Monday, 26 June 2006

Service with a smile? Pfft. It’s a myth I tell you.

As I was walking into my favourite coffeehouse, I was greeted by the pretty employee with her hair tied up neatly and on her head was a cap slightly bigger than her body. For a moment I thought she was the most beautiful creature ever. I was immediately taken aback, her smile and that voice of hers when she said sublimely, “Hello Sir! May I take your order?” left me enthralled. For the first time in my life someone actually called me “Sir” even though I was obviously a pugnacious and unscrupulous looking boy of 17. I’m now 22 and I still look pugnacious and unscrupulous as ever. Heck I still find it odd when someone calls me “Sir”.

Walk into anywhere these days and you’ll be greeted with pleasant salutations, sometimes it’ll come from all four corners of the world that it can be quite giddying if you’ve been accustomed to solemn stares and unhappy mutterings of “Hello”. What has been the norm in western countries is now becoming something of great significance here.

Of course, I’ve had my fair share of ignominy from supposed customer service. For some strange reason I’ve been given the cold shoulder many a time just because I was dressed like a tauke (minus the singlet and the unbelievably tight shorts). I didn’t display my armpit hair to them. I wasn’t rude to them in any way. Since they equate three-quarter pants and a plain tee as a country bumpkin, they took to treat me with 3rd rate service. Without the smile naturally. It’s not that I want to be treated like a king but I sure as heck don’t want to be treated like a court jester either.

I know there are customers from Hell. I wholeheartedly agree that these people should be given a lesson in humility and learn to eat humble pie as part of their daily diet. Of course the moment when a tourist comes in through the door, every one drops what they’re holding and blitzes to help him. All one can make out from the hubbub is the happy faces and the loud boisterous belly laughs reverberating as our people treat the tourist like he was the saviour of mankind. All of this fawning for them foreigners is commonplace and so is the snubbing the minute they see a fellow countryman.

What irks me so much is that people tend to associate customer service with saying “Thank You”, “Please come again!” etc. This is utter bollocks. I remember once I was kept waiting for my order that in the end I didn’t have the strength (or the pissed-offness) left to complain. Not because I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied with the service itself, but it was more of the attitude and the way in which I was treated. But when I was down south, I was profusely apologised to even though I had only waited for about a minute or so.

It’s so easy to compare each other but it’s so hard to acknowledge the imperfections.

I for one don’t see a renaissance for Malaysian customer service. Not in the near future that is or during my lifetime. It ultimately boils down to education. Not from the teachers in school but from the parents. If the parents do not teach their children to say “Thank You” and “Please” the minute that they are able to speak then no amount of common sense in that child will make them say it when they’re older.

Being polite doesn’t mean shit if you’re not polite in the first place.

Chris is signing off. For now la, haiya…

PS: I don’t expect to be treated like royalty but it’ll be nice once in a while. After all, the customer is always right.

Monday, 19 June 2006

Life is like a box of chilies. It gets hotter and hotter.

All right, as most of you already know, I’ve put my bumming days behind me and am in the world where men and women make important decisions everyday. Most do it for the love of the money. Others do it for the love of the game.

I do it because I don’t know what the hell I want to do.

Well, not exactly don’t know as opposed to not sure. Right now I wish I was back home; playing Baldur’s Gate 2 and listening to Marc Antoine (oh my he rules). But I can’t. I can’t because I’ve signed on a piece of paper saying I’m an Imaginative Service Administrator* (formerly Imaginative Author*) for an occasion administration^ (^ = you can never be too careful, especially in the working world) company. I’m being paid to do something I like yet not fully understanding the ropes and what it’s all about. This is all due to the fact that this is my:

1. first ‘real’ job (as some of you know, I was trained for a bit to sell land(which is another blog entry altogether))
2. first week on the job

So forgive me if I do anything wrong. I’m not going to blame neither my age nor my puny intelligence for the mistakes I’ve committed and future ones. The blame belongs to my inexperience. After all, no one goes in their first job knowing everything.

Well the big question is of course, what’s an IT graduate doing in an event management company as their Imaginative Service Administrator? The answer is really simple; because I answered their ad for the position, went for an interview, did something for them to see whether or not I’m worthy, and went to another interview and voila! I’m sitting at my desk at 9 a.m. and go home at around 8 p.m. And that’s on a good day.

Since I’m normally drained of energy (and life ugh) whenever I come back from work, the last thing I want to do is look at another computer screen trying my very best to come up with another creative work, I’ve decided to make Sunday my “Must Write a Blog Entry” day. As well as “Must Do 12 Pushups” day. And not forgetting “Must Catch Up on Shows I Didn’t Get to Watch” day.

Sigh, I miss being responsibly irresponsible.

So give me some time to truly digest all this. I’m still from college and boy do I miss it so. The good and bad. The hard and easy times. The girls.

After all, the money will do nicely as a treat mechanism aye?

Chris signing off. For now…

PS: Hey guys, if any of you are free, come to me office la. I miss you all.

* = obviously the actual title has been given another name to protect me just in case any slanderous comments crop up and I might get summoned to court. Which is not good to say the least.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

I'm bringing home the cake

Ah, to be young and care-free. To be able to spend money and not worry.

Those days are long gone for me. As some of you have known, I have joined the rat race that is called Working Life. It's pretty good, which is surprising considering the job and its requirements. Suffice to say, I'm going to be tired out of my sweet bum but the experience of it will leave me feeling all good inside. I hope.

O right, I've been given the evil eye of Do Your Bloody Work Now or Die By a Thousand Spoons Death! by my dear boss. Take care y'all.

Chris is signing off. For now...

PS: I won't belanja any of you.