“Giant Hamster or Tiny Rhino?” The Time I Interviewed a Senior Finance Executive

For my second of two articles I had to produce for the internal monthly newsletter I decided to do an interview with a senior bod in the organisation. However this is me and while I’m still clinging onto the famous ‘graduate’ gold pass (I’m not a graduate, but there has to be some perks to people forever calling me that), well, it seemed perfectly reasonable to take a different stance on the traditional dry corporate interview the Executive Committee usually answer via email. Even though you won’t know the guy directly I hope you get what I was trying to do here, I certainly got the feeling he did.

Jeremy Paxman got nothing on me.


Closed Conversations with JS, Head of Digital


JS: So why are we doing this?

AB: I thought it would jazz up the newsletter interview if we got to know the man behind the face. Don’t get me wrong, I love Digital strategy…

JS: *Chuckles*

AB: …but we don’t really get to know you. Shouldn’t take long but before we start I should say you’re allowed to decline questions or terminate the interview should you feel uncomfortable

JS: What are you going to ask me?!

AB: I’m just covering my back J

JS: *Chuckles* okay, go on.


AB: What’s your favourite chocolate bar?

JS: Galaxy


AB: Biggest strength?

JS: Resilience


AB: Football or Rugby?

JS: Rugby

AB: Favourite team?

JS: Bath Spa


AB: Playground nickname?

JS: Ginge


AB: Would you rather be a giant hamster or a tiny rhino?

JS: Tiny rhino


AB: Bath Spa or Swindon?

JS: As in the city?

AB: Well, yeah, I wouldn’t make you compare Swindon to basic hygiene.

JS: *Laughs* fair enough, Bath Spa


AB: What’s your Zodiac sign?

JS: Cancer


AB: Morning lark or night owl?

JS: Morning lark


AB: Tea or coffee?

JS: Coffee


AB: Would you rather meet an alien visitor of travel into space?

JS: *Pause* travel into space


Favourite band/artist?

JS: Anything before 1998

AB: What happened after 1998?

JS: It all went downhill


Describe yourself in one word.

JS: *Long pause*

AB: Just anything

JS: It’s a tough one

AB: Have you never had to answer that at an interview?

JS: I haven’t been interviewed in ten years! *long pause* Determined


AB: Digital or analogue?

JS: Analogue…joking! Of course it’s Digital.

AB: God, you had me worried there for your job. As if an analogue fan could head up digital, I’d have to get you escorted of the building out on principle!

JS: *Laughs*

A Very British Complaint Letter to Cadburys Chocolate

The below complaint letter got me a £2 compensation voucher. I mean sure it took a bit of time to put together and yes the postage stamp was close to the value of the voucher. Plus the fact the snack bars themselves cost £1. So technically I’m actually working at a loss right now. Hmm, note to self; you cannot make a career from witty complaint letters.


Cadbury UK Consumer Relations,
Bournville, Birmingham, B30 2LU


Dear Sir or Madam,

I’ll keep this simple and to the point (because as riveting as complaint letters are, we’d all rather be somewhere else right now). I recently bought a box of Chocolate Chip Brunch bars and they are a bit pants.

As I know ‘pants’ can be used to describe a variety of situations from cold tea to literal pants, let me diversify. I bought a six-pack box in Poundland in Swindon (bear with me, that’s not the pants bit), however upon biting into the first bar at work I noticed the snack didn’t quite taste right. I opened the bar fully to discover it had gone off. I checked the sell by on the wrapper but the Brunch Bar appeared to be well within date. This is what it looked like:


You can imagine the disgust and horror when I realised my hard-earned pound had gone to waste. I need my chocolate hit so very badly, it is often the only thing standing between me and a terribly put together advertising campaign. Imagine if, instead of a Gorilla, Cadbury had decided to use a dancing Stingray reading a recital of Keats for the iconic advert? Besides making for a difficult display in Cadbury World it wouldn’t quite make the mark. That is how crucial a mid-morning snack is to both me and my company’s marketing strategy. It’s ruddy big stuff.

All things considered I think you’ll agree that these Brunch Bars are of a pretty pants standard. Please can you check standards of production and do whatever needs fixing, pronto.


Yours Faithfully,

Alice E. Bennett

Why The Word ‘Commit’ Makes Me Yawn

When people talk of commitment they’re usually referring to an attachment to a person, goal or foodstuff. All well and good but incredibly predictable. So what you can commit to your job, guess what? The rest of the employed world already does that. You’re committed to your partner? I should darn well hope so! It’s just so predictable and, well, boring.

On the flipside I often feel the word “commit” can also come off as a bit strong, for me it casts images of stone handcuffs imprisoning you forever to an assertion. So you say you’re committed to a food brand? Uh huh, lets see what happens when I double its price and halve that of its rival.

Take this hypothetical example…

Me: “I want to eat a banana.”

Internal Devil Voice: “NO! You must eat chocolate. You said you’re committed to it!”

Me: “But that was one time when was single and having a binge day.”

Devil: “You can’t just drop a commitment because it suits you. You said it then, deal with the consequences of your actions.”

Me: “But…but…”

Devil: “No buts, now eat fatty, eat!”

And this is why I can only eat chocolate. Damn you Devil voice, you and your forcing me to eat unhealthily! *shakes fist in the air

However to prove that I’m not some kind of free spirited hippie that can’t bind herself to anything more than breathing, here is a list of things I can at least half-commit to (without lying or making you want to throw up).

These things are:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Spilling both on frequent occasion
  • Vintage-style dresses
  • The memory of Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You
  • Mika’s first album
  • Chocolate (see above conversation)
  • New pillows
  • Phil Collins…just Phil Collins
  • The 2016/17 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (thou shalt not talk about the 1990 film)
  • My writing

There you go, all the things I can reasonably commit to and make me happy. You now know a lot more about compared to a post writing a soppy love story about how committed I am to my family. I bet as a reader you preferred it too. Please feel free to send me any combination of these things to my door, although FYI chocolate covered Phil Collins is a definite no. Lets get that idea nipped in the bud.


Oddly enough this post was written in response to the word prompt of the day Commit

Nabloposmo Day 2: Is it Time to Give Hershey’s a Break?

Our manager returned to work today having spent ten days on a family holiday in Florida. Along with the tan, photos and that smugness that comes from meeting Mickey (FYI I’ve met him, you’re not special), she also brought back with her crates of American sweets. The stuff that you can get in the UK, but get charged three times the price for. Also the stuff that you look at and think “so that’s what they eat over there. All that sugar and e numbers, how practically ghastly!” and move on relieved you’re still British. That stuff.

She brought in these goodies and at 3pm (as standard) everyone started inching towards the snack pile. I was reaching for a piece of chocolate when a colleague cries out “oh no! Hershey’s? That stuff is awful! It tastes like plastic!”

Admittedly I was well aware of the massive p-take us Brits engage in when in discussion of the quality of American chocolate. To those who aren’t from our little island let me summarise; whatever you put in front of us it will never look as good as Dairy Milk, it’ll never taste as good as Dairy Milk and it will never make you feel as good as Dairy Milk. You can apply the same sentiments to chocolate.

Because Hershey’s is not, by default, Dairy Milk, it is already off to a bad start. The Hershey’s brand have also never tried to be good sports with their competitors, as shown when they tried to prevent the import of Cadbury chocolate (the company that produces Dairy Milk). The result? Parents and teachers across the land ingraining the opinion that Hershey’s is the treat of the devil and make up of nasty things like incest and dog poo. Ok, ok, I may be pushing it, but you get the idea. Put it this way, I’m British and I’ve never once reached to the top shelf to buy a bar of Hershey’s.

Despite the opinions of my fellow workmates I still went for a piece of the odd looking stuff. I felt like a proper office rebel (plus, as I said to my colleague “it’s free and I’m on work property. Whatever happens I’m covered). I took the squares back to my desk where, admittedly, they sat for a little while (busy office worker problems). By the time I got round to taking a bite I was genuinely curious as to what this stuff would taste like. My only memory of Hershey’s was an eleven year old me sat in a Disney World Resort hotel room at thinking that this chocolate was overrated (more of a doughnut kinda gal back then).

Imagine my amazement therefore when I popped a square into my mouth and found I wasn’t heaving after two seconds. Yes, the stuff wasn’t rocking my world, but it wasn’t too bad. As a girl who often snacks on the bargain basement chocolate brands this was not the worst sugary snack I’d ever eaten. In fact it tasted familiar to something I’d had not that long ago. I thought about it for a little bit and then it hit me; that Hershey’s tasted just like the chocolate in M&Ms. I like M&Ms. But then another thought hit me, I’m not meant to like this snack, even though it tastes like a snack I do like. I like to think I kept a straight face, but internally this was how I felt:



After I’d had time to recover (and eat a couple more pieces) I realised that actually Hershey’s wasn’t perhaps quite deserving of all the bad reputation. I mean at the end of the day it’s just another brand of chocolate. Yes, I’m not about to rush out and buy a crate load of the stuff (it’s alright, but it’ll never be Dairy Milk), and maybe I won’t start giving it to children when they come trick or treating (=money down drain), but from now on I’m not going to object to the stuff on nearly the same level as before.

After all, if as Brits we can calmly tolerate sugary snack brands like Nestle and Galaxy, then why can’t we add Hershey’s to the list. Sure, Hershey’s have been a bit stupid in the past with their plan to take over the UK market and their branding is probably the simplest out there. But at the end of the day just remember, it is American.