Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 10 July 2016
How happy are you?
In the throes of moving into her new home, Joanne is waiting for a service-provider to make a follow-up call to 'ascertain her degree of happiness' so that she can get something fixed.
You cannot buy anything these days without having a password (and in creating it, the provider makes you feel like an idiot if you choose something that you stand any chance of remembering), then once the goods arrive, you are expected to fill out a survey.
I bought 24 good candles from an old-style chandlers the other day, then the follow-up invited me to express my satisfaction on a scale of about 5, followed by the likelihood of my recommending their candles to anyone else in the future. They already had a Royal Charter, so I have lost the opportunity to recommend them to the Queen. She already knows how good they are, as do dozens of churches throughout Christendom.
I would have given them 5 out of 5, were it not that they asked me to, so they ended up with 4. I am writing to Buckingham Palace to let them know about my review.
The most irritating surveys begin on a positive note, even if you think that the company/experience stinks:
Are you A: Happy; B: Very Happy; C: Extremely Happy; D: Speechlessly Happy; E: Ecstatic?
We visited the Pompidou Centre in Malaga when we were there, and were singled out at the exit to complete a survey on our experience.
After the initial questions about our country of origin, reasons for visit, age, etc. the questions all began with something like, 'Did you find the Pompidou Centre an extremely uplifting and educational experience?' or 'What was the most exciting part of the exhibition for you?' With the young lady hovering over us as we sat at the desk, it seemed churlish to write down anything other than a 'yes' when asked.
Of course, some people find it impossible to write a positive review about anything, no matter how good their experience. I am thinking of Trip Advisor and the NHS. They become drunk with the power that they wield, whereas ever since I got the appallingly bad manager of a Glastonbury hotel the sack, I am very wary about what I write on it, and make a point of giving credit where credit is deserved. It takes a lot of courage for me to say something negative on a public review these days, so if I didn't like something, I generally keep my mouth shut about it.
Green-Eyes has just got back from nursing experience in a Philippine children's hospital, and had to endure the shattering experience of watching a couple of children die because their parents could not afford about 25 cents worth of drugs.
She was introduced to a beaming young mother with a strapping child, and was told that - when the child was a tiny baby - the mother spent 24 hours a day keeping the baby's lungs working by pumping a rubber sphere, because she couldn't afford the electricity for the respirator. In this case, the nurses' job was to wake her up every time she started to fall asleep, otherwise the baby would have died. This went on for ONE YEAR. She had virtually no sleep for ONE YEAR, but the baby survived. This mother knew the meaning of true happiness.
She returns to the NHS as a qualified nurse in September, and she is bracing herself for all the dissatisfied - if distraught - parents, and the negative feedback about poor service. Before she left the Philippines, her and her fellow Brit students went to the local pharmacy and bought about £25 worth of essential stuff which the hospital lacked. That £25 was nothing to them (well, it was quite a lot at the time, actually), but will probably save many lives.
Happiness is relatively inexpensive over there, even though life is not cheap.