Service with a smile.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 3 March 2020

Hyacinths and daffodils have taken over the kitchen table. Outside crocuses, primroses and hellebores have bust their buds in honour of spring even though the garden still looks like Le Mans, the Suki dog's legacy.

I await the carpet man. We have had a new bathroom carpet laid, but being an old age pensioner with a gammy leg the old git was unable to oversee the project until after the fitters had left. I was in town voicing a new show but had a feeling of dread. My instinct was born out when, on arriving home and visiting the bathroom, I saw shoddy workmanship. It took three men 45 minutes to lay the carpet and lay waste to the hall and the stairs. But never fear I have now arrived at being the consummate complainer.

Complaining is linked to self worth. I no longer have an issue with picking up the telephone and saying, in my best voice, that it just won't do, and what are they going to do to rectify it? And no I won't be paying until it is satisfactorily resolved, and of course I'll be in. I do it with a huge smile on my face, that way things get done much quicker. Years ago I interviewed a man who wrote a book about complaining and he said the trick was to know exactly what you want the outcome to be and then just complain until you get it. Perfect, so I now do that but I also employ a happy demeanour. The secret of good voice overs is that you smile. After extensive research scientists noticed that by engaging the zygomaticus major muscles the sound that comes out of your mouth is warmer. A voice with a smile is recognised by all of us even if we can't see the person in rictus. Nobody can attack a smily old lady on the end of the line.

So I have taken to laughing my way at cold callers, chuggers, road ragers and builders who dont finish their job. Joe the builder is still sending me texts telling me when he's turning up to clear his mess, but I laughingly told him to stop making promises he couldn't keep and jovially told him to fuck off. I haven't heard from him since. Although, in all honesty I have to admit that when Talk Talk or BT cold call they get years of frustration in a high pitched scream of fluent Anglo Saxon. I lead them on then rip them off. The glorious catharsis is felt throughout my whole body.

I have this new voice over job which is a gift from the Gods. I take the 12.09 train to London Bridge, walk swiftly past masked commuters, onto the Northern line, one stop to Bank, Central line to Chancery Lane, and then a five-minute walk to ITN where I'm given a pass. Down in the lift, along a corridor, past photographs of Ant and deck, Jeremy Vine and Claire Sweeny. Into a tiny studio with pens, headphones, bottles of water and a mug of fresh coffee. A two o'clock start, four shows, and I'm done in time to get the 17.33 train back home. Voicing films is a satisfying activity, shoes off, arms folded and engaging those zygomaticus muscles.

So as I start the day drinking my celery juice with Amla - Indian gooseberry -I await the carpet man, then I will teach a ten year old how to play the piano, do some yoga, meditate, take a walk, eat some food and then hopefully put the bathroom back together all done with a smile of course:)

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At March 4, 2020 10:10 AM Laz wrote:

Hi Jeni dear,

Read through the last few blogs as haven't visited your site for some time and glad to see your spirits are still there! Any chance of u being on air once again?? Miss you so much! I think of the days gone by before most of the stuff you are going on about began, a simpler world, less technology, stable climate, Jeni's subtle tones on air with your wicked sense of humour. What a dreary looking future ahead, what with corona virus being the sole subject over the radio waves these days. I just wanna hibernate until it all blows over. Perhaps this passover we will all be redeemed!!
Where can one hear your voice overs? Need to see some up to date footage of you too...
Wishing you all the very best.
All my luv and hugs
Xxx

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