Sunday, September 30, 2007


I went for my swim this morning.

The disabled changing room(!) was dirty as usual. Dirty unflushed toilet, muddy floors and muddy seat. Scum STILL on shower knob which is one of the plastic dial jobs, not a metal turn knob.

Okay, so during my swim, I was getting rid of this energy-swimming faster and with more effort-because I had promised I was going to keep my gob shut from now on.

Yet, I got back to shower and change and realised I was going to have to put my jogging trousers back on standing up because I was not going to put my naked bum on a dirty chair.

So I tried a different tactic.

I asked the manager, ever so nicely, to come and look. He did. And he saw for himself that I was not lying, not making a fuss over nothing and my name was not Victor Meldrew!

He apologised. And then made a statement which sums up the whole problem in this country and why our service is so dreadful:

'I had to support my staff. You were saying one thing and they were saying another. I have to back them up.'


You see the customer is always wrong and we should shut up and be grateful.

I do wish people here in the UK travelled more in Europe. Yes I know millions of us go abroad every year, but they go to Majorca or a beach elsewhere for two weeks and that is it. If they went to ordinary German towns, for example, they would see and experience what I do-clean environment, reasonably priced goods and food and restaurants etc and excellent service.

Perhaps then things would change here. I really think that maybe people here in the UK have no clue how badly we are treated, how we are ripped off, and how we are disrespected.

I cannot believe that as a nation we truly don't care. I think we just don't understand how different it is abroad.

Just a brief trip to the USA would show how good their service is. I was astonished by it on my road trip. Only once did I experience negative service and that was in the late evening at a mom and pop store in the middle of Stephen King country.


LizzieK8 said...

"Only once did I experience negative service and that was in the late evening at a mom and pop store in the middle of Stephen King country."

And you made it out alive! That counts for something in SK country!

Anonymous said...

In the US, business is very competitive, so customer service is important. If people are polite and helpou, that's great. If it is clean, even better. And if they remember your name or what you regularly buy, then they always have your business. BUT, if they give poor service, and they are dirty, why are you going there? They think that what they offer is aceptaible, so why bother to improve it. Money talks. You Brits are way to polite.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible story! Indifference is something that hurts so much and not acting customer friendly is mere indifference. Isn't there another place to swim?

Anonymous said...

There are relatively new laws in the UK making it a crime to 'verbally abuse' public employees - like at the airport and train station. These employees are SO HAPPY to have these laws protecting their little ears and egos that they have taken it as complete license to be as ratty ask they like to the public, knowing that If citizens "retaliate" in any way they'll be arrested. I was shocked and horrified at how I was treated by the security personnel at Glasgow Prestwick last August!
Hilary - a Brit living in Germany

TracyKM said...

Wow. My in-laws are from England, and often have visitors here. They've never mentioned anything. However, we go to the States often, and I feel that the service down there is terrible! People are uninterested in helping others, even when it is their job! Yes, there are some great people, but the folks working minimum wage, service type jobs were so detached from their work that I might as well have done it myself. I had no idea that England was a land of crappy service!
Oh, and Sheila saying Brits are too polite? LOL. My MIL is definately polite, but she is also not afraid to speak up about bad service, etc. Too bad she left England, LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Just a brief trip to the USA would show how good their service is."

I'm glad you have had good luck with the service here in the US. I have had horrid experiences with customer service here lately. I told a manager of the Optometrist's office two days ago that I felt like I went into a used auto dealership when I came in there. They pulled the old 'bait and switch' on me. Lured me in there with a lower exam fee and only AFTER the exam was over told me about a $100.00 'fitting' fee that they charge when they give you your temporary contact lenses. I said, 'you mean, you hand me the contacts and I put them in my own eyes and you get a hundred dollars for that?' "Yes.", they said. Of course, all 'professional' fees are non-refundable, so I had to pay for the exam I had just received there I was. I had to pay the $ or eat $59 for the exam and still have no contacts. THEN they sent me home with nothing to take my temporary lenses out with. No solution or tray. I don't know what's wrong with people. My mother almost never eats out at restaurants any more due to the wait staff.

Sorry for your experience!