I don’t have many dealings with the ‘general public’ anymore due to my elevated status as business owner and ‘chief executive’ at Japanese knotweed Solutions ltd…in fact I only tend to speak to people through my PA, Suzanne.
The company has a receptionist and an admin team and an enquiries section and surveyors that all take the pressure of dealing with Joe Public. I quite often walk through the various sections of the office and listen to conversations and add my ‘Six- penneth’ afterwards …like some sort of business guru.
So, it was with a little nervousness that I found myself at the wrong end of some dealings with customers and potential customers, when asked by the BBC to find some areas of Japanese knotweed that they could film.
I think I’m usually pretty good with people. I’m polite, well-spoken and articulate and I don’t judge people on their incomes or their postcode. I don’t care if you’re a cleaner or a bin man, a bank manager or Lord of the manner – I will talk to you in exactly the same way.
The BBC wanted a domestic garden that the owner had experienced problems with a Japanese knotweed infestation. They wanted an active site which hadn’t been treated and they wanted it within 50 miles of the Chelsea flower show….and they wanted it tomorrow.
What you need to realise is, when JKSL get an enquiry we tend to act pretty damn quick – a surveyor will be dispatched and a price produced – if we then get the go ahead we hit the plant hard and with deadly force.
So, finding somewhere to film is not an easy thing to do at very short notice….
We do get a significant number of enquiries on a daily basis so I wasn’t without a reasonable list of calls that I could make – so armed with my best voice and sales patter I set about talking to …. ORDINARY PEOPLE.
Now we are all used to the ‘PPI’ sales call so a lot of what I experienced could be explained by people’s reluctance to be pleasant to cold telephone calls…. but …boy were these people rude.
I was simply introducing myself and asking if they would mind being on TV discussing the problems that they had with Japanese knotweed – from their reactions you would think I was the devil incarnate….
I had phones put down on me, I had dead lines with nobody talking and I had just plain rude with people telling me to go and. …’ reproduce with myself …’
Are we now so immune as to how we are with people that ignorance and rude behavior is acceptable?? It seems to me just another erosion of the English way of life. I don’t think my dad ever said anything unpleasant to anybody in his life – and my mother would be horrified if she ever heard me being rude to anybody.
Yet here we are in a world where ‘f**k off’ is used as casually as ‘good afternoon’ ….
Maybe the people I rang were all having a bad day …because of Japanese knotweed …. if so then I apologise for bringing the subject up.
If, however as I imagine was the case – you were all just tired and didn’t want to speak to anybody …please …. just get an answerphone… rather than being so unpleasant to somebody that didn’t deserve to be treated that way.
Me – I can take it – but if you spoke like that to somebody who was having a few difficulties or was perhaps feeling depressed or down …then you could cause massive damage to their confidence and self-worth.
Lighten up folks.
Me …I’m going to avoid talking to anybody for a while.