Letters to the Editor Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2019, Letters to the Editor

PostBoxLetters to the Editor

“The other night I watched a TV report on the Royal Mansour, one of the world’s best hotels. The in-house butler-service trainer explained that the conversational distance between the guest and an employee has to be at least 1.60 m. Can you confirm the latter?” JE. Ed: The butler trainer is spouting another one of these unfortunate datums that tries to substitute a rule for intelligent and perceptive action: A Texan might not find 1.6 meters enough space, whereas someone from NYC might be more comfortable with .595573 recurring meters.

“My Dear Mr. Chairman, This is a long overdue note to let you know that I am back in service and have been for a year as of last month. In my defense, I can say that it took me about six months to realize that I was, in fact, back in service. You see, my current employer is a group called L’Arche, who arrange small (four client “core members” maximum) houses for developmentally and intellectually challenged persons. The goal is for our core members to feel happy, supported, and at home.

“To this end, the servants at our house are laid out along fairly familiar, traditional lines – albeit with different modern job titles. Our “House Coordinator” is really the Butler, our “Resource Coordinator” is really the House Manager, our “Assistants” are maids and footmen, essentially, and all have some medical training and responsibilities, as well as other duties such as reporting care standards to the State, and so on. Cooking is rotated and handled in a “family style” way.

“In addition to house duties, my special charge is a person with cerebral palsy. I help them dress and “turn out” on the mornings that I’m working. This may make me something of their valet, in traditional terms.

“All of which may seem like a bit of a demotion for a former private butler. However, the terms allow me, in terms of schedule, to start a family rather late in life. And I flatter myself [to think that] that, should I ever return to my former glory as a butler, the medical certifications and experience I am gaining may help with my placement.

“It is also a real distinction to serve clients so in need of good service that is provided with professionalism and discretion. My compatriot servants have all come to rely on my experience and knowledge to help raise standards. I hope that is some tribute to the profession.  Some things never change; a floor is not properly cleaned unless someone has done so, our good service increases our clients’ confidence, and thoughtful service helps provide comfortable living.

“And I can say that I have provided a service almost forgotten in modern times: Each morning, I faithfully empty and clean my charge’s chamber pot!” CCS

Ed: Thank you for sharing and for your service. 

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.