Like many people when I pay good money I expect good service. Unlike many people though when I don’t get it I do make a fuss.
When my wife and I were newly married, I shocked my mother-in-law by making a fuss in a restaurant over our drinks not being up to scratch. My M-i-L remarked that she had never seen me like that as I was usually so laid back. It was in a Turkish restaurant and perhaps I had been agitated by the over exposure of not particularly appealing abdomen during the belly dancing act or perhaps by the service being exposed as inadequate. So if a restaurant, the whole purpose of which is to provide its customers with an enjoyable experience, can’t provide good service then what hope is there for other businesses?
When I go to a DIY store I’m not expecting, nor do I in the least bit care for, a particularly good service. I just want some picture hooks, for example, which will allow me to hang up a picture in the house thereby earning me the right to watch the afternoon football without interruption from my wife.
As for the camaraderie I might share with the shop assistant as he and I venture down the aisles on a joint mission to find the exact specification of picture hook, or the bon homie of the checkout assistant as I’m charged far too much for a tiny piece of metal, frankly I can usually do without it, (more on that topic in future blogs when I explain why I’m not against self-service checkouts.) What I want is the right item, fairly priced and quickly sold. When I’m being served food though my expectations are very different. Except that is when I eat on an airplane. But why would that be?
I thought it might be because I have some sympathy for cabin crew who must have to deal with some rather odious passengers expecting Michelin service on a Tupperware budget. Then I thought perhaps it’s because for many cabin crew the rewards don’t actually come from the work involved in the job, nor particularly from the pay from the job but from the perks associated with the job. It must be difficult to be motivated day-to-day when the rewards for a job are two or three steps detached from the daily grind, but to be honest I never really thought about that either.
Then I recently heard again (on a plane of all places) the great 1976 classic “I’m Mandy Fly Me” by 10cc (probably the best thing to ever come out of Stockport), in which Lol Creme sings about the stewardess rescuing him from the plane crash as sharks are approaching, and giving him the kiss of life. That’s it! Of course. The reason why I can’t be rude to cabin crew is that we all might die a horrible death together. Now, I’m not suggesting that if I’m nice to the crew they might prefer to give me the kiss of life as opposed to any other passenger, and even if they did I’m not banking on it being like the scene from Dr. No No No No as in the song. Perhaps standards have changed since 1976 and I shouldn’t expect such excellent service from cabin crew.
But it is difficult to be rude to someone if in a matter of minutes your plane might be heading sharply down to the ocean and you have to hurriedly prepare to become tinned shark food.