Back-up Girl Takes On Captain Anonymous


"Back-up Girl."

Filling in, at the speed of light, for those originally hired to do certain tasks but who decide they don't actually, really, ever want to do them... but still kinda sorta would like to continue being paid for said tasks, and also get the credit for their success.

That's when she gets called in on the Red Phone.

Back-up Girl is silent, ever-vigilant, invisible-- and has a certain amount of inner-rage.

Yes-- I am Back-up Girl . (Shhh, don't tell anybody.)

As a result, Back-up Girl has had a very interesting array of projects under her utility belt during her lengthy trouble-shooting career-- many of which go well-beyond simple marketing writing.

Today, I will tell you about one such project, which happened a number of years ago. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. (Namely me.) Because Back-up Girl believes in the powers of loyalty, confidentiality... and, you know, a regular paycheck.

We begin our story in the city of BurghTown. A local company, RandomCorp, is about to create a whole new marketing brand. And Back-up Girl has been called in to survey the firm's internal staff.

Her mission? To solicit honest employee opinions about the company’s current marketing efforts.

This is to be done through an easy-to-use online survey, where employees share their feelings and ideas anonymously, in a secure environment.

That way if anyone wants to say, "I think our marketing blows chunks," Back-up Girl is armed with invaluable data ("chunk-blowing marketing"). And the good people of RandomCorp get to retain their jobs.

Harmony reigns in BurghTown.

The survey takes place, the people of BurghTown offer their insights and then, one day, the Red Phone rings. Back-up Girl picks it up.

"Hello-- Back-up Girl here! What seems to be the trouble?"

"Hi, this is Mr. Blank, of RandomCorp." Back-up Girl recognizes the name instantly as the key contact for her client firm.

And that's when Mr. Blank says this real and 100% for-true sentence:

"I need you to give me the names of all the people who filled out the anonymous survey."
OOOF!!

Back-up Girl is hit with an enormous unexpected blow! Recovering her breath, she grounds herself. "Mr. Blank, I'm afraid we hadn’t set the system up to collect that information. Since, you know, the survey was anonymous."

"Oh, okay," Mr. Blank continues, wholly unfazed. "Then just give me their e-mail addresses. We can figure out their names from those."

POW! ZAM! BIF!

Back-up Girl is tossed across the room, her head spinning.

She leaps to her feet. She takes several more deep breaths. And she picks up the Red Phone once more.

"Mr. Blank, I don't know how to tell you this, but the system you approved wasn't programmed to capture that data, either. As it was… you know… an anonymous survey."

Mr. Blank goes silent with confusion.

Back-up Girl perseveres. "The anonymous survey was anonymous so your colleagues would feel comfortable sharing their opinions and so you would get honest answers. If you knew who they were, then the survey wouldn't be anonymous anymore. It would be... er... Nonymous."

"Oh." Mr. Blank considers this a moment. "Well, I just think there are a number of people who didn't respond to the survey. And we want to get as many people as possible. So I need to know who's missing and remind them."

So Back-up Girl assures him she would send a second blanket e-mail to everyone at RandomCorp telling them the deadline for the survey would be extended. That would get the maximum number of respondents.

Mr. Blank was saved!

But wait! Something is now in Back-up Girl's email Inbox!

Why, it's many of the fine people of RandomCorp. And one after one, they wonder why they’re being asked to fill out this anonymous survey now-- again-- when they already had submitted it.

Did Back-up Girl not receive their anonymous survey?

Shouldn't Back-up Girl make sure she checked their name off The List…? Off the List of the Non-names of the People Who Filled Out the Survey Anonymously?

Back-up Girl grabs the bottle of Excedrin from her desk and chews two tablets thoughtfully. Captain Anonymous has been an admirable foe...

And she surely hasn't seen the last of him.

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Back-up Girl says people who vote for Of Cabbages and Kings at Humor-blogs are super.

18 comments:

Da Old Man said...

Perfect. Paranoid executives squaring off against paranoid employees, all under the cloak of anonymity. Only Back Up Girl could keep the peace. Good job, super hero. Stan Lee could not have done it better.

Greg said...

Shame that the undue stress of the conflict caused Back-Up Girl to give away her secret identity, though. I wonder if she realizes she will now have to fake her own death and establish a completely new life.

Heh heh...only fooling--thanks, as you know, I just love the superheroes. This was fun. Captain Anonymous should file for a name-change though. "Captain Idiot" sounds more apt.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Yes, it was a very memorable situation. I think it drove Back-up Girl to have a glass of wine or three. Back-up Girl thanks you for being such a fine, supportive citizen. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- Back-up Girl will deal with the slip-up of secret identity by using a Forget ray on everyone. Which, okay, looks a lot like a giant batch of frosty-sweet Hurricanes from Paddy O'Briens in New Orleans. But I promise you, forget they will!

PS- Captain Anonymous USES idiots to do his bidding. That's why he's so insidious. :)

Anonymous said...

Ah yes...the anonymous survey. We do them often here. However...if you read the questions as you answer, there are specific ones sprinkled throughout the survey that would allow upper management the information needed to figure out who is filling the survey out. It is disturbing once you realize they have a built in cheat. We could use a Back-up girl to bap them a good one and teach them what anonymous means.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Jenn...I forgot to sign my anonymous comment so you know who it is. :-)

Sue

Jenn Thorson said...

Heh- Sue- the irony there is pretty darned funny.

We did try to make sure the surveys weren't going to openly reveal who filled them out. But that's because Back-up Girl wrote the questions. :)

Jay said...

Oh, that's priceless! LOL!

And actually, very, very sad indeed. *Shakes head sorrowfully at the unethical ways of Big Business*

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- It was one of the more astounding client relations experiences I've had, for certain!

Jonny's Mommy said...

Oh, oh, oh...I am laughing so hard. So glad I took the time to catch up on your blog today because today I needed it more than ever.

Thank you!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jonny's Mommy- Here's hoping your day picks up and things get a bit better for you. Back-up Girl is always happy to help! :)

Meg said...

Too bad you can't respond to these asshats with anonymous emoticons!

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- Heh (when oh when will I stop chuckling every time you use the word "asshat"?-- oh, probably never...)

Chat Blanc said...

Back-up Girl you are truly brave, facing such incompetence single-handedly. You are a SUPER-DUPER HERO! :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Sandy- Back-up Girl makes all sorts of mistakes along the way, but she does her best. She appreciates your support! :)

The Great Fox Hating Potentate said...

I wonder, if Back Up Girl had just provided a random list of people, (not necessarily employees of RandomCorp) would Mr. Blank have noticed?

:D

Jenn Thorson said...

Julian- Probably not for a while, anyway-- until he'd be matching my list to the folks in RandomCorp.

THEN it would get ugly. :)

The Great Fox Hating Potentate said...

Maybe he'd just think they were all using aliases to maintain the illusion of anonymity :D