Whining about the wine…cellar

Expat Academy Whining about the wine...cellar

Dear Diary, 

For one week only I’ve renamed myself, “Whispering Angel” in homage to the lush pink intoxicating liquid that makes my shoulders fall away from my ears on a Friday night.  Over the years, I have developed a superb coping mechanism for when Gina has had enough. Gina gets to take a break whilst her alter ego “Whispering Angel” swoops in and slays the problem like a queen (God rest her soul). 

This week’s drama starts with a gorgeous townhouse in York. Red brick, lovely pathway, accessorised stunningly at Christmas and home to…let’s call him Eddy (for the purposes of this diary entry).  

Eddy is a very self important executive member of our organisation who moved from the US to the UK as a permanent transfer a few years back. As with so many executive level moves, he definitely didn’t follow our normal relocation policy when moving permanently with the Company he was a knob special. He got a special “curtain” allowance because he couldn’t possibly afford soft furnishings on the obscene salary he was commanding. He also managed to negotiate international medical insurance for himself and his dependents even though he had moved to the UK on local terms and conditions (what a joke!…my guess is that he was planning to breed and wanted to make sure his wife could return to the US to give birth…no feet in stirrups at the local hospital for…let’s call her Mandy). 

Anyway back to the story, Eddy and Mandy moved to the UK and fell in love with the gorgeous townhouse in York. It was the perfect English home for them and came with a divine wine cellar to store their Malbecs and Montrachets. The Global mobility team pushed the relocation policy to the max when settling them in and signed off more exceptions than I care to recall, because I quote; 

“Eddy is unique contributor with a skillset unparalleled by any other human being and what Eddy wants, Eddy gets. Just make it happen” 

From this approach, a monster was born who reared his annoying head frequently needing assistance left right and centre. Until nearly four years later when due to a restructure I quote; 

“Eddy’s role was no longer feasible in the company’s foreseeable future and therefore the difficult decision had been made to make him redundant” 

Which roughly translates to we can’t stand working with this diva any longer so we are going to negotiate a ridiculously generous compromise agreement with him to make the problem go away. 

If only someone had spoken to me at the very beginning on whether I thought this guy was a good corporate citizen and worth the investment we were making in him. Seriously people, I have been doing this job too long not to know that when someone starts making extravagant demands this is a red flag…Shouldn’t they be grateful for the career opportunity and the very reasonable and generous policy we had on offer already? 

Again I digress… to recap Eddy and Mandy moved to the UK, we went over and above to make them happy, he turned into a diva, was a pain in the arse to work with, the company were making him redundant and were happy to pay for the moon and the stars to get rid of him… 


This is where I come in. It was agreed we would provide him with repatriation relocation support (I know -what the heck? He moved permanently so why oh why does that make him eligible for this?) But that is neither here nor there. I got on and made it happen. Merrily thinking “they pay me the same whatever I am asked to do”. For weeks I had been going back and forth with Eddy about how he adored his wine cellar and it was an absolute must that we should pay to transport it back home for him. It was pretty sizeable and based on the capacity it was established that it would cost an additional c. £20,000 to ship the wine home. Crazy but it was authorised. All was going so well until today when the relocation manager called me following the home survey Here’s how our conversation went: 

Relo manager: There is no wine. 

Me: Of course, there is. It’s gonna cost us £20,000 to move it – duh. 

Relo Manager: No seriously there are a couple of bottles. 

Me (thinking): WTF 

Relo Manager: Mr Eddy wants us to actually dismantle the beautiful oak shelves and temperature controlling equipment and ship the wine cellar not its contents. 

Me: Right (hang up phone) 

Luckily on this occasion after escalating the request to our Exec HR Director I managed to get him to agree that Eddy was not as special as he thought he was and that it would be absurd to dismantle fixtures and fittings that were bought as part of a house purchase and it was unreasonable to expect my employer to pay to ship them across the ocean when he was actually not very good at his job and was for all intents and purposes being fired. 

Hooray for me – a victory… this “Whispering Angel” will be drinking a large glass in celebration. 

I feel so much better for getting that all off my chest! 



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