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Butler standards Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2018, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #9

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Driving Cars

Scenario: An employer gives an older car to his son, who is heading off to university, and buys a new car for himself—a $425,000 beauty with everything you might expect from such a vehicle. Features included the capability of 160 mph, 0-to-60 in the snap of your fingers and cornering comparable to a fine race car. The butler was instructed to travel to pick up the car from the dealer some 150 miles away and return it for his employer’s use. The butler, well-trained in high performance driving, loved to drive, and the road home was perfect for the temptations you can imagine!

The Standards: The butler has…[responsibility] for the employer’s motor pool. The…duties should be performed promptly and effectively, with meticulous care….

Recommendations: I am reminded of Billy Caraway and his classic 1955 yellow and white Chevrolet Bel Air with tan leather interior and the biggest V8 engine available, with high performance fuel injection. I was a freshman in high school when Billy was a senior, with his magnificent car. He took meticulous care of that fine machine—not a speck of dust ever, not one mile over 3,000 for every oil change, and mechanical perfection. Billy drove his car the slowest of anyone I have ever known. Limousine drivers could have taken lessons from him in smooth driving. He (and his car) received more attention from everyone, including the adults in our community, for his “regal” constraint than any of his friends racing around local roads spinning and gunning their engines. Billy’s car was fast and nimble—yes—but he made that statement at the local track. On the road, he was king, and everyone paid attention. Billy Caraway would have known how to drive home a $425,000 high performance luxury sedan.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

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.