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.
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