Budget Crunch

Budget Crunch

It's been a tough couple of months at Chez K for the head of domestic operations. First there were the substantial cost overruns related to the house-painting project. Then, not to be outdone by the likes of Mr Costello and Mr Carr, a small but intense budget session was held where Chez K CEO Mr Kennedy outlined anticipated revenues, expenditures and investments for the 2006 financial year.

Now for years, I've been lobbying that as a wage-earner I deserved revenue centre status. However the boss disagreed - in fact, rather vehemently. "The bottom line is profits," he said. "You are not contributing to the business growth if you don't turn a profit, and you spend more than you bring in." (I knew getting a joint Amex was a big mistake.)

So I asked if I could be considered an investment centre. After all, he's the one with the shonky knees and there was a better chance that I'd be the one pushing the wheelchair, not him. He was actually taking the argument under consideration when an unfortunate series of events occurred. The agent of my downfall? Shelfware, well in truth closetware.

Our 2006 budget discussions were taking place over a weekend where we had just arrived home from the US. I had succumbed to the siren's call of Macy's and a host of other shops in three cities. (The CEO had once tried lashing me to the bedposts, but that was many years ago in a younger more libidinous time of our lives.) While we were talking budget, I was unpacking suitcases and when I opened my closet, the rod had collapsed under the weight of my clothes. So here we were draping clothes over chairs, dressers and lounges. All the while the CEO kept glancing and grimacing at the two new - still packed - suitcases we had to buy while we were overseas.

I tried to posit that it was the fault of an outdated legacy system, but the CEO was having no bar of it. "You are a cost centre," he said, and rather testily I thought.

In an effort to win back some ground, I pointed out that at least half of one suitcase contained new clothes for our granddaughter, Lily. The CEO is simple about this recent addition to the Chez K family, so it's always a good manoeuvre to include her in any spending discussions. (He's the one who was ready to buy her a car at the age of two when she told him she loved him for the first time.)

The gambit worked - at least temporarily. The 2006 budget is complete and I am now considered an investment centre with my own P&L as long as most of my expenses relate to darling Lily. Now all I need to do is convince the CEO that Miss Lily is no longer wearing a toddler size 3, but a women's size 12.

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