Wednesday 10th June
There's a networking event in Altrincham tonight. It's held by the Altrincham Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Business Link.
I arrive at 6pm for the start of the event. It's at The Grammar sports centre in Bowdon. I find the wine tasting stand first, then go into the main exhibition room with lots of exhibition stands for businesses.
The people here aren't working very hard to promote their businesses to visitors. Almost all of them are talking amongst themselves instead. I speak to a few people from a law firm and they're more interested in discussing dating a relationships.
At 6:15pm Jackson arrives.
Jackson: "Hi, don't you ever turn your phone on?"
Jackson: "I sent you a message."
Me: "Why aren't you dressed smart, it's a business networking event. Your shirt isn't even tucked in."
Jackson always dresses smart for business events. Lately he's not taking care of himself.
Jackson goes around the stands for a few minutes then leaves the venue altogether,
I end up talking to a community police officer.
CP officer: "We're promoting the work we do in the region. we don't get much positive coverage because it isn't what sells newspapers. We do lots of very valuable projects for example we helped build a garden at a local primary school."
Me: "What about fighting crime. I go out on a Friday night and there's drugs, prostitution, violence, and the police aren't doing anything."
CP officer: "There's not that much we can do."
Me: "I bet the police don't even know about it."
CP officer: "We do know who the criminals are but it's catching them. In Manchester there are simply too many officers behind desks doing paperwork. Often we can catch someone through just by stopping and searching."
It appears crime fighting is simply stopping a shady looking character and hoping to get lucky finding a swag bag! Community police officers are building gardens at primary schools - that's all nice although isn't that what the PTA should be doing?"
Police officers probably do work hard, it's likely something like EU regulations have reduced the effectiveness with too much paperwork and health and safety. Also, if police do catch criminals, others will only take over their territory and there could be gang wars, so maybe it is better to leave things as they are and focus only on violent crime and robbery.
At 8:00pm as the event is finishing I notice a graphic designer who I told about this event. I originally met her and a business event a while ago.
Her: "Hi. How's it going?"
Me: "Hi. Ok thanks."
We talk about the event and business then she says
Her: "Do you want a lift?"
Me: "It's ok, someone's giving me a lift."
Her: "I'll give you a lift if you want. It's on the way."
We get on well and walk over to the car. When we get in and she starts driving she goes all strange and not talkative. It's because she probably thinks she's taken a risk offering a lift to someone she hasn't got to know that well. She only realised this once she got in the car.
After I arrive home Jackson calls.
Me: "Hi, what happened to you?"
Jackson: "It wasn't any good so I left."
Me: "There were over 100 people there."
Jackson: "Yes but as soon as I arrived I could tell no-one was there to do business. They were all pretending to network. What's worse is it was like you were becoming one of them too!"
We talk for a few minutes.
Me: "They were pretending."
Jackson: "I've never been to an event like it. I couldn't even be bothered waiting 10 minutes for the canapés."
Me: "You're right, it wasn't that good."
Jackson: "I've been to loads of these events and can tell."
Me: "I don't know what it is about Altrincham. I live here but avoid going out here. The only time I spend here really is at home. The few times I have gone out people do seem different."
I tell Jackson about the lady giving me a lift.
Jackson: "Some women are like that, they worry about stuff. There's an event on tomorrow at the Circle Club about social media if you want. I can book you on."
Me: "I should stay at home and get some work done. I've got lots to do."
Summary and venue reviews: Wednesday 10th June
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The Grammar Sports Centre
Busy. Clientele: businesspeople. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: A networking event organised by Altrincham Chamber of Commerce held at the sports centre.