December 4, 2000

On Ice

There I was, alone at home on a Monday, sitting around wondering what my next entry was going to be about, when lo and behold, in it walked through the door.
Nobody was expected at that hour - noonish - so I went to see what was (obviously) wrong.

It was my older son, Mark, only about ten hours early. He was supposed to be at his telemarketing job, followed by night school. He wasn't bleeding or limping or ill; his backpack was in one piece and he was smiling. (We mothers learn how to assess a situation rapidly!)

ME: You get fired?
MARK: Noooooooo...

ME: So why are you home?
MARK: Wellllll... I have a story to tell you. Around ten this morning, we were working as usual, and all of a sudden a whole bunch of cops burst in and told us to get off the phones and stand up!

ME: thinks: here's my ENTRY, woo hooo!
MARK: I couldn't stop laughing, I found it really funny.

ME: Cops? With guns?
MARK: Yeah, they had guns.

ME: were they drawn?
MARK: nono.

ME: So you were standing and laughing. Was anyone else laughing?
MARK: Nooo they were really SCARED!

ME: They were SMART! You don't want to piss off cops.. About how many cops?
MARK: Around three near where I was and more in other parts of the room. The boss wasn't in yet, or else he was hiding; we waited around because the managers told us the police just had to "look at some documents" and we would be back to work soon; then they said, after lunch; then they told us to leave and come back tomorrow. But first the cops searched us.

ME: Searched you??? What did they do, pat you down?
MARK: no, I've only been patted down once. They searched my backpack.

ME: Patted - down - once?? When was that?
MARK: Oh, at the dollar store.

ME: Dollar store?
MARK: Yeah, near my high school. The kids used to go in and steal stuff so once they patted us down. I don't even remember if they did it to me or not.

ME: thinks: whatever...
MARK: and then...

ME: there's more?
MARK: when I got in the lobby I saw a reporter with a microphone; he asked me if I'd answer a few questions.

ME: thinks: oh great, a high profile.
MARK: He asked me if I worked there, what kind of business it was, and what we sold (credit card supplies). They stuck this big-ass camera in my face, too! I wanted to talk more but the security guard told me I had to leave.

ME: Good. Now what?
MARK: I go back tomorrow.

ME: You know what you're gonna find there? An empty room and some yellow police tape. You're gonna be job hunting, or back to school full time; or BOTH!
MARK: Oh Maaaaaaa...

We checked the local news but nothing was mentioned; perhaps something will be in the paper tomorrow. It's possible it's (only) a matter of illegal business practices but I always suspected there was something else going on in the back rooms and that the telemarketing was just for money laundering. It's a big call center in the heart of downtown, and it doesn't seem to me that the revenues would justify the expenses.

I guess the worst that can happen is that he'll be out a few hundred dollars of pay, and perhaps have to testify at some sort of trial - all of which falls under the heading of "cheap lesson" considering he lives at home and has no responsibilities. I guess it's not so amusing for those whose livelihoods depend on these jobs; but telemarketing positions are ridiculously easy to come by in Montreal. The companies gravitate to Canada to avoid prosecution under US law, I suppose, and to be able to pay salaries (and other expenses) in Canadian dollars.

I have a feeling this story is to be continued..

Linque Du Jour:   Ice Hotel in Quebec!

Remember those automobile ads (Volvo, maybe?) where they feature a hotel made of ice in Sweden, above the Arctic Circle? Where people happily and playfully cavort under bearskin rugs piled atop blocks of ice?

Well we don't have to go to Sweden anymore!

They're building one a mere ten minutes' drive from Quebec City! (I guess that tells you all you need to know about our climate.) For a mere $150 Canadian per person double occupancy, you too can happily freeze your rear end off! (It's not as bad as it sounds.. $150 Canadian is equivalent to about 28 cents US.)

The hotel is reviewed (sort of, considering it hasn't opened yet) on the website. I find that a bit strange, since I'd think the concept would appeal more to younger people than grumpy old seniors who wear sweaters even when it's 90 in the shade, and who don't have anything left to freeze off anyway!

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