Novelty Corporate Tat

We have a system within IBM where one employee can reward another through an internal gift scheme.

Called the “Thanks!” scheme, you can send a message to anyone within the company and the recipient gets to choose one of a collection of gifts. The main problem is that they’re usually novelty tat, with the IBM logo branded on it somewhere.

I recently received two such awards and had the conundrum of choosing something to have from the catalogue. There are a range of polo shirts, short- and long-sleeved shirts, along with jumpers. I wasn’t really interested in more IBM-branded clothing: I regularly wear my IBM-branded padded jacket, but that’s ’cause it’s really nice. So I went for the “others” section.

There’s a large collection of rubbish in there: mostly these “executive toys” or the large A4 leather wallets with a built-in pad of paper and calculator. The first thing I went for was the “sports pack”. This comprises of a useful-looking rucksack, which will certainly be handy to carry my various bits of camera gear round with me – stuff that wouldn’t normally go in my regular camera bag.

Inlcuded in the sports pack is a slightly-less-useful-for-me pedometer, which tracks how many steps you’ve taken, approximate calories burnt and the estimated distance covered. The last one isn’t that useful because I come home after work, so that will always read zero on a nighttime.

My second Thanks! gift was a really good one – a genuine mini Maglite. Again this has the IBM logo on, but let’s face it, if you need a torch then that usually means it is dark and it won’t matter anyway.

As the expression goes, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.