A small, black dog ran back to a caravan across a short expanse of grass.
Its owners were evicted.
Meet The Jobsworths.
The Wife checked in. “We opened today but we’ve been here for a couple of days. It’s been AWFUL! It took us A DAY to clean the shower blocks!!!!!” She rolled her eyes to convey that she was the sole combatant in a war against the thorough incompetence of EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD. “The card machine is really slow. I don’t know how to process your ‘1 Night Free’ voucher. I’ll leave that to The Boss.”
With a smile, The Wife said that she didn’t mind waiting. She was happy. It was sunny. The birds were singing and Spring was on its way. She was on holiday so there was no problem waiting for ages until someone with a degree of basic competence was available to serve her. She passed the time empathising with The Jobsworth at the insurmountable challenges that presented themselves in the dream lifestyle so carefully chosen by a Site Warden. She thought to herself that they could always try what The Husband and Wife used to do for a living. The Wife was not sure that they would last an hour.
Welcome to the club which dubs itself ‘The Friendly Club’! Oooops. That was me who said that. The Wife. Not our hosts. But to give them their due, they were very, very stressed and clearly far to busy and far too important do do anything as mundane as offer a warm welcome to a paying guest.
During their stay, The Husband and Wife tried to be pleasant and passed the time of day whenever they saw A Jobsworth around the site. “Hi! How are you today?” they would ask cheerily. “You wouldn’t BELIEVE the amount of leaves we’ve had to clear up!” The Jobsworths would complain by way of reply. The Husband and Wife mentioned in passing that the internet was not very good. “Don’t talk to US about internet. We can’t get internet and IMAGINE trying to do OUR job without that!”
“I need some change for the dryer. We have a very sick puppy and rather a lot of laundry…” Those eyes rolled again although surprisingly, not at me; “They DIDN’T LEAVE US A FLOAT!” The implied incompetence of the entire world again. She rummaged through the till, left the office, went to get some bags of change, emptied her handbag and gave The Wife a fiver’s worth of £1 coins. The Wife thanked her profusely for going the extra mile to help. The Wife assured her that she hadn’t minded the wait at all. The Wife was just worried about the dog.
The Husband carried a dog as he went to collect the laundry from the dryer while The Wife walked the other dogs. He carried the dog because the dog was too poorly to walk. The poorly dog pooped down The Husband’s side. He put down the dog, who continued to squat. A Jobsworth materialised immediately. “That dog should be on a lead! And I hope you’re going to clear THAT up! And you’re NOT taking that dog into the showers!!!” A man with liquid poo sliding down his shirt and shorts reeled under the barrage.
Compassion and humanity? Empathy – or assistance in an obviously difficult and upsetting situation? These are not within the emotional repertoire of A Jobsworth. If a stick becomes available, A Jobsworth is honour-bound to beat their victim with it as hard as they can and, if the opportunity presents, kick them while they’re down for good measure.
You may remember that we are proud owners of our own, portable washing machine and Caravan Kismet has an onboard shower that is used almost exclusively by the dogs. I would imagine that this is more than most guests with young children or those using the incontinence products for which disposal facilities are available on site.
However, this didn’t stop The Jobsworths from making the accusation that ‘a couple’ had rung The Environmental Health because The Husband had been seen washing soiled items in the laundry. Call me Sherlock but it seemed odd that they knew that it was ‘a couple’ rather than just ‘someone’ who had called Environmental Health. And, Watson, there was hardly anyone else on site and only The Jobsworths had seen The Husband in the laundry.
But here we have another typical behaviour of The Jobsworth. MUSTETS – or ‘Making Up Stuff To Exaggerate The Seriousness.‘ Or in common parlance, lying.
A couple of days later, a small black dog ran back to a caravan across a short expanse of grass. The short expanse was an area that required dogs to be on leads. The dog had run from The Husband, in a field where leads were not required, directly back to The Wife in the caravan. On the way, it did not stop or cause nuisance. It did not pass ‘Go’ nor collect £200. It just moved to the caravan. Directly to the caravan. Crossing five yards where it should have been on a lead. The dog didn’t think of that. It just wanted its breakfast.
“Dogs should be on a lead. A SHORT LEAD!” The Jobsworth growled at The Wife through the awning and stomped off before The Wife could answer.
“I have just been told off!” The Wife told The Husband when he got back with the other dogs, all on leads, thirty seconds later. The Husband went to explain to The Jobsworth what had happened. “The dogs have been on the lead on site the whole time we have been here. Lani just ran back to the caravan to get her breakfast. Let’s be reasonable here. It’s a couple of yards. She hasn’t caused a problem.” The Jobsworth just turned her back on The Husband and walked off. “Don’t walk away from me when I’m talking to you! That’s really rude!” The Husband said to The Jobsworth; firmly but not excessively loudly. The Husband doesn’t take too well to attitude and was beginning to get a little cross.
“It is UNACCEPTABLE to raise your voice to a member of staff!” the husband of The Jobsworth growled at The Wife through the awning. The Big Boss sent to pick on The Woman. “If it happens again, you will be asked to leave.” He stomped off before The Wife could answer.
“I have just been told off!” The Wife told The Husband when he came back from the loo. The Husband said to The Wife that he would go to explain and calm the situation. “I’m going to give them a piece of my mind!” were his exact words. “I will not be spoken to like that. AND there is no soap in the toilets.”
The Wife just hid. She later managed to piece together a dialogue that seemed to have gone along the lines of The Jobsworth asking The Husband to leave the site for raising his voice again and The Husband saying that he would like to see them try to make him leave, particularly since they refused to refund the site fee and that there is no excuse for being rude to customers and then playing the “Don’t raise your voice or we’ll kick you out” card.
The Wife cried.
The Husband and The Wife had been very worried about their Fur Family for days. Having sick dogs in a caravan had not been fun and one of the puppies had been so ill that they had thought that they were going to lose her. She had lost one eighth of her body weight and been kept in by the vet because she needed intravenous fluids. Being constantly picked on by petty-minded Jobsworths was really not what The Husband and Wife needed.
The Jobsworths offered a refund for the remainder of the week and The Husband and Wife agreed to move. It was a shame, as it was a lovely site overlooking a lake and had a nice, dry dog walk close by. But The Husband and Wife didn’t want to be glared at for the rest of their stay by the grumpy, old gits running it. The Husband and Wife had tried to choose a quiet and relaxed lifestyle; they did not want to be constantly looking over their shoulders and worrying about what they would be told off for next.
The Husband and Wife lodged a complaint with The Friendly Club. They suggested that since The Jobsworths were in a public-facing role, they might benefit from training in proportionate response and how to speak to their guests without making them feel like they were unwelcome trespassers on The Jobsworths’ own private estate, who should constantly be ordered around like 6-year-old imbeciles short of some serious time on the naughty step.
A nice man followed up the complaint and very pleasantly told The Husband and Wife that The Jobsworths’ version of the story had been different from theirs, but apologised if there had been any offence. The Husband and Wife said that they were not surprised that the stories were different. The accusation ‘They were running amok and pooing everywhere’ is easy to make against dogs and is a regular and upsetting fact of life for even the most responsible dog owners. And rude officials always fall back on “We will not tolerate abuse!” Unless, of course, they are the ones giving it.
The Husband and Wife conceded that they were clearly Public Enemy No1. The nice man laughed.
A small, black dog ran back to a caravan across a short expanse of grass.
The dog caused no nuisance. Other than the outbreak of World War III. The dog’s owners were evicted from the site and were very upset. They felt they had not really done anything wrong and had to spend a lovely sunny day packing up and moving to another site, 100 miles away from a 94-year-old parent, with whom they had come to spend time, having been abroad for 3 months. The 94-year-old parent is housebound. She didn’t get the lunch out that she had been so looking forward to. She also didn’t have the company that she had been promised for the week, her shopping was not done and her garden was not tidied.
No doubt The Jobsworths were also upset, because they had a complaint lodged to their superiors in their very first week in the job. Undoubtedly, they would think that they had done nothing wrong, since their style of Management and Customer Care was carefully modelled on issuing dictats over their fiefdom like all-powerful Uber Führers. It is a tried and tested system. It worked well for Adolf. For a while, at least.
And there you have the anatomy of a completely avoidable Lose : Lose situation. The Perfect Storm in a Teacup.
But that is how wars start!
<A passage of time> Mostly on the M3.
The Husband and Wife arrived at The Verwood Site of ‘The Friendly Club’. “Welcome!” said The Warden, greeting The Wife as she walked up the path, before she had even reached Reception. “I don’t know how to process your ‘1 Night Free’ voucher, but I’ll get my wife to sort it.” It was dealt with in short order and then The Warden said “I’ll show you to your pitch!” He helped us to manoeuvre and level and said “Have a great stay. If there’s anything else you need, you know where I am!”
No complaints, moans or gripes about the world being against him. Just a bit of customer focus. Now isn’t that a bit more like it for The Friendly Club?!
And since this was our second stay at Verwood, he just happened to mention in passing that he was delighted to see us back again because we were “Model guests.”
Now who would have thought that?!
We came across this postcard by Armand Foster after our eviction. It was so apt – and it now displayed in pride of place in the caravan! Links to purchase Armand’s fabulous cards, coasters, mugs, tea towels etc can be found on the website armcher.com
Thankfully, we have had few encounters like this with over-zealous wardens. I don’t want to name the site since, clearly, this is my side of the story and they can’t put their own. I always think that it is best not to judge people when they are at their worst. The Jobsworths were new to the job and clearly out of their depth. I hope that they have now settled in and are enjoying their work. If not, I hope that they have found another position which does not require them to take out their frustrations on guests whose objectives are, for the most part, simply to have a relaxing and enjoyable time!
Join us next time and see how we ‘Model Guests’ managed to put our host in hospital!!!!!