Hello. I'd just like to start off by stating that I’m a travel writer; I write extensively all over America and Europe and have visited a great deal of historical/heritage places in my time. I would have loved to have been able to write a lovely piece on Wordsworth's Rydal Mount but, alas, was unable to because of the atrocious behaviour and aggressive attitude of a member of the staff. On Sept 15th 2012 at 12:00pm approx, I accompanied my mother and grandmother the latter of which who, after a broken ankle and arthritis, visibly struggles to walk with her cane and parked in the parking lot associated with Rydal Mount. We left the car and meandered toward the house around the front then out of the little path as my grandmother just wished to take a quick look at the old monastery we’d passed not some 50ft before we went and bought our tickets for Rydal Mount.
We had not even left the garden before a heavy set middle-aged man wearing glasses descended to inform us very aggressively that we could not stay parked where we were if we were not coming inside of Rydal Mount. Now, I had seen all the signs; parking was for customers only. I could and can appreciate that fact but I tried to explain to him that I WAS a customer and that we would be back momentarily to purchase tickets. I was quickly told in a sharp and patronizing tone that it did not matter - we would have to move the vehicle out of the parking lot immediately. Now, I comprehend that perhaps, with the lot being so small and the nature of the place being a tourist haven, that Rydal Mount and its employees receive all sorts of excuses as to why people should be able to park there, but in this instance I think the employee was in the wrong. I glanced around the parking lot. There was ONE other car there, just the one. The lot was virtually empty.
I explained again to him that we were literally only walking 50 ft to take a peek at the other building and returning and he in no uncertain terms stated that we still had to go, that the lot gets busy and fills up by 2pm. Now please let me set the scene once more. My grandmother is 73 years old and visibly struggles to walk and as much as I hate to publicize my own ailments, I myself am in the middle of treatment for cancer; I struggle to walk as the radiation therapy seizes my joints and I have no hair, I physically shake a great deal – it is pretty obvious that to get back into the car which we had just struggled out of and drive into the monastery grounds and then to get out of the car and take a quick look only to get back into the car again and drive back up to Rydal Mount to get out of the car AGAIN was going to be very uncomfortable and in my opinion, extremely unnecessary for both myself and my grandmother. I explained this to the employee and he merely became more agitated with me and said yes, that was exactly what we had to do.
At this point I became very annoyed at his behaviour and reiterated the question: did he really want us to leave and go through all that so we would not take up space in his parking lot? I told him his behavior was very off-putting and a tad excessive and that his attitude could deter visitors from coming to Rydal Mount, including myself and that his behavior risked negative write-ups.
His response? So what? Rydal Mount could do without us visiting as they already did “pretty well for” themselves.
At that point I was done being insulted. The employee’s aggressive behavior was the worst I have ever encountered in all my travelling. I cannot even begin to explain how disappointed and upset I was at this point. What should have been a lovely day out with my grandmother had turned into something petty, ugly and pathetic. The employee stayed by the front bushes and watched with a scowl as we got into the car and drove down the road away from the place. He even watched the whole time as we parked further down the hill to ensure we would not be coming back. We waited in the car for five minutes just to catch our breath and calm down and then, as we exited that car to instead go visit the monastery, the employee again, like a crazed territorial gibbon, walked in front of the Rydal Mount parking lot and watched us exit the car, right up until we disappeared into the monastery gardens. To say his behavior was excessive is to put it mildly.
Now I understand that one person’s bad experience and refusal to now go to Rydal Mount means little in the great scheme of things, but these are the types of situational stories that the news media love and can cause very bad press for organizations/people. My point being, whoever this employee is (it even crossed my mind that he could be an owner due to his excessive need to keep his territory vacant of rogue cars) deserves to be reprimanded. No one deserves to be talked to like they are trash and treated as though they are worthless.
I maybe could have respected this man’s argument - that the lot had to be kept vacant because it was going to fill up - if it had not been for the fact that after altering our day trip plan by spending 2 hrs in the monastery gardens, I glanced up at Rydal Mount parking lot and… wouldn’t you know it? 2pm and there were NO OTHER CARS in the lot. None. I even took a photograph as evidence. So whatever unmitigated fear of tourist-centered congestion the employee had used as an excuse to chase my family away was, evidently, unjustified. I am still upset about this incident and I think that employee, whoever he is, needs to be chastised and given an attitude adjustment – he was boorish and needs to be taught that you should never treat anyone, never mind customers (physically struggling ones at that), with such contempt and disdain.
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