Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poor Service?

I think half the problem with the customer service industry is that for the last few decades the media has obsessively ingrained into the national psyche the mantra that ‘the customer is always right’. Quite simply they aren’t.

95% of customers are wonderful people that are a pleasure to serve but at least once a shift you will come across an absolute pig of a customer who just moans needlessly. I hate stereotypes but they usually fall into two types; the self-important businessman or the middle aged moany woman.

They make extremely unreasonable demands. They try and get things out of you that are totally against company policy and no matter how politely you tell them you are unable to cater for those needs they’ll moan and moan. The self-important businessman is the worst because they think that by flashing the cash they can get anything they want.

I always remember a time our ice-making machine to broke down. One gentleman who’d booked a conference with us arrived literally as we discovered the problem went into an absolutely over the top rant when we served him a glass of water.

“Where’s my ice?” He shouted

“As we explained sir there is a fault with the ice machine but don’t worry we have sent someone out to get supplies of ice before the rest of your group arrives.” I told him.

He didn’t listen.

“What this an absolute disgrace, call your selves hospitality when I can’t get ice in my water!” He shouted back red in the face. He demanded to see the manager and get some money of his booking.

Sadly these sort of ignorant customers are on the increase. Literally 20 minutes later we had enough ice to last a fortnight all it takes is a little patience.

The other classic is people who don’t like foodstuffs and complain when their burger or pizza arrives with mushrooms or tomatoes they hate. Any normal person would simply take the foodstuff off they dislike and eat the rest. After all really, if you dislike something it’s hardly the restaurant’s fault. The amount of people that moan though is shocking.

So while I agree that yes, poor customer service is inexcusable, it would be nice if perhaps the nation paused for a moment and considered the service we workers in the industry sometimes get from our customers – it’s just as bad.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Not Enough Hours In The Day?

“So you work in leisure? What sort of hours do you do?”

“Some 9-5s but a lot of the time I start at 5pm and work through until late.”

“Ohhh, that must be terrible.” Replies ignorant stranger.

The thing is they just don’t know. There is an amazing secret about working late shifts that the many stuck in the rat race don’t know about…

I hate 9 til 5. I find it a wrench to get up for 8am. To be cognitive and alert by 9am. It’s just not right. By 5pm I’m shattered and then usually spend the evening dozing – a complete waste of the day because I’m powerless to do anything by the time I get home.

When I’m working at 5pm however there is this amazing feeling of waking up about 9 or 10ish and knowing, that if I fancy it, I don’t have to get up. Perhaps in our current heat wave this is a no-no but in mid-winter how great is it to be able to stay in bed until 3pm!

Failing that I have all day to do things. To potter around. Get things done around the house or perhaps go into town – and because everyone else is at work town is really quiet. I can whizz in and out of town and do loads of things in a matter of minutes rather than hours. No pushing or shoving. Then I can just stroll into work at 5pm nice and awake without that horrible ‘early morning head.’

So there you go 9-5’s I’ve shared the secret. Fancy a new job?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bloody Hell

My girlfriend is a generous soul in many ways, one of which is that she gives pints of her blood to complete strangers. No, she’s not a member of a weird vampire sect, (though that would be cool!) she’s a blood donor. She regularly goes through the rigmarole of feeling all feint and tired for a few hours for the good of total unknowns and a free cup of tea.

I don’t know why but I’ve never done it. It just unsettles me somewhat. This is weird because needles and injections don’t bother me so giving blood shouldn’t.

Anyway; lately, Miss Smeg has been somewhat busy. This means she’s missed out on a few appointments. The Blood Service people started sending her ‘sorry to miss you’ type letters which has today culminated in a blunt one entitled ‘Time’s Up’.

It details a bloke whose lost three limbs in an accident and owes his life to blood donors. It’s worded as politely as possible but read between the lines and what it’s basically is saying is:

“You’re a selfish gimp you are, because you’ve recently stopped giving blood people are dying and it’s your fault.”

Isn’t that totally the wrong way to go about it? Why scare someone into doing something that’s meant to be an incredible act of generosity? They should be kissing donors butts, making them feel special praising them, thanking them for such a selfless act.

Personally if you want to convince me to donate my time food is always a good barging tool. ‘Give us a pint of blood and there’s a packet of crisps in it for you…’ or perhaps a badge, free t-shirt? Ooh and lolly pops – lolly pops are always good.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Something just happened to me which has only ever happened to me once before. I also thought that it would never happen again. I got ID’d. Not in a pub either – but in a supermarket. The offending items were 2 bottles of Rosé for consummation with my evening meal.

It first I was baffled when she asked for my ID. I thought she was joking.


“Have you got any I.D? You know driving license or passport.”

“I’m 26…” I replied bluntly.

“Yes but I’m just doing my job, I can ask anyone.”

Thing is there is ‘just doing your job’ and then there’s taking the piss. The ultimate irony, as I explained, is that I’m a manager… at a bar.

“So you’ve no ID?” she asked once again with a sceptical look. I hadn’t of course – considering I haven’t’ needed to carry any for 5 years.

Still I got immense satisfaction from telling the dozy old cow at Morrison’s Hereford where to shove the rest of the shopping. It’s a shame I won’t be shopping there again because I’d just discovered a pickled onion flavour cheese in their market range.

Part of me should be flattered that she thought I might be under 18 but I know what I look like – there’s no way I look that young. She’s was just a dumb old jobs worth with no grip on reality.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Did I Believe A Man Could Fly?

So last night I saw Superman. What’s the beef?

Spoilers **************************************************

First 45 minutes really are A grade – they’re the film we’ve been longing to see. The cast fit the bill perfectly. Everything seems to work. Brian & Brandon nail it, the pacing and direction perfect. All this escalates into the plane crash set piece which left me absolutely buzzing. Some of the best 45 minutes of cinema.

However it then begins to fall apart.

The last half hour is utter dross. I personally left the cinema extremely disappointed – a stark contrast to the sheer joy of the first 45 minutes.

The main problem is there is no threat. Whoah, hold up Smeg I hear you cry! Did you not see Lex Luthors exposition dump that Dumbledore would be proud of? Course I did. In a scene ripped straight from the ‘Bashir Bond’ DS9 episode (almost the same map of the world graphics too!) Luthor explained he’s going to create a new land mass – flooding much of America (and the world) thus leading to many riches because everyone will want to live on his new land mass.

Great. A pretty big plot. Problem is once the chain of events are set in motion it never seems that big.

Yes Metropolis gets hit by an earthquake but where’s the international flooding? Where’s the reaction, the terror as the sea level rises? There’s none. So the scale of the devastation actually appears small thus Luthor’s plan never feels as threatening as he makes out.

Also the big problem is one that’s always going to be Superman’s downfall. To get engrossed into the story you have to suspend a huge amount of disbelief.

The 00s have seen some stonking superhero films. Batman Begins & Spiderman 1&2 are comic book masterpieces. I would also much rather rewatch these than Superman. Why? Simply because the creators go to so much length to ground them in reality. Batman especially has you feeling that this just could actually happen. You feel the emotion of the heroes and really get into their psyche.

Sadly Superman lacks this simply because he is so infallible. The scene with the Jet is great and you can just about stretch your imagination to believe that a super powered alien could stop one. Lift a whole continent on the other hand? It’s pushing it. You just can’t relate to him.

I’m also left wondering why he doesn’t seem that bothered by his crystals at the end of the film? We never actually see him find them!

Oh and then there’s the boy. That’s the killer twist that’s going to divide fandom. All I wonder is how the hell did Supes not break Lois back and shatter her pelvis? ;)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Typical Quarter Final then...

Can't stand football.

My neighbour's Portugese.

I have Portugal in the office sweepstakes.

Yesterday at 6.45pm I was a happy man. Heh heh heh.