Saturday, August 25, 2007

The March of the ZAGs

We all know about WAGs - the wives and girlfriends of footballers - and we may be dimly aware of HAGs - Hollywood awful girls like Paris Lohan and Lindsay Hilton. Thought Experimenters will regard such creatures with an uneasy mix of irony, derision, pity and contempt. We should not forget, however, that young females regard them with admiration. And, as it happens, almost all young females work in bars, shops and restaurants. But they don't want to, they want to be like the WAGS or HAGs, famous for shopping and partying. This means they do their jobs badly, reluctantly and, should they become dimly aware of a customer, with attitude squirting out of their ears. Meet the ZAGS - the zero attention girls. Walk into a pub whose bar staff consists entirely of ZAGs and you would be well-advised to walk out. The following things are certain to happen. Possessed of the absurdly deluded idea that this pub exists for the purpose of selling drinks, you will attempt to make eye contact with the nearest ZAG. She will look away and become suddenly obsessed with making a phone call, slowly clearing glasses or vaguely wiping some already clean surface. If you are in a restaurant the ZAG waitress will be obliged to talk to you but will take revenge by gleefully explaining several negative things - this is 'off', the bar is busy, whatever - before taking down your order incorrectly and bringing you a Campari and soda with no ice. Shop ZAGs will be affronted by any interruption to their conversations. They will be unable to work the credit card machine and they will be wholly unaware of what their shop sells. All of these things happened to me yesterday. Some of them happen to me every day. The ZAGs are on the march. It is time for the BABs - bitter ageing bastards - to strike back.
PS. It occurs to me that nurses are, in fact, ZAGs.


  1. In all this justifiable hammering of WAGs, HAGs, and ZAGs, let us not forget the NAGs, the not appreciated girls, those who day after day give their all in the face of idiotic management practices and colleague indifference to acceptable standards of service. I know a few NAGs and they are driven to distraction by the woeful attitudes surrounding them and, they say, it takes a mighty effort not to say "Sod it! What's the point? If you can't beat 'em join 'em." Thankfully, those I know don't join 'em.

    I therefore raise a glass to the NAGs (I'm more fortunate than Bryan, I've got a drink, thanks to a NAG), perhaps relatively few in number, often tarred with the same brush as their deserving colleagues. but without whom we would be in an even bigger mess.

  2. You are right, johntyh, there are NAGs, but they are few and far between

  3. They are few and far between, Bryan, and that's why your posting 'Tear Down the NHS' strikes such a chord and, I suspect, would do so particularly with NAGs, if only they had the time and energy to read it!

  4. Why not try somewhere else, perhaps a one-off owned by those who run it? They'd probably never employ an acronym, only one of Johntyh's girls. In my experience, it's the chains who usually employ the airheads, likely for about half the minimum wage and with no training either.

    You could always try visualizing the ZAG as one of the lard-wattled, snorting Zebus which have been in the news lately, or possibly as John Prescott in a basque. I'd be on my feet and out the door in a flash.

  5. oo-er. us DEGS don't have a problem: don't ever go shopping.

    It's all getting a bit VAAS for me. (very annoying acronym syndrome)

  6. The construction of acronyms is one thing at which we are still world beaters, Ian.

  7. When surrounded by ZAGS, look for the immigrant. She will save you and restore your faith in the West she doesn't come from.

    There is a subset of ZAG, prominent in family restaurants, that is initially far more pleasant. Her name is something like Trudi or Shawna and she is just bubbling with gratitude at the chance to make your "dining experience" the best of your life. She rattles off the spiel about specials with breathless excitement. Thereafter, it becomes clear she doesn't have a clue what she is doing or how anything works. Any complaints and she will quickly and cheerfully disavow the cook, the manager, the owner or whoever she can think of. It is never her fault and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, she can do about it. You soon come to agree. Sorry, but have a nice day!

  8. Wow, that's so true. On the rare occasions i go into public drinking places, i usually go with model-types, however, so the Wednesday night skank shift home in on us thinking "hey, maybe I can be on Big Brother!"

    Perhaps the answer for Thought Experiments is to start a mass-ad campaign featuring your visage with the caption: "I AM FAMOUS: I CAN GET YOU ON BIG BROTHER. YOU COULD BE MY WHORE."

    On Friday i heard one of the speech therapists, ordinarily fairly bright & grounded, saying to a physio "it's about showbiz tips, showbiz lifestle, showbiz skin care, showbiz holidays, showbiz hair" etc., with uncontained adoration. Now i'm a gentle man and i respect women and dwarves and half-breeds, but i really wanted to slap her and say, "Excuse me, this isn't a chav tower block. Take this conversation to Rusholme, where it belongs."

    Another great line, screamed by Jack Nicholson's gangster lord in The Departed: "Stop laughing! This ain't reality tv!", possibly followed by a swift pistol whipping.

  9. There was me, thinking this was a serious post, then I read:

    '...slowly clearing glasses or vaguely wiping some ALREADY CLEAN SURFACE.' (my capitals)

    How do you expect us to believe when you include fantasy like this?

  10. I am with Johntyh on this. And, also, come to think of it, more understanding of the ZAGs because of my own teenagers and all the college students I've taught.

    When I get in harassed, hurry-up-and-check-me-out-or-bring-my-food mood, my kids will bring me back to earth. "Mom!" they'll say until I meet their eyes. Then, "Chill."

    And they're right. What are we racing to or for? Young people are far more patient. I remember being a professorial chaperone on a trip to London with a bunch of our freshmen (study abroad was very big at our university). When things went awry, the kids were very patient. They didn't mind waiting in lines. They weren't upset when our seats at the National Theatre got messed up. (Is it possible that I saw Judi Dench in "A Little Night Music" there? It's her face and bad singing voice I see in my memory, but she seems such an impossible choice for that role...Someone British tell me -- this would have been 1996.)

    Anyway, dear Bryan, I think you need to chill, let your cortisol ebb away and the minutes pass. All things will come forth in the womb of time......