I Should Have Stayed At Home

This morning I had to go to Spar. If you know me, you will know that I HATE grocery shopping. But, you know, someone’s got to do it.

We needed a new iron and a few other things.

Anyway, got there and went upstairs. Chose the iron (bought two (don’t ask)) and paid for them upstairs. I went down to the supermarket area, got a trolley and proceeded to start dumping things in.

I got to the till, the checkout girl scanned everything and someone else packed it all for me. And… My card didn’t work. Actually, it wasn’t my card that didn’t work – it was their POS machine thingy. No network, apparently. She tried from three different machines and it didn’t work. They asked me to use the ATM outside to withdraw some cash and then come back to pay. There was a lady in the other queue who said she’d just been to that ATM and it didn’t work.

They then suggested that I go across the street to the bank and withdraw the money from the ATM over there.

I became a bit irate. You see, you’d think it was so simple to just ‘go across the street’ and get some cash. But it’s so much more complicated! I said to the checkout girl, ‘So I’ve spent one hour in this store, your POS machines aren’t working, so I have to leave all my things here, go across the street, withdraw the cash and then come back and pay?’ I was beginning to regret leaving the house. She replies, ‘I can’t let you take the shopping without paying.’ FFS – I never said I wanted 10,000 NGN worth of groceries for free! The lady behind me in the queue offered to lend me the cash. A great big thank you to her, if she ever reads this. But I couldn’t accept that (even though I’d have paid her back).

Anyway, so I had to just suck it up and go to GTB across the road. There are three ATMs outside the branch and NONE of them were dispensing cash. So off I went inside – to the second floor (no lift), stood in line and then managed to withdraw my money. Got back into the car. Had to go round again (irritating even though I wasn’t driving) and went back to Spar.

They wouldn’t let me in through the exit ((near the tills)I understand they have security policies and stuff in place, but I wasn’t about to rob the place, ffs), so I went in through the entrance and had to walk through the whole store again.

I realise this is hardly a big deal, and I feel ridiculous even writing about it. But I can’t understand how something like this can happen! How can none of the ATMs work? How can NONE of the POS thingies work? I wasted a good forty minutes in total. Forty minutes I could have spent at home. Alone. In peace.

I’m guessing that the whole problem was through GTB. Hopefully they’ve sorted themselves out by now.

AARRGH!

I am so irritated and frustrated!

Seriously, why can’t anything be easy around here?

Beware – this is long and ranty!

Yesterday I had to get some passport pictures for V for his (2015!) school admissions form.  At the place I usually go to, you don’t get the pictures for an hour.  So I went somewhere else – where they ADVERTISE outside that it takes 90 seconds for passport photos.  Great!  This is where I needed to be.

When we went in to pay, I asked the lady how long it would take (just to double-check) and she said ten minutes.  I decided we’d wait.  It wasn’t long.  TWENTY minutes later, I went up to the counter to ask what was going on.  V was, by this time, hanging off my leg demanding to go home and I still had to go to two supermarkets to get a few things.  The lady said it would be another couple of minutes and that there’s a backlog of jobs.  Fine.  I waited five more minutes.  Then I was told there was a network error and they couldn’t print my pictures.  I FREAKED out.  I told them that if there is a delay, that’s fine.  I understand.  These things happen.  But at least f****** tell me.  Then I could have gone to the supermarkets and come back to collect the pictures!

I left and went to the supermarkets.  Got everything I needed in the first.  Apart from one thing – which I knew I’d get in the second.  My mil told me to buy gidamri.  I’ve never bought gidamri before.  I don’t know what it looks like.  And I had no idea what I was looking for.  On the way to the supermarket, I rang a friend and asked her.  She told me they definitely have it at the supermarket and to just ask any of the girls working there – they all know it, and that it looks like black toffee.  I asked her if she knew the English word for it (gidamri is Sindhi).  She said no.

Right.

So in I went.  I looked at the shelves where they have all the spices and seeds.  Nothing was labelled ‘Gidamri’.  So I asked one of the ladies.  She had no idea what I was talking about.  She picked up a packet off the shelf, showed it to me and said, ‘Is it this one?’  It wasn’t.  When I said no, she said, ‘We don’t have it.’  I asked her, ‘You don’t have it?  Or you don’t know what it is?’  She admitted to not knowing what it was.  So I asked her to call somebody who DOES know.  Honestly, the way she sucked her teeth before shuffling off…!  Don’t forget I still had V with me.  And I still had to go back to pick up the pictures.  AND he was whining to go home.  A second lady arrived and had no idea what I was on about.  One of the Indian men came and didn’t know what I was talking about.  I suddenly spotted something – unlabelled – on the top of a shelf that looked like black toffee.  I bought it and hoped it was correct.

It was correct.  And the English word for gidamri is tamarind!  You learn something new every day!

We pulled into our driveway (after collecting the pictures that were finally ready) and I realised I’d forgotten to buy V’s milk.  So off we went again to get that.  As we were getting into the car LagosDad called and said to get his passport and pick him up so we could go get some work done at the bank.

FFS.  All I really wanted to do was have a lie down!

I dropped V off at home first and went to get LagosDad.  One of the problems we have is with our PIN.  Before you can use the card you have to change the PIN from the one they give you.  We’ve tried several times to do this – but it just won’t happen (this has been going on for several years).  Other things we had to do was: transfer some money, register for Internet banking and order a cheque book.

That’s four things, yes?  We had to go to FOUR different counters to do this!  Regarding the PIN, the account manager said there may have been a network error (what the hell is it with this place and network errors??) when I tried changing the PIN last and to go down and try it again.  I went to do that (it didn’t work) while LagosDad went to get forms to order the cheque book and to do the money transfer, etc.

He went downstairs to get the Internet banking sorted while I waited for the money transfer to happen.  He had already given the teller the slip.  This guy sat there, chewing on a toothpick, staring at this slip of paper.  He pressed about two keys on his computer and another guy rocked up.  This second man was filling out a form and needed help.  He stood next to me and he and teller started having a (very loud) conversation about exchange rates or whatever.  I stood there for five minutes waiting.  I cleared my throat.  I drummed my fingers on the counter, I tutted and I sighed loudly.  Both those f****** ignored me.  After ten minutes, I finally said, “Excuse me.  Please can he just finish my work before you continue your conversation?  I’ve been waiting a long time.”  They both just stared at me.  The man filling out the form finally said, “No problem”.  As though HE was doing ME a favour!  Stupid b******.

Today I went to buy V’s birthday present from my in-laws.  Mil and I had already been to the store and chosen  the tricycle.  I only had to go back to pick it up and have it wrapped.

Before I go any further, let me just tell you that there are three ladies working in the store.  And the ‘madam’ (their boss) is away until next week.

Ok, so I asked them if they would gift-wrap it.

Yes.

Is it free to gift-wrap?

Yes.

Did they have the box or a carton to put it in (just to make wrapping easier)?

They didn’t have the box for *that* tricycle, but they’d look for another one.

One of the ladies wandered off to look for a box – and came back (ten minutes later) with one which was about a third of the size of the tricycle.  FFS!  I told her I didn’t think it would fit and let’s just use wrapping paper.

While they ran about the store looking for scissors and sellotape, I spotted a whole lot of bits of wrapping paper.  You know, the off cuts from other presents they’d wrapped.  They were all different patterns and sizes and most of them had sellotape hanging off them.  I wondered if they were planning to use those to wrap my gift, but then figured it wasn’t possible.  They wouldn’t.  Would they?

It turns out…  They would!  I told them that there was no way they could wrap my gift with those papers.  They spent ages choosing different paper and then spent another ten minutes trying to figure out the best way to wrap it.

They tried laying the tricycle on its side.  Then upside down.  I had to intervene and advise them on what I felt was the right way.

The problem is – they used double-sided tape to tape it altogether.  So each time something touched the gift-wrap, it would get stuck.  By the time I got it home, the wrapping paper was all torn to bits.

Now I know I didn’t have to get it wrapped.  And that it probably didn’t make any sense to do it.  But that’s not really the point, is it?

I’ve just tied a ribbon around it now.

I just don’t understand…  You go to any bank in the UK and the tellers aren’t all chewing on toothpicks or yapping away to each other or to their customers.  You also don’t have to go to five different counters to get five different things done!  And, in addition, where else in the world do other people just go up to a counter at the bank while someone is standing there?!

I’ve been here SO many years, and I still can’t get over the way some things are handled.

Why is it like this?  Why can’t some people work efficiently and/or professionally?  Is it because they’re not expected to?  Do they know what’s expected of them?  Are management not keeping on top of it?  Is it the training?  Or lack of training?  Poor pay?

As far as I’m concerned, I’m a client/customer and I expect good customer service.  Is it too much to ask?

Am I looking at the whole situation from the wrong angle?  Am I missing something (apart from a few marbles)?