Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Plenty Pain, not much Gain

Being a Ghanaian consumer or a consumer in Ghana is often a painful experience, without the corresponding gain (well I'm assuming no pain, no gain means more pain, more gain)

Shops boldly display: “Goods sold out are not returnable”, causing you to think very deeply about every purchase – Radox or Imperial leather...think hard, because there’s no turning back.
I can’t count how many arguments I’ve gotten into because: I wanted to change an item after the sales person had keyed it in; or decided to change my order after the receipt had been issued ( aah 'fond' memories of the Papaye at Tesano come to mind,lol); or (after waiting eons for the meal) I wanted to cancel the order. A restaurant gets the order wrong and the waiter starts to plead with you to keep it or he'll have to cover the cost...and when I insist I'm a bitch. *rolls eyes*. You buy something that doesn't do what it promised to on the box and they point at the “Goods sold out…” sign. You want to ask for some details about a product or service and they either don't know or don't seem to care. A hair stylist makes you look like a member of the Adams family and expects a cheerful tip. Ahba! 
I've worked in a customer service role before and I get it that customers are very annoying. But most of the things they ask for are at most annoying because it changes the usual routine and takes more time but not impossible like they make it seem. Besides, are they not employed to deal with customers not to stand around and be lazy? 
It can be so very tiring having to fight your way out of everything. Especially when you have to deal with several in one day. Plus depending on where you are, you may have to deal with the by-standers. They also chip in, with pleas, (or snide comments,depending on their mood) making you look like the diva for insisting on what you want. 
You can only escape and get reasonably good service by sticking to the mall or max mart or koala or some other big shop (or at a community store where the owner has known you since you were little). There you will be able to return something, unless bought on condition and at least have a more enjoyable shopping experience. It seems you only get good service when you pay more, so take note, the more bruised your pocket ends up, the better it is for you, lol. 

The internet service providers are just as irksome but almost impossible to escape since there aren't so many of them. My broadband internet didn’t work for 6 whole days and only started working yesterday  because of some fikyri fikyri magic my friend worked on it. Before it went off however, and since it came back on, the quality of service is much like ECG’s: on…off…on…off. On…OFF. (You get the picture). So I complained- Vodafone currently has no policy to give me back my lost time, only a policy to automatically collect my money when the period is up. They don’t exactly rush to my aid, Speedy Gonzales style when there’s a fault either. But I must pay with the speed of Usain Bolt or be disconnected faster than a speeding bullet. BAM! Airtel is also misbehaving: I have no internet service on my blackberry. I can’t even make calls or send texts right now, but they are able to text me to remind me that my subscription is ending so I need to re-subscribe!
It isn't easy for someone with an internet addiction to live like this, if I lived in the US I'd be able to prove I had a condition and sue them *sigh*. (I have heard great things about Glo's internet services, think I should find out for myself).
[Let's not talk about banks. I hear Ecobank and my heart rate doubles]

One thing cracks me up though. You know how it is when you're so upset trying to get the sales person or customer sales rep or whoever to see reason (especially in a smaller shop, not in the mall or somewhere like that).  At least if all fails, I can fight for my rights in a local language, which many understand and seem to respond to better. In fact, it may solve the whole problem just like that. I always feel bad for those who can't speak any local language. The sales rep keeps repeating the saaaaame thing (in English) to an increasingly agitated person in that tone. 
oh Brofo ye duru. [English is heavy]

As if life isn't hard enough without all these high BP triggers.
Oh great, thank you Vodafone for giving me just enough internet to publish my post.