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Saturday, January 19, 2013


snow, let it snow, let it snow.

i like the snow. it makes me smile. it makes me act like a big old kid. i get giggly excited at the prospect of snow.
we have had snow today. yay.

i was quite impressed by the fact that tower hamlets had council workers out gritting and salting some of the streets. it might have been better if they had done more of them - but some is better than none.

from a period where snow was an occasional thing we are now getting snow every year. we don't get it in huge frequent quantities, but now we are getting it annually. so you would have thought that by now people would have gotten it into their heads to be prepared for it.
oh hush my mouth, where did i get that thought from?

given we have known about this most recent downpour for most of the week - the press were agog at it: snow! snow! snonaggedon! there should be no excuse for being caught out.
as i said i was impressed that the council has managed to get out and grit some of the roads. they can't do all the roads because of the economics of it. not just because of con/dems enforced austerity drive but also because most people would argue that having large quantities of equipment and supplies that may not all be used.

of course people complain. 'why aren't the roads gritted?' 'why aren't the pavements cleared?'
the funny thing is these drivers and pedestrians won't have bothered to get snow tyres/chains or footwear designed for snowy weather - because they have made an economic choice that such expense is not worth it.

more annoyingly is that the snow seems cause all kinds of problems for travel infrastructure.
trains having to deal with the wrong snow. just what the fuck is that? (yes i know that there is wet snow and dry snow - but even so).

the worst offender is heathrow airport. i have no worries about the fact that they have to delay flights, after all safety is paramount. what gets me is that they seem to not have any sort of contingency plan to deal with the situation or the issues it causes the disappointed passengers.
the radio was carrying several pieces from heathrow tonight that allowed passengers to give vent to their issues with the airport. among the problems mentioned was that the contact number they had given passengers was closed for the night; that there were no announcements made giving up to the minute information; that there were not staff providing information to passengers; that their offers of 'free' accommodation and re-booking of flights are full of caveats that would allow the airport and carriers to squirm out of their responsibilities.
what makes it inexcusable is that they knew it was going to be happening and they should have planned for it, especially as heathrow is always working very very close to capacity on a good day.
all they needed to do was to make sure that they had enough staff there to provide sensible and consistent information, that they had the staff to keep open their emergency phone lines throughout the night (surely this is one of those things that they can outsource to india - or are the outsourced companies not all that good?), that information about what to do in the circumstances of no flights would have been thought through and information sheets available to all passengers. they could have arranged to make sure that a number of the food/drink concessions stayed open to provide subsidised grub.

there are specialists for this, they call it crisis management.
instead there are thousands who are stranded at the airport who are all thinking what a bunch of twats (and by this i don't mean members of the defunct twa company) are in charge.

the key to any business that deals with people is customer service - you want to make a good impression, not because people will praise you to the high heavens more often than not they won't, but what you want to do is avoid them taking to social media to tell the world and their cousin that you would have trouble organising a piss up in a very full and open brewery.

and they tell us that private industry is the answer to all our troubles.

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