I know what you lawyers are thinking, but you’re wrong.
Recently I took my seventeen year old son, who invariably has more money than his father, to acquire an LED television that would do justice to the X-Box and other gadgets that partly explain the comparative wealth issue.
We headed for one of the major electronics retailers where there is a salesman, been around for a while, who makes the whole experience of parting with lumps of money less painful. He’s always bright and cheerful, seems to know a lot about everything, usually up for a bit of a deal and cracks jokes along the way. Top of the tree.
So with only vague ideas beyond that we want something rectangular with a wire and a moving picture, we head in store with eyes peeled for The Man. Let’s call him “Richard” – we always do.
Of course, he spots us almost before we see him, recognising us from the last visit five or six months ago and knowing full well who we are looking for. He will be with us as soon as he can (when he has finished dealing with at least three other people).
Now here’s the point. I don’t want to deal with anybody else. There are quite a few other assistants around, possibly up and coming and good at what they do, waiting to get better if they are given a few more opportunities. You might say that Richard should see that it happens, even though it may not necessarily be his responsibility.
Actually the choice was mine. I could have said to any of those guys that I would like some help but we chose to wait for Richard. He went backwards and forwards, managing to amuse us just in the way he explained why he would be a little longer.
Of course he would be, because once he’s dealing with any particular person he does not interrupt that to take a telephone call or see somebody else who happens to have dropped in.
I understand that only too well. You can’t give a personal service without observing that discipline.
Yet what is telling about this little experience is the way that I felt that Saturday, with no pressures of time and out of the work environment.
I didn’t have to deal with Richard. It was my choice to wait. Not only could I see, and hear from him, that he was busy - I expected him to be busy when I went into the store.
Notwithstanding all that, and in my supposedly chilled state, I still felt irritated that I had to wait to see him. Conclusion is that sometimes that frustration simply cannot be avoided, whatever resources or choices are in place. Best answer is that everybody, on both sides of the table, understands the conundrum.