'Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.' - Dr David Banner.
Most Kiwis are nice people. Polite to a fault. Spraying sorrys, thank yous and pleases all over shops, restaurants and streets. Mostly undeserved.
If someone wrongs us we smile and chirp things like, 'it's not your fault, mate' and 'I know you're trying your best'.
Our attitude to service was summed up in a classic bFM ad for something. A couple are served dog faeces with their salad. They talk about complaining but when the waiter asks if they enjoyed their meal they tell him 'everything was great'. It's the Kiwi way. We don't like to complain.
There are limits, of course. Even the most forgiving of us can be pushed too far. Customer helplines will do it.
This week I spent three hours on hold across a phone company, two banks and a pay TV provider. These are companies I have been loyal to for years. Turns out they are ungrateful bastards too cheap to answer my calls.
The phone guys really irked me. I'm not going to mention which one but let's just say they almost rhyme with Toblerone.
I needed my phone and internet switched over to a new house.What I got was a lot of waiting. How Bizarre by OMC followed by Lydia by Fur Patrol followed by Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde and Sophie by Goodshirt in rotate forever. All great songs but not 10 times in a row.
Phone companies should love answering phones. Talking to people is one of the key uses of phones. If anyone was going to pay more people to answer more phones you would think it would be a phone company. Nope. They hate picking up.
They're not the only ones.
I have been on the phone on and off all week to a pay TV provider. I won't mention their name. Let's just say they rhyme with pie. They weren't answering in a hurry. Worse, when I finally got through they blamed everything on Toblerone and told me I had to ring them back to sort things out.
Back to How Bizarre, Lydia, Yellow Flicker Beat and Sophie on rotate forever. It's enough to put a man off New Zealand music month.
I don't blame the nice people who eventually answer. They're generally doing their best for not much. These are good people - there just needs to be five times more of them.
Between songs, hold messages constantly push you towards online help. It's a better option for sure. No waiting on the line. But not much bloody good if it's your internet that isn't working.
Eventually the anger welled up inside. The Kiwiness disappeared and I lost control. Like a man possessed I brutalised the poor girl on the end of the line.
"I don't care how your system works," I yelled. "Make my goddam internet work and now or cancel my freaking account!" Or words to that effect. Beep beep beep. I hung up, jumped up and hiffed my modem in the rubbish swearing to swap providers.
Then an hour later the most miraculous thing happened. A man arrived to personally fix my internet. The thing they said couldn't happen happened. All 'cause I yelled and screamed like a big baby.
Lesson. If you want something done you got to act like an a-hole.
Since then I have been an a-hole all over town. I blasted a middle-aged lady at a drive-through for handing me the wrong order and got a free cheeseburger; I got snarky with a waitress for taking ages with my Fish of The Day and got a free beer; slammed a barista for a burnt coffee and got a cheese scone.
It's been great. A revelation. Everyone should get angry at everyone all the time. The world would be a much better place.
The only downside is the self-hatred. No one wants to be a Brad Haddon of a man. Success tainted by the stench of your revolting, ugly, small-man evilness.
So what can you do? Sell out your national identity and become a whinging, whiny, complaining a-hole or bend over and take it from companies like a Kiwi?
The answer, as always, is probably somewhere in the middle.
However, this could all be avoided if companies hired more people to answer their freaking phones - you bunch of cheap, stingy, time-wasting bastards.