Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tales from Bogan Land

Liz's post about working in the bogan heartland has inspired me to blog a few of my own past adventures in the land of this odd sub-species of human.

I spent 20 years working for a major bank and most of that was spent in branches dealing with the public day in, day out. I actually liked the public contact. Mostly. But when you work at a location that's within coo-ee of a Centrelink office, you just know you're going to get some *ahem* colourful characters coming in.

These are a few of my favourites:

One lunchtime, I drove over to a nearby shopping centre - the reason is long since forgotten now. Melbournians will know Northland (or as the locals like to call it "Norflands") as a hub of bogan activity. I'd completed my mission and was heading from Myer back towards the car park, when my attention was caught by a woman with several children, the eldest of whom must have been about eight years old. She had stopped in the middle of the busy walkway, grabbed him by the arm and was bent over shouting into his face.

Unfortunately, I completely missed what the child had said, but as I passed, this is what she was yelling:

WHAT DID YOU F***ING SAY?! *shakes child* HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I F***ING TOLD YOU? *Smacks child across the shoulders* DON'T. F***ING. SWEAR!!

I promise it's true.

Then there was this:

Bogan mother comes into the bank with three little kids in tow. Missing teeth, trackie dacks and probably moccasins (hard to recall now), all the trappings of bogandom.

She wanted an advance on her Centrelink payment, which was due in a couple of days. I must have heard this a dozen times a week and the answer was usually "NO", for good reason. Anyway, she gives me the old sob story - my husband's sick, we're out of food, I just need some money to buy milk and food for the kids. I suspect she trained the toddler to give the sad-eyed look on cue...

So I do the right thing, check her account and yes, she does have a fortnighly payment going in there, and the amount she wants is within my delegation limit. Hmm. I give her the benefit of the doubt and advance her some cash as a one-off thing. She grovels nicely and goes on her way.

About an hour later, I go out to get some lunch, and guess who's coming out of the Bingo hall, with a supermarket trolley full of... Milk? Nope. A carton of ciggies, a slab of VB, potato chips and a couple of 2L bottles of Coke.

I didn't ask either of them what their kids' names were, but I bet there was a poor little misspelt mite named Jorja or Kortnee amongst them. Or maybe one of these. Go have a read, it's hilarious. And while you're at it, spare a thought for poor little Diammond Sparkle.

Then again, it's noice, it's diff'runt, it's un-ewes-yul.


Vix said...

Ooohhh Kek! You gals have me in stitches tonight!! Love it :)

LizN said...

I've had one of those F***ing experiences too :)

I'm so glad I'm not alone...

Anonymous said...

now that i'm an unemployed single mother of two, i have become a rather desperate centrelink customer.

the last time i strolled into my local centrelink outlet, swinging my Prada handbag and sporting matching shoes (from Wittner's thank you very much), the lady at the counter asked me if i was lost.


she was a cack.

Cherub said...

I dropped by to write a comment but realised that we could make up new kids names by using the word verification tool. How about Hograne? It is 'different'!

Sara said...

PLAINGLO - Bogan verification name.

Someone I know works at a preschool where there are two kids called 'Wraith' and 'Lucifer' from Harley riding parents. Sad.

James McGrath said...

My friend works at a lower socio-economic school in Tasmania and comes across the best names:

How would you pronounce this one?


My friend thought Lee-Ah, as in a misspelled Leah. But no, the parents got quite annoyed and said "it's said lee-dash-a, its got a dash in it!".

Another example (not so funny, just sad) is Shithead. Pronounced Shith-ead. I thought she was joking, but she showed me the class roll call!


Kek said...

Good Lord!

I call my kids shithead at times, but I didn't register it on their birth certificate...

Sig said...

Oh wow! I have been looking for blogs around body to life and stumbled across yours and was so happy to see a fellow Aussie's views.

Even more amazed that you're from Melb AND know Northland...hahah...that's one of my go-to shopping centres (although prefer Doncaster more :P) and loved the observations. Yep...that's goold ol' Northland for ya.

G said...

Awesome lets flaunt our class privilege by mocking poor people and judging what they decide to put in their shopping trolleys. The whole world doesn't live like you.

Kek said...

I think you've missed the point, G. Lying about needing food for your kids, so you can scam some cash to buy smokes and beer and go play bingo isn't exactly a shining example of how to live your life, is it?

Many of us have been poor at one time or another in our lives, but went without non-essential stuff so we could manage to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

I despise liars and fools, and I don't discriminate about which end of the socio-economic scale they're on.

Thanks for your sarcastic comment anyway. I hope it made you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Bahahahaha. Great post.

Lucifer? Lee-dash-a??? What is the world coming to?

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