David Smart: Mr Daddy Longlegs

29 September, 2015

As the saying goes, “if you live your life on social media, one day it will bite you” and, of course, we are no exception to that rule. Our Facebook account is updated almost daily, depicting new products and new promotional ideas. We also have Twitter, Instagram and a whole host of other strands of techno wizardry to push the Greenhalgh’s name out there.

A short time ago, a legitimate complaint (as we thought) was phoned through: a crane fly (a daddy longlegs to you and me) dared to fly into the bakery, through the van bay, dispatch area, the packing area, and into the dough room, navigate itself past six or more fly zappers and squeeze itself into a practically fully encased machine. I mean this little guy was determined to end up on the bottom of one of our rolls. I am sure it wasn’t pleasant to witness - especially when you are going to take a bite out of it - but sadly it does happen, thankfully very, very rarely indeed.

Like most companies out there, we have rigorous procedures in dealing with and trying to appease otherwise loyal customers, as naturally we wish to keep their business going forward. We don’t bribe, we don’t lavish gifts of one form or another in order to placate their alleged hurt feelings. We simply apologise sincerely and try to replace their lunch with Greenhalgh’s product tokens, to the value of around £5. Normally, the general public does see sense and accepts our apology, and we keep their custom, with thanks.

Before the advent of the internet, disgruntled customers would try to frighten us with suggestions like, “Getting the health after you!” Little did they know that we have an amazingly enviable association and reputation with our local authority.

This customer in question, however, demanded £250, he said, “or else I`ll push the button”. He thought this was a very acceptable form of behaviour as he professed that a fast food business had paid twice that to a colleague of his - we have since found out that this was untrue. We also learnt that he uploaded a video of said daddy longlegs to a ‘cash for news’ website, so that every time a network took the story, he got a commission (I wonder if the tax man knows that one). His main objective, it seems, was solely to discredit us, while gaining money for himself. What kind of malicious, vindictive behaviour and self-pitying, spiteful actions motivate this person? And all because a company stood up to back-door intimidation or blackmail!

It is social media that is unrestricted, unregulated by nature and a media for all. What isn’t always obvious is that it is a tool for anybody to spread all kinds of hurtful content - whether it be true, semi-true or just their impressions and whether you like it or not. And there’s not an awful lot you can do about it either.

The best way to deal with cyber thugs, we have found, is to have a robust policy and stick to it. Never enter into a war of words via the net, as that’s just cheap entertainment for the uninterested. Don’t retaliate unless they have criminally crossed the line; just hold your head high, believe in your accredited excellent standards and support all those who work hard within every department to produce quality 24 hours a day. 52 weeks of the year. Let’s face it, that ‘news’ is tomorrow’s chip papers and, after a while, it becomes boring, uninteresting and the perpetrators go away.





Site Search

Webinars 

    Insights from the Bakery Market Report 2016

    You can now purchase the Bakery Market Report 2016, which offers insight into the retail bakery trade in the UK.