Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 11 August 2010

Airline attendant flips

I love this story.
A man, Stephen Slater, has taken so much from passengers over his twenty odd years as a flight attendant and then one day he flips. A woman passenger calls him a after he tells her to sit down until the pilot turns off the seat belt sign.
He grabs a couple of beers from a trolley, deploys the emergergency shute and escapes from the job he's successfully done for years.
I think it was a french hotelier called Ritz who coined the phrase that 'the customer is never wrong', subsequently changed to 'the customer is always right' by the Selfridges store owner in London and delivered years of undeserved attention for countless customers worlwide and their unreasonable demands.
Having worked in the  hospitality industry, at the front edge with the public, I know what its like. Having said that most of the time it can be stimulating and fun but unfortunately you only remember the bad cases of usually acute unreasonableness. Sometimes you can go to bed unable to clear from your mind the upset these stupid people cause. I can remember shaking with the experience at the hands of people so infused with evil intent that I've been incapable of coherent thought for a full day and more.
Maybe I wasn't cut out for it but after twenty-five years I thought I'd put in a good stint. Most people serve the public with care and attention but there are some who push staff to the limit with their demands or behaviour. This man fulfilled, I imagine, an ambition to make a point. The Staff-client relationship in any transaction is a two way relationship-not Ritz's carte-blanche appeal to subserviency. He had reached his limit with a customer who flouted the normal rules, not once but at least twice during the flight. He was making a point for all those who attend to their duties and only expect to be treated with respect and dignity by those they serve.

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