Posts by Susan Archer

  • Hard News: Grenfell: a signal moment,

    Great post Russell, and of course it's a political issue. It reminds me of Pike River where red flags were repeatedly raised, and repeatedly ignored or down-played by everyone with the power to fix the problems and avoid disaster.
    I'm so tired of words like "strategy", "consultation", "implementation" and "governance" which seem not to carry any meaning anymore - we just need political leaders at every level who care deeply about all the people they serve and then act on the basis of that motivation.
    Even as I write that it seems idealistic, but really, it only becomes so if we stop expecting and demanding it!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: This whole, glorious trainwreck,

    the shops are never open, and there's nothing to eat but chocolate and stale buns.

    Shame on you Craig - update thy knowledge of my beloved Easter suburb! Or at least visit Madam Jo Jo's Foodstore on Remuera Road, open seven days a week, very good coffee, home-made soup, salads, meals, and fresh baking every single day.
    Which keeps at least some of us happy, feud-free, and not-at-all-sure-who-to-vote-for...!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Cracker: I don't just read the…,

    Sorry, I'm a bit late latching onto this topic, but have enjoyed the discussion and thought I'd add my tuppence worth.

    When I first saw the ad I quite enjoyed it, then did a double take on the McCallum & Partners name at the end because I used to work with a firm called McCallum Petterson, which has recently become part of Deloitte.

    So I watched it again and was terribly upset not to see anyone I recognised. But I'm over it now.

    And I've learned a couple of things from the Spare Room discussion about the ad: it's okay for "new media" to mash up anything & everything from "old media" but not vice versa; and "amateur viral charm" is always to be trusted!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: Must Try Harder,

    Can I confess to being a Waitangi Day slacker? I'm glad the ceremonies up north went off without major incident, but I felt nothing much about the day.

    Sorry, I'm slow reading RB's original post, and it seems the discussion has moved on a bit. I share that sense of being a WD slacker. It's a nice bonus holiday in the best NZ summer I can recall since the mid-1970s. (The weather seemed to go to the pack about 1977, but perhaps my memory deceives me.)

    Or perhaps I'm honouring the Pakeha settlers, sideline spectators as the Crown and Maori dealt with each other in 1840 and, through their descendants, stilll standing on the sideline 168 years later, wondering which side to cheer for. Or which after-match party we'll be invited to...

    I find the more I try to engage with the Treaty, the less certain I am that it is, or ever will be our "founding document." I'm either pessimistic, or optimistic enough to believe we are yet to write such a thing!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Southerly: Overheard on a Bus,

    My thanks also for that reference about the burr, Robyn - I certainly heard lots of examples when I was growing up, which wasn't very recently! (May not even have happened yet...)

    However, I agree with John's observation that the rolled 'r' is unevenly distributed, or expressed: some Southlanders have the burr, others don't. Perhaps there's an academic paper on it somewhere?

    As for "wee", I'm very fond of it, though my husband and children occasionally mock me for using it, and people sometimes don't know what it means. Somehow, it's a comforting, affectionate synonym for "little" - but perhaps that's because it's a childhood word, used by doting grandmothers and great-aunts.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Southerly: Overheard on a Bus,

    Loving this discussion - oh, the wonders of language and human beings, NZers in particular - thanks everyone for so many excellent and entertaining posts, and David for kicking it off with such an amusing story.

    As for Bob - well, it flags me as a deep southerner and probably dates me as well, but I understand him perfectly:
    "We took a pottle, a peter and some belgian [belgium] to the crib."
    Thus we enjoyed some strawberries, beer and luncheon sausage in our holiday home! And I'm pretty sure we played tig too.

    I've retained many of the sayings and particular words I grew up with, but have never had that most distinctive feature of southerners' speech, the burrrr, despite spending my first 17 years in Southland.

    However, I do distinguish "near" & "square", "share" & "shear" etc, though I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold out!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Cracker: Stoopid,

    Lively, civilised discourse - aah, why did I wait so long to dive in here??!

    Politeness and good manners is like oil in a car. It makes things run much smoother and quicker.

    Robyn, you've summed it up. For instance, I've always had amazing service from the xtra helpline - possibly because my default response when faced with internet meltdown has been disgusting, ingratiating politeness.

    However, I confess, I wrote two very rude, angry emails to xtra/Telecom/hubble/bubble/whateverit'scalled after that unbelievably cack-handed attempt to do whatever-it-is-they-were-trying-to-do-with-my-email-acess-after-ten-years-unbroken-service.
    Seemed to work too!

    And I did lose my temper once with a politician (okay, I'll name him: it was Damien O'Connor - so perhaps I can be forgiven? My only regret is I didn't get angrier), and I once did a fairly testy interview with the PM (her media minder tried to stop it halfway through - I thought he was trying to tell me there was a fire...). I'm also guilty of mocking the chairman of an industry board - what a waste of time, should have just asked him to resign...

    But these are people who get so much undeserved politeness, that the odd bit of discourtesy - or honest response - is a kind of national service. And I am really grateful I haven't been hauled out of my bed in the middle of the night and shot - so that part of our democracy is still functioning okay. For now.

    But back to the people who deserve some acknowledgement and decency.

    Likewise, media - if you're listening to a radio show or watching something on the telly you really like, why not ring and say so.

    Christ, Damien, you better be careful. You sound like a real person, not some sort of plastic blow-up media doll, rolled out to deliver the latest bit of celebrity scandal, rugby score or car crash statistic.

    You're also right and I have lately begun to email, at least, when I've enjoyed or appreciated something. But not often enough. I resolve to do better.

    And Deborah - your story about how the St Paul's cafe staff paid attention to your daughter encapsulates what makes good service great: connecting with people as individuals. Maybe they did that for everyone under 20 who walked in the door - doesn't matter. They made the effort and made her feel special. My worry is that prevailing business models don't fully value that kind of service, and don't grasp how important it is in bringing people back.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Cracker: Stoopid,

    Russell, thank you for the welcome; and Jeremy, you're right, I was talking not walking. Serves me right for using an example from someone else's professional life without feeling comfortable about sharing the details.

    I'll try to make up for it with my own lament for a great cafe. Stephen's post is spot on about what makes a cafe somewhere you want to keep visiting. My local fave was Sierra in Remuera, when it was owned and operated by Jan Walsh. She was incredibly welcoming, knew everyone's names & coffee preferences, and sustained a continuous conversation with all her customers, that made us feel special, and kept us coming back, day after day. The coffee, food and staff were all great, but it was Jan's spirit and skills that made the place hum.

    When she sold the business last year, the real estate agents next door hosted a farewell party for her and it was packed out with customers - friends - all realising how much we'd miss her, after nine years. We also realised how hard Jan had worked: it demands huge energy to maintain excellent service, care and courtesy, almost every day for nine years.

    Jan now works for the real estate agency next door (!), so we still see her regularly, and the cafe is still good, but... it's not "Jan's place" anymore.

    And yes, JRS can be very convoluted but he's dead right about what happens to dissenters within businesses and organisations, and how the people who know most about "what's really going on" are silenced and marginalised. That's why I tip my hat to slarty & Damien.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report

  • Cracker: Stoopid,

    Thank heavens for Damien & people like slarty. And all the rest of you too.

    I was thinking today about the All Blacks - sorry, I have been trying to forget last weekend- and it occurred to me that we've become so bound up in process - re-conditioning and careful planning- that we've lost sight of ends and products, of results and customers.

    So it becomes more important to meet some vague US-inspired standard of how airlines should treat their customers than doing the obvious, decent thing (something we Kiwis have been really good at, dammit) and reuniting Damien with his cellphone.

    On the other hand, we're not always good at acknowledging excellent service when we get it. I heard this week about a group of people who were so impressed with someone's performance they went to the board and made it clear they don't want to deal with anyone else. That is so rare, but it shouldnt be.

    I bet there are other people in Air NZ unhappy with the way they have to treat customers, but the price of protest is incredibly high. John Ralston Saul calls it the "tyranny of the employment contract."

    I remember I used to feel really proud of Air NZ. No more.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2007 • 9 posts Report