Call Me Frauline Schmidt…

Persistence … if your online endeavours are to
succeed, you will need heaps of it … and I’ve always thought my complete
inability to take no for an answer (especially when seeking another helping of
tuck from She Who Must’s… kitchen) has been absolutely key in everything I’ve
achieved, both online and offline.

I believe persistence is a trait that everybody would do well to develop, not
least because it was that very trait that recently ensured I did not have to
attend a crucial meeting potentially clad only in lederhosen…

It should have been an uneventful trip ‘Oop north’ … but on arriving at
Manchester Airport I found that rather than being presented with my own luggage,
my overnight bag had been erroneously collected by somebody else, and in its
place was the red case of someone who turned out to be a ‘Miss Schmidt’…

Now I was able to deduce this because Miss Schmidt had written her name, in
large black marker pen, all over her case. I do accept that she and I had near
identical red Samsonite cases (not my choice you understand, I would buy grey
ones) but one would imagine that Miss Schmidt had previously had some Wally
pick up her bag by mistake so she had gone to some lengths to ensure that
nobody did it again…

…sadly the woman was clearly too stupid to remember this …I mean, how daft
must you be to worry about losing your bag enough to write your name in 6 inch
high letters all over it and then pick somebody else’s up anyway?

So, I was about to attend a two day meeting, drawing only on the resources
provided by what I was currently standing up in … and a bag that contained
various items of clothing for a small German woman with an even smaller brain
(I make no apologies for being rude about her, as you’ll see in a moment I have
good reason!)

Initially the staff at the lost luggage desk were every bit as helpful as you
would expect i.e. not at all. I suggested calling Miss Schmidt, the old favourite
of ‘Data Protection’ was wheeled out. Surely BA can call their own customers to
try and reunite them with their own luggage? Not according to a simpleton at
Manchester Airport who I quickly lost patience with …his boss was marginally
less simple and did eventually call Miss Schmidt, who predictably, had turned
off her phone.

By now it was lunchtime so I left the Schmidt luggage with the poor misguided
soul behind the desk and set off for my meeting in Blackburn with a sort of
vague half promise that BA would ‘try’ to get hold of Halfwit Schmidt and swap
her bag for mine – later.

By about 6pm things had not changed and I had to get ready for entertaining my
colleagues at a restaurant in some posh Manor House that specialises in 7
course tasting menus prepared by some cook off the telly – normally I love this
kind of thing but not when I have no clothes or toothpaste!

BA reluctantly agreed that if there was anything I needed immediately, I could
buy it and I would be reimbursed…

As you would expect, some items of my luggage were more easily replaced than
others … toiletries and suchlike were acquired quickly, however … ‘Bruce
the cloth’ (the approved provider of the Lowe apparel) was many hundreds of
miles away and it was now past the hour when similar types of establishment
would be open … so various inquiries as to the whereabouts of a shop which
catered to the needs of the fuller figure and was open late led me to become
acquainted with an establishment called ‘Matalan’…

They were all out of dinner suits in my size, or indeed anybody’s size so I had
to go to dinner in the clothes I’d travelled in…at exactly 9pm, during the 3rd
course I think, a text informed me that, lucky me, Miss Schmidt had been
reunited with her case and mine had been picked up.

I called them for news of my case’s arrival only to be told that it was ‘too
late’ to bring it ‘all the way’ to my hotel and that it would arrive the next
day…so the second day of my trip saw me sat in my meeting sporting a rather
fetching ‘Matalan’ polo shirt…

…which whilst being one of the few things in the shop suitable for the more
adequately proportioned gentleman, was a little bereft in the length
department, which meant that it could become a midriff bearing affair at a moment’s
notice (not something for the feint hearted I can assure you)… and I was
beginning to wonder if I’d have been better off keeping the Schmidt wardrobe
after all…

Still, with dignity vaguely intact and mission accomplished (from a business
point of view anyway) I awaited my bag. It was getting towards mid afternoon
and still nothing so I called…hmmm…it seems that my bag was ‘on the van’
and ‘out for delivery’ at 5pm. That would be 30 minutes after I take off…

Talk of flying it back to London and delivering the next day, or possibly day
after caused much teeth gnashing and then they suggested that I might like to
collect it from their van which was about 50 miles from me at the time.

A small tantrum ensued.

Obviously I explained to them very politely exactly what they could do … and
exactly how soon they would be doing it … (and into the bargain promised to
do something to each and every member of the board of BA, the couriers and
anybody else I could think of who might be responsible, that would involve
several household utensils and a very long run-up 😉 ) … my bag was
‘miraculously’ delivered to my door 40 minutes later…

The man who delivered it was very nice and apologetic and was in fact the
fellow who had picked it up from Miss Schmidt the previous evening, about 5
miles from where I was. I got chatting…he wasn’t allowed to bring it to me
when he picked it up as it would mean him working after 9pm so my bag went on
another little trip back to the depot and so on…and he had nothing but bad
words to say about Miss Schmidt.

Apparently she was very rude to him and could not believe that anybody had been
so careless as to walk off with her bag…imagine that, it’s all Tim’s fault
(just like being at home)…I had only walked as far as the left luggage
counter with her bag but apparently that somehow exonerates her from all
responsibility and evidently she was very cross that it had taken BA a whole a
hour and a half after she called to deliver her bag!!!

My name for her that day is unprintable 😉

Now, If I’d just allowed myself to become a ‘victim of circumstance’ (as it
sometimes can be very easy to do) … I think I’d still be waiting for my bag
to turn up today – however due to some persistence and a clear idea of what I
wanted to happen, not only did I get what I wanted, but it happened a lot
faster than it would have done otherwise…

So if you’re not getting the results you wanted … make small changes and keep
at it, and repeat this process … or if you are getting excuses instead of the
service you require from a provider that is key to your online future,
challenge them, politely and persistently until the situation is more to your
liking, or (more preferably) exactly the way you want things to be…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business
Lowe Down

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Tim Lowe