I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is, in no uncertain terms, screwed. I cannot remember the last time I received a bill, ordered a meal or bought something from a shop that did not require a return trip to address some issue, a phone call to clarify something or a painful exchange with someone.
And it appears I am not alone. Apparently we’ve all argued with a telecommunications company, or bought an electrical item to find it kaput when we arrived home, or simply tried to order a meal without a food substance that’s going to send us into allergic rapture…to no avail.
But we can’t all be wrong.
I’m not sure of the current unemployment rate, but I know that the incompetency rate is at an all time high. Complete and utter incompetence is washing over our great nation – and half the time it is washing over us from an offshore call centre.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m tired of spending 10 minutes spelling my name in Alpha Bravo Charlie every time I need to make an enquiry about an account – to someone listening to me on delay.
I’m sick of all the fees and taxes associated with everything to do with our lifestyle. I have a landline. I have to pay rental on my handset. Despite the fact that I purchased the handset myself. I don’t rent it. But I get charged for it. Make sense to you?
If you were to subtract the fees and charges from your monthly bills, chances are you’d be able to buy a small island in the French Riviera.
We are governed by morons, over-governed in fact, by morons that penalise the good, the honest and the hard working at every turn and allow organisations, companies and businesses to deliver inadequate goods and services.
The system, that fateful word that’s thrown around every time something crashes, is lost, or someone operating it is just too cretinous to use, is the bane of our modern existence. And it’s the same system that does not protect the innocent and most certainly does not reward those who do the right thing.
Nothing is easy anymore. Nothing is seamless. Nothing just works.
These days, we make a point of thanking a waiter if they’re nice. Because we’re not used to it. We talk in amazed tones when referring to a company that dealt with us efficiently and in good spirits. Because it’s so foreign to us. We’re surprised when a sales assistant is helpful. We’re thankful when a request is fulfilled. We’re down right thrilled when we can end a day without being placed on hold.
We’re told that, as a nation, we’re over stressed because we work too hard. The reality is we’re over stressed because during any given week we’re having to waste quality time sorting out issues that shouldn’t exist, due to people that are useless.
The problem is that no one, and certainly no company, is willing to take responsibility for any issue or problem.
I’m currently sorting out an issue with Vic Roads that is far too tedious and lengthy to go into detail about, but suffice it to say, is about as pleasurable as getting your back stomped on by elephants. All over a fault that has absolutely nothing to do with my competency and intelligence level, but rather that of a Vic Roads worker.
If Vic Roads cares to know, I’m not all that thrilled with their work on many levels. Every trip on the Monash Freeway is like a game of Russian roulette – because you never quite know exactly what time you’ll arrive at your destination, whether your CityLink e-tag will cooperate or whether you’ll make it through the tunnel alive. The perpetual road works – seemingly on all roads I use across Victoria – seem to be constantly ‘under construction’ or ‘in progress’ but don’t appear to be doing anything, especially once completed, to alleviate our roads of traffic.
And then there’s the thousands of speeding fines sent to good drivers every day of the week, thrilling the cotton socks off citizens Australia wide. And the car parks across our cities, charging exorbitant fees to motorists. And it’s not even privy to our cities – our suburbs are littered with ridiculous, confusing parking signs all geared to rip the money out of the wallets of the people that drive the community.
Public transport is no better. I don’t enjoy paying $10 a day to stand on an overcrowded train, with my nose shoved in the armpit of my fellow passenger. On Tuesday evening I caught the train home. It was far from warm outside but the air-conditioning was set to ‘freeze the balls of a brass monkey’. Ironic, because I caught the train over some of our much warmer summer days, and the air conditioning appeared to be non-existent, or set to ‘make passengers melt’. And what with all the interesting folk I seem to attract on public transport, and the constant delays and disruptions, I’m beginning to think they should pay me to use their service.
On Monday, I went to Melbourne City Library to hire a book, as is generally done at libraries. When I used the self-scanner, an error notice popped up. So I made my way to the front desk and waited to be attended to by a staff member. When I was finally served, I was told that the system has been deleting people who haven’t used their library cards in recent months. And that if I wanted to re-borrow the book, I’d need to sign up as a member to the library again. Despite the fact I had a perfectly valid library card with my name clearly printed across it. Despite the fact I had done nothing wrong, it was suddenly my problem. Thanks, system.
Last night, I made Tacos for dinner. With taco shells I bought from Safeway. Taco shells that were stale. Old El Paso-the-use-by-date they most definitely were.
And this morning I returned an item of clothing to Gorman, an item I only bought the other day and haven’t even worn, because when I went to hang it in my wardrobe the stitching was coming undone. I would estimate that 1 in every 5 items of clothing I buy develops some sort of defect after the first wear. A defect that requires me to go back to the store of purchase and exchange or refund the item. They say that a stitch in time saves nine. Someone tell the manufacturers.
And these are only examples of things that don’t work and aren’t easy or seamless from this week. Every single week my days become clogged by something to do with the ‘system’, or a company, or something so mind-numbingly boring it makes me want to vent my spleen.
Who else has bought a DVD only to have to return to the store of purchase and get the security tag removed? Who else has ordered a pizza and ended up with the wrong topping? Who else has typed an address into their GPS and ended up one hour late after crossing half the state to reach their destination?
The thing about customer service, which is in an acutely terrible condition at the moment, is that it’s about two things; customers and service. People working to ensure the needs of the customer are served – and is it too much to assume that this can be done diligently? Efficiently? Promptly? Correctly?
When I go to the butcher, I pay good money for a good cut of meat. And I expect it to be premium. I would not accept contaminated meat. I would not accept 500 grams of meat, if I had paid for a kilo. So why are we all paying top dollar for services that are only providing us with 500 grams of what we need? Why are we accepting and willingly paying for contaminated meat?
If I don’t perform in my job, I don’t get paid. If I don’t deliver – the very best – I will not be rewarded. It’s time people became accountable – for their attitude, and actions, and plain old stuff ups. Granted, the ‘system’ doesn’t always work but that is exactly what people are there for – to pick up where the system cuts off. We all need to start raising our standards – in what we expect, what we deserve and what we also deliver. Until then, we’ll only ever get 500 grams of what we’re really entitled to – and that doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.