Home Truths: Hidden treasures


Lesson #8: Hidden treasures

I’m writing this in the luxurious passenger lounge which is the fourth deck of the ferry from North Uist to South Harris and I have to tell you that the views are truly spectacular.

If you are the sort of person who gets a nose bleed if you travel more than 20 miles from home, except to go to an airport for a foreign holiday, you are missing out on some of the most spectacular beaches anywhere. Visit Scotland.

I intend to rattle off 300-400 words of wisdom and then forward the masterpiece using the shiny new USB dongle I purchased a couple of days ago (more of that later).

However there is a major problem, technology has once more over-promised and under-delivered. Just to rub it in, I can see at least three other passengers in the lounge enjoying the benefits of the advanced technology I crave.

I’ve read the instructions three times, I’ve paid my money, I’ve asked for help, I’ve even resorted to punching the thing but I cannot get the coffee machine to produce anything in exchange for my hard earned cash….which to add insult to injury it will not refund.

I need a coffee to stimulate the brain you see. Oh yes…and the dongle has no signal, but I expected that.

Later… So the A level and GCSE results are out again and the good news is that once again over 95 per cent of 16-18 year olds are geniuses. Which makes you wonder what happens to them between leaving school and arriving at the workplace?

A disturbing number of our young males can’t even pull their trousers up over their pants. And if it’s a sign of individualism why do they all do it?

I was told that Einstein couldn’t remember his own phone number. When challenged he said that it was because he had more important things to be thinking about. Maybe that’s the answer… their heads are so full of academia and associated brilliance that dressing yourself is considered unimportant. Don’t get me started on graduate recruitment schemes.

So back to my dongle, the catalyst for this ramble. Many years ago I met Stephan. He was a friendly, outgoing, bright young man and along with a few hundred others had the misfortune (?) of spending a few days with me at the start of his career.

So when I walked past a mobile store and spotted him my mind was made up as to where I was going to purchase my dongle. I was on the way to the competitor 30 yards away at the time.

Stephan made eye contact, gave me a whole face smile and approached me in an open and friendly way… like I was an old friend he hadn’t seen for years. He didn’t ask me if he could help me at all or if I was looking for anything in particular.

He said it was nice to see me again and then he shut up. It just came out… I was in to buy a dongle and the rest as they say is history.

Whilst waiting for the transaction to complete, I found he is now store manager, his store is consistently one of the best-performing in the region, they don’t recognise the credit crunch as a difficulty and Stephan and his assistants still follow the simple sales process he was shown all those years ago.

I noticed he treated everybody who came into the store with the same old-friends routine. Good Lad. Stephan is a hidden treasure.

Like the beaches in the Outer Hebrides, I have no idea if he has seven As or a Masters in Advanced Mathematics. He is friendly, outgoing and bright; he takes a common sense approach and is still succeeding when many others are failing.

I forgave him for the fact my dongle will not work at every location in the UK as I will eventually forgive the ferry coffee machine.