really? honestly?

Floppy logic


See this?

It’s the old favourite. Those stupid, stupid people who just don’t get it.

Well, sorry dear journalist. I know you get a big giggle every year out of this story: the crazy things people call 999 for (stuck toaster, broken hairbrush, and this year, rabbit-not-sold-like-I-was-expecting).

But, really, you patronising tosser.

Don’t you see that perhaps this is a real emergency? The person that called 999 over this – did they think “oh, I fancy a bit of a laugh today, and diverting responders from real emergencies, here goes…”?

No, they did not. They thought: “I am down to my last twenty quid, but I love my rabbits. I bought this one in good faith, and it turns out to have ears I wasn’t expecting. I have been robbed. I have been fiddled. I want the PPOOLLIICCEE!!!!”.

If you get the same sort of error message time and time again (in this case, the recurrence of silly news stories about daft 999 calls) this either tells you that there’s an unlikely coincidence of recurring random events. Or it tells you that there is something systemically wrong.

The fact that we read every year about 999 misuse could mean that people are just recurrently thick. And they never learn. But hey, let’s keep printing variations on the story until they do…

Or it could perhaps mean that the public don’t have channels available to them that actually meet their needs. Places to turn when things go very badly wrong. Whatever the scale of that wrongness.

Have a think about that next time you titter at “neighbour knocks down my birdbath, so I called 999”, coming to your newspaper about this time next year.


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3 Responses

  1. Ali says:

    I take your point, up to a point, but why is it that, lacking an appropriate channel to “complain” to, these people decide that dialling 999 is the correct course of action? If they know what that service *is* for, why try and use it for something they know it’s *not* for?

    What’s wrong with the small claims court, for example, claiming a breach of the Sales of Goods Act 1979 to get a refund on the bunny?

    The fact is, that all police stations have a landline phone number – call that number if you must, not 999, surely?

  2. paulclarke says:

    The sophisticated responses (claims, court and so on) don’t compete well in a culture where you dial 999 and the nee-naws come screaming to rescue you. It’s not surprising either that resource shortages don’t allow for better channel provision.

    What I think is fascinating is that the floppy ears story, and its variants, probably are the management strategy. Keeping a lid on the calls through a routine programme of belittling the vulnerable. Almost as if Jeremy Kyle were made minister for social justice…

  3. Ali says:

    Jeremy Kyle is a very scary thought!!

    Perhaps there could be a “people’s court” page in, say, the Daily Mail, where the readers are judge and jury (let’s face it, they’ve probably made up their minds already) 🙂

    I’m not sure I completely understand your point about resource shortages not allowing for better channel provision – possibly just me being thick

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