Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Customer Service? Not in Bosnia

The Bosnians have someway to go to learning about customer service. A few recent incidents have bought this home.

Yesterday was a miserable day. Temperature just above freezing so all the snow kind of melting, kind of freezing and outside is a general festival of mud of Glastonbury proportions. I had no idea what to do with the kids, so decided to take them to post some letters which involves going to the post office as there are no postboxes in Tuzla, and then have a ride up and down the escalators at the local shopping centre. There isn't very much to do with kids in Tuzla, a ride on the escalators is as good as it gets on a grey Monday afternoon. The shopping centre isn't very far, so I decided to get them to walk there.

We had one of those mind-altering toddler moments. Luke was unable to move faster than the pace of a drunken snail. Adam was obsessed with a red car that had driven past full of young lads and was full of questions. After I had answered for the 150th time (no exaggeration) that I didn't know where they were going or why they were in a red car and was privately wondering if this is what taking large amounts of drugs was like, we finally arrived. We went to the post office and patiently queued. The boys did a runner, I gave chase and we lost our place in the queue / melee that masquerades as a queue in the post office. They had another attempt to scuttle into the toy shop foiled by their mother. Back to waiting. And so on.

We finally reached the counter at 4.01pm. The post office shuts at 4pm. All I wanted to do was to give the man 3 letters which already had stamps on. He said No. All he had to do was put them in his bag. He glared at me, I glared at him. He said No again. And that was that. There was no way I was going to be able to hand over my letters. I might have said a naughty word.

I told D all about it and he reminded me of the time we were in the supermarket and Adam had accidentally hit a bottle of honey which smashed on the floor. We alerted the staff to what had happened and were promptly marched off to the managers office where we were made to pay for the honey jar. Now, there was no doubt that it was our fault it was broken. I'd have been surprised to be made to pay for it in the UK, after all we do spend a lot of money in the supermarket. But, it wasn't so much that we were made to pay for it, 11KM isn't going to break the bank, it was the feeling that we were criminals as we were marched off. D was so angry with the treatment he actually wrote an email to the head office of the supermarket. No reply to date.

Yes, there are definitely moments that the remnants of the communist system shine through.

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