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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Blog 72 ‘Miley Cyrus wants your opinion...’

Ok – it’s February and I have a head cold and perhaps should be writing about something either cheery or politically important to justify the thumping on the keyboard which is slightly out of sync with the thumping in my head but I'll just go with the subject that grabs.

‘We value your opinion’
‘Your time is important to us’
‘We’d like to hear your comments’
Companies care about our views the way a cat cares about a mouse it’s about to decapitate. They want your feed-back on their services the way Miley Cyrus wants your opinion on a brushed cotton thermal long-john/vest combo.
What is odd is that some creep in P.R still thinks we believe this shite. Or maybe they just have to spend their budgets and can’t be bothered to walk down the local high-street and take a good look at all the miserable, tired, depressed, worn-out, living-for-Friday people who’d rather eviscerate themselves in public than give another answer to another survey or tick another box on another form which is never, NEVER, E.V.E.R going to change a single corporate or institutional mind unless it involves more profit for said company or an easier life for the administrators.
Is there anyone left in any organisation who doesn’t understand that generally speaking – we mortals just want to be treated with wee bit of courtesy and not be RIPPED OFF?
Ok – I’ll stop with the upper case now but REALLY...
Often when pleas for feed-back are made, the word ‘you’ is repeated.  It’s about ‘you’; we want to hear what ‘you’ have to say. And there will be some nice smiley people to illustrate just what that means; an old person (not someone who looks like they are cold and alone and can’t afford to go out and who only gets a 10 minute visit from a home help twice a week, obviously). There will be a young person (not someone who looks like they have been searching pointlessly for jobs for over a year, obviously). A black person (not someone who looks like he’s always getting stopped and searched, obviously). They may throw in a regional accent to show that they are really down with the people (not brummie because stats show that on the whole it’s one of the less popular accents – obviously). Scottish is popular because research indicates that we trust that dialect – all the better to rip us off. And hopefully – the little ad man thinks – we will see/hear ourselves reflected in that microcosm of British life and not notice that,
a.       When we ring up we can’t get through to a human being.

b.      When we ring up we can’t get through.

c.       Our bills go up exponentially while the service gets shitter and shitter.

d.      Staff aren’t trained sufficiently and often can’t deal with the most basic issues.

e.       Hospitals and schools, for example, are understaffed.

f.       Banks and government departments, for example, are too often corrupted by cronyism.

g.      Our details will be sold on to others who want to send out junk mail.
Telling people that they can have an opinion when it comes to large corporations or public bodies is in that same fluffy mindset as offering choice. Choice in modern day parlance has become a tacit admission that large portions of the service are failing. Take hospitals. What most of us want is a properly run, safe, well staffed unit in our locality. Giving those with cars and sharp elbows choice is simply a means of offering those most likely to litigate, the opportunity to get to the hospital that’s working.
Choice is now euphemism for – ‘we’re not going to deal with the root causes of failing services’.
‘We value your opinion – fill in this form’ is euphemism for – ‘we need to get on with whatever it is we do (or don’t do) so meanwhile we’ll distract you mutts with an e-form along with anyone else mad enough to spend their time sending their thoughts into cyberspace’.
So next time you try to speak to a human who can help you, or try to complain about a service, or wonder why the trains / buses are expensive and crowded or don’t turn up, or your local school is no good or someone has built a supermarket on the playing field or your bank conned you or planning permission has been given for another gambling shop or burger joint on the school route, just remember,
If anyone wants my opinion – cancel February.

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