>New personal rule

>I’ve had some pretty unfortunate customer service experiences this week, and I need to share. They weren’t bad in so much that the service was horrible (well, it wasn’t stellar, but average) but bad in the fact that it was SO INEFFICIENT.

First, I was at Correos Chile (the Post Office). I was coming back from a class and really looking forward to going home for an hour before heading out to my evening class. I had to mail something for my boss and I looked in to see that there was only one person waiting in line. Score! I thought and headed in. There were two people at the cash registers helping people. One woman was at a cash register that was closed, counting money. There was a man (maybe a manager?) running in and out of an office in the back. There was a security guard. So the man in front of me moved to the next available cash register. He had three envelopes to mail. I don’t know why, but the guy processed each envelope individually, and each individual transaction took about five minutes. The other woman, who was supposedly open for service, was helping a man who was standing there (without mail) holding a 10.000 peso bill. The woman was on the phone and kept typing things into her computer. She looked very stressed. As I waited, more people entered. Soon, there were ten people waiting in line. Fifteen minutes had passed and the man in front of me being helped WAS STILL THERE. And to make matters worse, he tried to pay for the last transaction with a 20.000 peso bill and the cashier had no change, so he had to go look for some. I seriously wanted to pull my hair out. And what bothers me the most is that NO ONE COMPLAINS. The manager guy, who was running around doing God knows what, didn’t assess the situation and say, hey! maybe the lady who is counting change should instead be ASSISTING CUSTOMERS. Nope. Nothing. Just silent waiting. When I finally got up to the counter my transaction took all of TWO SECONDS, so luckily I was out of there after only about twenty minutes (and remember: I was the second person in line!)

Next, I was at Unimarc today getting lunch from their salad bar. I took a number that was 6 away from the current number. Not so bad. Then, I realized there was only one person helping the salad bar people. There were three other women in the “Menu” line (which was empty) but they were just lounging around waiting for people to get into the “Menu” line, I guess. Then, to make matters worse, the woman with the number right in front of me hadn’t decided what she wanted and proceeded to ask about the ingredients of every item in the salad bar.

I finally got my food and went to the checkout line. I don’t know how, but I always pick the slowest line. I finally realized it was because an old lady was questioning EVERY single item that the cashier scanned. She called the manager over not once, not twice, but THREE times to ask about the price of lettuce, chorizos and margarine, respectively. Her problem was that she’s not part of Club Unimarc and therefore wasn’t receiving the discounted price and was complaining about that. Get with the program, lady. All the cool kids are in Club Unimarc. The only good thing about this experience was that the old man in front of me got PISSED and started yelling “Ya pues!” at the lady, so at least there was no resigned waiting in silence. I honestly wanted to hug that old man.

My last experience has to do with waiting and also just a down right rude person. I have to go to the photocopier at a certain facultad of the University of Chile to make photocopies quite frequently. There is one girl who works there who rivals Veronica Soto for the rudest chilena I’ve ever met. There are many examples, but I’ll just stick with today’s experience. I went to drop off quite a large order of photocopies at around 9:00 this morning. I was really happy when I walked in because rude girl wasn’t there. I left them with a guy and told him I’d be back in a couple of hours to get them. I came back around 12:00 and the guy who I’d left them was wasn’t there, but rude girl and another guy were. I asked for my photocopies. They looked at me like I had two heads.

“This morning I left some expense reports to be copied and now I’d like to pick them up.” I explained.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” the rude girl said, “You didn’t leave anything.”

“Excuse me” I said, “But you weren’t here when I dropped them off. I think I can remember my own actions. Besides, why would I lie about something like this?”

I mean, how ridiculous. Why would I LIE and say I dropped off something I hadn’t? And to top it all off, when they actually looked for my photocopies (after I insisted they do so), they weren’t ready. I had given them THREE HOURS. Sheesh.

So anyway, the point of all this is that I’ve made a new rule for myself. I will only submit myself to one potentially frustrating customer service experience per day. That means, that if at all possible, if I have to go to the photocopier, I won’t also go to ServiPag or the post office or the Unimarc Salad bar or the Bank or Extranjeria later that same day. I think this will be good for my sanity, my mental health and my blood pressure.


A comedy of errors

Do you ever have days where things just go kind of wrong? I mean, nothing horrible happened, but everything was just a bit off. First of all, I fell asleep last night before drying/combing my hair. Bad choice. When I woke up, I was so chascona (my hair was a mess) that Neruda should have named his house after me, not Matilde (har har har I crack myself up). I managed to tame it somewhat, but because the extra hair-doing time was not in my morning time budget, I left the house 5 minutes late. Since I’m chronically early, I figured it wouldn’t matter. But then I remembered that one of the elevators in my building is getting repaired, so it took forever for the one elevator to arrive. Five minutes turned into ten minutes late. Luckily I only arrived three minutes late to class, and my students weren’t ready yet, so it wasn’t a problem.

After class as I was waiting in an endless line at the bank to cash a check, my next two classes canceled. Oh well, that happens almost every Monday, and I’ll still get paid for one of them.

Then, oh man. I decided to go to the Unimarc near Tobalaba. I walked into the store and the alarm went off. The security guard took me aside and asked me if I had anything in my bag with a tag on it. I quickly thought about the contents of my bag and about my clothes to see if I was wearing anything new. Nope. He let me go. I went over to a display case of ravioli where a worker was restocking. I found the one I want and tried to carefully pull it off the shelf. The entire display came crashing down. I essentially undid all this poor man’s work. I apologized profusely and started to help him but soon could tell that I was just making things worse so saying “perdona, perdona!” I left. Then, I bumped into the lady mopping the floor. Then, a friendly man restocking yogurt said, “Cómo está usted?” and I replied “Hola” like an idiot because at that point I couldn’t even think. Then I went to get bread and forgot to get it weighed so when I got to the checkout they had to send someone to weigh it for me (I offered to go but they said no se preocupe señorita). Then, of course, as I left the store the alarm went off again and they had to check to make sure I wasn’t smuggling out any mayonaisse. When I was entering the metro I realized I had forgotten to tip the girl who bagged my groceries, but I figured that if I went back, 1. the alarm would go off again and 2. I might get hit by a car crossing the street the way my luck was going.

Uuuf! I made it home in one piece, although I almost forgot to get off the metro at Manuel Montt and had to scramble and “permiso” my way from the back of the train off.

I have to admit, I’m kind of afraid to leave my house later this afternoon. But hopefully all my morning bad luck will have worn off by then.