There was a time about eight months ago when I had a moment of enlightenment; not a religious or philosophical one but just one born of sheer bloody fed-up-ness. It coincided with a particularly bad encounter of total inaccessibility and the resulting screeching “aaarrrggghhh……”
As we often do, we fancied a night away from home. We started planning it after a night of curry and red wine with P and his old school mate (old as in length of friendship, not necessarily age of said friend, although you’re getting on a bit now Dickie my old man 😉) “Remember those days at the Court Bleddyn club? Why don’t we go back and see what it’s like and relive old memories?” said three of the four sat round the table – I, of course am far too young to remember such times but the red wine had me nodding along like the best of them. Now then last time we’d gone away on a “Groupon”, we’d ended up with the scenario where even though they had paid for an ‘upgrade’, for the first time and probably the last, our ‘disabled’ room was twice as nice as theirs! So having had an email from said hotel, I said that I’d ring and book to make sure that they had the facilities I needed. Now bearing in mind that this was in my early days of ‘disabled bookings’, I had actually written down a list of things to ask-
Was there disabled parking?
Is the room wheelchair accessible?
Could I get to the restaurant?
Is the spa accessible?
I actually phoned twice, firstly to ask the questions and to get a date that was do-able, then a second time to confirm the booking. Plus, like the girly swot I am, I wrote down the answers to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. Despite the spa man saying “he didn’t know about that, we don’t get wheelchairs in here”, we thought it was a good idea so it was with a very self-satisfied smile that I announced to one and all that it was booked and we were ready to go!
When the trip turned out to be the worst one possible – inaccessibility at its worst, steps EVERYWHERE, a shower in an ‘accessible’ room 6 inches off the floor, bedroom on one level, restaurant on another with THREE sets of steps down to it and only reached on one level by going OUTSIDE, through the BACK entrance and through the kitchen. And the spa? Another outside entrance with yet another set of steps, needless to say I was not the happiest bunny in the world. In fact, I was more like a screaming, upset, bath of tears, banshee….
After a completely fruitless complaint letter where the attitude of the manager to my “extensive complaint” (as he called it) was more sarcastic than helpful, that I had my moment of enlightenment. I was angry, oh yes, this was going all the way, I wasn’t going to let this lie – I wrote a scathing review on the internet, I emailed head office in America, I responded to their response, then responded again. Did it get me anywhere? Did it f**k! It was more than obvious that with all the “I am sincerely sorry that you felt let done and mislead about our facilities” and the “We will look again to see if we can improve the way we do things and I thank you for bringing these matters to my attention” platitudes, that they had dismissed my complaint completely. And after a devastatingly depressing couple of days, the realisation came. Was I going to change the world by getting upset? Nope! Was I going to keep writing emails and letters to this total idiot expecting him/her to suddenly go “oh I’m so sorry you were treated so shabbily, let me shower you in rose petals, bathe you in champagne and grovel at your feet for forgiveness”? Not a bloody chance!
So after realising this, it came to me; the response to it all that I needed. It was a phrase that was to become my mantra in life. It came slowly at first, slowly and quietly but very quickly became vocal and loud.
Can’t get to a table in a cafe cos there’s no space to get through? – “F**k ’em” and go somewhere else!
Can’t get into the bank because of the steps? – “F**k ’em” and go somewhere else!
Can’t get into the hotel’s restaurant as it’s got steps and they want you to go through the back entrance in the rain instead? – Hell no, F**k ’em…..
Very soon, P joined in with me so, these days, when something crops up, we nod knowingly to each other and just silently mouth our mantra, grinning all the while to show that we’re not going to let the bas***ds get us down.
Try it, honestly, it really helps! Now all together……….. 😂😂😂