THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Staircarpets and Fireplaces

After escaping from the crappy Copthorne on Friday morning it’s an easy 45-minute drive to Exeter airport, where an hour’s flight takes me North to Leeds/Bradford, along with the Exeter Chiefs rugby team who are typically boisterous even at this early hour. At Leeds/Bradford I meet with a client and his accountant to dicuss a major dental project that wll have to stay under wraps for now but which will launch in January 2008. It will be an important business, providing services to dentistry in Yorkshire and I’m planning to become involved as a participant and investor, as well as business coach. I ask my Yorkshire-born client “how’s business?” and he responds that his appointment book is crammed with patients who want their cosmetic dentistry completed before Christmas. “It’s like staircarpets and fireplaces”, he adds, “everyone wants them delivered before the break.” An expression I hadn’t heard before – it has me giggling. We hire a board room at the airport for 2 hours for an excellent meeting – and I’m then delayed on my return journey by a passenger who departs the in-bound flight from Aberdeen, thinking she has already reached Exeter on the return journey. The airport terminal is searched and she is found, re-united with her baggage and makes a late and very embarrassed re-entry to the flight after the pilot has told all of the other passengers about her mistake. My neighbour on the flight quips that she must have thought she was on an F-111 and not a twin-prop passenger aircraft. Whilst the passengers are in suprisingly relaxed mood at the delay, our stewardess has a faced like a slapped-arse and is outraged that a stupid customer is making her late home. It’s not just this passenger that’s feeling the brunt of her miserable attitude though – she never breaks into a smile on either leg of the flight (same crew) and, on our return, I’m sat in row 3 and have a chance to observe, sensing a blog post. Slap face is about as amused by the presence of a rugby team in the morning as the Chief Rabbi being offered a bacon roll. All through the airport, the staff (even the security staff) were joking with the young lads on the team (local heros) but not our trolley-dolly. In fact I can sense a competition – “you are NOT going to make me smile”. Fortunately, she is too old to be of interest to these virile giants – so they ignore her – which probably sours her mood. On our return journey an elderley gentleman struggles to the top of the steps with his hand baggage and asks as he sees her “I’m on row 17, where is that?” Now I know that’s a pretty dumb question but he’s an old codger and obviously doesn’t fly often. Her answer is “it’s 17 rows down there” – delivered with a deadpan expression, demonstrating that she hates her job and has low personal self-esteem. So why the hell work as a stewardess? Why not just get a job in a mental institution and become the Nurse Ratched that she obviously wants to emulate? I fail to understand – and she ain’t no ambassador for FlyBe.com.

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