Have you ever wondered whether your business is discriminatory? I donâ€™t mean deliberately discriminatory; I mean whether you provide services or products that treat certain people differently – or exclude them altogether. Let me explain….
Being 6â€™ 7â€ tall is not something I can do anything about. Iâ€™m also overweight, which is something I can do something about – but my height? Iâ€™m afraid thatâ€™s a part of me.
However, there are times, when shopping, Iâ€™m made to feel like a freak because of my height. When we first met, my wife didnâ€™t always understand my frustration – especially regarding clothes shops and airlines.
Then I needed a new suit. Silly me! We happened to be in London for a day, so she suggested we visit a few clothes shops, to get me a new suit. I think that even she was surprised when a female shop assistant looked at me and said, â€œA suit for you? No way.â€ and laughed.
After visiting about seven suit shops I eventually managed to purchase a â€˜mix and matchâ€™ suit. However, my choice was restricted to black or charcoal grey – and my wife started to understand my frustration.
Now, I know that I like good clothes. I also like quirky touches, especially on my shirts, such as a different coloured inner fabric on the neck and cuffs. In the last few days a new tailor opened up in our local area and, in the window, my wife noticed a really nice quality shirt with such quirky touches. In we went and the staff were very obliging and helpful; informing us that these were a German make and, yes, they did make shirts in an extra-long body and sleeve. Fantastic I thought – until we were shown the range of very plain shirts they made in an extra-long body and sleeve. The same quirky touches? Not for tall people, apparently!
Once again I left a shop feeling like a freak. I only want to be able to buy the same clothes as an â€˜average heightâ€˜ person – whatever that is. I know that the average height of a male has increased two inches in the last 100 years; being 5â€™8â€ in 1912 and 5â€™10â€ in 2012 and so, yes, I am over the average height. However, my sons are taller than me and I am noticing that there seem more and more â€˜above averageâ€™ height people around; so when are clothes manufacturers going to stop discriminating against us?
Yes, I know that I can – and do – get clothes made to measure. These all come at a significantly higher cost – and, strangely enough, the government have yet to give me the â€˜being tallâ€™ subsidy
And the same argument applies to airlines – sorry, I know Iâ€™m on a rant now! But why is it that if I have to travel â€˜economyâ€™ I am required to pay extra for an extra-legroom seat; simply because the airline doesnâ€™t feel the need to provide one that I can physically fit in to?
As a business and leadership coach, I am quite happy to go almost anywhere in the world to coach and deliver presentations. So, how would you feel if you were a client of mine and I told you that youâ€™d have to pay extra for me, because Iâ€™m tall?
Bizarrely and unfortunately, that is what I have had to tell clients on occasions. If my flight time is less than four hours I will travel economy, if I have to, with an extra-legroom seat. Some clients prefer to arrange the flights and, therefore, I have to ask them to pay the extra for an extra-legroom seat. Luckily most are understanding. Some are not!
Can you imagine the scenario, after my death, when my sons find out Iâ€™ve spent a lot of their inheritance on â€˜being tallâ€™?
Just a thought….