Word Count 470
The Clandestine Correlation of Consumerism
by G. Ackman
Hello. Welcome to the Company. I’m here to facilitate your orientation to us and to smooth your transition to your new position. The clandestine nature of this job will require that you create multiple identities, complete with plausible backstories that will hold up under the strictest scrutiny. What was that? Lying? No, it’s not really lying. It’s…more like acting. You are assuming a role, just like actors on a Broadway stage. The only difference is that the clients with whom you are working have no idea that they are on stage. It’s kind of funny, really. And you’ll get used to it. In fact, some of our operatives hardly remember their actual identities anymore. You will have to keep your phone with you at all times. You never know when you will get a text from us alerting you to your next mission. Thirty years ago, you actually got a phone call from Charlie (he’s our head manager) but now he just sends you the details of the job and you merely reply with a code – 844667 for accepting the job and 999 if you choose to not accept. Do some people not accept jobs? Well, I suppose it is possible, but well, we don’t really talk about that. Rejecting an assignment is unheard of. Do you have any idea how important our work is? I can see by your expression that you don’t. It is, though. The very essence of the American way of life depends on what you will be doing on each and every mission. Every man, woman, and child relies on you providing the very sense of security that they take for granted. Without you and your colleagues on the job, no one would be able to go through his or her day, knowing what to expect, like they can now. You’re skeptical of the level of importance I am placing on this, aren’t you? If you can’t believe in what we’re doing, then maybe this isn’t the right job for you. Oh, okay, then, if you’re sure. Let’s get back to your orientation. You have the codes, you have the mission requirements, you have your operative name…let’s see, what else. Oh, yes, the reports. You must file a detailed report within twelve hours of each completed mission. It is imperative that you provide full names, exact times, precise locations, and all pertinent identifying information about how you fulfilled your obligation. What? Yes, of course, you provide the client’s actual names. Why wouldn’t you? It’s only you who are undercover. Your pay will be deposited in the bank account that you have given us thirty-six hours after we receive and approve your report. The payer will be listed as Acme Corporation. Okay, any questions? None? Good. Then welcome to the world of being a Mystery Shopper.