Letters to the Editor Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2021, Letters to the Editor

PostBoxLetters to the Editor

Several subjects were brought up this month:

“It is always so exciting to see the monthly newsletter in my inbox. First, I wanted to congratulate you and your colleagues on the fantastic news regarding the Alliance of Professional Butler Trainers. By adding merit to the continuous efforts to advance the skillset of the Modern Butler, it ensures great service to the Principals—I applaud all of the parties involved. “Some of your personal attributes and numerous abilities are focused on the future of the industry, telling the truth with unwavering conviction. Thank you, very few people have courage to speak with such candor.
“My first two semesters at college are over and I am now not only a senior but also a senior citizen (62) with a 4.0 average. Next year, at this time, I will have a lifelong goal achieved with my Bachelor’s degree. With a career in service, it was always about my clients’ needs, not mine—although it is still awkward not to be ambling about a mammoth home with a plethora of tasks to accomplish. 
“It would be remiss of me not to mention that I am in agreement with your statement about our workforce preferring unemployment to being gainfully employed. Disgraceful, especially during the Memorial Day Weekend, as we celebrate our fallen heroes who helped give us our freedoms. It has been an amazing phenomenon for me to watch, but not in a good way. My mate is a private chef, he hasn’t missed a day of work during this pandemic period and I only work part-time because of school.
“I cannot wait to try the ‘Grilled Pineapple Mojito’. It sounds like a fantastic drink and future customer favorite. Thank you again for the always interesting and informative newsletter.” D.S.

Ed: Thanks for your kind words—always good to have a kindred spirit appreciating the gist of our messages. You are a continuing source of inspiration in so many ways: When so many are winding down, you are just starting a whole new game. Well done on your accomplishments so far—I look forward to hearing how you have ace’d your Bachelor’s and what new doors have opened for you! I am sure Mr. Vargas would be happy to hear how the Grilled Pineapple Mojito was received by your patrons.

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“I enjoy reading the MBJ and seeing how precise butling is.” JH

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“I’m a long-time subscriber to your newsletter and a devoted Butlerphile. I stumbled across this amusing article 12 Shocking Things I Learned as A Butler at the Plaza Hotel and thought I’d pass it along.” JW

Ed: Thanks very much for passing along this article, which we had not seen before; we will  include it in the next MBJ. I remember training Mr. Sharma and the team years ago and am glad to see they are doing such a good job. Glad also to make your acquaintance as a butlerphile

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One long-term butler responded to last month’s article about rising salaries and opening up about his own personal issues that I promised not to share. What I would like to share, and which I do not think he would mind, is that he had reached the top of his game and was bored silly because he had everything under control—so he was thinking about moving on. This is probably a common issue amongst senior butlers, and the advice to stay in his area and develop other games to play in addition to continuing to manage his job, was well received. Obviously, having a challenge in life is very important, and it can be created by expanding into other areas of responsibility in the household, or in society, or picking up new skills, as the letter from DS above demonstrates.

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Lastly, the below letter from Ms. Yang Lin, the chief litigant in the case against the South African Butler Academy, contains suppositions that may or may not be accurate, but which are based on careful research on her part, so they are being included here with the offer to publish factual information from SABA in next month’s issue to answer the points raised by Ms. Lin. 

“Congratulations on the forming of The Alliance of Professional Butler Trainers! Many students have been asking me when the trial date for the South African Butler Academy is, as they are impatient to see Mr. Newton Cross and Mr. Willem Adriaan Coetzer in the witness box. I’d like to provide an update: their delayed plea was finally served and we will see what evidence they will produce. 

“For instance, is Mr. Cross able to produce his employment record with the four presidents and/or Fancourt Hotel? The Human Resource Manager from Fancourt Hotel is unable to produce any employment record of Cross.

Perhaps School for Butlers & Household Personnel had a 2-week staffing contract from Fancourt, and he, as a 21-year-old trainee, served VIPs for two weeks, performing tasks such as room service and waitering. If that was the highlight of his career (according to his interview for Carte Blanche investigation), does he have much to highlight?

“If he did graduate from ‘Buckingham Palace Butler School’ and Cape Town University, why has he been so reluctant to show evidence? Was he really a waiter at Cunard, or a butler, as he claimed?

“Perhaps his real employment history is something like this: Housekeeper for Don Ezard in 2005 and 2007? Perhaps he also worked for Tony Fagrew and Ezard House and Westbank and Clarendon House? Perhaps Mr. Coetzer’s career is not what the SABA and Guild Recruitment websites claim it to be? Perhaps he used to work as a real estate agent at Acutts?

“Several SABA students have sent me a photo of an infamous wine label. I’d say let the “high flying label owner” live in his fantasy. When I did wine tasting and learnt the process of wine-making in a certain touristy vineyard, and left with a bottle with my name on the label as a souvenir, I didn’t bother to snap a photo for social media and claim that I was launching a wine product, nor did I pose in front of the property and claim I owned it. I mean, why pose as a pseudo Big Shot and end up being a laughing stock?

“If anyone sees what looks like scam job ads, they should report it. If they see internet trolling, report it. Google, Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram are all monitored by regulators.” Ms. Lin Yang

Ed: We will publish with an invitation to Mr. Cross to respond to your allegations, as this letter goes beyond being a letter to the editor and is more of a challenge to SABA and an effort to raise questions that are probably best answered by the court proceeding. However, if fakery and fantasy are indeed existing in our profession, then alerting others is prudent so they can do their due diligence and form their own opinion based on what they find.

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.