Thursday, 11 October 2007

You Just Can't Get The Staff

People are seriously pissing me off. To the point that I have actually said something. Shock! Horror! Probe! “Seriously Pissed Off Woman Actually Says Something!” What I mean, of course, is that someone's annoyed me so much, I’ve actually said something TO THEIR FACE, rather than muttering to myself, or just giving a silent “tut” and looking up at the ceiling with pursed cat's-bum lips.

The thing is, I am usually quite a nice person. A bit scarey when riled, but then I was born to be riled, so everyone’s used to it by now and takes no notice. But I’m not usually downright mean, or if I am I really don’t want to be. I’m the sort of person who might think “sod it, I’m actually going to put the boot in this time,” but I rarely do in reality. In my head, now that’s another thing, in my head I can bollock people to infinity, could turn even Jeremy Paxman into a quivering jelly of angst, probably make him cry even.

But I don’t like to hurt people and my biggest worry is that if I actually do vent my spleen on someone, I may later find that I am wrongly accusing them, or they will turn out to be the very person whose dog has just died, or has a child in hospital, their husband’s gone off with their best mate or they’ve just been told very bad news re a dear, dear friend. And then I'd feel like hanging myself in pure remorse. For all I know, they could be making up their hard-luck story in an effort to get the sympathy vote, but it would probably affect me just the same. I would feel an absolute git, and that’s an end to it.

Unless, of course, they GO TOO F*CKING FAR and then, sorry, it’s goodnight Vienna. With bells on. My fuse is long but there is, unfortunately, a nuclear arsenal at the far end of it.

Like today for instance, when a receptionist muddled up some fairly vital medical papers and gave the wrong information to the patient's specialist. I can't really go into too much detail because if I told you I'd have to kill you, but basically it could have potentially been the MOTHER OF ALL COCK-UPS, had it not been so quickly discovered, and she was clearly at fault. As the person who had spotted the error, it was up to me to tackle her about it and help put things right.

So I had a quiet word and asked her to join me in a mutual effort to sort it out. How could we prevent this from ever happening again? Did she have a problem understandng how the system works? Could I help in any way? That sort of thing. Touchy, feely, softly, softly approach. All non-confrontational stuff. Whereupon, she promptly adopted a glazed expression, twiddled her hair, chewed her gum, gave a bit of a nonchalant shrug and left me to get on with it. Was she bovvered? No, she was not. Did she look bovvered? No, she did not. I definitely got the message: She. Ain't. Bovvered. Not her problem, apparently.

Now I am used to clearing up other people’s messes (of the administrative kind, thankfully. I would never have made it as a nurse) but I usually find that when a clerical balls-up such as this is discovered most people have the humility or decency to realise that they could have caused someone, somewhere, a lot of trouble. Or pain. Or anxiety. Or even harm. Usually they are very, very sorry and want to put things right as soon as possible. But not this girl. She just didn’t give a shit.

Now that really annoyed me.

Anyway, I won’t drone on about it any more. I am sure you can fill in the blanks. Just let it be said that she had her chance, she heard the four minute warning but chose to ignore it. Apparently the radio-active half-life of a nuked couldn't-care-less receptionist is about two trillion years, but frankly I think I’ve done humanity a service today if anything I said to her meant that from now on she’d be A BIT MORE BLOODY CAREFUL or, better still, go and work at Sainsbury’s. But somehow I doubt it. To borrow a phrase from a fantastically foul mouthed friend of mine, I think it would be easier to push butter up a porcupine’s arse with a red hot needle than get her to understand the enormity of the potential disaster her carelessness could have caused today.

Of course, tomorrow, someone’s going to tell me that she’s got terminal Shit-for-Brains disease or something similar, and then I’ll feel really, really bad.

Though, to be honest, I think I'd already guessed.

40 comments:

dgibbs said...

"terminal Shit-for-Brains disease"
I would guess thats right!
Funny, funny, funny!

laurie said...

Swearbox!

that's what my little brothers used to shriek whenever any of us uttered, oh, any ONE of the words you used in this post.

excellent post, from your powerful opening line on. you're absolutely right. and i can't be forceful with people, either; i worry, as you do, about all the extenuating circumstances.

though once i finally went off on our director of design when he wouldn't assign a designer to one of my projects (and obviously i can't get it done without a designer!). later, my boss said, "you should have gone easier on the guy. now he's afraid of you."

i think a little fear is a beautiful thing...

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya, dgibbs: Now I feel guilty already. What am I like?

Laurie hello! I know, you are quite right about feeling the fear. It sometimes gets things done a whole lot quicker than sweetness and light, doesn't it?

Amy said...

Wow. I think chickie needs to find a different job. And you need to tell us what you said to her. And how she quaked and bawled afterwards. And how you felt the rush of chewing her a new one spread from your head to your toes.

I'm definitely stealing the porcupine phrase.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Swearing Mother it is official. You are a fucking legend!!!!! Laughed out loud in an empty office reading this post. Am so with you on the silent seething..... Am a master at anal.... Husband, however, is totally at the other end of the spectrum - v useful at times but can be excrutiatingly blunt at others. He never has trouble sleeping!

I would add that it sounds like this cock up could have been life threatening so you HAD to say something. That the silly girl didn't have the sense to take it on board is her fault - at least you have a clear conscience that you tried.

By the way, I have been asked to write a few words for our local paper about being a parent - will let you know how I get on. Its very daunting.......

Swearing Mother said...

Amy Hi! Won't tell you what I said to her as she might just recognise my turn of phrase should she ever venture into the blogasphere, and I think I'd better remain anonymous. As for her reaction, it all just went a bit quiet really. After the initial explosion, that is.

MMOF!! You're here, you're here! We've been getting a bit worried about you since it's all gone silent on your blog. Wassup girl? Everything OK I hope. I thought you'd probably just hit a busy, busy, busy patch, but will be over later to check up on you. Glad to hear you LOL in the office, must try it some day in ours (Ha!).

Writing for the local paper, eh?
I am J. E. A. L. O. U. S. But pleased for you.

beachfreak said...

Please please please can we have a little precis of the conversation as it ensued?

It might prove useful for many of us who don't have the telling off gene and either mutter randomly or use the really really bad words (the really bad one especially) and then have to scuttle off and hope no one remembers our name/face.

MMOF, don't want to cause you any embarrassment my lovely, but you're a master at WHAT? I think you might be on the wrong blog, he he......

advocate said...

Oh God, how I sympathise with this. I hope she doesn't inflict herself on Sainsbury's though. I have enough trouble w with their local store. (see blog: Food for love). Not only did most of their staff flunk out of charm school, they also seems to think it's funny to ask me "do you want any help with your packing...?" to hear me reply "no thanks, I can manage", then what do they do? They turn the conveyer belt up to turbo charge and throw everything at me so it ends up in a heap at the bottom. I'm sure it's deliberate, but maybe I'm just paranoid. The voices in my head tell me I'm not though. Well done to you, raised a larf on the end of a difficult week.

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya Beachfreak, how lovely of you to visit. Will think about a tutorial re complaining, bollocking and ranting at a later date, as it's rapidly becoming my specialist subject. Good idea for a post, thanks!

Advocate Hi! Have you noticed that if you agree to let someone pack your bag for you at Sainsbury's, they always put meringues or delicate stuff at the bottom on the bag, then pile spuds and tins on top? Why is that? And don't even mention what they do with sliced bread. The world is going barking mad.

Mopsa said...

Fuck's sake SM - what did you say????? We all wanna know! Surely you can give us a BIG hint?

Swearing Mother said...

OK,OK,OK: Between you and me Mopsa, it went a bit like this:

I asked her who had mixed the documents up. She said she didn't know. I asked her who had prepared the paperwork. She said it was her. I said it must have been her that muddled the documents up then. She said she didn't know. I asked her why she didn't know. She said she didn't know. I went a bit red, she went a bit pale.I told her that this was a potentially disastrous thing to have happened. She shrugged. I offered to help her understand where the problem had occured so it wouldn't happen again. I was being really nice. And helpful.She looked out of the window.I asked her if she had anything to say about it. She didn't say anything about it, she just looked out of the window a bit more.I told her that she didn't seem to realise what a cock-up she'd made or what might have happened. She said are you saying I am thick? I said, no, but I really meant yes. She said that she would take it to her manager if I was arsey with her. I tried not to be arsey with her but then, unfortunately, I may have said something along the lines of her being as much use as a chocolate fireguard, advised her that she should go away and think about what she'd done, told her to get a grip on herself and try a bit harder, mentioned that we are dealing with real people here and not bloody Eastenders and I suggested that she stop being such a prima donna and go away and get on with the job she was paid for. Or words to that effect. Give or take a few things.

There is more but I'm not telling you what as I'm sure it will come out at the industrial tribunal anyway and I don't want to prejudice my case.

Well, I was thinking about giving up work anyway......

ciara said...

terminal shit for brains is a very serious disease which a LOT of ppl seem to have....and how funny, shoving butter up a porcupine's arse *jotting down for later reference*. i am usually very nice to people even when they piss me off to a certain extent, but when i've had my fill, then watch out! and how do ppl like her get jobs anyways??

beachfreak said...

Did you growl?

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

LOL SM, I love the full story. You're a born diplomat in comparison to me!

Swearing Mother said...

Hello Ciara: I think she must know somebody in management. Her Dad probably.

Hi Beachfreak: No I didn't growl, but I did snarl a bit.

Isobelmagsbuchan: Hello! In fact, I am so diplomatic I am thinking applying for a job in government - can you imagine what havoc I could cause?

Tina said...

Oh SM, I love that! And I love what you said to her. I've just moved departments at my company, and am giving out bollockings like there is no tomorrow. I feel liberated like you wouldn't believe. I do them very calmly, but very forcefully, and they are in no doubt as to what I mean. And when they're gone, I mutter 'f*ckwit' under my breath, like a full stop.

We are truly kindred spirits, but I've got over the quiet seething...

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Tina: I'm not very good at ACTUAL bollockings, generally speaking, unless incandescent with rage, and then it all comes out like molten lava, unstoppable and very, very heated. I must try your calm and meaningful approach, it'll get me into less trouble! Although, having said that, I do intend to adopt the "f*ckwit" full stop as it sounds so satisfying!

belle said...

SM - fantastic post! Loved it. I'm doing much bollocking these days and I can vouch for Tina's approach. I'm known for my volatility but just lately in numerous phonecalls I've been heard to adopt icy calm clipped tones and even my son raised his eyebrows and said 'Wa-ay cool, Mum!' High praise from a 14 year old. Didn't say that when I adopted the Tone with him, mind. Oh, and drop me an email, you should be on cre8buzz!!

All Shook Up said...

Well done SM! Expect a quiet word from the HR Thought Police any time soon, though.

Mopsa said...

SM - I knew we could break you! And it was a tale worth telling. How about having a T-shirt made that says, "yes, you ARE thick" on the back and wearing it on Monday?

I know you are a real pro and you've probably done it already, but if not, strongly suggest you write down exactly what happened and pass it to your line manager for the record, or if that's too close to the bone, share with HR dept for their files. Folks in the wrong are always the first to invoke grievances and you'll have parked your evidence just in case.

And on a lighter note - please tell us what happens next week!

Self employed mum said...

'She was not bovvered' hilarious. Good for you, sometimes I wish I could get the words out instead of muttering after they've gone.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Love this post! Why is it that the people who take the least responsibility for their actions are the ones who need the most checking up on?

I'm so glad I was late to this post and didn't have to make myself crazy imagining what you had said. You go, girl.

You slow fuse types are the most dangerous anyway. Everybody knows that!

ginger witch said...

I'm not sure I want MMOF writing for me if she's going to talk about anal . . .

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Belle: I wish I could have stuck to icy and calm, but unfortunately couldn't quite manage it. Now I am worried about what someone is going to say to ME.

I know what you mean All Shook Up, I am sure I am now in deep do-do.

Hi Mopsa: I agree with you entirely. It won't matter what she did, all that will matter is what I said, Oh dear.

SEM: It's safer to mutter when someone's gone, believe me!

RC: Honestly, don't ever tell me a secret, I cannot keep my mouth shut. At all.

Ginger Witch, hiya. I think she meant to add "retentive" to that, to be honest. Is there any other kind? Ha!

Mike said...

SM, this is brilliant! What you said to her was 100% justified- there are far too many nit wits around who take no responsibility for their mistakes. And usually I can't laugh about things like this, but I have a pain in my side laughing now. Is this the universe telling you to give up work? What are you like with nit wits on the road? Does end of fuse match colour of car you didn't buy? mimi not mike

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Mimi, to be honest, I am usually calm(ish) but there are certain things that push my "furious" button.

I can always plead insanity.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

OK, I'm late on this, but fantastic. Was this receptionist of a certain age, say below 30? Just wondered.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Wakeup, you are quite correct. How did you guess??

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Next time she bends over stick a banger up her arse. That should get her moving a bit. She wont be any more use to you than she is now but at least she can entertain you.

travelling, but not in love said...

I think you're funny. You know, I used to call it a red haze when I was a kid - someone would wind me up and wind me up and it'd be absolutley fine. But then, all of a sudden the red haze would descend and it was like I'd been possessed....

Alas, these days my blood pressure just isn't up to getting so upset, so I find myself handling things more rationally. It's not as much fun, but it's better for the heart...!

Thanks for your friendly comments on my blog.

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya Mob! Thanks for visiting. As tempting as your suggestion is re bangers and arses, I am already in enough deep doo-doo with the thought police without any actual GBH taking place. But thanks anyway!

Travelling: So nice of you to visit my blog, are you by any chance a Brummie boy? What a coincidence. Been back to read your blog again, and yep, I was right the first time. You can write, that's for sure. Take care of yourself, chick (as we say in Brum).

Richard Madeley said...

I know the person you're talking about and I can assure you that she does have Shit-for-Brains disease and that it is terminal. I think you should apologise.

Now, how on earth do you manage to get so many comments? What do I have to do to get readers like this? Tell me. Be honest. I'll do anything. Absolutely anything. And don't tell me you get offers like this every day or that I'm just a comment whore. I know that already. Judy tells me every day.

Swearing Mother said...

Oooh Richard, now that's a difficult question to answer. I could say "invite me onto your show and I'll tell you" but that would be mean.

And anyway, I don't really know the answer. I'm just pleased to read and reply to all and any comments kindly left for me, but I also enjoy reading and commenting on other people's blogs, so maybe we've all got to know and appreciate each other over time. I dunno. It's a mystery. I have absolutely no strategy, just write and read. And enjoy.

I think in your case it may be that you entered the blogosphere with more of a sonic boom than a bang, and it was always going to be difficult to maintain that sort of momentum. Most of us have sneaked in, unannounced, and have gradually built up a readership because people visit and like what they read, so come back. Some of your initial success may have been attributable to the fact that you are a famous TV presenter, so from the very start the bar was set rather higher for you than for the rest of us and you probably thought that the only way was up. But there is a difference between performing for a tame studio audience and blogging interactively. If nobody is moved to write a comment on your blog, they won't - it's as simple as that really. No studio assistant is waving a bloody great placard with the word "APPLAUSE" written on it. Maybe you need to look at your style and content and think about how your blog could evolve to encourage more audience participation, i.e., comments, if that's what you want? Just a suggestion. It depends on how much you want your blog to succeed I suppose, and why you started doing it in the first place.

But you really want me to be honest? You won't fall out with me and not be friends any more?

Let me know and I'll come round to your blog for a chat, any time.

Put the kettle on and I'll be over.

Dumdad said...

Hi,

I enjoyed this post and I hope I can remember the phrase "it would be easier to push butter up a porcupine’s arse with a red hot needle than..." when the proper occasion arises.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Dumdad, it's a phrase I've used many times, often inappropriately, but at least it gets people's attention..... thanks so much for visiting.

Best wishes.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Hi SM - loved your comment on my post - I'm still chuckling away now! Thanks for the Vit B suggestion - I'll give it a try.

merry weather said...

I adored the Goodnight Vienna paragraph ... actually I can nearly hear your voice from here saying it! You're clearly a passionate woman, there's no need to be ashamed - well done!

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Merry,

Sometimes, there's only so much a person can take, and then they can take no more! "Light blue touchpaper and stand back" type of thing!

Stinking Billy said...

I don't mind being a late (39th) commentor one bit. I did something this morning I have never done before - I selected your blog, printed it and took it downstairs to read out to my wife - and her visiting sister and niece (from Brewood, as it happens).

It got all of the laughs I expected but also comments on the excellence of your writing skills.

I just needed somebody else to confirm my own reactions, and I
got that in spades.

You are a gem, swearing mother. Just forget about any (hinted) changes to your soubriquet, content or style.

Still LOL!

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Stinking Billy! Thank you so much for your kind words, I am so glad you liked my post. I am currently having a crisis of confidence re my writing style as I am currently trying to get a short story printed (minus the swearing of course) and it's not proving that easy.

With encouragement like yours, I'm less likely to give up, so thanks.