Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Attention to detail
Have you - I mean you in the UK - noticed that nobody (apart from foreign, migrant workers) cares about doing their job properly anymore? I'm going to try hard not to turn this post into a rant.
I got an email from a Floridian yesterday, saying that the box containing a pair of early 18th century candlesticks that I sent to him arrived smashed-in at the top. It was crumpled to such an extent that it made the 'FRAGILE' stickers all over it hard to read. When he opened it, he found one of the candlesticks actually broken, where a heavier parcel had been chucked on top of it.
We in the UK do not have any careful, dependable couriers we can use anymore - people whose only job it is to make sure that an item leaves A and arrives at B in good time and good condition. The company I used was Parcel Force - a 'sister company' (until anything goes wrong) of the now 100% privatised Royal Mail. The last time I used them, it was to send a large, glass item to the USA, and it arrived two months late and broken. They had sent it to Tasmania by mistake and refused to compensate me on the grounds that I wasn't insured (despite having paid £70 for the shipping) and that even if I was, they didn't insure glass anyway.
I wish that all of our restaurants could be staffed with young, Polish or Latvian waiters as well. They are efficient, courteous and polite without being obsequious, and they really seem to value their job, unlike the fill-in Brits on minimum wages who make a theatrical show of politeness and efficiency in order to make sure you leave them the tip which they are dependant on to make their wages up to anything which could be considered liveable.
The food is plonked in front of you, and they keep a beady eye out to wait for you to take a mouthful before they come up to ask if 'everything is alright for you today', then wait until you have swallowed it in order to reply, with a fixed, plastic smile on their faces. I just nod these days, and I don't smile when I do so.
"Look dear," I feel like saying, "We are all in the same boat. Just because I am splashing out £30 in your workplace, it's not because I am a bleeding millionaire, so stop trying to treat me like one."
In France or Italy, the waiters rule the roost. If you get a smile from a black and white clad, Parisian waiter, you know they mean it. Every now and then, a French 5-star chef tries to open an establishment in London and apply the same rules. They don't work here. We haven't yet got over the loss of our old class system which places servants as the lowest of the low and dependant on us for their very existence, so we resent being shouted at by some jumped-up Frog, even if he does own the joint.
It is now the same in every trade, skill or walk of life here in the UK. Nobody apart from a select few can be bothered with the details - the attention to which makes the difference between mediocrity and simply special. Nobody gets paid enough (apart from the bankers and politicians, who seem to be rewarded for failure), so nobody bothers.
I am lucky enough to have - arguably - the best employer in the country as a client. This has come about exactly at the right time in my life - i.e. when I hit around 45 years old.
He expects the absolute best from everyone, and he is willing to pay for it. He has the most loyal, meticulous workforce in the country, and they are not motivated by fear of losing their jobs.
When my 45 year-old friend told her employer that she was finding it difficult to live on the £6.45 per hour she was being paid and had not had a rise in 5 years, the employer told her that she was 'lucky to have any job at all'.
This is what is destroying Britain right now, and the destruction is deliberate.