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Archive for June, 2007

Out of the habit

I haven’t blogged for over 2 weeks.  The trouble is, the longer you leave it between blog entries, the less you have to say.  It’s quite bizarre that if you blog every day you always find something to write about – similarly if you chat to a friend every day – there’s always something to tell.  But if you don’t see that friend for a while or don’t blog for a while, you can’t think of anything worth writing about.  The trivia of every day is lost and nothing stands out that you can remember.

The fact is, I’ve become addicted to Grupthink.  I go on there every day and it’s possible to waste a lot of time just browsing the topics, voting on the answers given, adding new answers, finding a pic to go with the answer…  It’s a complete waste of time really, but I can’t help myself.

So, I can’t really remember anything that’s happened which is worth blogging about.  A friend from Auckland passed through last Saturday and it was good to catch up with her.  Had a few drinks with ex-colleagues and nothing’s changed at my old work-place.  In fact two of the part-time staff have resigned.  My new work place is fine.  I enjoy the work.  The only thing I do miss is the humour – the bantering with Nick and the laughs.  I’ve seen him a couple of times since leaving but of course it’s not the same.  You get the same problem as I described in my first paragraph.

Grupthink beckons.  Sad isn’t it.

Adieu!

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New Zealand is too parochial – it has a small town mind and a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and if you complain about something you’re called a whinger.  So very few in New Zealand complain and so nothing improves.  Which is why NZ is still very backward in so many ways.

I’ve had a gutsful lately of misleading information, lack of communication, bad customer service, etc etc.  Shall I give you just two examples?  Yes, I shall because it’s my blog and I feel like ranting today.

1)  Russian dancers were advertised on TV.  All looked very impressive and my daughter wanted to go, so great.  Book at Ticketek it loudly proclaims.  So, as a past customer of Ticketek, I duly go to their website and look for my town.  Apparently the Russians weren’t coming to our town.  Didn’t surprise me – very little does.  So we book the nearest town where they were performing – over two hours’ drive away.

Two days before we’re due to go there, my daughter finds out that yes the Russians WERE performing in our town.  What???  How come Ticketek didn’t have it listed?  I went back to the site, but no sign of our town.  I then find out from the website of the actual theatre they were performing in that a different ticketing agency were doing the bookings.  Fine.  Great.  How was I supposed to know this?  No mention made of another ticketing agency on the advertisements.  No mention made of other possible venues on the Ticketek website.  Apparently I was supposed to be psychic!  Naturally, Ticketek refused to refund so we had to drive over 2 hours away after work on a Friday night unnecessarily.  We got home and into bed about 1 am the next morning.  You can imagine I was not impressed.

2)  Public transport in New Zealand is, in general, pretty bloody awful.  My daughter had to go to Wellington in the weekend, so we booked for Friday night and she could return on Monday.  All fine.  We get there 15 minutes before departure time because that’s what they say you should do.  We stood waiting in the cold outside a bus moaning that there was no point turning up early because the bus driver never turned up until 2 minutes before the bus was due to leave anyway.  Cold, I was starting to get annoyed when a bus driver shows up and casually says to a couple of people waiting that the bus to Wellington would be an hour late…

You can imagine our confusion – there’s a bus, there’s a driver, but we had to wait an hour.  “Heavy traffic” was the answer when I asked why.  This did nothing to clarify the situation.  We were simply left to wait in the cold with no more information.  I went inside to the office which was, amazingly, open, to seek clarification from the girl at the desk.  “Heavy traffic” she said.  Apparently we had to wait for the bus driver coming from Wellington to take us back to Wellington.  “Don’t you have a backup driver or something?”  She got all defensive and said it wasn’t her fault, she was tired and wanted to go home and it wasn’t her problem.  Good god, I thought.  You need training in customer service.  I got no joy from her.

So we waited and wondered what to do.  Get the bus tomorrow?  OK.  So I went inside and asked to transfer to the ticket to tomorrow.  You’ll have to buy another ticket because it’s less than two hours to departure and there’s no refund.  They were doing the best they could…  They were??? What exactly? A simple swap seemed easy, but oh no.  I stood there, virtually speechless.  “Let’s just wait” says my daughter.  We waited a bit more and an American said that the bus we thought was going to Wellington was actually going somewhere else despite the sign.  We took our bag out of the bus and AGAIN I went in for clarification.  Is the bus waiting outside going to Wellington?  “No” said the girl.

Completely fed up by now, we marched into a corner and wait.  What else was there to do?

Finally the bus turns up and we wait while the driver collects tickets.  “This bus isn’t going to Wellington” says the driver.  What???  He pointed to the bus that had been there all along – “that one is”.  By now I’m just about steaming.  As we go to the other bus, another traveller says she also thought the customer service was appalling.

A couple of decades ago, there was a pleasant bus station in the centre of town, a nice waiting room and a public address system to announce when the bus was ready to depart, notified of delays, etc etc.

These days, we either stand in the cold outside a closed office, or wait inside a dingy corner on a couch covered in cigarette burn holes and pie crumbs and no information is given out to anyone on what the hell is going on.  And there on the wall are glossy posters of “unspoilt New Zealand”.  Only you can’t view any of the so-called greenness because the buses are late and the trains don’t go there.  New Zealand’s (false) clean green claim is another topic entirely…

It’s a total disgrace.  But no-one gives a damn.  ‘She’ll be right mate.  Don’t get your knickers in a twist.  Ya must be a pommy whinger – go back home if you don’t like it.’  So NZers put up with lousy service and disgusting conditions because it’s not the done thing to complain.

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