The human element
Fri, July 27, 2012 - 2:51 PM
Although people go on holiday for sun, sea, sand and snow, their fondest memories are based on their interaction with people. The human element.
On Thursday afternoon I made a trip to the bank to get some cash before the London 2012 Olympic Games really got underway in earnest
The bank is two steps outside the Main Press Centre - like crossing the road between Cave Shepherd and Brydens - but they only take Visa, so I had to make the trip out of the media area to the imposing Westfield Wall which looms over Stratford International Station like a sentinel.
The first thing which struck me was how small the bank was and the fact that there was no long line snaking out the door.
The first teller apologized as she sent me to her colleague, reminding him that she wanted to learn how to do the transaction.
After explaining that they would charge a commission, he told me Marks & Spencer had an exchange bureau which had no charges so I would get a better exchange rate.
He wrote the amount on a piece of paper so I could compare rates, gave directions and I went on my way, armed with the mall map.
Sure enough, I got a better rate, although I would have left the mall much sooner had I taken the first option. I also would have missed meeting the middle-aged Bajan couple who were shopping there. They were on holiday and I heard that distinct accent. I stopped for a quick chat and moved on.
Before I left the store, I asked a sales assistant who was putting clothing on the sales rack if she knew where I could purchase a case for my Oyster card. It is the size of a credit card and is used along with accreditation to get on certain buses and trains. It must be visible, though and I live in fear that it might get lost or stolen.
‘Hold on’, she said, ‘I'll go get one from upstairs’. A few minutes later, she came back with two cases just in case I wanted to give away one.
I thanked her and left to do my interview with chef de mission Cammie Burke.
The British can be sarcastic. Their words are so sharp, and delivered in that patrician accent, can cut like a knife and you've said thanks before you realize you're bleeding. But they know about service.
As soon as you enter a store, they ask if they can help, and sound like it. They stop what they are doing and go the extra mile. Service.
They are polite and helpful and they never make you feel as though you're disturbing them. Service.
There are so many stories like those I can tell and I've been here less than a week. It is a lesson worth taking note of by my fellow Barbadians where our fragile economy depends heavily on tourism, especially from the British market.
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