Well this isn't very good is it? Only a few days ago I was going on about how I'd be trying to write at least 500 words a day and then I write nothing for five days.

In my defence I would just like to mention that it's not as if I sat down at the computer to blog and then discovered that I had writer's block. It's more that I've been busy. Lame excuse perhaps, but true nonetheless. Last night, a work night, I got home and did nearly four hours of freelance work. That's a whole 'nother half day.

Still, enough of that. Despite the lack of action, I did actually have a rough idea of what I was going to write about. It all came about when I was reading an online advert seeking to fill a position. One particular phrase stuck in my mind.

No Time Wasters

This strikes me as a very odd thing to say. As if someone reading the advertisement is going to say to themselves, "Ah. I was going to apply for this post in order to waste their time and mine, but I see that's specifically contra-indicated, so I won't bother after all."

Does anyone consider themselves a time waster? I don't think so. All this phrase achieves is making the advertiser seem bad-tempered, self-important, officious and humourless.

Not that anyone ever actually considers themselves humourless. This brings me straight to another phrase you often see in small ads, particularly job ads.

Must have a good sense of humour

This bothers me on two levels.

Firstly, just like the Time Wasters phrase, is anyone really going to read this sentence in an advertisement and think, "Hmm. I'd quite like to apply for this job, it sounds like just my cup of tea. Shame I'm such a humourless bastard!"

Secondly, there's something a little sinister about its use, especially in the context of a work situation. It could mean that the job is so stressful and appalling that the only way to survive it is to have a sense of humour in the "you don't have to be mad to work here..." sense. Or even worse it could mean that the bulk of the office staff are insufferable practical jokers, and that if you don't think you could cope with opening your desk drawer to discover a turd in a baguette two or three times a week then you needn't apply.

Finally, there is one phrase you see in small ads that really makes my blood boil. Scour the back pages of your local paper and sooner or later you're bound to come across the following in the For Sale section.

No Offers

This one really does smack of arrogance on the part of the person placing the ad, and what's more is usually part of an ad attempting to sell something second-hand for only marginally less than the current going rate for a new one. Basically, it's a badge of greed, and something which instantly puts me off even considering answering the ad. Thankfully it is becoming far less common these days thanks to eBay and the Amazon Marketplace educating people about market forces. Three cheers for the internet!

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