…wrong apparently. Well, at least that’s how it feels over here in Germany sometimes. I must admit, I have generally been lucky with my customer service experiences since I got out here, but I have noticed a trend more recently.
JD told me of two experiences last night. The first was asking for cheese instead of bacon on a McDonalds Chicken Royale thing…to be told simply “Nein”…no further discussion available, simply no and move on. The second was trying to exchange a brand new phone as the box was marked with the wrong colour. This simplest of retail issues took well over 45 minutes and the box went via 15 different people.
Neither of these things are particularly unsual though, although at least with the phone exchange, it was actually replaced. Retail workers over here treat you as if they are doing you a kindness to allow you actually in the shop in the first place. You should be honoured to be allowed to spend time using their electricity and heating whilst you browse the products and grateful that they let you pay for things and actually take them home…..
I have had people literally walk away from me mid-conversation…I have thought that they were going to get an answer to the question I asked, but they were just going off to do something else. It is not something that is restricted to foreigners either, which I would at least sort of get as a reason.
I don’t think it helps that the retail experience is akin to England around 15 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, they have all the new gear…it is just the methods of paying that are archaic.
I did read a story about a guy that fell through some decking at an outdoor restaurant that was rotten and poorly maintained. Apparently the German owner tried to charge him for the repair 8-O
My personal fave is when I went to the dentist and had to fill out a complicated form in German…my German is limited at best unfortunately, but I have a knack with accents. This means that Germans have a tendency to look at me like some form of Short Bus patron whenever I ask if they can speak English. Which is of course what I did…in my best German…the woman behind the desk looked at me strangely, said yes and then continued the rest of the conversation in German. With hindsight I should have asked if she “would” speak English. I can’t imagine what she must have thought though…it probably struck her as the worlds strangest question in the context of what we were discussing.
Actually, that reminds me of a woman on the U-Bahn (subway). She was on her mobile throughout the journey and we arrived at the last stop…everyone off and all that. Clearly she hasn’t heard the announcement that it was the last stop, so approached me to ask if the train was going on to another station. I responded in German that it was the last stop…at this point she decided to go into what can only be described as Autogabble in high speed German. Suffice to say I didn’t have a bloody clue what she was talking about and asked if she could speak English. I don’t think I have ever been looked at in a more strange way in my life. She ignored me and continued in German, whereupon I had no choice but to drop into a deep English accent (I decided on North Yorkshire to prove my point). She threw me another look that I can only describe as “What kind of moron are you” and turned on her heels and scarpered.
Ah well, I live to survive another day – I will try speaking German with a Cockney accent and a lot of stuttering from now on.