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The Platinum Rule

I love the Financial Times Weekend edition – it\’s almost Celeb-free, it has excellent arts coverage and it has Tyler Brule\’s column.
Admittedly, for a long time I assumed that the magnificently spoilt, arrogant and picky Tyler was one of those amusingly exaggerated fictional characters that clever old satirists invent.
Then I discovered that there actually is a style magazine called Monocle and that Tyler Brule is, presumably, real. Or realish. I was gobsmacked. Of course, his wittily preening columns immediately became even funnier.
A few weeks ago he got himself into an entire column\’s worth of  hilarious passive aggressive tizzy when some dreadful woman stopped him getting to the treadmill at a gymn by digging in her bag and texting on her Blackberry… For a whole ten minutes!
This weekend, he was having a moan about the general charmlessness of modern First Class life – especially airlines and luxury hotels. The poor love had actually had to drink cranberry juice out of a plastic tumbler on a plane.
And yet he\’s right. Modern life is generally charmless at the moment because all the idiots in charge are squeezing the things their uncharmable accountants deem to be an unnecessary cost. Among which, of course, courtesy is number one and high-quality detail number two. And so with its roots gone, charm dies too.
The result of this self-destructive stinginess is that the most vital oil of society – courtesy – is replaced by computerised switchboards, robotic scripts for operatives and plastic tumblers.
Courtesy is expensive – though often not directly in terms of money, funnily enough. It takes time, effort and empathy. It\’s also something you can\’t really fake because it comes from applying the golden rule of \”do as you would be done by.\”
For any high-end company to have charm, courtesy has to permeate the whole business. It has to be in the cultural DNA from top to bottom. And any company where the directors grab as much money as possible for their pay and bonuses while cheeseparing their employees, will not have it. That kind of greed is the ultimate discourtesy to the people who need to be courteous to their customers: they\’ll know they are being taken for a ride. They may parrot the courtesy scripts and the mission statement and whatever, but they won\’t be able to be truly courteous.
The platinum rule backs up the golden one. It says that you get back from life and other people what you give out. If you go around with your passive aggressive teeth gritted, hating 99% of your experience for being charmless, what you\’ll get will be even less charm and courtesy. Your discourtesy will surround you with discourteous people. It\’s amazing, really – like magic. The minute you start giving out genuine pleasantness, you start getting it back.
Tyler Brule\’s columns are a perfect demonstration of the platinum rule. Everyone should read them.

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