Sunday, 15 January 2012

Impatient patient

I am constantly reminded of how impatient I am. So much so I'm now beggining to believe it.

Impatient when kept waiting - definitely. I'm of the opinion that at a restaurant, no one should wait for the waiter more than 5 minutes. If not to take the order at least for an acknowledgement.

I complain regularly.  I complain in supermarkets, bars, restaurants, government agencies, clothes shops, even in medical facilities. 

Madeira may well be Paradise on Earth but the flip side is it offers hellish customer service, far too often.

Madeirans in general don't seem to possess the queuing gene. It's always a mad scramble at the bus stop - a stampede for the bus that makes me stand there waving my fists threateningly at anyone who dares push in front of me. And the old people are the worse! Why?  Pensioners don't work so why on earth are they in a hurry? I can only assume they're cramming in as much as possible before the grim reaper visits.

When I complain at slow service I usually get a a startled look as if I'm being asked  where's the fire. 

Recently in a pub I no longer frequent, I was waiting at the bar, 10 Euro note in hand  and noticed the  barman serving a customer who was standing behind me! I asked what the hell was going on and the startled barman asked me "why didn't you say you wanted to be served?" I said WTF do you think I'm doing here waving a note? Admiring your customer service skills?

The local Pingo Doce supermarket offers a self-service home-cooking style menu where you chose your food and drink and then pay at the check-out, prior to taking your table.  I got to the check-out and no one was there. I waited 30 seconds (see, I am  patient) and eventually got the attention of a shelf-stacker nearby and asked him to get the manager or whoever should be at their post to attend to me. Another minute went by before a red-faced spotty teenager appeared, looked at me and said "Chill out, I have other things to do as well you know, not just manning the till!" Chill? The fucking cheek! The only thing chilling was my food.

Remedial steps are being taken on the island to improve custiomer service. Ticket dispensing machines are now commonplace in most establishments and customers are guided by large tv screens into some sort of order. Even the bakery has a ticket system. And even  when there are no other customers in the shop no one gets served without a numbered ticket.

Never mind numbered ticket machines - If I had my way I would  replace most shop attendants here with dispensing machines, programmed to be fair and to not answer back at complainants.

Needless to say, service at our medical facilities are not much better. Why is it when I arrive at the doctor's  5 minutes late I'm put at the end of the queue, but when I get there early I have to wait at least an hour? It's the same with  the dentist.

Does that make me an impatient patient?



  1. Now don't be thinking it's only where you live, bad service is a big issue here just now. Local shops are winging about people buying online and they're spending heaps on advertising to 'buy local'...but they're not spending a cent on actually improving their customer service, which is extremely poor (to say the least)
    It's been said that we get the service we deserve...complain and we all get better service...eventually!

  2. you are not alone in that my man
    similar things happen here..last week i walked into a local restaurant to have a feed...i waited near the entrance to be a table were two women who i presumed were working, but they were busy doing some txting...i cleared my throat, giving them the chance to redeem themselves...nothing! i then asked them for a table and one just pointed behind her... turn now i i sat patiently while she handed me a menu, set the table, gave me water etc...i kept changing my mind about the food, asked her about different wines and what would go best with each meal, getting her really frustrated then she walked off i called out to her
    'um excuse me miss...ive changed my mind'
    as she walked back and handed me the menu again i said
    'you know what? im just going to the chinese down the job is wasted my time so i thought i would waste yours!! the customer service here is shit!!!' just as the manager walked out...
    get even my friend :)

  3. I wonder if all warm places are like that? Maybe people arnt in such a rush in a sunny climate. You are right about the waiter; 5 mins is more than enough time to wait.

  4. Tempo: I agree - complaining must work eventually.

    Dan: That's a great idea and I'm determined to try it here. In fact I can't wait for the next opportunity. I'll let you know the outcome. Thanks for the tip.

    Dicky: Maybe so, it may have something to do with the warmer climes producing a slower pace. Still, no excuse I say.