Stop these old-fashioned stereotypes of the English
IWISH the so-called experts who are stuck in a time-warp and who keep parroting phrases which may have been true decades ago, would get up to date. read this week again that we should complain more. That we are a timid lot.
Victoria Wood used to joke that the outraged English just go ‘tut’ and shrug their shoulders. Not anymore.
At one of the phone shops in Uxbridge the other day a man who had gone in to complain that his phone wasn’t working properly (fair enough) suddenly started yelling his head off and thumping the counter (hmm). It seems that staff are used to this kind of behaviour. They were admirably cool, even though he was still having a noisy tantrum – he would say ‘complaining’ – half an hour later when we left the shop.
Many British holiday-makers never stop complaining. When we were on a world cruise two years ago, and away for nearly four months, we learned that the staff (well out of earshot) competed for the most ridiculous complaint of the week.
The best one was from a woman who had said her water had been poured too slowly. The cabin stewards, waiters and crew were polite and hardworking, while the grumpies had expressions which only ever ranged from disapproving to total outrage.
It was ridiculous, particularly as genuine problems were always taken seriously and there was rarely a need for any dramatics.
Even funnier – and I’ve heard this twice in the last few days – is that as a nation we’re very reticent about talking about sex. What? I think there is so much analysis of every aspect of the subject in TV, radio, reality shows, magazines, that people are fed up with hearing about it.
Experts/parrots still blame everything from sexually transmitted diseases to promiscuity, on too much, or too little, sex education at school. They can’t even make their minds up which.
At my all-girls’ school, reproduction was explained by telling us about frogs in a biology lesson and I don’t think I was damaged for life. I’d never eat a frog’s leg though.
Do you think that public moaning is out of control or do you agree that we should speak up more? What are your bugbears? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, yes, before anyone points it out, I do realise that I’ve spent the whole column … complaining.
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