Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Off The Top Of Me Noggin - Tue May 23

Tonight's photo I call, "Cement Trucks." If you have any difficulty working out why, give me your number Mr Bush, and I will explain it to you.

This is the blog you have when you are not having a blog! For reasons explained here the normal format has been suspended until May 29.

Today I had a meeting with an agency that is contracted by the government to administer a window dressing exercise intended to give Jane and Joe Muggins, the incorrect perception that small enterprises are being assisted and encouraged.

The meeting was a follow up to an e-mail I had sent outlining what I referred to as, "a catalogue of incompetence." The list included but was not limited to: privacy issues, incorrect information and several instances of failure to deliver promised services or assistance.

For example, five times I have been offered a, "reverse marketer." I always knew they had three speeds - slow, dead slow and stop, but now they have added reverse as well. I am still waiting.

I received an email from the manager acknowledging that my complaints were valid and that Joe, (not his real name) would e-mail me with a suggested time for a meeting to discuss these issues. Joe did in get touch with me - nearly three weeks later.

The email suggested a time and date, which being suitable to me, I confirmed by e-mail. Two days later I received a confirmation letter in the mail - with a different date and time!

Today's meeting went well - for me. The poor lad was very nervous - he tends to be a bit outside his comfort zone if he has to do anything other than recite buzzwords that he doesn't really understand in the first place. As long as he is touching base, empowering and leveraging, he is as happy as a pig in mud. If he has to actually think or deal with something he would call, "outside the box" he is lost.

"Pick on someone your own size," I told myself and tried to make things easy for him without compromising my own platform or agenda. However, he gave me an opening that was too hard to resist.

"Mike, is there anything you can think of that we can do to help? Is there any way we can assist you?"

That was to good to miss.

"Yes. You can get things right." This did not go down too well but as the opinions of people like Joe have never been of any interest to me, I continued.

I pointed out the "Tribute Wall."

The "Tribute Wall" is in the small reception area. The idea is that clients who have been happy with the service they have received from this agency, post a "tribute."

Since it was created, not one "tribute" has been placed on the wall. To make matters worse, they removed all the chairs from the waiting area so that the wall is accessible. Visitors waiting for appointments, now have to stand in front of a completely blank wall like naughty school kids waiting to be caned.

"Which rocket scientist came up with that bright idea?" I asked Joe. He declined to answer.

I pointed out that people generally do not like dealing with government departments either directly or indirectly. People do not like having to stand for appointments that invariably run late. That being the reality, having a tribute wall completely devoid of tributes, gives a very negative image that will also evoke derogatory remarks and jokes. If I notice the wall is always empty - other people will as well.

He walked into that one with his eyes wide shut.

"Not everyone is as astute as you" he responded.

"No they are not" I replied. "And apparently the ones who aren't, all work here."

He wasn't to keen on that either, but the girl sitting behind him dropped her head laughing. At least I managed to make someone's day.

Wherever you may be - be safe!