Wednesday, October 11, 2006

all over the place

can't recall where i read this now ... either an article or a blog entry by someone (why can't i train myself to make notes of interesting stuff) ... anyway ... someone somewhere was commenting about those annoying little notices that have started appearing in public places ... they say something along the lines of 'our staff will not stand for any kind of verbal abuse and they deserve to be treated with respect yadda yadda yadda'

while i agree in principle that people do indeed have the right to be treated with respect it is a sign of our times that it doesn't seem to go both ways... and there is one major fault with those signs ... the fact is that if you have been experiencing verbal abuse i wouldn't mind betting that you probably deserved it in the first place ... if you had kept to your side of the bargain and gave the service or standard we should as consumers expect ... then there would never have been verbal abuse in the first place

it is the same area as those call centres/customer service people who threaten to terminate the call the moment you raise your voice or get annoyed or even sometimes just disagree because of their stupidty

the kind of places that display that kind of sign are peopled by the kind of staff that would easily drive you to murder using the nearest blunt instrument ... the kind of people who stick to policy in the face of any reasonable exception ... who apply the rule while flicking aside any common sense ... who are usually as thick as the proverbial pig poo and fail to follow logic or reason ... yeah i know a bit harsh but think about it we have all been there and you know when you are faced with that kind of person

leaving aside the power trip or the person who just likes to be unhelpful there are some serious issues that need to be addressed ... and the problem is that in any given busy day we can't usually be bothered to address those issues and with people dying and with wars raging it hardly seems to be a good use of time and energy ...

ask yourself ... inevitably you are usually either paying for a service or your taxes have already paid for the service ... you are met with indifference ... incompetence ... rudeness ... and the moment you have entered the premises you have been reminded that if you object , complain, raise your voice in frustration or even in the end have a complete hissy fit ... this will all be interpreted as 'verbal abuse' and they have every right to protect themselves from such behaviour

whatever happened to the customer is always right ... if i was to complain loudly in a doctors surgery or a post office (two places i have seen the sign recently) about being treated badly i am sure i would be told that i need to write in and complain in a proper way ... yet if they feel even slightly ruffled they will call the police

you feel as if the moment you enter the premises you should declare your preferred method of being dealt with ... what you expect from the transaction/conversation and point out if you are the slightest bit disappointed you will be on the phone to the local constabulary

the double standard that drives me insane is the way we are still held to this essential britishness ... you know the kind of thing ... we don't raise our voices in public ...we don't make a scene ... not the done thing ... and in the meantime the service industry (business or public) have started to cheat ... manager not available sorry ... nobody here right now to complain to ... sorry it is our policy ... nothing i can do sorry ... you will have to write in

slowly the fabric of our society is being eroded ... the frustration of our everyday interactions and business is becoming a bland faceless style of dealing with those grubby members of the public

and of course there is nothing we can do ... we are almost resigned to this 'progress' ... we have almost lost the will to fight back

i think i will comment every single time i see one of those signs ... see that sign ... i find that offensive ... it removes my right if you behave like an idiot to point out to you that you are behaving like an idiot ... freedom of expression .... for instance ... a council building owned by the people paid with our taxes and all the people in it are there to provide a service ... if they do that badly you are damn right we are allowed to complain ... long and loud ... call it what you will but we do have the right

let's get pithy ...we need a one liner

see that sign? if you don't remove it i will remove my custom!


Michael Radcliffe said...

Good God, man, you don't do brevity, do you?

I'll read this in the morning.

Michael Radcliffe said...

Oh I see.

Yes, our surgery had one of those signs up. By a strange co-incidence, the front of house was run by one of the most surly old battle-axes I've ever had the misfortune to deal with.

Thankfully, they've changed staff and the sign has come down.

Give an Englishman a shred of authority and he turns into a traffic warden.

I'll be working on that one-liner.