A few years back I worked for an insurance company, I won’t tell you which one, but put it this way the owner was a very wealthy man and isn’t so wealthy now, I’ll let you work it out for yourselves . I must say though, he was a decent auld skin anytime I chatted to him.
Now, for years this company had the absolute dogs bollix of Christmas parties: no holds barred stuff - free bar, free hotel room, slap up meal, the works. As the recession kicked in everyone on our island had to tighten their belts, so like all Christmas parties, ours had to be scaled back quite a bit. So this one year instead of a free bar we were promised 5 drink vouchers each, which isn’t so bad. 5 pints of porter would have most men nice ‘n smiley and mad for more!!!
Well the Friday of the Christmas party we were all in great form in the office, tins a roses everywhere, loads of boxes of pringles and good aul Mr. McGowan blasting out “Fairytale of new York” on the radio. Great banter.
So as I sat at my desk literally buzzing for DRINK, I spotted one of the ‘big guns’ in the company drop a load of envelopes on my boss’ desk - “lovely, they must be the drink vouchers” I says to myself as I was getting awful giddy. So as the boss walked around the office handing them out I got mine, opened it up and I’m not joking you they were ‘raffle tickets’ with a dreadfully worn down stamp on the back of them, no fancy printing or a date on them, nothing, they were just raffle tickets, the same raffle tickets you’d buy down below at your local wheel of fortune.
I thought to myself “sure jaysus this has be some sort of a joke, sure anyone could just go to a pound shop, buy a booklet of these and drink themselves into an early grave!” And just like that, the hamster in my head got a 2nd wind and began to pelt full blast on the treadmill, at this stage my poor aul mind was running at a 100MPH. So I rang a mate of mine (another cowboy) to see if his hamster was going full throttle as well and sure jaysus of course it was. So after work, we headed to the pound store got two booklets of tickets and off to the party with us.
We arrived to the hotel a short time later, got the boring crap out of the way: the check in, sussing out the room, throwing the shower bag on the bed etc. Then it was straight down to the bar for a few scoops to wet the tongue. We both agreed we wouldn’t tell a soul about our idea; it was our own little plan. So later that evening, we all got togged out in our formal wear, at this stage the drink vouchers were being accepted at the bar, so we said now was the time to 'tempt our fate'. Being the cowboys we are we gave another lad our tickets (which had no stamp on them) to go ‘test the water’. “Here Johnny, take my tickets there to get us a round in, I’ve a few extra”.
So off went Johnny up to the bar, ordered 3 fine pints of stout, she took 3 vouchers off him, didn’t bat an eyelid at the back of the voucher to see if there was a stamp on them, she just handed him the pints and moved on to the next thirsty customer. As our little guinea pig was heading back towards us with 3 creamy pints, myself and my buddy looked at each other “We’re made lad, let’s go nuts!!”
So as we floored the pints into us we started to get cocky and confident, each time we were out in the smoking area we would hand out tickets to people “here, I’m good mates with the gaffer, he gave me a few extra vouchers, have a few of mine” as you can imagine this went down very very well with our colleagues, people thought we were the boss, the pimp, the bhoyyss whatever else you wana call us. I myself stood there with a JD in one hand a bummed cigarette in the other and handed out the vouchers to one and all like I was Tony facking Soprano.
Everyone was in serious form, it was one of the best nights I’ve ever. Then, come about 3 a.m., I staggered up to the bar, ordered 2 vodkas with a dash of blackcurrant (it was all my stomach could handle at that stage!) and as I was doing all night I handed the bar lady my 67th drink voucher. She replies “we don’t accept drink vouchers anymore” .. “huh, and why is that” I muttered, in an awful drunken state “I’ll tell ya why”.. she turned her body 180 degrees and says “just look over there at the till”, so I looked over to the till, struggling to see it mind you, and I’m not joking you there must have been 10,000 tickets all over the shop, in the till, on top of the till, under the till, on the floor, in the booklets, they were facking everywhere.… “Someone was acting the bollix with the drink vouchers, so we only accept cash now” says she. “Jayyyysus the cute whoors huh”.. I says to her. Handed her a tenner and staggered back my table.
I then caught my partner in crimes attention, who was on the dance floor in flying form going mental to “summer of 69”. When he eventually staggered in my direction I says to him “look out at that dance floor pal”. The place was absolutely on wheels, hopping so it was; everyone was in the form of their lives. I picked up my drinks handed my buddy one and I made a toast “you can go to college for 16 years, you can memorise every page of encyclopaedias but if you don’t think outside the box the odd time and have a bit of devilment in you, you’ll go nowhere in this cruel world. Cheers lad and happy Christmas”