A venting day today.
About 20 years ago my husband and I took a trip to Tasmania. I made all the arrangements and bookings myself, including car hire with Hertz via a phone call to their Launceston office. At the time I was an Office Manager and quite in the habit of recording 'detail' so all my arrangements were noted in my diary - who I spoke with, the prices quoted, times, places etc etc. I took the diary with me, fortunately, because I was to refer to it as soon as we landed in Launceston. We arrived at the Hertz counter only to be told there was no booking for a car in our name. Fine - we will book one now then. No can do - there was a HQ car race on in Launceston that weekend and every hire car in the area was booked. I referred them to my diary where I had written down all the details and the name of the person I had spoken with who took my booking. Their answer - no person by that name works here, we've never heard of her before. Was the customer right? No! Did the customer get satisfaction? No! We had to catch a bus.
So what have I learned from that experience and from another 20 years of experiences since then? That it doesn't matter how well you organise something it will proboably go wrong. As my husband says, you can't put brains in monuments, and a lot of the time these days you are dealing with people who don't care, can't be bothered, don't like the way you look so won't give you service, have a chip on their shoulder, don't have any standards, can't spell, can't write, can't get out of their own way ... I could type all day.
My reason for venting is related to my attempts to organise things for the book launch this weekend. Everything I need to do should be simple. I'm not organising a wedding for Prince William or High Tea for the Prime Minister with several hundred guests. It is a simple book launch for 50 people.
My husband went to the local supermarket deli last Sunday to obtain a brochure for me detailing their platters. He came home empty handed because the helpful person behind the counter said "The manager has put them somewhere and we can't find them." So I returned to the store on Monday to obtain a brochure, expecting the manager would be there and know where they were. I came home empty handed. This time the response was that they actually didn't have any brochures but I could look it up on the internet. Fine. That's what I did. I compared one supermarket with the other for prices and value and made my decision.
Today I returned to the supermarket to place my order. The woman strolled around the back to fetch the order book and strolled back round to me. (That's okay - I have all the time in the world to stand around awaiting her pleasure.) She then stood there, pen poised and just lookd at me. I looked back. I raised my eyebrows. She remained mute. I asked "Well what are my choices?" (As far as I was concerned, this woman had no idea that I had lookd at the internet, or that I knew what options she had for me.) "I could read them all out for you if you like." I knew this would be rather tedious so I thought "here we go - I'm going to have some fun with this!" (Fun in a sarcastic way, not a happy way.) So I asked the logical question "Well, don't you have anything I could look at to see what my options are?"
"Do you have any sandwich platters?"
"Yeah, we've got rolls."
I actually knew what she meant from searching the internet so I said I'd have them.
She noted the number and then stared at me again.
I stared back.
The pause became too long. I felt like Clint Eastwood in a major staredown. "What about the Aussie platter?" I asked.
"Yeah. How many?"
"What's included on the platter?"
"Kabana, ham, cheese, biscuits and dip."
"What about twiggy sticks?"
"Nah, there are no twiggy sticks."
According to the internet, there were twiggy sticks. The woman tossed a question over her shoulder at a younger woman who then strolled over and informed me categorically that the twiggy sticks were not on the Australian platter, they were on the gourmet platter. I told her that if they had brochures or some form of pictures with lists available we would have been able to compare the contents and resolve the issue because I was adamant that the internet showed tiwggy sticks. She repeated about four times (because naturally I am the stupid one) that they had ordered the brochures several times but they just hadn't come. In my mind I'm thinking the store should have a folder with at least one brochure in it so that the staff know what they are supposed to be selling/preparing, but it seems that would be too sensible.
In the end I threw up my arms, told them to forget it (I knew anything I ordered today would be totally messed up when I went to pick it up on Saturday) and I told her that it simply wasn't good enough. There had been 3 attempts to organise this and I still couldn't get satisfaction.
Did the two women care.