Tardy goodwill

Diluted Courtesy

Delayed gift Must the new year diary always be late?

The  importance of a diary today may be dwindling in the face of technological gizmos that save the details of  your life  at the touch of a button but there is something about writing  on something tangible.

Years ago in London, I remember phoning a friend who wanted to check his diary before he committed to a meeting. “What a snob,” I thought. I know now that diaries despite whatever technology is promising you, are an essential part of everyone’s life and in India, a diary is a sign of corporate goodwill as well. The problem is,  the way they are gifted renders them  neither timely nor particularly useful.

Why do companies delay a good will gift? They talk about forward planning and then fall flat on their faces with this tardiness. When I worked in an advertising firm in London, the whole office was involved in signing the fly leaf of a branded desk calendar that we would send to our clients, our suppliers and the media. It was all part of the Christmas spirit and this was done early in December. And these desk calendars were very effective, highly visible advertisements in offices all over London!

Talking of goodwill gestures, how about showing goodwill not just with useless gifts but with a certain graciousness of manner? Why do companies have telephone systems that prevent you, actually block you from speaking to somebody?

Why do they have telephone receptionists who ask what is it you want to discuss after they have taken down your name and job description?

One usually patiently explains that one is looking for sponsorship for the arts. One is then promptly put through to someone and one goes through the whole process again. And when you do give your name ‘again’, why do they ask ‘again’, “From...?” I sometimes retort, “I am calling from Lunar Farside Limited” and only then, am I told that the person I want is not available! The other meaningless request (more often an order) is, “He is in a meeting, call after some time.”

The questions I usually ask then are, “How long will the meeting go on? Does he have any other meetings/engagements afterwards?” Both these questions are met with, “I don’t know.” Wouldn’t the easiest solution be, “Please give me your name and telephone number and I will ask him to call you back?”

Simple. I won’t then have to keep making telephone calls through the day only to be told that the man of the moment is still in the meeting. The companies I am referring to are big brands though they do lack in smaller courtesies. Like their new year diaries that reach sometime in the middle of the year, their manners also are not quick on the uptake.

But there in hangs another tale.

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