30 October 2012

Ambassador update

Earlier this year you may recall I did a stint as a London Ambassador in Trafalgar Square. Read it it here. I wrote about how although I enjoyed the week I thought money had been ill-spent and many things were badly organised.
Since then I have received a few subsidiary items in the post including two thank you letters; one from from Boris's office and the other from Mr Cameron thanking me for being a Games Maker! D'uh!

This morning I took delivery of a lumpy and partially torn white bubble-wrap envelope. Ripping the package further open I found some more branded Ambassadorial items designed to further my experience – a baton in a box, a CD I haven't bothered to look at yet, and another silly little badge to add to my 'collection' – this one is 'gold'. Ooh the excitement.
There was also a sealed white hardback envelope in there too, but it was empty. I'd rather expected a third thank you letter to be in there, but no.
What an absolute waste of even more money.
Let's do the sums...
A pair of cargo pants, a fleece, 2 T-shirts, a storm jacket, a baseball cap, a trilby, a water bottle, a backpack, name tag and lanyard doobrey, 4 lapel badges, cardboard display thing to attach them to, various bits of stationery and printed ephemera, a baton, a CD, and probably more that I have forgotten about.
Now, multiply that lot by 70,00 Ambassadors. Oh, and add the postage and packing and man hours involved putting it all together.
Money well spent? I think not.

Update 2: I just remembered that they also gave us a Visa debit card pre-loaded with £25 (intended as £5 a day for food) and an Oystercard with about £53 on it (equiv to a zone 1-6 on week Travelcard). Assuming all Ambassadors recieved the same as I did, those two items alone, never mind the cost of the bits of plastic and the admin to implement them costs just short of £55,000. 

Boris's office isn't exactly setting a good example here. What happened to the Olympics themes of sustainability and legacy? It's more of a case of "do as we say, not do as we do". 


  1. Really, you don't like the gold badge? I would be thrilled since I collect pins (badge).

  2. It's not a very nice badge... as you see, they sent it in a shitty little bit of plastic. I think I will be ebay-ing all my stuff. I really have no interest in it... make me an offer!

    I have added some extra bits in italic above re more costs that were incurred. i think it's an appalling waste.

  3. It's a DVD not a CD, but it is very short plays for under 3 minutes. The baton is a nice gift.
    If they continue to ask Ambassadors to volunteer for future events, there may come a time when new uniforms will be needed.
    I would have done it without the free gifts, showing people "my" city is reward enough, but I still like the baton!.

  4. oops re DVD... yes, of course!
    The ethos of the whole thing was spot on. But I think they enrolled way too many Ambassadors. It was overload. I felt surplus to requirements, which is a shame as my knowledge of London was much greater than my fellow Traf Sq volunteers.
    When I went to watch the Paralympic archery I counted over 60 pink shirts in attendance and, granted, a percentage of pink shirts were also spectating, that figure didn't take in all the others that I couldn't see on my side of the arena. So I suspect 60 is a fair estimate. And most looked to be just standing about chatting to each other.
    It was all about the London thing for me; I am just amazed at the amount of freebie nonsense that ironically has cost money that could have been better apportioned. And being thanked by DC for doing the a different thing was amusing and disappointing.
    I could use the baton to store documents in...!

  5. It's not just a baton Jane, it's a souvenir teamwork baton.

  6. Tom: Are you doing a Derwla Kirwan voiceover for M&S?


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Thanks, Jane