Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Leisurely lunches: the enemy of customer service?

You can hardly turn on the TV or open a newspaper without someone banging on about we’re losing the ‘work-life balance’. Apparently we work longer and harder than lots of our European neighbours getting fewer public holidays to boot. What with the added trauma of a recession causing people to fear for their jobs it’s easy to conjure up mental pictures of masses employees being chained to desks for anything up to the maximum 48 hours a week toiling ceaselessly in exchange for a few pennies to keep the bailiffs from the door.

As someone blissfully excused the horrors of working in an office I always have a great deal of sympathy for those who do. There’s lots about it to hate and everyone who endures it has their own personal favourite. Back in the days when I did have to, mine was always the totally unnecessary stress of trying to get anything done in your lunch hour. Seemingly innocuous tasks would turn into one of the labours of Hercules if you needed to perform them in that precious 58 minute window between a morning of drudgery and an afternoon of willing the clock forward.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Fat facism in the workplace

It is the Friday evening following an exceedingly long, arduous week. I have just gobbled down half a humongous bag of Doritos and some Minstrels, washed down with a bottle of Becks. Still on that sugary high, the guilt has yet to set in. But it will.

Unfortunately this week has been particularly wicked when it comes to the calorific delights that have passed my lips. Having attended a handful of networking events over the last five days, I have been tempted with a wide range of naughty nibbles, from mini sausage rolls to chocolate crispy cakes and scones. With jam. And clotted cream. High levels of stress have prevented my usual willpower from kicking in, and one slice of pork pie has lead to an iced bun, bag of crisps and an egg mayonnaise roll, all in one sitting. Oh dear.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

What do you call someone subjected to bad jokes at inappropriate moments? Shermaine...

According to Shakespeare, all the world’s a stage, and the men and women merely players. It’s a fantastic line that I completely agree with. But where does it say that it’s a stage in a comedy club?

I love comedy and, contrary to having achieved Grumpy status years ago, it is quite easy to make me laugh. Whether it be a sit com or a stand-up comic, I’m usually game and can often be found cackling at the most childish of slapstick scenes. It’s my guilty pleasure. There are people who barely have to do anything to make me laugh—tears streaming, belly cramping guffaws—but it is always in the right context.

What I hate more than people who think they’re funny, are those that attempt to pedal their particular brand of humour when the occasion doesn’t call for it. I wonder whether the explosion of social networking and general electronic communication (grrr, text speak) has hindered people’s ability to read emotions and act accordingly.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Telesales: the worst way to start the day

I had been wondering what to write about next. The world has seemed a very polite place for me recently. Train journeys have been pleasant, service at shops has been efficient and courteous and the postman even said hello to me when I walked past him the other day. I know, I know. It’s like something from a Disney film. I half expected the bin men to break out in song and dance. They didn’t.

My dream of a perpetually polite world was shattered when I received a phone call at about 8:00 this morning. Who calls at 8am?!

The unwritten rules of life proclaim that all weekday calls should be made after 9:30. This gives people ample time to get into work, stare at a blank screen for a few minutes, fill the kettle up and indulge in a tea/coffee before the drudgery of the working day really hits home.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The customer is always right- at least when allowed an opinion.

Why hello Mr PC World man who was steadfastly ignoring me until you realised I was female and had a low cut top on. Yes, you can indeed see part of my cleavage -*gasp*- and yes I know I am the most devastatingly gorgeous woman you’ve seen in a very long time but here’s the deal – you can be a supermodel like I am and still not be a complete moron when it comes to buying a new laptop. To be fair to you I did look a little bit blank when you started prattling on about graphics cards and one of the questions towards the bottom of my list was going to be ‘does it come in any other colours’ but I’m still not an eejit.

You didn’t even give me a chance to explain what I wanted before you started trying pigeonhole me as a customer and then attempted to baffle me with your superior computer geek prowess. I’ve never worked in a computer shop before but I would have thought that a great jumping off point with a customer would be to ask what they were looking for rather than leaping in and recommending a machine which was the polar opposite to what they wanted.