About Me

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I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Good Morning, Sharni at your..... Service?"

thanks to all for their assignments, will try and do all- but first - inspired by a conversation I had with Corinne from A day in the Life -- I decided to write about when I first started working for a newspaper.....

I was perched over my desk feeling like the lady from the AAMI ads.

 Headset on, best smile on face (they can feel it through the phone you know) hands nervously hovering over the keyboard hoping I could co-ordinate their words with my typing.

"Courier Newspapers , Sharni speaking" I said enthusiastically, though terrified.

"Need to place an ad in the Wentworth Courier" said the voice on the other end.

 She sounded like an older lady, maybe someone my Mum's age.

So here I was nervously about to officially place my first ad into the paper with a real life advertiser.

Everything we had been taught at training about to be applied.

"What would you like to say in your ad?" I asked in my best voice.

" Big, bouncy, and expensive ladies" the voice muttered as if reeling off items at a garage sale.

I felt a lump form in my throat. My voicebox attempted to reply but the lump rose and suddenly I was frozen in my tracks.

This had not been in my training!

"Um.... sorry?" I asked, hoping I had severely misheard my first client

She took an exasperated sigh before repeating again " Big, bouncy and expensive ladies"

"Oh, ummm.. what section did you want to place your ad in? " I asked looking around at the other operators.

One of my more senior colleagues was looking over absolutely lost in hysterics at me.

She realised who I was talking to and could see I was ill prepared for what I was hearing.

"A place to rent, what do you think?" the now annoyed lady on the phone replied

"Oh you are placing an Adults Service ad?" I said, trying to sound like I took these sort of ads all the time

"Derrrr.." she replied.

"Just hold the line for a sec"

My colleague was now falling over her chair in laughter, my face had turned white and I did not know what to do.

"Can I put her through to you?" I asked my colleague in desperation

"No!" she said " Just take the details down!!"

I got back on the phone and apologised to my client.

I decided honesty was the best policy here.

"I'm sorry, " I said "First day here and my first Adult services ad."

This seemed to soften the lady a little


"So," I said regaining my compusure "Big, bouncy and explosive you said?"

"EXPENSIVE" she said

"Oh no, it is $8 per word" I replied

"No, the ladies are expensive, not the ad" she said


I was totally confused. I quickly typed the words in - went through the booking and had successfully placed my first ad into the Wentworth Courier and it went straight to the Adult Services section.

When I hung up - I burst into laughter. I wasn't ready for that for phone call number one.

A week later when the paper came out I was called into my bosses office.

She asked me about the Adult Services ad that I placed as there had been a complaint.

In the advertisement I had typed "Big, Bouncy, Explosive ladies" but it should have read " Big , Bouncy and Expensive ladies"

"Really?" I asked my boss.

"Surely explosive sounds better than expensive??"

I couldn't believe these words were coming out of my mouth!

My introduction to newspapers and what a baptism by fire!!

Luckily my boss saw the funny side of it, whereby apparantly the client did not.

I called the client up to apologise for my mistake - in the end she saw it funny.

A week later, the lady in question turned up to the offices and asked to see me! I nervously went out to the foyer where I met up with my 'adult services' client.

She eventually come around to thinking that explosive did sound more appealing than expensive.

Would you believe from that moment forward she made weekly trips to the FPC offices for advice on how to write  her ads, yes little old me - kid from the country, being asked if it sounds better to say "Naughty but nice" or "She loves to be spanked".

Apparantly I had a way with the words.

My boss found it hysterical, and I will never forget my introduction to working at newspapers in the big city.


  1. Love it!! Absolutely love it! Great post!

    My hubby used to work for AAMI and I always asked him what that lady's name was ;) He never finds my jokes funny!

  2. Bah ha ha!!!! Can't type - fell off chair laughing!!! :o)

  3. That's awesome!

    My first freelance copywriting job was for 2 different brothels, so I can totally relate!

  4. Utterly brilliant - I think I'd PAY to have that as my first day experience in a paper! Glad to see it immortalised in the blog....

  5. LOVE IT!!!

    hehehehe.... now... your advice please.... should I describe myself as "feminisit" or "femi-nice" in my online dating ads?

  6. "Loves to be spanked" definitely sounds way better! I'm just saying. Heheh.

    Hilair post, Sharni girl.

  7. What a great story!! Love it - I can just see you sitting there taking the ad. Thanks for my daily giggle :)

  8. hahahahahahaha! Hilarious! So awkward on your first day in a new job isn't it? Reminds me of my first day in the local deli when a lady asked for a packet of meds! I went through all the cigarettes asking are they special mild, or filtered? I hummed and hahed for ages asking meds was it? meanwhile the ladies face is bright red, and then the deli owner pulls me aside and says here give her these! Only trouble was they were wrapped in plain white paper (it was the 70's in a seaside town :))So then I say are these special cigarettes? Why are they under the counter and wrapped up? Lots of sniggering all round and then the penny dropped!

  9. Oh adult services adverts! Too funny. Up here in QLD there is a legal list that they are allowed to use - they and the paper get fined if they go outside of the list... then of course the paper is 'child friendly'... explosive *and* expensive would not be allowed by the powers that be up here. That's the tricky bit about taking those ads up here - telling them, yes, I'm aware you are allowed to say that in Sydney, but up here it's illegal.

  10. I had one lady ring in her son's adult services advert and she was whispering and sniggering. Awkward!

  11. Hysterical... Bridget Jones ... eat your heart out !


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