So bus drivers aren’t allowed to be friendly any more. That seems to be my impression of the news that Brighton and Hove‘s bus drivers have been banned from uttering friendly greetings. Not just told to only say such words to their regular customers or to their friends, but actually banned. It is now verboten to say words the words love, babe or darling on a bus. What hasn’t been mentioned is what the result of uttering such words is. Is it a verbal reprimand, a written warning or the sack. Seeing how other companies run by faceless bureaucrats act I wouldn’t be surprised if is the last case.
Considering that normally bus drivers are a surly lot, to have a driver greet you in a friendly manner is a nice thing to have. Not something to push down and extinguish.
But how has it come about? Have loads of people being continually complaining about the friendly attitudes of Bright and Hove’s bus drivers and how it upsets and offends them that they are treated as people rather than cattle on the bus. No. It’s a very simple reason. One person complained. Yep, one. 1. Uno. yksi. один. This one person of the female persuasion felt so offended by being treated nicely that she actually took pen to paper (or more likely email) and took the effort to write to the company to complain. She considered that being called something other than “madam” is being sexist and demeaning.
But is the person wrong for doing so. No. For anyone who has worked in a customer facing role it’s not surprising that you might get a few odd customers with strange complaints or requests. For anyone who has spent any time in a customer facing role you would normally filter out such occasions.
So who is wrong to impose this draconian rule? The customer service department at B&H bus company and the HR department for taking the suggestion from their colleagues at face value.
Way to go Brighton and Hove bus company for creating a lot of bad publicity for yourselves.
But how about you lot. Which terms of greeting do you use? And are you offended in the slightest by them if you are on the receiving end?