Service Training

Last night Matt and I settled down to watch the first episode of Fred’s Last Resort, with French celebrity chef Fred Sirieix. The series takes place at Les Roches Blanches, in Cassis, Southern France. In the progamme twelve young people are given the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a dream job at the 5-star boutique resort, plus £10,000 cash prize.

To get anywhere close, though, these twelve young people require some serious refinement.

During the first episode, Matt and I grimaced and cringed as the young people spoke to high-paying clientele as though they were customers in ASDA Walmart. When one lady asked what drinks were on the menu, I held my head in my hand as contestant Mollie replied “I haven’t got a clue to be honest, love.” She’s from our neck of the woods, that much was obvious.

“You can’t say that!” I grimace, “these are high-paying customers!”

“It’s better to say, excuse me one moment please, I’ll fetch a menu” I say, “then stand back slightly and to the side. To hand, but not breathing down their neck”. Matt agrees.

Perhaps it was because of my formative years in charity shops, or maybe working as a medical receptionist in a prosperous area, or perhaps even my later years volunteering at Mum’s work with equally wealthy clients, but I’d learned how to be with customers – helpful and kind, servile. I have a keen eye for the standard that most customers would like and expect to receive. I even quite enjoy it.

As it stands my husband’s first job was as a server in a restaurant, so he too has a keen eye for the hotel industry. Matt doesn’t fancy himself so much in service though, he prefers himself a more managerial role.

And that’s okay, he’s long liked managing stuff. Or trying to anyway, because you know.

Contestant Dippy got a lot of praise with their beaming smile and passion for service, and farmer Tom has already been singled out as my favourite to win. It’s his no-fucks-given approach to managing difficult people that has me rooting for him.

Which brings us to Levi.

Levi has already had a stint on TV before, on Catfish UK. I’m not quite sure what the outcome of that was as I can’t find the full episode anywhere, though what is clear is that Levi’s love interest wasn’t real. Levi left his boyfriend to be with his Instagram beau, he also claims his ex was toxic.

What I find more interesting is that somebody had commented on one of the Youtube clips I saw and said they went to school with Levi. They also said that he ‘wasn’t a very nice person’.

Which is telling.

About a quarter of the way into the programme Levi is found sobbing in some bushes while the rest of the team works because he doesn’t feel confident about being around new people. After a talking to from Fred, Levi finds his confidence but then starts bullying and nitpicking on the other contestants, particularly Tom who, as I said, is much more confident. Levi claims that he won’t work because “when you’re this pretty, you shouldn’t have to work” but also that “most of yous don’t even know what middle class looks like”. Delusions of grandeur, et al.

Again I find it quite telling that somebody who calls themselves a social media manager and fancies themselves as an exceptionally important person has just shy of 3.5k followers on Instagram. I average double that in views on my main blog each month but you don’t see me acting like a Class A tw*t about it. I haven’t even tried my luck at Instagram yet because I’m not sure I feel the need to and also because I’m a whole lot more than just a pretty picture, though it might be fun to try.

I digress.

“I wouldn’t have that on my team, and not because of who he is but because of his attitude to others” Matt says.

“Coming from my line of work, you know, you can be a social media influencer or whatever and not act like a complete dick about it? I’m a Lovehoney affiliate now, I influence people to buy stuff that, I hope, will give them the amazing sex or kinky fuckery or whatever that they were looking for. No guarantees of course, but it’s not about me, it’s about them. I get paid for my time and work now, and why shouldn’t I? You get paid for yours” I say. Matt nods.

“You know, customer support advisor, blogger, social media influencer, doctor, nurse, police officer. They don’t make you a celebrity and you shouldn’t expect to be treated like one, they are just jobs. If I go to the dentist because I have a raging toothache, I don’t expect to be told how he deserves the rates he charges because he’s the best dentist in town, or have him expect to queue jump at the movies because he’s a dentist, he’s just a dentist doing his dentistry job. In the same way, if said dentist came to me because, I don’t know, he wanted some advice on bondage, he wouldn’t want or expect me to tell him that he should pay me handsomely for my advice because of who I am. I wouldn’t expect a free burger from Atomic Burger just because I write about kinky sex, though like with all people who do jobs, of course I’d be honoured if I got one. My point is, it’s just a job, a service to the community. A dentist fixes teeth and I promote good sex. Everyone wins, right?”

“Apart from the people not having sex because they’re still tied to the dentist’s chair? Sure” Matt grins. I shake my head at him. Only you.

Still though, to us, Levi and Lance would be the first to go.

As if bullying wasn’t enough, Lance has himself appointed as team leader but then slacks off while the others work. When the work isn’t done, Lance turns his attention to blaming the others.

It’s a horrendous quality, and sadly something I’ve seen all too often in managers.

Between parts of the programme, I’m back and forth to the kitchen to make our dinner. First I forget to season our turkey and chorizo burgers, then I forget add the burger relish. I retrieve the burger relish from the shelf and sit back down to eat.

“Not one of your best, Mrs S” Matt says.

“I know, I’m sorry” I reply. It’s already sinking into me – I’ve disappointed him.

“I’m not angry” he teases.

“Sir!” I plea. It takes me a moment to realise what I’ve just said.

“I mean… umm… Wolfie” I say.

“No, no” he laughs, “I like the first one better”. Ass.

I keep my gaze down until I feel more composed. I’m not going to give him the satifaction of seeing the surrender in my eyes.

“Would you like some sauce, Matt? To go with your burger, Matt” I spit. I emphasis the ‘Matt’ to make it clear that I’m not playing.

“What’s the matter?” he asks, the ass is still laughing at me.

“Just hungry” I smirk, and deliver his shoulder a just-deserved nibble.

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