The Trader: There are lies, damn lies and what you tell the boss

Rory rang Simon's top client - the chap had never heard of his `big deal'

LAURA PUTS down her cup of coffee. "According to Mark Twain, there are only three kinds of lies, `Lies, damned lies, and statistics'," she says.

"Well, he'd obviously never worked in finance, had he?" I reply, licking the last crumb of Mrs Hughes's homemade carrot cake from my top lip. "Just think how many different types of fibbing go on around here on a daily basis. Only I suppose you have to call it `spinning', the way politicians do."

"They should know; they're the experts," Laura says, sighing with all the emotion of someone who once believed, for a heady moment, that things can only get better. "Still, we mustn't be too cynical. After all, we're a pretty honest crew round here, aren't we? Perhaps the odd little lie - like when one of us asks if we look as ghastly as we feel and all the others say, `No, you look fine', but nothing serious."

And she's right. While I regularly refuse to divulge the contents of my trading book to competitors who have the nerve to ask, that's merely sound business practice. Everyone knows that not telling the truth isn't quite the same as lying.

But I can't imagine any of us deliberately trying to mislead a customer, say, to win their business. Life, you see, has a way of paying you back: you know, you'd win that deal, but lose out on a much bigger one when the punter found out what you'd done. "And they always do find out, don't they?" Laura says. "I wonder how? Anyway, it doesn't matter. No one here would be that stupid." And she goes back to waiting for the US jobless figures to be released.

It's a busy afternoon, and not until Mrs Hughes rattles in again with her coffee-and-cake trolley is there time for a breather. Simon, our pushy junior salesman, comes sidling over and asks for his coffee black and two pieces of cake. We raise our eyebrows as he scurries back to his desk. "That's not a happy young man," Mrs Hughes says, rearranging her cups.

"No," Laura says, trying not to sound pleased. "Rory's decided to get involved in this big deal Simon's been arranging with a client. I suppose Supersalesboy is a bit nervous about having the chief honcho breathing down his neck."

Mrs Hughes looks thoughtful. "Well, you may be right," she says tactfully. "But I wouldn't be surprised if there's more going on than meets the eye. I always said that one would trip himself up." And she rattles off and we head to a meeting that limps on until home time.

The next morning, there's no sign of Simon although he's usually the first in. "How odd," I say to Laura. "Has he gone down with flu? Only I didn't know any of us were allowed to be ill."

"No," Laura replies. "We're not. But it turns out that when Rory rang Simon's top client last night, the one with whom he's supposedly `like that', the chap had never even heard of the deal. Remembered Simon, though. Asked if he was that incredibly annoying young man who kept pestering him. It seems he makes his assistant take Simon's calls, and she always pretends she's on the other line. Anyway, that's what Findlay says."

Well, I think, no wonder Simon looked so nervous when Rory wanted to help.

"That's not the worst of it," Laura continues. "Rory rang Simon's other `top contacts' after that. Turns out none of them speak to him either. So Rory suggested he stay at home today. It seems there is something worse than lying to a customer - and that's lying to your boss."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home