THE ‘C’ WORD

THE ‘C’ WORD.

(Customers)

ENTITLEMENT.

One single word with multiple mental connotations. Perhaps for you this word brings to mind an opinion (or five) of a specific generation. Perhaps other stereotypical views are summoned; such as opinions on genders, races, cultures. Perhaps you adamantly believe in the existence of entitled behaviour in those around you…

But do you see it in yourself?

We live in an age of abundance. Years ago, with limited establishments, consumers had limited options. If you particularly wanted something, you ordered it, paid for, and received it. Your purchase was a treat, and delivered to you as advertised.

In recent years, this routine has changed, drastically. Customers are increasingly demanding, sometimes requesting extensive menu changes, and sometimes going off-menu completely. If the staff do not bend over backwards to comply: customers leave a bad review on Trip Advisor, or the company’s social media.

Sometimes the staff actually do provide the customer with exactly what they ordered, but the customer will still complain, out of some misguided hope that they will receive money off, because they do not understand what they actually ordered, or perhaps because they just like to complain.

‘BUT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!’ I HEAR YOU CRY.

Except, they aren’t. They really, really aren’t.

CUSTOMERS HAVE RIGHTS, AND THEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE.

‘What are consumer guarantees?

When a consumer buys goods or services, the ACL provides that they have guaranteed rights including that:

• the supplier has the right to sell the goods; • the goods are of acceptable quality; • the goods match their description; • the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier; • repairs and spare parts for the goods are reasonably available; • the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and • the services are completed within a reasonable time where there is no agreed date.’

SOURCE: HTTP://CONSUMERLAW.GOV.AU/FILES/2015/06/ACL_FRAMEWORK_OVERVIEW.PDF

As seen above, this does not mean that customers may dictate the business hours of an organisation to the organisation.

This does not mean that customers have the right to imagine utterly nonsensical adaptations are feasible, and threaten legal action if they are not made possible.

This does not mean that staff may be spoken to or treated in a demeaning manner, they may not be abused or assaulted; they may not be disrespected.

This does not mean that one customer may be put out and disadvantaged for the sake of another.

This does not mean that laws may be broken, in order to satisfy the all-holy consumer.

If this is all sounding extreme, I would like to direct your attention to just a few anecdotes I have had the privilege of compiling in recent months. These are taken from what can best be described as a ‘support group’ for those in the hospitality industry:

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Did we somehow, as a society, wrongly decide that ‘servers’ are in-fact ‘servants’? Did we somehow forget to adapt with society as a whole, and therefore forget to acknowledge that working in the service industry does not mean ‘taking the easy way out’? Did we progress in such a way as to make food preparation a commodity available to the majority, but not acknowledge that those catering to those needs are doing so as a chosen profession?

Many (if not most) of the people serving you in cafes, restaurants, cocktail bars etc. are highly trained in their profession. Many also have degrees and qualifications outside of the hospitality industry, but enjoy their roles within it, and remain in them for this reason.

We are no longer in an age where having food prepared for you is a sign of vast wealth and power, so why do some people maintain the mentality that those doing so should be grateful for the opportunity; and suffer mistreatment and poor manners as a consequence?

Perhaps you are not of the entitled mentality; but I am willing to bet you know someone that is. Perhaps you could show them this article, and encourage them to review their behaviour.

Perhaps we, as a society, could take a step in the right direction, and remember our manners with the barista and the wait staff; just as we do when we interact with other paid professionals.

Perhaps we could all make a more conscious effort to be grateful. Grateful for being in such a privileged position that we can pay for something and have it provided to us.

Perhaps we could take some responsibility if what we have our hearts set on is not on the menu.

If we continue to demand the unrealistic, if we continue to demand services for free, if we continue to underpay and under value the hospitality industry as a whole: it will not survive.

‘YOU CANNOT DEMAND A SERVICE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DEGRADING THOSE WHO PROVIDE IT FOR YOU’.

-thempress

©CatOwens2017

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Happy Mother’s Day, Boss Mummas

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Nanma & Nate – Wimbledon UK

My Mumma is a Boss-Mumma.

She raised two extremely different daughters, in two extremely different generations, solo, for two extremely different reasons.

I’ll give you some background:

My sister and I have an 11 year age gap.

Our Mother raised my sister as a single mother, during a time when it was almost unheard of, really.

It’s hard to comprehend just how recently unwed mothers were shipped off to convents under a veil of secrecy, to have their precious babies taken away from them and re-homed with ‘more suitable’ parents, but it happened, and it happened incredibly close to when my Mother had my sister. It even happened to another beautiful mumma in my family.

Thankfully, Mum was able to keep my sister. She juggled work and parenthood alone, right up until she met my father. They married, and had me.

I was born with a heart condition, and sadly, my father passed away in a car accident before it was operated on.

Mum now had two daughters, one facing open heart surgery, and was about to go through single-parenthood all over again. 

She did it, and she did it well.

I have no idea how, but she held down a stable, full-time job. She provided us with everything we asked for. She took us on holidays, she spent time with us, she made us feel secure and loved. I’m sure I had questions as a small child, but overall I only considered my childhood to be a normal, happy one.

That’s a huge testament to how much hard work she put in to motherhood.

I genuinely believe that if my Mother had $10 left to her name, and she even thought for a second that my sister and I were struggling, she would give us $4 each and leave herself with $2. Then she would feel guilty about it, and try to give us every last cent. 

Parenthood is not easy. Ever. You could have all the money, all the resources, all the patience and love; but it is still not going to be easy.

So, in honour of my Boss-Mumma, I wanted to do a shout out to all of the Boss-Mummas out there this Mother’s Day. 

Firstly to all of you single-mummas; smashing all the stereotypes, facing all the judgement, tackling all of the dramas and trying to desperately fill all of the roles: You are amazing, be proud.

To all of you mummas to be; dealing with your own hormones, your body’s changes, your fears and doubts, while also dealing with literally EVERYONE having an opinion on what you can and can’t eat and drink, what you should or shouldn’t do/buy/think.. even how you should sleep: You are amazing, it will all work out, you will work it out.

To all of you new-mummas; never sleeping, hardly eating, adjusting to the sudden influx of experts on your own life and your own journey, trying to remember your own name and keep your family afloat, all while trying to work out who you just became: You are amazing, and I promise you’ve got this.

To all of you working-mummas; tackling drop-offs and pick-ups, switching between a work-brain and a home-brain, facing your own set of judgement and your own sense of guilt: You are amazing, a solid role-model, and the appreciation will come.

To all of you studying-mummas; getting up early and staying up late, working your butt off to try and better yourself and your prospects, justifying your choices and looking to the future, while, yet again, facing all the judgement: You are amazing, you are strong enough and smart enough to do this; it will all be worth it.

To all of you stay-at-home mummas; keeping your family together, keeping them all clean, fed, warm, happy, holding everything down, and yep, facing all that judgement too: You are amazing, you are valuable, you are irreplaceable.

To all of you young-mummas; finishing off school/college/still deciding what direction you want to take your life in, starting from scratch and watching your peers live a totally different life: You keep focusing on you. Honestly, I don’t think we ever have our sh!t together, we are all just working it out as it comes: You are amazing, you can handle this.

To all of you older-mummas; trying to find a group of your peers to relate to, wading through an abundance of advice from friends who have lived it all already, still juggling the judgement and the self-doubt: You are amazing, you deserve to enjoy this, and you are allowed to still be learning.

To all of you step-mummas; embracing, raising and loving those children as though you made them yourselves: You are amazing. Blended families aren’t easy to keep harmonious, but what an accomplishment when it works.

To all of you mothers in-law; accepting, welcoming and loving the person your baby has decided to make family. You are amazing, well done for handing over the mantle, for expanding your hearts and your lives to these ‘chosen ones’.

To all of you Grand-mummas; trying to help, trying to love and parent your babies with babies of their own: You are amazing, and loving grandparents are a valuable luxury.

To all of you adoptive and foster-mummas; opening your hearts and your homes to children that need it the most: You are amazing, inspiring, and I am totally in awe of you. 

To all of you dad-mummas and mumma-daddies; you guys holding a family together without the societally accepted and generally expected female or male counterpart, whether you are a same sex couple or one parent flying solo: You are amazing, you are tearing up an outdated rulebook, and you are important.

To all of you mummas of babies no longer with us; whether those around you know about your loss or not; it counts. You deserve to be thought of, considered, and loved. Mother’s day can be so, so hard, and for those who suffered a loss, particularly one that was not openly known, it can be a day of solitude, reflection and grief. You are amazing, and you are not alone. 

To all of you with mummas no longer with us; my love and heart goes out to you.

Happy Mother’s day. ♥

©CatOwens2017

P.s. below are some of my favourite mumma pics, of the boss mammas in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Share and tag your mumma! I’d love to see yours?

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Nanma & Nate

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Me & B

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Rima’s little copycat

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Elaine and her girl

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Zaynah and Beebee

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The Rowe family

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Mumma Thompson and her babies

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Jess & her ‘over-accomplished Mother’ (direct quote)

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Bails and Cecil with Nan

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Bonnie and her ‘first and forever best friend’

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The Brown girls

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The Kelly ladies

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‘Aunty Cole’ and her boy, Jack

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Lana and the miraculously still children

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Danielle and her ‘rock’

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The Parker girls

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Promoted from Mumma to Oma

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TB and Lottie

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Karmen and mumsie

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Franklin and Christie

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Kristina and the 3T’s

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Abby and Jack

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Me and baby Nate

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One last one of Nanma and Nate ❤

P.p.s. I hope you want to share this with the boss mammas in your life! Annnnd sorry to all the people cropped out 😂😂

Sorry for the silence

20170403_115437_002.jpgWell, hello strangers!

The past few months have been hectic in my household. The big kid turned 3, we moved house, the baby started daycare for one day (read: morning) a week, and Ryan’s business is crazy busy.

Ryan works Mon-Sat and I work on the Sunday. Add a toddler and a baby into the mix, and we were left with a tiny tiny window for house viewings, packing, moving and unpacking.

For some reason, renting a house on the Sunshine Coast is a very last-minute procedure, which makes something already incredibly stressful that much worse.

In general, if we apply any more than two weeks in advance, we are told the house is ready to go and they really need someone in ASAP. That means you have to search, view and apply for houses with just enough time to be approved and get your life together before your lease expires.

Fun fun fun.

I am still 4 assignments away from finishing my cert IV in writing and editing, as, without fail, each week something will pop up that needs my attention a tiny bit more than the course. I actually set myself a personal deadline of January.. then end of Jan. Then definitely by the end of March.

Then it was now; May 11th.. and I am aiming for ‘before my course expires’.

On a more positive note, the blog I wrote: ‘ten things your child’s swimming instructor wants you to know’ was shared by Austswim and subsequently picked up a lot of site traffic. Like, a silly lot. That gave me a bit of a reality check about what I could and should be accomplishing; along with a healthy dose of fear.

Will I ever actually be able to match those numbers with another post? Did I just have my one hit wonder and totally forget to cash in on it? Was that all just random luck?

I am positive about it, regardless of those thoughts, though. Having so many beautiful responses and knowing that I struck a chord with other swimming instructors around the world gave me a wonderful sense of belonging that I will never forget.

So! Any and all positive thoughts are welcome (especially as the baby seems to have gastro, and the washing machine has finally called it a day). Hopefully tomorrow will be THE day I get my student brain back in.. or my thinking cap back on, or my creative juices flowing again.

Thanks for bearing with me. I’ve attached a photo of the baby as a shameless incentive to bring you back again 🙊.

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