Dear office bosses

Never gave someone a job simply because they were sexy? The cheque's always in the post? Come on, chaps, pull the other one
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The Independent Online
You've been lying again, haven't you? This time in answer to one of those carefully worded surveys in a business magazine called Ventures on what it calls business morality (now there's a contradiction in terms).

The first surprise is that all this talk of political correctness must be getting through to some of you. Asked "Have you appointed someone because they looked sexy, rather than simply on merit?" a thumping 72 per cent of you answered "no". This I do not believe. This makes me gasp and stretch my eyes. Own up: you've all done it - appointed someone sexy - barring those from Planet Zog, where there's only one sex anyway, the one with horns, sorry, antennae on top of its head.

Next question: "Would you promote a staff member as a reward for sleeping with you?" Only 13 per cent said yes. The other 77 per cent said no. This, paradoxically, may be the truth. The sartorial and hygienic habits of the average office boss are so deplorable that only an insanely ambitious woman would contemplate getting that close. The never-dry-cleaned pin- striped suits, the cheesy socks, the transparent shirts - and those are just the visible garments; one shudders to think what must lurk beneath. Indeed, another recent survey showed that only about one man in four changed his underwear daily. One in 10 changes his pants once a week or less often. Aargh! Keep your promotion! Get away from me!

You don't only lie about sex. You lie about your own generosity as well. To the question, "A customer sends your company a crate of wine at Christmas. Would you distribute it to staff, pretending you'd bought it yourself?" Eighty-three per cent of you chorused self-righteously "no". Once again, chaps, pull the other one. Unless, of course, you meant you wouldn't distribute it at all, you'd take it home and drink the lot.

Next question: "Would you increase your own wage while denying your staff a pay rise?" You shrink in horror at the very thought. Nearly six out of 10 chorus no, with only a shame-faced 42 per cent conceding yes. Don't be ashamed, the 42 per centers: you're the ones telling the truth among a horde of liars.

Yet there are some surprising areas of honesty. Asked if you give money to beggars, 64 per cent of you answered no. Beggars would put it a bit higher, at around 99 per cent - but two-thirds of you managed to croak out the truth on this one. In my own private survey as I criss-cross London's underground stations, strewn with beggars, I have never seen an office manager or anything remotely resembling one put a hand into his pocket for a beggar.

What is the point of these surveys? Does anyone take them seriously? Don't talk to me about having been cross-matched for age, height and sexual inclinations; these people are lying. And the proof? Asked whether the words "the cheque's in the post" were always true of them, 77 per cent said yes. I rest my case.

Anticipating your custom, for & on behalf of Balls, Bollocks and Porkies, assuring you of my best attention at all times, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

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