And up yours too, mate

And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove’s dread clamours counterfeit,

Apologies if this turns into a ‘grumpy old woman’ type of blog but I feel the need to get something off my chest as it were.

Is it my imagination or have we got ruder as a nation?

Now I can curse along with the best of them when necessary (or when under the influence) but even I was a bit shocked this morning.

I’d only just sat down at my desk when my phone rang and a man said: “hello I want to buy a Greenstar (actually, he didn’t even bother with the hello bit)”. So I said “Um, I beg your pardon”, to which he replied “A Worcester Bosch boiler. I want to buy a boiler”.

OK, maybe I should have said “I think you have the wrong number”, instead of “I think you need a plumbers merchant”. But was there really any need for him to shout down the phone “Well f-off, you snobby f-ing b***ch?”

You only have to walk down the High Street and you hear the most appalling language and I can’t remember the last time I let someone through a door and was actually thanked for it.

One of my friends told me that she had complained to the company supplying the workmen doing some drainage work outside her son’s nursery because of the ripe language they were apparently unable to curb. I mean, if you can’t work out that you shouldn’t use the ‘f-word’ (and worse!) in every other sentence in front of three year olds who will copy you, then you haven’t got the brains you were born with.

Obviously, this is a very male-dominated, rough and ready industry and anyone who comes into it expecting anything else needs their heads examining.

I’m reminded of the joke about the little girl who hangs around the builders doing her family’s extension, helping them out with her toy trowel so that at the end of the week they give her a little pay-packet. When she takes it to the bank with her Mum, the cashier asks if she’ll be helping the builders the next week as well. “Depends if those bas….s at *insert name of builders merchant here* get us the f….ing bricks on time”.

That’s funny – I can see that. But shouting obscenities down the phone because your stubby fingers dialled the wrong number – get over it mate.

Rant over. As you were.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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