Service with a Smile

So I went to the hairdresser-place-thingy on Saturday, and they were too busy. Fair enough. Made an appointment for Sunday, 12 o’clock, nice little free slot in the middle of the day that I figured I could rope in some shopping around. Come Sunday, 12 o’clock, there I was and there was a single chair occupied. I was told that they were running a bit late, and if perhaps I could come back in 20 min to half an hour? Sure, why not.

Only it ended up being 1 o’clock before I got my haircut, and there was nary an apology in sight. I had to be the angry customer, which I always hate to be (because you know you look like an asshole), but 1 hour? That’s unAustralian, I tell you. And I got the blame-shift reply, because she “wasn’t the person who made the appointment, sorry.” Oh sure blame your fellow employee who isn’t there. If someone makes an appointment, they’d better make it in good faith, and a simple sorry doesn’t suffice for an hour’s lost time. These people annoy me.

Suffice to say, next time I’m up for a new barber/hairdresser/thingy.

Also, today, had to do something at the Indian Consulate, which is always going to be a marvellous experience. I know well enough that Indians rarely have the concept of customer service in their minds, but it was a bloody joke there. To start with, they only open from 9:00 to 12:30 for “accepting submissions” – given the number of people there, it’s fairly clear they need to adjust this, because in no way was the demand met. My theory goes that these people still want to live by the Indian standards for opening hours, but they’re forced to open an hour early.

The next thing was the absolutely straight-faced following of the bureaucratic process. There were people who needed to get their visas approved by Thursday because they were flying on Friday, but were told that “nothing could be done” to speed the process. There was this dull, unflinching look in the eyes of the people behind the counter that said “I do not humour people.” You know those forms that need you to fill things in just-so? These people needed you to talk to them like that. I have a sneaking suspicion that, those automated voice recognition systems that don’t recognise what you say unless it’s exactly in the tone it wants? THESE PEOPLE I TELL YOU. And then there was the people with “just a quick question” who didn’t wait for their number to appear, and invariably ended up taking 20 minutes to go through all permutations and combinations of the question. GET IN LINE, DIMWIT.

I saw more than 3 people leave in anger because the bloody stupid bureaucratic process had to be followed (extended because tomorrow and Wednesday are holidays in India – Independence Day – and the Australian consular staff also manage to get the day off. Sweet deal, getting both Indian and Australian holidays off eh?). This is not endearing these people to India, and that’s just the people who’re already set to go there. What happens when they tell their friends? More people not inclined to go through this process.

This wouldn’t annoy me half so much if it wasn’t for the people who decided they were going to have a conversation with the teller, and proceeded to do so loudly in Hindi, somehow assured they wouldn’t be understood by the general crowd, like they’d expect anywhere in Australia. Um. There’s a roomful of people waiting on this person to clear off, and 80% of them can understand they’re discussing where they grew up. If the unnecessary plasti-glass barrier wasn’t there, I’d slap ’em.

Probably why it is there, actually.

Attn: New People Catching The Train

Dear all new people catching the train,

Yes, I realise that the price of petrol has gone significantly higher, and it’s now much more cost effective to catch the train than sit for an hour in traffic. Welcome to the public transport system, we’re (kinda) glad to have you here – more money in the form of more tickets can only mean good things for all our heavily subsidised public transport. However, as a regular train user, I would be neglectful if I did not bring to your attention a few things… just to keep us all happy. It’s for the good of all, you understand of course.

Ways to make everyone’s journey easier:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to get up and run for the doors.
  • Wait for people to get off the train before getting on. The train will wait.
  • If someone who knows the timetable is running to make their train, don’t stand in their way.
  • Your bag/purse/laptop/newspaper does not deserve a seat. Neither does your umbrella, espcially so if it’s wet. The floor or your lap is perfectly acceptable.
  • Reading a broadsheet newspaper in morning peak is a no-no, unless you’re a master of newspaper origami. A master.
  • Don’t stand in the stairwell. Don’t stand in the door when people are trying to get out – hop out, hop back in, the train will not leave with you standing just outside the door.

Ways to avoid potentially looking stupid:

  • Work out which way the ticket goes into the gate first. No-one in the morning peak will appreciate you trying to work it out at the gate.
  • Ladies, the train is not a powder room. Applying lipstick is acceptable, basic facial make-up is borderline. Do not pluck eyebrows, apply mascara, or use a battery-powered curling iron to maintain that hairstyle. It’s really not a good look. Guys… no, don’t do it. If you’re doing to apply any makeup at all, do so in the privacy in your own house.
  • Don’t try to change from comfortable clothing into businesswear halfway in. I don’t know what you did in your car, but this isn’t an overnight flight or something.
  • Do not eat your breakfast on the train unless it is small and manageable. This means no cereal. Under any circumstances.
  • Follow the cue of regular passengers when it comes to picking the door to stand in front of, if you’re in that much of a rush.
  • Don’t loudly complain on the phone that you’re “surrounded by people” on the train. Public transport, buddy.
  • In fact, just don’t use the phone for anything longer than a 2 minute call. We don’t necessarily want to hear what Louise got up to last night, as saucy and unbelievable as it might be.
  • Occasionally though we might. Just not in the morning though. That’s just distracting.
  • Remember: left side of the stairs, please.

Simple things here people!

Rant about my name, #3523

Gods, even when I’m speaking they turn it into “Karen”. I recieved 3 letters in the last week with Karen instead of my carefully spelt name (“Obviously someone screwed up typing it because the a and e keys are like practically next to each other. Oh they screwed up this mister stuff as well.”), and on top of this lazy ass f#$ks at work in the IT Support side of things like to read what they expect.
Sample exchange:

“Is this Karen’s phone?”

“Yes, this is Karan speaking.”

“Oh so can I speak to Karen?”

Next punkass that gets my name wrong makes intimate friends with my knuckles.