Monday, March 03, 2008


Changing behaviour is a challenge, to say the least. Changing things, as opposed to behaviour, is easy in comparison. We now open an hour earlier, for example, and the long awaited volunteer room is complete and in use.

At the pre-season volunteer and staff meeting I talked at length about the new room. I took the volunteers to look at it. I gave them all a sheet of Frequently Asked Questions relating to the changes for this season. When my volunteers arrived on the first open day of the season this weekend I reiterated the salient points.

These boiled down to:
  • Do not bring drinks into the house. Apart from the fact it looks unprofessional to be swigging cups of tea while on duty, last year I found someone had left a hot cup on the chest in the Screens Passage (despite the provision of a desk with coasters on it, for just this purpose) resulting in white marks we then had to remove.
  • Do wash your own cup after use and put it back.
So, naturally, when I walked through the house an hour later to see how everyone was doing, I was somewhat disappointed to spot a cup of tea balanced on the brass alms dish in the Screens Passage and another being held by the volunteer by the desk.

My frustration (masked by a big smile and a tactful "we mustn't put cups on the precious things" as I whisked the offending utensil away) was matched only by the arrival of the two shop volunteers at the end of the day, who had thoughtfully brought me the days takings along with their dirty cups.

What are my chances of getting them to accept the new room as the place to drink tea and do their own washing up before the end of the year?


cogidubnus said...

So smash someone's cups on the floor and tell them they're on plastic disposable cups or nothing at all from now on...nothing like a touch of the old histrionics...OK you might then lose one volunteer, but it would certainly serve "pour encourager les autres"

stitchwort said...

You remember Lovely Warden's enormous wooden mallet - another use for it has just materialised....

Boz said...

Stitchwort is a genius.

Instant bog duty punishment for all offenders? Moat cleaning?

zak said...

Kill them and eat them. It's the only thign they udnerstand.

Doris said...

Cogidubnus - I am going to try electric shock aversion therapy.

Stitchwort - brilliant!

Boz - immediate cessation of the biscuit ration might do it.

Zak - they're a bit stringy.