It’s time I stopped reading established media because I’m tired of the scaremongering. In each and every paper every day there is something depressing or fearful. One minute we’re all going to die of a horrible new disease, the next we’re going to lose our jobs and homes, and the cash machines will run out.
I have double-dip news flash fatigue. Maybe it will happen; I can’t be worse off than last time (has it actually stopped?).
There is something in the word ‘recession’ that instills fear. It’s losing jobs and savings and not having stuff. The worst aspect of all its all the wasted potential it entails. All the ideas, dreams and experiences that might have been were it not for economic forces beyond our control. Another reality where nobody speculates with virtual money.
When the word recession is removed and I think instead of slowed down growth I no longer feel scared. I think of people doing fine but living with less or with more equitable expectations. Maybe it’s people having less stuff but then also having more of the right kind of stuff. The people and their governments have realised that infinite growth is an impossibility and with it there is an awareness that change is necessary.
But the worst thing about living through a long drawn out recession is the enduring stagnation of possibilities. A jobless young person bursting with ideas but getting rejected at every turn. Somebody under-employed. Others forced to volunteer for private companies.
All the closed doors and internalised failures behind the recession and alarmist news stories. The actual cost of living through recession.
I hate waste of any sort, this includes time wasting.
Between 12.30pm and 1.20pm today at Islington Specsavers I had the misfortune to experience the worst example of customer service I can remember. I spent fifty minutes of my life there for nothing. Fifty frustrating minutes I will never get back, plus an hour in transit. That’s nearly two hours of my precious Saturday wasted; no pre booked eye-test and contact lens check achieved; and, the disappointing prospect of having to make another appointment (somewhere else) to do what should’ve already been sorted. Nobody likes to do life admin, the aim is always o get it done as quickly as possible, undergoing minimum hassle.
First of all, it was twenty minutes beyond my appointment time of 12.30pm before I was even seen. As I had nothing else to do, it gave me twenty minutes to observe the chaos. I suspected some of the other customers had also been kept waiting beyond their appointment slots as there was a general atmosphere of agitation in the waiting area. I watched as another customer was called ahead of me at 12.35pm by the same optometrist (long-haired, tall Asian woman) I would later realise had mismanaged her time and thought she could claw it back with me by means of giving me short shrift customer service.
Twenty minutes later it was finally my time to be seen. Yes, I was there for an eye test and a contact lens check. Yes, I had made the appointment via telephone. Yes, I have worn contact lenses before (they are in my eyes right now). No I didn’t bring the box – I hadn’t been instructed to bring the box when I made the appointment. I have never brought the box to any of the ten-plus contact lens appointments I have had in my whole life, it never occurred to me.
As it turned out, not bringing the box with me was an insurmountable problem. I would have to make an appointment for another day. The best thing to do would be to have my eye-test there and then and then pay for it and then make another appointment and come back and bring the box that time and then have a contact lens check and then order some lenses and then come back another day and then collect them.
That didn’t make sense much to me; I booked the appointments at the same time as I wanted it sorted on the same day.
Apparently, as I hadn’t been to their store before they needed my records or else they couldn’t proceed with the contact lens appointment. At my insistence the optometrist left the room to call up another Specsavers store that had my records on file; if she had my records she agreed that she would be able to do the eye-test and the lens check on that day. She returned thirty seconds later.
She couldn’t get through to them. The best thing to do would be to have my eye-test and then make another appointment and then come back on another day and then have the contact lens fitting because it was all my fault you see, as I hadn’t brought the box along.
I declined pursuing with the eyetest, which didn’t make sense because I’d have to come back there again: they’d kept me waiting for ages and weren’t being helpful at all. It makes more sense to just go somewhere else next time, unless they can get the records today… But there doesn’t seem much chance of that now, I thought… I thanked Specsavers for wasting my time by not giving instuctions about what to bring to contact lens appointments; and enjoyed a sarcastic good day bidding from the optometrist as I left the room.
Disappointed and frustrated about my treatment I felt it worth registering my complaint with another member of staff. Here the assistant (white guy, birthmark) was apologetic and helpful. He called the other Specsavers store to find out my details. It took him around four minutes to find the number but he found it at last and then he called them and they answered and then he made a note of my details. Phew! My bad experience had been saved. I knew I should’ve gone to Specsavers!
The useless Assistant Manager (asian woman, straggly hair) who had been lurking in the background trying to avoid dealing with my complaint seemed to sense the worst was over and now things were back on track sympathised with me and apologised that I had been kept waiting etc. She told me to take a seat.
During this additional waiting opportunity I observed the Assistant Manager’s limp managing style, which bore no authority. I watched as she asked a colleague (white, long-haired woman) whom I had already overheard inviting a customer ‘upstairs, away from the chaos’, ‘if’ she could fit me in. Naturally, she did not entertain the idea for one second – what over-worked person willingly undertakes extra work a weak manager is attempting to foist upon them?
At this point I really hoped there was another optometrist on hand or else I’d have to have the one adverse to customer service, and relations between us were strained by this point, and she knew by now I’d made a complaint. I watched as the limp manager went over to her. From my vantage point I actually observed the dismissive scowl of the optometrist. Some words I couldn’t hear were exchanged. (At this moment I realised that I was done for, there was collusion in their body language, they were best buds and solidarity between mates is more important than customer service at Specsavers).
For the limp manager its no great loss to lose Specsavers a customer. With her day-to-day concerns (avoiding complaints; crawling to optometrists) she’s got enough on her plate and lacks the capacity of mind to realise that one pissed off customer can feedback to a network of friends of family about how shit and rude and tardy they are at Specsavers, at significant cost to the brand.
When she came back to me her tune had changed and her expression was resolute. She was capable of exercising authority with customers, it seems. I’d declined my eyetest already and to be seen now was impossible because that would keep other customers waiting. I’d brought all this on myself. I’d wasted even more of my time now, ha ha stupid customer you deserve this, he he he.
She spun me a line about how at Specsavers late customers don’t have priority over subsequent appointments. I said that’s surprising because I saw a woman going into her appointment at 12.35 with the optometrist who was supposed to see me at 12.30.
She told me I shouldn’t expect to keep other customers waiting on my behalf. I told her their customer service was a disgrace and that they were all rubbish except for the one helpful guy. Puffed up now she actually disagreed with me *she made my statement become ‘not true’ by telling me how they have good customer service in their store, my opinion was wrong, what a joke.
And thus ends my worst ever experience of customer service. I don’t usually ask you guys to retweet or share my stuff but in this case please do if you hate shoddy customer service. With these big chains, they don’t care about individual customers and nothing happens if you complain about stuff so we need to take matters into our own hands.
Note: descriptions of race and hair are only in here so that if Specsavers read this they know which members of staff I am talking about as I made no record of their names