I am sitting in a room because people are bastards

I am sitting in a room in an apartment, it is 3pm, I have not had coffee or any real lunch since I got up at 5am, and there is a photo opportunity I could easily have gone to not to mention that I’m hungry for something more than yoghurt and breakfast cereal. Or I could maybe get some sunlight. Take a walk. All that freedom stuff that peoples’ grandparents always fought for.

The door is just over there to my right, but I can not leave. I’m trapped. And it’s not even locked.

I can’t leave because a bunch of incompetents at a delivery company set up a scheme where they give themselves an unspecified, open, TWELVE HOUR window to deliver something. That something, I have learned, is an item backed by a parcel ID that their website does not consider valid, and that their helpdesk recognises but can’t track the status of, and that their driver won’t answer the phone over a two hour period to confirm will even be delivered at all.

And all of this is hidden behind a contact phone number that makes you enter the parcel number FOUR TIMES in the hope that you’ll give up and go away before it puts you through to a number. And that number is a number that, when accessed, tells you that the number you have dialled is not correct, rings twice and then is answered by a breathless lady in a crowded room telling you she doesn’t work for that company but can put you through to them.

If this were a joke it might seem quite hilarious, I suppose.

But after that transfer phone puts you through to a soothing jazz ensemble or something, a guy answers the phone, confirms that the parcel exists and tells you that delivery was attempted a week or so ago (which you know) and that the only way to confirm whether it will be delivered today (rather than the website, which is where the delivery was organised and the parcel does not exist), is to call a number that goes straight through to voicemail.

And I’m doing this not for a delivery that I am expecting, but a delivery that A FRIEND is expecting. A friend whose fault this debacle is not.

Why do we do this? Why do we allow businesses to design for themselves a self-serving system that makes them immune from being made responsible for something they are paid to do?

I have not received an apology from this company yet, but historically there’s probably only a 50% chance I’ll get one, and if I do it will be from a person whose job it is to apologise, not the person responsible.

And when they apologise, it will be an apology for the inconvenience caused by a system so poorly designed that what took place was precisely the natural consequence of its very design. In my view, you CAN’T do that. You can’t apologise when the system was deliberately built so that every part did EXACTLY what it was designed to do and it resulted in the very failure you’re now apologising for.

Apologising as if it was some kind of accident is an insult on top of injury.

(And half the time they don’t even give you the coutesy of the apology.)

So here I now sit. Waiting. For an apology. A phone call. A delivery. Or nothing at all. And if I swear at them even ONCE, I’m the bad guy immediately.

To them I say: F&&K YOU.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

And because this story needs to be concluded with up-to-the-minute information on how incompetent these people are:

About two hours after I started calling the driver, he called me back to say that he’d check to see whether the package was in his truck.

An hour after that, he called back to say that the package was definitely not part of his delivery schedule and that he couldn’t help me.

I went for lunch at 4:15pm. I’d missed what I wanted to do that afternoon by over an hour on a delivery they should have known about, and I’m not even talking about lunch.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

Oh, but at 5:30pm upon my return, my flatmates said that the package had been delivered while I was gone and they’d been there to sign for it.


  • * * * * * * * * * *


The next day I sought to write a complaint to this company.

One immediately humorous discovery is that they have a ‘contact us’ section that gives you some phone numbers, as well as an area to go to “If you prefer contacting us by email” . Guess what? They don’t give you an email address. Instead they give you a form. What’s the difference? Plenty, as you’ll see further below. Anyway, if you fill in all required fields, including one I didn’t have access to, they’ll let you provide a ‘Comment’.

I posted the entirety of the above narrative into the “Comment” field. Let them deal with that, I thought.

It rejected it for being longer than 200 characters.

Ah. So… wait.. you can 5crew me around for hours with incompetence and incomprehensibility and THEN you give me an email option that’s not an email address but basically dictates the terms by which I’m allowed to complain too a few sentences of shorthand?

Yeah, that sounds fairly typical.

So I summarised it thusly:

“Your phone system is ridiculous, your automated prompts are labyrinthine, your staff and drivers don’t know what’s going on and yet you limit me to 200 characters to provide feedback? Forget that, I’ve shared it online: http://www.redbubble.com/people/berndt2/writing...

…..of course this is also longer than 200 characters.

So I then summarised it to:
“You’re limiting me to 200 characters? Unacceptable. I’m putting it online: http://www.redbubble.com/people/berndt2/writing...

Hurrah. Finally.

Although of course, the 200 character limit did not give me enough room to contextualise the start of this piece, which I started writing before the last two twists to the tale (or my discovery of how irritating their complaints process is). That’s bad, but how is that my fault if they’re allowed to limit me to barely more than an SMS-length comment to describe to them how awful they are?

It also does not give me enough room to apologise for written coarse language in this piece, so they still have grounds to reject the entirety of my complaint if they want. (I suppose I could always edit what I’ve written, but I think until they demonstrate a level of professionalism sufficient to impel me to do so I don’t really want to.)

….More updates as they occur.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

Well, it’s been over a week. Have I received even so much as an automated “we’ve received your complaint and intend to ignore it”. Of course not.

I do notice on their website that they have the following to say about contacting them:

If you’ve been in any way dissatisfied with the service you’ve received, please let us know by completing the form below. We’re always striving to improve our services and really value your feedback. One of our advisers will be in touch shortly.

To which I say, quite frankly : BULLSHIT. Unless we’re talking geological epochs, these bastards have no intention of getting back to me, shortly or ever. Which to me makes it absolutely disgusting that they make ‘phone number’ a mandatory field on their form. So I have to give up my privacy just so they can ignore me even more?

Oh, and nowhere do they remind you that you have only 200 characters to write to them. 200 characters is an absolute insult, and not telling somebody what the word limit is is TWICE the insult. And calling an online form an ‘email’ when it’s nothing more than an SMS is THREE TIMES the insult.

But hey, they’re not interested in BEING a good company, they’re interested in CLAIMING they’re a good company:

_*We’re here to listen.*

Becoming your ideal partner for delivery means continually making changes to the way we operate. It means listening to you, understanding your needs and truly embracing customer service as our primary focus._

If “customer service” is your primary focus, then I sincerely suggest you get your drivers off the road because I don’t even want to know where “being a half-decent delivery company” factors into your list of priorities.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

Here’s another update, about a month later. The company eventually sent me a direct email, with nothing upon it except an invitation to send an email to ANOTHER EMAIL ADDRESS directly. Nothing beyond this.

I sat on this for a few weeks, because to be honest I was stuck with the issue of either rewriting the whole ideal, or copy-pasting what I’d already written here into a large email. The problem with the second option is that I’d written it in multiple tenses – both retrospective, present tense and hypothetical future tense : across more than one update!

But I didn’t want to let the matter go, so about a week ago I sent a copy-paste of this entry to them as text.

Utter silence since then – not a single response, not even an automated acknowledgement of receipt. Fuckers.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

More updates as they fail to occur…. maybe even the odd ‘years have passed and still nothing’ update. I’ll try to look them up from time to time to see if they’ve gone out of business totally (I can only hope)

I am sitting in a room because people are bastards


Joined July 2007

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Artist's Description

People keep telling me that violence and insults are wrong. Oddly, these people are always the ones who insist on insulting me.

Artwork Comments

  • Ronny Falkenstein
  • Mel Brackstone
  • Mieke Boynton
  • berndt2
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  • Mieke Boynton
  • Brian Bo Mei
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