kidattypewriter

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! Bottoms! And Australia Post!

I have a subscription to The New Yorker. This basically means that every week I wait until the magazine is not delivered, and when the magazine is not delivered, I call up Australia Post and complain. The magazine is published on a Monday, and it usually takes the post office at least two days not to deliver it (I've done my research, and checked with the newspaper agencies that receive the magazine). However, when the Wednesday rolls around and the magazine is still not delivered to my house, then it's all on for young and old.

It's a matter of some delicacy as to when to complain: you see, the Australia Post inquiries line only operates on weekdays, from 8.30 to 5.30. This pretty neatly covers my working days and working hours, so that by the time I get back from work at 5.29 on a Thursday evening and discover that The New Yorker has not been delivered that day, I have just enough time to dial the Australia Post inquiries number and to be informed by a robotical voice that I have called up the Australian Post inquiries number at the wrong time. (That last sentence makes no sense to me, and neither does Australia Post.) However, I think I've got the whole thing worked out. Nowadays, I wait until one of those days when I'm working late, and therefore have a leisurely morning to while away in the company of an embattled Australia Post clerk on the other end of their complaints line.

Although I was uncertain at first about how to complain about a magazine that has not been delivered, over the weeks, I gradually fell into a relaxing rhythm. I would call them up, tell them about the details of the service they had not provided to me, and be informed by them that it wasn't the responsibility of Australia Post, really, it was the responsibility of the international distributor in Preston, servicing my address. At first - naively - I thought that I might be able to contact this international distributor in Preston, although this idea was quickly slapped down by the staff at the Australia Post complaints line. They did, however, promise to send a fax on my behalf to this international distributor in Preston who would (or would not) read this fax that would (or would not) be sent through to them at the whim of Australia Post.
Thus, I gradually developed a relationship of mutual animosity and hatred with the Australia Post Complaints organisation.

So, as you can imagine, it was with some surprise, not to mention displeasure, that I received a phone call from the Australia Post Complaints line to inform me that they had not been able to resolve my complaint. They had taken the liberty of calling me while I was in the middle of a job that I couldn't really stop at work. When I spoke on the line my voice echoed, loudly. (Perhaps, like Soviet post offices, they were recording my conversation). I barely had a time to make my thoughts before my voiced echoed them back at me. I could hardly hear the guy on the other end at all. It was like I was arguing with myself for someone else's pleasure.

Eventually, I thanked him on Australia Post's behalf for not helping me, and hung up. Although I was at work, I swore. A little later, I wondered aloud to one of my co-workers why it was that Australia Post delivered electricity and gas bills with such rapidity, but when you actually wanted to receive some mail, they never seemed to do the job? She was unable to answer that question.

Next week, my timetable is full: I plan to ring up Australia Post complaints line and complain about their complaints resolution procedure!

Of course, I won't get anywhere with that, but I'm going to keep at the bastards until they actually deliver my magazines, regularly, on time. We'll see how that goes...

*131 318, by the way. Do ring them up if you want to have a chat, they're ever so pleasant company.

17 comments:

nailpolishblues said...

And I thought I went in for insane and irrational...

TimT said...

Maybe I should encourage people to call them up and act as if it's a sex hotline. That would wipe the smile off their face...

I don't know why it infuriates me so much, my getting the magazine later than everyone else. Oh, wait - maybe it's that little matter of hundreds of dollars paid for my year's subscription...

nailpolishblues said...

**The Australia Post people don't like you. They are out to get you.**

Hey, that is an excellent idea! Cheer up all call centre type staff by phoning up and flirting with them. And then get pornographic on them. Also known as how to describe my job in two sentences.

Karen said...

I was terrified by the title and then disappointed.

There are probably running jokes about you in the Australia Post Complaints Office. Perhaps there's some sort of sign they make to each other when they get you on the phone.

I've never really liked ringing call centres to complain. You're not exactly going to get the CEO on the phone, are you? My father was such an expert complainer he had to have a special filing system for his letters of complaint. The ones about the new Cityrail ticket barriers were extensive and were divided into categories like "risk of infectious diseases- colds, etc" and "likelihood of breaking elderly hips".

nailpolishblues said...

Gosh, that kinda makes me glad that my poor old dad's in such a stoned haze [I hasten to add that this is from his prescribed anti-crazy drugs, he doesn't like pot] that he can't organise himself to complain about things. Well, not write letters, anyway.

It sucks when someone just can't maintain the rage.

Tim said...

So...have you received the magazine at all? 'Cause I've been considering subscribing. US$112 for 47 issues seems like good value - but only if it actually turns up.

Karen said...

Oh, I was always highly amused when the letters of complaint were read to me. I'm sure they gave someone in an office somewhere a good laugh, as, no doubt, do the calls of "that magazine-subscription nut".

I'm sorry to hear about your father.

TimT said...

I do receive the magazine, but the going rate at the moment seems to be five days after the newspaper agencies receive it. Though I had similar problems when I subscribed to the Spectator, so I wouldn't let it stop you, Tim.

I don't know how many people work at the Complaints centre, but I've never got the same person; they just call up my name on a computer system. And seeing as they service the whole country, I'd imagine they're fairly big.

Karen said...

They could still have a file on you, you know. There could be a series of acronyms, something like what they do in hospitals (my nurse sister confirmed. And vet clinics have acronyms too, although mostly for the owners). In short, there is nowhere to indulge one's obsessive compulsive disorder before an audience in private anymore!

Do you at least get a good discount on the newstand price?

TimT said...

Oh yes, it was just 140 dollars or so for a year (I can't remember the exact price), whereas if I paid for each individual one, I think it would be more than double that.

My next step may be to have words to the newspaper agent about how they get the magazine. I've heard you can arrange to get your copy from a newspaper agent?!? We'll see.

Karen said...

I'd probably think "Well, at least I'm getting it half-price!". You must really love your magazines.

That's interesting, if you can get it distributed through a newsagent. I think the daily newspapers aren't even done that way now, much of the time. The cornershop a few doors down from me has to get all its newspapers from the local newsagent and the local newsagent will never give them the right number of each one- usually they want to dump a lot of Telegraphs on them and give them hardly any Heralds. And The Oz is in even shorter supply than the Herald.

nailpolishblues said...

I'm not the least bit sorry about my father. He's enjoying being crazy just as much as I am enjoyig him being crazy - and he gets paid for it too!

Caz said...

Okay, well that just bites!

Now I want your Dad's job Nails.

*Envy*

nailpolishblues said...

Ah, well, for that you'll need a gender change and a time machine, Caz. My dad cunningly got himself deployed in a very unpopular war and the government is now bending over backwards and handing out medical care and cash by way of apology.
Of course, I'm not sure that he was entirely sane before that but it doesn't seem to matter.

Caz said...

Oh jeez, when you put it like that Nails, you make being paid to be crazy sound like a bad thing.

Thought I'd finally identified the perfect job, darn it.

TimT said...

I'd imagine it's still possible, but it depends on how crazy you want to be...

nailpolishblues said...

Plenty of opportunites coming out of Iraq. Unfortunately though they're already paid rather better and people are less likely to spit on them when they get back home. Such a shame when people learn from the mistakes of the past!

It's less being paid to be crazy and more being paid for being crazy. Kind of a financial 'oops, sorry and please keep away from the press' from the govt.

Personally, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to cash in.

Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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