Posts Tagged ‘opinions’

Without doubt, this has been the Year of the Question. For months now it has been ‘What do you think about Brexit?’ followed recently by the even more head-banging ‘What do you think about Trump?’

I shan’t be answering either here. There isn’t enough space and it would all get too messy. Suffice to say I do think a great deal about both, they are matters of immense importance that are seeping into every corner of all our lives, but since this is the season of goodwill, let’s move swiftly on.

It is the other questions, the less significant ones, that make me realise the Age of Meaningless Box-Ticking and Pointless Accountability has well and truly arrived.

I go to the doctor’s surgery for a nurse to take a blood test. I am hardly home before a text arrives on my phone: ‘How likely are you to recommend the practice to friends and family if they needed similar treatment?’ I am instructed to give my answer with a number, ranging from 1 for ‘extremely likely’ to 6 for ‘don’t know’.

I decline to answer. I cannot find a number for the reply I want to give, which is along the lines of ‘For heaven’s sake leave me alone and stop expecting me to make pointless decisions because even if I said I wouldn’t recommend you to family and friends (I would, actually) I know you wouldn’t, indeed couldn’t, change anything.’

I buy a new battery for the car. Within a few days I receive an email asking me to rate the service and leave a review. I don’t. I have no way of comparing the service with others because I last bought a car battery in about 1977 when my then local garage may not have offered the whole ‘coffee machine and six-year-old magazines’ service for its customers in a waiting area blasting out local radio, but it did offer eyefuls of Pirelli calendar images and some ripe language.

I reach the end of an excellent book which, for a change, I’ve read on a Kindle. Before I can close the final page I am urged to post a review on Amazon. No, I don’t want to! I want to allow it roll around in my thoughts and allow some of the characters to continue to inhabit my mind, not get all analytical about it and try and put my opinion into comprehensible words. Leave me alone! Let me close the page!

On our last holiday in September, we flew by EasyJet to Naples and, because as we arrived so late at night, used a pre-booked taxi service from the airport to our Airbnb apartment in the centre of the city.

Sure enough, no sooner had we arrived home than we were faced with a battery of ‘Were you satisfied with our amazing and brilliant wonderfulness?’ questions from the airline, the car park company we used at Gatwick, Airbnb and the taxi service. We gave them all versions of a weary ‘Yes, now please go away’.

All this is well and good if we could be sure any of our responses to any of the myriad questionnaires that nowadays come our way might make the slightest difference. Indeed, it all rings a bit hollow when you discover that one of the big stores and online retailers, John Lewis, filters out negative reviews of customer service on the grounds ‘they do not meet our guidelines’. You bet they don’t!

It’s a shallow world out there, where firms want us to engage in their corporate box-ticking exercises and we are seduced into thinking our opinions count.


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