really supposed to be saying to them? That’s all. I’m just asking. Are we all 100% happy the meaning is clear and transparent? Everyone’s Getting On?”

“It’s okay Dick,” said Shylock, indicating he’d sort it. “How long have you worked here fuckwit?”

“Christ knows. Eighteen years?”

“And you still haven’t got our mission statement?”

“Well it’s a bit hard, it changes every year.”

“Ha, I’m splitting my sides.”

“I try.”

“You’re a retard Bukowski, and a troublemaker. It’s obvious to everyone but a complete moron what Everyone’s Getting On means. And even if it wasn’t, that’s not what straplines are for. They’re SUPPOSED to be confusing clouds of evaporated horsepiss dreamed up by pretentious advertising agencies with their heads so far up their asses they can inspect their own teeth. That’s not the point. The point is, we’re a new kind of bank, kapeesh? Everyone knows that. Not like the old high street banks who are all about selfishness and greed, fat profits and sneering at the customer. There were way too many losers in that model. With us it’s a huge win-win, all round. Everyone benefits from our new way of doing business – customers, staff, management, shareholders, society. Everyone’s Getting On, geddit? Hello, anyone there? Come in Bukowski’s brain.”

“Ohhhh, I seeee! So like, I mean, those three members of the marketing team who went off sick for six months because they were being bullied by management, then lost their jobs last month, were like, getting on? Not getting sacked? Now I get it.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as I glanced around my Studio colleagues for a spark of support. They were all too terrified, too cowed, too in debt to mortgage and credit card companies to dare open their mouths. Too in fear of the corporate thought police to have an opinion of their own. Only Stig furtively drew a zip across his mouth, trying to save me from myself.

“Anything else you’d like to add Frank,” asked Dick. “In the spirit of openness?”

“Well, I suppose there is all the extra work that’s been piled on these last twelve months, the late nights, the unpaid overtime. Oh, and the three year pay freeze, when Cleopatra just paid herself a two and a half million pound bonus this January. But I won’t mention her twenty three percent pay rise. If I’m being brutally honest, Dick, it didn’t feel THAT much like the rest of us were getting on. That’s all. It’s just my opinion.”

“Finished?” asked Shylock.

“I suppose, except, I’m not really supposed to mention it…”

“Then don’t.”

“I mean, that adviser in our Glasgow office…”

“Bukowski, don’t even go there. That’s classified. Off limits. End of.”

“It was in the press.”

“I don’t care if it was on Google’s homepage.”

“Vot vos on Google’s homepage?” asked Zelda.

“He’s talking about the adviser from our Glasgow branch who just got jailed for five years for stealing half a million quid off a couple of old age pensioners with dementia,” said Stig, earning himself a furious glower from Shylock. Dick just stared uncomfortably at the floor, shaking his head. This wasn’t what we were supposed to be talking about. We were supposed to be showering compliments on his shiny new corporate strapline. All this shit about bullying management, greedy CEOs and criminals in our midst was badly off message. Bad for ‘engagement’.

“Actually Stig, I was talking about Darren Darkes, our CEO’s culture guru, but now you mention the theft, yeah…”

“Frank, can we take this offline?” asked Shylock, indicating a meeting room with his eyes.

“Yeah, what happened to Darko,” asked the Captain. “I was wondering where he’d got to.”

“He was sacked.”

“Oh, that’s a shame. I liked Darko. What did he do, spell Cleopatra’s name wrong on a letter?”

“Nah. He was convicted of swapping images of children on an online paedophile site. Guess that’s the kind of thing Cleopatra means when she keeps banging on about the company putting a little something back into society. Everyone’s Getting On, hey.”

“Oops,” said the Captain, “I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“That would be nice,” said Shylock.

“Norman, can I have a word with you in my office,’ said Dick. “Now.”

Shylock shot me a poison-tipped bullet of hate as he trudged leaden-footed behind his boss.

“Now you’ve done it,” said Stig, drawing a joke finger across his adam’s apple.

“Do you have some kind of death wish? Nob head.” It was our sarky Design Manager and management ass-kisser in-chief, Matty Ostrich. “Why did you have to say all that shit? Now they’ll just go on the warpath and make all our lives a misery.”

“So what’s fucking new?” said Stig.

“Can it get any worse?” asked the Captain, smoothing back his handlebar moustache on both sides.

“I just can’t stand the bare-faced hypocrisy of this place any more. Challenger bank my arse. It gets more like Mugabe’s Zimbabwe every day. And some agency fuckwit comes up with a pile of wanky gibberish like Everyone’s Getting On, and everybody thinks it’s genius. Everyone’s Getting On, my god. It’s about as representative of UK Cash Cowboys as Arbeit Macht Frei. I bet that’s what Hitler told the Germans in the 1930s as he set them to work on the autobahns and got everyone doing press-ups in the fresh air. Everyone’s getting on, folks. Anyone with half a brain can see right through it. But we’re all too scared to speak up and say shit, in case we get a visit from one of Cleopatra’s Brownshirts in the night.”

“You’re just being negative,” said our senior copywriter Richie Skulldug, another management lickspittle. This place has more Gestapo than occupied France. A word out of place and your family disappears in the night. Cleopatra Le-Grande sees to that. Our smiling air-brushed CEO, Himmler in a skirt. But Skulldug takes her corporate heel-clicking to a whole new level. He’s so far up Dick Holder’s arse he can see Shylock’s metal tipped shoes. “You can’t talk like that to Dick, man. It’s disrespectful. It brings down the whole Studio.”

“Not even if it’s true?”

“Especially if it’s true,” joked Stig. “They take it more personally then.”

“Well, bang goes my pay review and bonus, AGAIN. Whatever.”

“You’ll be lucky if you don’t get the sack,” sniped Ostrich from behind his Mac.

“Well, it’s about time somebody stood up to these bullies for once. All this bullshit they put out about us being a great company to work for. UK Cash Cowboys, the new face of British Banking. One big happy family. And what’s all this big fucking lie about the Cowboys only being in it to build a better world? Bull… shit. I notice Dick carefully avoided saying anything about the shitstorm breaking on Twitter about Frankie Blowtorch calling Sir Rich Pickle a hypocritical cunt. In case anyone hadn’t noticed, the only thing we appear to be building around here is a bigger sodding bank balance for our fascist thug of a CEO, Cleopatra ‘I’d eat my children if I could make money out of it’ LeGrande. Who, in case you all need reminding, just trousered a two and a half million bonus while we got dick all. And WE did all the sodding WORK!”

“Yeah, while telling us the cupboard was bare,” said the Captain, firing up his Mac.

Stig nodded, wandering back to his desk. “Shafted.”

“What was it she said at the company stand-up? If we didn’t like it there were plenty of jobs going in Greece?”

“Look, it’s a job, yeah, get over it,” whined Ostrich. “It’s better than being on the dole.”

“I’m beginning to wonder.”

Stig opened up some Direct Mail artwork in InDesign. He began trying out the new strapline wording next to the logo. “Hey it fits!” he said. “If it’s any consolation, at least we can shorten it to EGO.”

“Yeah, in honour of our great leader and walking ego at UK Cash Cowboys, Cleopatra LeGrande, OBE.”

“Yay, so now we’ve got PRICKS and an EGO!” said Stig, cheering up.

“A new way of banking the world’s never seen before.”

“You can say that again.”

“Feels like real progress.”

“Welcome to UK Cash Cowboys, the human face of British banking, where everyone with a prick and an ego gets on.”

“Stig, can you drop it now and get on with your work mate,” sniped Ostrich. “We need to get that to print by six, or we’ll all be…”

“In deep shit?”

“Ethnically cleansed?”

“Taken into the car park and shot?”

“Oh fuck off,” snapped Ostrich, putting on his headphones. He wasn’t playing any more.


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Bad day at the office 8

Nation reels in shock as UK challenger bank accused of harbouring thieves and paedophiles


If you haven’t read the Sunday Herald today I suggest you nip out and get a copy before they all sell out. If you have, I’m guessing you may already have choked on your Chocolate Weetos. Especially if you’re an employee of the chippy UK challenger bank UK Cash Cowboys, as I am, headed up by our ex-RBS storm-trooper of a CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded an OBE for services to bullying last January.

A double whammy of a scandal broke at Cash Cowboys headquarters this morning after it was revealed that the organisation, which likes to position itself as the new, caring face of modern banking, was secretly harbouring paedophiles and thieves in our midst. It was news to me, but then again I only work in the marketing team. They never tell us anything.

Apparently, first news leaked of a story Cleopatra LeGrande had been trying to keep completely under wraps, for understandable reasons. Word is that Darren Darkes, a long-standing junior member of Cleopatra’s corporate culture team, has been part of an evil paedophile ring swapping disgusting images of children online. Struth. That one came out of nowhere. Who’d have thought, old Dazza Darkes, married with two kids of his own. Shared many a beer with him at corporate off-sites. How do you spot these people? The company, which had apparently known about the allegations for some time but not told us, had refused to dismiss Darkes, and he had continued to work at Cash Cowboys while on bail leading up to his court case. Only when he was found guilty and sentenced in January, did the powers that be terminate his contract. Oh, so THAT’S where he got to! We were all wondering where he’d disappeared. We’d assumed he’d just been taken into the car park and shot for under-performing in his role, in one of Cleopatra’s summary executions. They happen all the time at the Cowboys. She runs a tight ship here.

Anyway, the next thing is, we read in today’s Sunday Herald that Ashok Strange, a financial adviser working at our Griffnock branch of UK Cash Cowboys in Renfrewshire, has been jailed for five years for stealing almost half a million quid from Stanley and Doris Gulliver, a 90 year old couple suffering from Alzheimers. Bloody hell.

Personally I didn’t know the bloke, but his deed definitely fits the culture of merciless competition and greed Cleopatra has instilled in the workforce here, since we became a ‘challenger bank.’ According to the Herald, Strange even had his own fundraising page on UK Cash Cowboys Giving, where he purported to run marathons in support of good causes. Which it now emerges was just a smokescreen to hide his unscrupulous behaviour. Bit like the company, I suppose.

The Sheriff at the Paisley Court said Strange had befriended the two pensioners in 2011 when they had sought financial advice about investing a £1.4 million nest egg they’d inherited from a long lost American relative who had recently died. Taking advantage of the oldies’ failing mental health, Strange apparently siphoned off £465,000 of their dosh into his private bank account between January 2011 and December 2012, in an “appalling breach of trust” as the Sheriff put it. What a complete scumbag. I’m surprised Cleopatra hadn’t promoted him to her Senior Human Inquisition Team (fondly known as the SHIT here at Cowboys). With that kind of track record he’d have gone a long way in this organisation.

The Herald went on: “Pleading his innocence, the financial adviser tried to claim the old couple had given him the money as a gift to help him buy a new toaster after his old one went up in flames. Admitting that he may have slightly exaggerated the price of the toaster to embezzle £465,000 out of the old couple, Strange put it down to an innocent miscalculation he had made in the rate of inflation.

“When asked how much he’d need for his new toaster, Strange told the pensioners his old one had cost him £46.50 from the Argos in Sauchiehall Street, in 2007. Then using an inflation figure of 10% (it had averaged 2.5% a year from 2007-2011), Strange should have calculated the cost of the new toaster at £50.65. But the decimal point had inexplicably slipped several places, leading him to arrive at an inflation figure of a million per cent.

Asked by the Sheriff whether, as a professional financial adviser, a figure of that magnitude shouldn’t have alerted Strange to an obvious error in his calculations, he replied, “well we were in the middle of the credit crunch, there were some scary numbers flying around. I think it’s a legitimate error anyone could have made.” Strange added, in his defence, “I hadn’t got my calculator with me on the day so I worked it out on the back of Mr Gulliver’s cheque book. Admittedly it does seem a bit on the high side now, looking back. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. At the time I was in a bit of a hurry as I had three other old couples I had to r… see that day, so I needed to crack on. It was a genuine mistake, for which I am most humbly apology, your Lordship.”

Sheriff Tom McGonagall was unmoved by the financial adviser’s plea, as he was by the submission of Strange’s solicitor that thanks to his client’s advice the Gullivers’ remaining £935,000 had benefited from £7.62 growth on the stock market between 2011 and 2012, even after the deduction of his client’s £27,899 fees. Sentencing the evil scumbag to five years in prison, Sheriff McGonagall remarked, “how in God’s name that tawdry company UK Cash Cowboys were ever awarded a banking licence is a bigger mystery to me than the origin of the universe itself,” which seems a bit harsh.

Our great CEO Cleopatra LeGrande OBE was apparently unavailable for comment this morning when the double whammy broke in the news. No shit Sherlock. Nor was Group Chairman Sir Richard Pickle, apparently, who was refusing to comment from his Caribbean island getaway of Slapper Island.

When asked for a comment, our Culture Director Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett was quoted in the press as saying Cleopatra LeGrande was “completely unaware of any bad shit whatsoever happening anywhere in the organisation. Yeah, technically you could say it was paedophilia and criminal fraud on a massive scale, but we prefer to call it inappropriate behaviour. UK Cash Cowboys is an equal opportunities employer who wouldn’t allow any bad shit like that to happen. Our CEO has made a very public statement about the company’s commitment to supporting good causes, like saving the whales and the environment, and all that shit. Plus she sends a member of staff out to buy a copy of The Big Issue from the stinky guy on the corner every morning. OBE’s don’t just fall off a shelf, you know. There’s the UK Cash Cowboys Marathon, and our charitable arm UK Cash Cowboys Giving. I mean, what more proof do you vont, fool, zat ve are ze company viz ze heart of gold! All ze staff get free luncheon vouchers and nobody iz shot wizout ze express permission of our great leader Cleopatra LeGrande, UNDERSTANT! Dumbkopft. Heil LeGrande! No wait, scrub that. Ashok who?”

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Bad day at the office 7

UK CEO gets OBE for services to Bullying

Cleopatra LeGrande shouting


These are dark times indeed.

Unless you were paying attention back in December it may have slipped under your radar that Cleopatra LeGrande, CEO of UK Cash Cowboys, the sweat-shop payday loan company I work for (recently rebranded as a ‘Challenger Bank’, woo-fucking-hoo) was awarded an OBE for Services to Bullying in the New Years’ Honours list.

When you look at LeGrande’s track record since she took over Cowboys in 2007, it all falls into place. Here are the changes she brought in:

  • Concentration Camp dress code – Cowboys traditional ‘smart cas’ banned – an early shot across the bows.
  • Time clocking implemented – arrival and departure times closely monitored by management. Transgressors flogged in car-park ‘group humiliation outings’.
  • Worksheets – logging start and finish times on each job.
  • Personal phone calls – not allowed, monitored.
  • Personal email access – blocked.
  • Access to social media – blocked.
  • Sending attachments outside the business – blocked.
  • Use of computer files to store personal information – forbidden and monitored.
  • Music in the creative studio – banned.
  • Laughter in the office – banned (management ruling that ‘fun’ and ‘work’ are incompatible).
  • Whistle-blowing (reporting colleagues showing a bad attitude or lack of ‘engagement’) – encouraged and rewarded.
  • Compulsory attendance at ‘engagement’ workshops.
  • Enforced attendance at ‘fun’ corporate team events.
  • Absenteeism from work-related stress – quadrupled.
  • Staff Satisfaction rating in National Opinion Survey down from 85% to 15%.
  • Brutal weekly one-to-ones with line managers, where staff are sworn at, threatened, intimidated.
  • Corrupt annual review system resulting in a low performance rating for high performing staff.
  • Annual pay review and bonus – frozen indefinitely.
  • Senior management and ‘yes men’ get above inflation pay increases and bonuses.
  • CEO’s annual bonus for “managing down the costs of the business” – £1.5 million.

Think that’s bad? That’s nothing. LeGrande’s Nazi credentials are even better illustrated by a case study leaked to me by a colleague in HR today who has asked to remain anonymous. If her name gets out she’s bricking it she’ll wake up one morning to find her cat’s head next to her on the pillow, with her P45 stuffed in its mouth. Things like that happen around here, since LeGrande took over.

The case study concerns three colleagues in the Marketing Department who were bullied out of their jobs recently, despite having 35 years loyal service between them. They had consistently resisted the company’s efforts to ‘indoctrinate’ them, and spoke out against the growing culture of intimidation and harassment. For their sins they were given a new manager, who was told to ‘bring them into line’. My boss, in fact, Norman Shylock, a particularly nasty piece of work. LeGrande gave our CMO Dick Holder a mandate, and Dick passed it down the line to Shylock. “Shut them the fuck up, or make them disappear, kapeesh?”

First Shylock tried to ‘fix’ the three ‘troublemakers’ by trashing their end of year performance appraisals, on which their pay and bonuses depended. He basically fabricated a bunch of bullshit about missed deadlines and poor work, so he could pin the ‘failure’ tag on them.

When they appealed against his bungled attempt to blacken their name in the appraisals, and had his bullshit ratings overturned, he unleashed a campaign of bullying, intimidation and harassment on them.

It started with hideous amounts of work being piled on, then constant micro-management, nit-picking and fault finding over the most trivial thing. If they were a few seconds late arriving in the morning he would take them in a room and scream at them aggressively, using the most foul, obnoxious language. Man and woman.

It went on for several months until eventually, one by one, they all broke a little inside, and were signed off by their doctors with long-term work-related stress and depression, and suicidal thoughts.

The shit really hit the fan when the three employees filed a grievance against Shylock, for systematic bullying.

Camp Commandant that she is, LeGrande told Dick Holder to work with HR to make sure that, on no condition, was the grievance to stand. I can picture her drawing a finger across her throat as she spelled it out.

So HR conducted a charade of an investigation, taking a sham interest in witness statements and conducting fake interviews, then presented a complete whitewash, saying no bullying had taken place. They found Shylock guilty of some minor infraction like, ‘inappropriate behaviour’, and gave him a 15% pay rise for getting the job done.

For the three employees, when they’d exhausted the process internally and their six months statutory sick pay was up, they were given three alternatives by the company.

  1. Return to work and report back in to Shylock, the management thug who had bullied them to the point of depression and suicidal thoughts.
  2. Accept much inferior roles elsewhere in the team.
  3. Walk off into the sunset without a job or a penny in compensation. After 35 years loyal service.

“That’s what I call a result,” LeGrande was overheard saying to Dick Holder, as they high-fived round the coffee machine in our London head office.

Welcome to the new face of British Banking.

Stop Press – Bullying Works! UK Cash Cowboys see 127% increase in profits

Today at UK Cash Cowboys we heard the company had released its full year results for 2014. And wow, we got some idea just how lucrative LeGrande’s culture of bullying and intimidation has become around this joint. “The company have coined in an extra £120 million in profit,” said our PR spokesman, Scott Trotter. “We’re absolutely fucking minting it.”

There’s a rumour going round the office that Sir Richard Pickle, our Global Group Chairman, serial entrepreneur and darling of the British media, has invited Cleopatra to spend a week with him at his Caribbean hideaway of Slapper Island as a thank you. Not that she needs one, as the figures released also revealed Cleopatra awarded herself a staggering 21% pay increase last year, earning an eye-popping £3.65million.

So much for George ‘Ozzy’ Osborne’s brave new world free of greedy fatcat bank bosses. LeGrande also trousered a handy little £1.5million bonus on the side. While most of us here in the creative studio at Cash Cowboys Towers, where we’re labelled ‘trouble-makers’, got a BIG FAT ZERO. Thanks, Cleopatra. Makes it all feel worthwhile.

LeGrande was quoted as saying in the press today, “Our staff are at the heart of all the money we rake in from customers and I would like to thank them for their hard work for, well, practically peanuts, all year round. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to line my pockets with such an eye-watering amount in personal salary and bonuses. To those who might say I’m greedy and that’s a disgusting amount of money, I’d say shut up, I’m far more important than you and you don’t know what you’re talking about. The figure quoted in the press that it would take an average employee at UK Cash Cowboys 145 years to earn what I earn in a year, while factually correct, is merely an accurate reflection of my superior status at the bank. I get paid to make big decisions, the plebs don’t. What’s your fucking problem?”

This is a woman, let us not forget, who from 2001 to 2007 presided over a mortgage division at a well-known high street bank that lent money to broke people like there was no tomorrow. When the credit crunch finally struck in August 2007 LeGrande’s bank had run up enough toxic debt to fund a small banana republic. A black hole of money that you, I and every other UK taxpayer are still picking up the tab for, seven years later.

But they don’t call her the Teflon Lady for nothing. Like some Auschwitz guard slipping silently away to South America, LeGrande quickly jumped ship on Thursday 9 August 2007, the day the credit crunch went off like a time bomb around the world. That black Thursday when Sir Richard Pickle unveiled LeGrande as the new CEO of the UK arm of the Cash Cowboys franchise. A black day indeed. We didn’t just get LeGrande and her Nazi management philosophy, we got her personal Gestapo of brutal oberleutnants from the Royal Bank of Snodland. These are the goons who now strut about UK Cash Cowboys slapping their rubber batons in their palms.

Cleopatra LeGrande’s strategy for business success is brutally simple. Take over the company, make half the staff redundant, and bully the remaining employees into twice the work for half the pay. It’s a strategy she’s employed at every company she’s ever worked at, destroying the culture and sending morale through a trap door and profits through the roof, over the bodies of her employees. Not for nothing is she known in the industry as Voldemort, on account of the cheery effect she has on employee wellbeing. At Cash Cowboys, most days it feels more like we’re working in a chain-gang than a marketing department. Maybe the fifteen-foot electrified barbed-wire fence, searchlights and machine gun posts have something to do with it.

Here’s the thing about Cleopatra LeGrande. For anyone who doesn’t know her. For anyone misled by the friendly air-brushed photographs our Public Relations team put out in the press today, of Cleopatra as the smiling face of business, standing alongside a beaming Rich Pickle. She should be fucking smiling, she’s just trousered £3.65 million. But here’s the thing. Cleopatra LeGrande likes to pretend she has a heart. But she doesn’t have a heart. Oh no. Cleopatra LeGrande is a machine. Let me tell you. A ruthless terminator in woman’s clothing. Like something out of Orwell’s 1984.

If the definition of a psychopath is a cold, calculating, dispassionate, manipulative, uncaring individual with sociopathic traits, LeGrande ticks all those boxes, and then some. She kicks those boxes’ asses, until they run away and hide. In public she likes to portray the Cowboys as a business with a conscience. Like we’re some kind of co-operative run by philanthropists whose only aims are saving the planet and putting something back into society. A company where profit is a dirty word. Hence her blatant attempts to curry favour with the establishment through our charitable arm, UK Cash Cowboys Giving, and our funding of the UK Cash Cowboys Marathon.

If you believed all that crap you’d think we were one big happy family. You’d maybe imagine, for one misguided moment, that all the staff here are treated like royalty and everyone loves coming into work. That we all buy into her self-serving bullshit about Cowboys being on a mission to change the world. Uh-ho.

Let me tell you something. Anyone who has worked here for longer than a second would tell you this. Cleopatra LeGrande would knock over a cripple if he got in her way. She would steal a disabled person’s wheelchair. Then let down the tyres. And sell it. That’s the kind of selfish, greedy, despicable human being she is. She’s a tyrant, plain and simple. A petty little corporate dictator. One of the coldest, most ruthless operators I’ve ever had the misfortune to work for.

Behind the façade here at Cash Cowboys she’s unleashed a Kristallnacht of bullying and intimidation that’s slowly snuffing out the last vestiges of morale and engagement among loyal staff who have worked here for years. Day by day, piece by piece we are witnessing our company being turned into the worst kind of corporate hell-hole, run by LeGrande’s personal mafia of corporate thugs. They bully and intimidate with impunity. They harass and humiliate on a daily basis, piling on the work, driving down pay, punishing the least ‘insubordination’. Speak a word out of turn, say a thing off-message, you’re out. History. These are people with families, kids, mortgages, who can’t afford to lose their jobs.

As Cleopatra is fond of getting up and saying at company all-staff get-togethers, smiling like a crocodile, “either you’re on the bus, or you can fuck off and work somewhere else, make up your mind”.

For LeGrande to preside over a company pretending to stand for good causes and the wellbeing of staff, feels like having Jimmy Savile in charge of a refuge for abused children. There’s only one cause LeGrande cares about, as today’s revelations about her fatcat salary have revealed. Her own bank balance. As for the rest of us, we’re just tiny pawns in her big power game. Paper napkins that get used up and thrown out with the trash. We’re faces to be ground under her jackboot as she fast tracks her career among the great and the good. Fuck you, LeGrande.

So what exactly the Chancellor thought he was doing by giving one of the prime authors of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s a licence to operate a high street bank out of a seedy little two-bit financial services company like the Cowboys is anyone’s guess. My guess is that Cleopatra spent most of 2013 on her knees in front of Osborne to make it happen. And I don’t mean tying his shoelaces. No doubt she milked the David v Goliath angle for all it was worth. Plucky little challenger brand standing up to the big bad high street banks. If Osborne only knew the truth he’d run a mile. This is a Mickey Mouse operation from its head to its toes. A corporate concentration camp where staff are brow-beaten and bullied into churning out over-priced, dumbed-down Mickey Mouse financial products that any sensible customer would run a mile from. One day the truth will out. Remember the name, Cleopatra LeGrande, OBE. The new face of banking.

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