I’m not sure if it’s only a term used in the UK – but “I’d like to see the manager” is a very British way of saying that I have a complaint. Anyone who knows a Brit will know that we’re not great at making a complaint – we tend to just moan after the event! So, when it escalates to the manager – things have gone wrong.
Our Western Culture seems to have dealt with sidestepping this quite well. The development of retail chains and food franchises means that we’re unlikely to get to look a real decision maker in the eye when the time to complain comes. The result being that our issues is “absorbed”, steam is let off – and life moves on. It’s usually an unsatisfactory “21st Century” experience.
I’ve recently moved home – and for just under 2 weeks have been a resident of Bath. One of the things that has struck me is that there is a sense of real community – a connection with people. As I’ve been walking around the city (it’s so compact – I no longer use a car to get around … yippee), I’ve realised that there are very few large businesses, franchises and chain stores – but many small local businesses.
The city also has a couple of great magazines that come out on a fortnightly basis – Bath Life and The Bath Magazine. I’ve been reading them since we decided to move the family to Bath over 6 months ago – and the local faces are becoming familiar just from flicking the pages.
What’s making me feel so good about this City? Well, I think it’s that it lacks layers. What do i mean by that? Well, what you see is what you get. The new deli in Bath, Sam’s Kitchen, is a case in point. I can read a little about the new venture in the magazine, give it a try (nice Fennel & Rocket soup!) – and guess who I can feed back to? Yes, Sam!
It’s a great community because I am only one-degree of separation from the people who want to give me service and make Bath tick. That goes both ways. If I don’t smile, if I’m rude, if I am always complaining – that’s on show too. It’s a city where one-to-one relationships – on a weak or strong level – can develop.
I feel very welcome in my new home. Relationships at one-degree work for me. It’s great to know who the boss is by looking at the name over the door or the person grafting hard behind the counter every day. I’m very happy that “I’d like to see the Manager” will not have to be in my vocabulary! I know who he or she is….
During our nomadic travels one thing we’ve settled on absolutely: when we do finally settle down, it will be in a small town, not a city. I crave the experience of walking into a restaurant and knowing they’ll get my sandwich right (I rarely eat out because I have yet to find anyplace my special orders are done as specified, and I’m not much of an “off the menu” chap.)
Face to face is just the best way to commune, communicate, build community.
Glad Bath has that feel. Sounds like we’ll enjoy it when we make the trip over.
Hi Joel. Looking forward to seeing you in Bath – and we have a deli on the corner of our road that does great special order sandwiches! P
Cant agree more Bath is a great place to live and work