Sunday, June 18, 2006


Patronising the patronising

As many will be aware by now, one of my personal bugbears is having people think I look younger than I really am. This is one of the reasons I'm working on a beard. [That, and it's also a low-maintenance hobby, and could save me loads in razors and shaving gel]. When people think you are much younger than they are, they will sometimes patronise you.
My solution: Fight fire with fire.

Whilst attending to the injured and inebriated of Hertfordshire University's ball, I had the displeasure of the following run-in with a member I hadn't worked with before. I'd been asked to help him out by a more qualified member, and so I duly obliged by offering to do the paperwork, which consists of an A3 carbonated form, designed to cover every eventuality from a blister, through major trauma and spinal injury, to a heart attack (Some debate exists as to whether, in the event of a birth whilst in our care, a new form needs to be started for the new arrival, and whether we would classify it as 'self-referral' or 'called to scene' At least we could be sure of the date of birth. But I digress)

The exchange went as follows:

*In the calm, gentle voice one might use when guiding the elderly through fiddly computer procedures - if you consider anyone over 60 to be automatically of below average IQ*
"And then you can write in that box what we found, we didn't do that so tick the 'no' box, and write down there what we used..., yes that's good. This bit here's really useful for adding any additional information.. And then we sign it off"

With the patient gone and the form finally completed after I'd been meticulously guided through all 18 boxes, I turned to my new colleague...

*In my calm, gentle but frank, 'I'm really not bullshitting' voice*
"No offence, but I've been a member for 3 years, ran a unit for 2 years and trained the entire unit in how to use these forms when they came out, using the national guidelines and training pack. I've filled out more of these than I can remember at several large events, and one of my forms was considered clear enough to be admissible evidence in court for an assault case. So I do know what I'm doing with these"

I didn't get much of an apology, but I think it was his best attempt at one, and the expression on his face was rather enjoyable.

It reminded of me when an nPower guy came round to where I was living in my second year of uni to try to sell electricity:
nPower guy: "Oh, hi there. Is Mum or Dad in, or the person who pays the bills?"
Me, deadpan: "I pay the electricity bill, can I help?"
*without breaking his salesman's stride*
"OK, did you know how much you could save if you switched..."

A true professional.

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