Keep Calm & Carry On


I’m calmer today. The car saga is over for now – the dreaded engine management light has remained off and so I’m hopeful of some trouble-free motoring throughout the months ahead.

I’ve learned (or perhaps relearned) two important things these past few days:

  1. Do not send emails, post to your blog or update your social status when angry.

Now, nothing I have posted or sent has caused any upset and I’m not regretting anything in particular, but I can see how things could have got out of hand rather easily. I wrote a blog post called Apples & Lemons in a fit of rage and fired it off into internet space with barely a second thought. Nothing in that post was derogatory or inflammatory in any way. It could have been though. My rage carried me through fully half an hour of anger-fueled typing. I can’t even recall looking up from the keyboard much. Thinking back, I could easily have fired that same content off in an email to Mercedes, or maybe raw straight onto a few social media platforms. Though I’m confident that at the time I may have thought this righteous and it probably would have made me feel better, it would also have been a terrible idea. Instead, by restraining myself, I managed only to publish a blog post riddled with more grammatical errors and punctuation buggery to have made my five-year-olds work look like a best seller. 

2. Be nice!

If you upset the person you are complaining too, either directly or indirectly, then you can be certain they will not be particularly inclined to rectify the issue. They may, as in Mercedes case, have some corporate responsibility to help me the customer, but the individual with whom you are dealing may have the arse with you and therefore not assist you to level he or she is capable of. Most people have worked in some kind of customer-facing capacity in a former job. If this is the case for you then you also know that when it comes to solving problems for customers you have two standards – the company line which asks you to smile, fix the problem if possible and make the customer happier, or the personal touch. The personal touch is the company line plus the extra mile. 

When I arrived at Mercedes for the second time, I could have done so under a dark cloud. The customer representative may well have been aware of my rage inspired slandering of Mercedes. I may also have thrown in a few choice words to describe the individuals work ethic and how helpful I found him to be. Thankfully, I didn’t. Instead, I walked in with a smile and shook his hand. We spoke briefly about how unfair the world is sometimes and agreed that sometimes ‘shit happens’. He then led me to the customer waiting area, told me to help myself to coffee and biscuits, then told me straight that he was personally going to get this problem sorted immediately. My car wasn’t booked in. I had no appointment, but he knew what an ordeal I’d had already and you know what else? I’d been nice about it. Sure I’d perhaps shown signs of exasperation the day before, but I wasn’t giving him a hard time. I know he didn’t wake up that morning and think, ‘You know what? I’m going fuck up Mr Thompson’s day today.’ Nobody does that and so I couldn’t blame him. Instead, he gave me ‘the personal touch.’ No need for raised eyebrows. I can assure you this personal touch did not occur beneath the table or in some pokey toilet cubicle. No. He took my keys and had my car moved straight into the garage to have the repair done. I take my hat off to him for that. Within an hour I was back on the road and happy once more.

So, remember this. If someone pisses you off, ask yourself this: Did this person get up this morning with a clear intention of fucking up your day? Or is it maybe just one of those things that couldn’t have been predicted? Take some time to relax, have a think about the order of things and the complications of living on this planet, and then maybe consider how you can sort things out in the nicest possible way. 

 

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