EVERYONE is complaining

Monday, 21 March 2022

Today, I was going to write about RAT tests. How the delay in their arrival really impacted our response and thus health results during this Omicron wave. How the lack of communication from PHOs and DHBs caused frustration. How we squandered our one key advantage: time. The testing shortage happened in the UK, it happened in the US, it happened in Australia. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce it would happen here. And then I thought - no, too whiny and negative - not my M.O.

Then I watched the Highlanders play. My mood didn't uplift. Did you know almost 40% of tries in Rugby are scored by players in the back three positions (wingers and fullback). How we didn’t invest in that position and have basically three players with little or no experience in Super Rugby in those key positions is beyond me, it didn’t take a brain surgeon to suss that one out.

Then I went to work. I don’t normally work Saturdays, but this Saturday our vaccinator called in sick. On Saturdays when I get to work with my teenage children, I secretly love it. For me it is the greatest of blessings: I get to work with them as a team, we laugh a lot, and I get to overhear their interactions with our customers and watch them grow again. Words can’t express the feelings I get from this. For them? I’m sure it's a bit of a curse. I micromanage them, stand over them, I’ll snowplough and helicopter in for their rescue. All the while, I’m sure that if I stood back and left them to it, they would find their own solution.
This Saturday however, they called the rescue copter in “ - bzttt - Big Daddy, this is Little bird - do you copy? - requesting evac - we have a massive complainer, I repeat, a massive complainer - bzzt - over.” I fly in to the rescue: “It's simply not good enough”, this customer berates my son, “that you can’t do a vaccine today.”

Literally 10 minutes later Child 2 buzzes in the chopper: “ It’s disgusting“, rants this customer to my daughter, ” that you are profiteering from COVID”. Dude. She is, like, totally 16 years old. She doesn’t understand macro, nor micro economics of small business in New Zealand during the 2020s.

Look, I get it. We are two years into this thing that has literally upended the way we live our lives. I’m tired, you’re tired - we are all freaking exhausted from it. And you know, in both instances above - these complaints are justified - we didn’t live up to our normal standard. Fair cop, we apologise for both examples. In some instances, complaining is good for you - it's bad to ruminate on negative feelings, and it can help you process emotions like stress and frustration. But don’t complain too much though, as the more you do something, the more entrenched that path becomes in your brain and the more you continue to do it. You don’t want to be that person who complains too much. And of course, what I haven’t mentioned here are all the nice comments we are getting. Showing gratitude is the antithesis of complaining. Make sure you practise both.

We teach staff that when someone complains or behaves poorly in-store, what we are missing is the context. We need to walk a mile in the customer's shoes before we comment or judge. We are all walking this mile together, team. And the best news is we are reaching the finish line. Restrictions are lifting! As an example, we are already starting to see people book overseas travel. As part of travel in the time of the pandemic, you will need evidence of a negative RAT test at least 24 hours before you head away. We can help you with this. We can provide you with the test and all the documentation you need before you head away. You can book this service here.