S is for: Sales. Magazines held regular staff sales of clothes, shoes, knitted items, fabrics, cushions and other home-related goodies, books, make-up, wine, cameras, horsey items and anything and everything relating to the many magazines in the company. (Oh, how I miss them!) Manners seemed to fly out the window at these and I once witnessed a woman old enough to know better running around the tables in an effort to beat the rest. Also, two women in a very unseemly grapple for a bottle of perfume. It got so bad, an admonishing email was sent round informing everyone that, if they didn’t behave, the sales would cease.
S is also for: Sex. At one of our parties, a writer who had published sex advice books was treated with utter disdain by a rather “sociable” and – er – adventurous colleague, who was overheard saying in tones of outrage: “I don’t need anyone telling ME how to do it!”
S is also for: Smoking and passive smoking. Some of us could (literally) breathe a huge sigh of relief when the smoking ban came in, although it may have been too late for others. One colleague who shared an office with a chain smoker for many years went for a health check and was told they had the lungs of a smoker, even though they themselves had never smoked.
S is also for: Sorbet. Another phrase which entered my dept’s vocabulary was during yet another long lunch. When the puddings menu came round, a stuffed-to-the-gills colleague was heard to utter in dainty tones: “I’ll have a sorbet to be sociable.”