Tuesday, April 26, 2011

how can I help you?

I love living in a town that relies so heavily on tourism. (mostly) (except for the crowds)

I'm one of those annoying people who thinks that if you're paying for service, you should get good service.

When I worked in shops, I was taught that THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. That THE CUSTOMER LEAVES HAPPY.

Seems kind of old-fashioned now, in a world where 14 year olds think they're not being paid enough to wipe tables at Maccas.

And have you asked for help in your average K-Mart or Target lately? Service in K-Mart is so bad that I've stopped going there altogether, and Target is a last resort. I'd rather go without, or pay a little more and go into one of the small, locally-owned shops where they rely more heavily on customer satisfaction.
Or shop ON-LINE (hear me, Gerry Harvey?)

But at least if you live where tourism is a major factor in the local economy, service isn't entirely a foreign concept.

We used to go to Rainy Beach Town quite a lot. Rainy Beach Town is tucked quite out of the way, in WA. And service there is pretty hit-and-miss. Everything, except for the supermarkets, closes by midday on a Saturday - and when I say 'by' I mean sometimes 11:30 sees the doors slam shut. So we learned to shop fast.

The best part though, was the 'hospitality' industry.

The first place we stayed at, I left my gold bangles behind somehow. I rang the resort as soon as I got home, and the woman said, "Oh yes, one of the cleaners found them. Just a minute, I'll go look for them."

Long silence.

She came back and told me she could only find one, which was odd because she had put them in a safe place.
Resort safe? desk drawer? filing cabinet?

No. She had dropped them over the pens in her pen-pot, on her desk.


She went away and looked some more, and finally located the missing bangle, which had been 'moved by the cleaning staff'. One bangle. Moved from the pen-pot, leaving one behind.

"Right," I said. "Well, since we live 200 kms away, do you think that you could put them into an envelope and send them back to me, next time you're in the Post Office? I'm happy to pay postage and a little extra for your trouble."

"Oh, no." she said. "No. It's too much bother."


Eventually, I arranged for someone's friends' mother-in-law to go in and pick them up, give them to friend, who gave them to someone, who returned them to me.

And we never stayed there again.

And yes, everyone I knew heard that story.

The next place we tried, my husband was groped by a naked man and the woman who ran the place 'adopted' us and came to visit every day while celebrating something (there was always something to celebrate, it seems) and stayed till she ran out of whatever-she-was-drinking.

After that, we found some utterly gorgeous townhouses that we loved, though they were horribly expensive, and we had to book weeks ahead.
But the service was good!


  1. I hate bad service. I was at a deli counter in Coles the other day with a friend, and the whole time we were being served the girl was chatting about her after work plans with one of the other staff members, to the point where we had to get her attention to let her know we weren't done buying stuff.
    So we started talking very loudly about how when we worked at Coles (we actually did work there once) that behaviour would not have been tolerated, and we would have been hauled up to the managers office for ignoring the customers in favour of personal chatting.
    Our response was a sullen glare from both counter girls.

  2. Good for you! Socialising should be done in your own time, not your bosses!

  3. Too much trouble to return someone's lost property???
    That's incredibly bad service.
    I know exactly what no-one means.
    Customer service is not what it used to be.
    For Deli service now I go to a rival supermarket.

  4. Too much bother!? Far out. Oh to be soooo busy as to pick and choose in a SERVICE JOB what one intends to do to fulfill a request and keep a customer happy. Urgh!

    And OMG at the next place. We stayed somewhere like that, it was bizarre to the point where it just got really really funny. We were buzzed and our door knocked on so many times in the space of the weekend we were away that we decided she must really hate her husband. Either that or we looked like no-good louts who were going to trash her beloved unit ;P (neither theory can ever be substantiated, shhh)

  5. Maybe there's a blog opportunity gone begging for a centralised register of places readers have received sub-standard service!!

    Whaddaya reckon?

  6. "It's too much bother???" I seethe when someone acts that way, it's just so awful. Grrrr.


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