Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Monday, 28 December 2009
Sometimes I really do wonder if anyone in China is taught about basic customer service, namely a polite manner, trying to help where possible and a smile. Checkout chicks at the supermarket look put out to be serving you, waitresses scowl as they wait to take your order, travel agents look incredibly displeased to see a laowai in their office. But, the best customer service I found was at the Beijing airport with Mum and Libby ………
The end of our trip to Beijing arrived and we waited patiently in the queue to check in to our flight. Our main concern was whether or not we could get away with taking all our bags as carry on so that we could save time at the other end. We never even considered that our tickets would be incorrect. This is what happened…..
Check-in man – Can I have your Chinese mobile number please?
Me – Okay, but I’ve never had to give it before when checking in.
Check-in man – Well, we need it.
(The usual check-in stuff happens)
Check-in man – I am sorry but your passport numbers don’t match the numbers on the ticket. I can’t give you a boarding pass.
Me – Okay, well what do we do?
Check-in man – I suggest you call your travel agent.
Me – Ummmm, it’s 8.30 on a Sunday night. I don’t think they will be open.
Check-in man – Okay, well go out to the ticket counter.
(he reluctantly tells us where the ticket counter is)
We trudge out with our bags to find the Shenzhen Airline counter. One girl is on her mobile phone talking and directs us to the next girl who leans back in her chair and yawns.
Me – We have just tried to check in but the man says we can’t because the numbers on our tickets don’t match.
The ticket girl looks at our tickets and our passports.
Ticket girl – Call your travel agent and ask them.
Me – It’s 8.30 on a Sunday night, they won’t be open. Can you help us?
Ticket girl – Oh.
She continues to look at the passports and our tickets while typing something onto her computer. This takes several minutes and we wait nervously.
Ticket girl then throws our tickets and passports across the counter with a gruff ‘Check in’.
Me – So, you have fixed the problem for us?
Ticket girl – Check in!
Me – So, you have fixed the problem? Can we get our boarding passes and board the plane?
Ticket girl – Yes. Check in.
(Note – The girl did not make eye contact with us once during this conversation)
We then proceeded to check in without any problems and soon we were on our way back to Wuxi.
Obviously, customer service wasn’t on the airline training course. No wonder they had to ‘train’ the Beijing 2008 volunteers how to smile. Having said that, since I've been back in Melbourne, customer service in many places seems to have gone very quickly downhill, are there no more polite people left in society?
Sunday, 27 December 2009
For example, a description of ‘Jane Eyre’…..
’A dark an stormy production of Charlottle Bronte’s gothic novel, with Welles making arguably the best Rochester ever. Is there an item you’d recommend instead of or in addition to this one Let the world know! Enter the item’s ASIN (what’s an ASIN?) in the box below, select advice type, then click Submit. Don’t bother unless you can’t find the version with Timothy Dalton I watched that version first Then this one. This one ws so poorly done in comparison that I got up and mopped the kitchen floor while ith played and fast forwarded through the non-talking scenes While the acting was good enough the script leaves too much unsaid. It is difficult to see why the two main characters would bother falling in love with each other. The plot just wasn’t developed enough to warrant it. So many key parts of the story are missing I highly recommend the version with Timothy Dalton and Zetah Clarke, if you can find it.’
Then there is the subtitle issue. A TV show I watched recently (The IT Crowd – fantastic British comedy) has quite unusual subtitles appearing – a mixture of English and Chinese. One subtitle will appear in Chinese, the next in English and so forth. So, if you were only able to speak (and read) Chinese, you would only catch half the storyline.
The dubbing also provides ongoing amusement as well. Sometimes, the DVD cover will be in well written English, the subtitles will correct but the entire movie is in Chinese. So far, I have had the pleasure of watching ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Walk the Line’ in Chinese – I can’t say that I would recommend watching Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sing romantic songs in Mandarin.
Despite my amusements, I can’t complain. Never before have I watched or owned so many DVDs. In fact, before I moved to China, I didn’t own a single DVD. Now, with the very cheap prices for ‘genuine’ DVDs, I own well over 100. I may possibly need all these DVDs when I live on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains with nothing to do during the night times!