Refunds and apologies

There was a time when I was king of the refund. Where I ever actually paid full price for anything expensive because I managed to get a refund afterwards. Most noteworthy was a 1998 8 week trip of Europe on which I made extensive use of my camera to get evidence of breaches of safety, terrible quality etc. Not only did I get the entire cost of the holiday refunded but in their confusion they refunded it twice so effectively paying me to go. Of course and as may well be the case in life, this was at a time when I could afford expensive holidays and didn’t really need the money back. It was really just for the hell of it and for the hell of it I did it loads.

For years I have lost my touch, maybe it is simply because companies have got tougher or perhaps it just isn’t so much fun any more?

I mean, getting money back from a bank or phone company or ‘gestures of good will’ is generally quite easy, too easy. Sadly, it also achieves nothing except me getting some money, it won’t stop the same thing from happening again which should be the main point.

After the fiasco at Duston School on Monday I didn’t expect anything in reply to my complain but, on the contrary, I got a telephone call today from the deputy head apologising at some length for the way they dealt with the situation and promising changes will be made. Most excellent result.

Yesterday I was called by Travelodge to say they were going to refund me the cost of my last stay because they considered their level of service was unacceptable and that they were revising their policy and hotel design. Again, a great result.

One was at zero cost, the other just £40 but that’s not the point, both acknowledged they had been wrong and agreed to look at making changes. It just seems to be so unusual to have anyone do this any more.

I suppose this was also the case with the Gran Canaria car rental problem earlier on in the year as well and with Respect changing our flights. With the latter they offered what they referred to as a ‘night out money’ which I thought was a lovely way to put it. With the car rental company and probably because Respect leant on them so hard, it was a good will gesture she seemed desperate to give me.

With these things being so easy it makes me mad that anyone in this country allows bad practise to go unchallenged. If everyone who got a bad deal, terrible service or were otherwise upset by a purchase complained about it then all of us would eventually never need to. It is only because of this stupid British habit of complaining to our friends and colleagues but not to the ones who can actually do anything that means we pay far too much for terrible service. Wake up this country!

Speaking of poor service and Travelodge … I was thinking earlier how we do things over here. It seems we look around the globe for what others have done and then make it British which normally means, reduce quality, increase costs and Travelodge is a good example of that compared to many similar US hotel chains. If I walk into a ‘Days Inn’ in the States I am welcomed with a smile and someone asking “Is there anything I can do for you sir?”. If I walk into a Travelodge it is, “Yes mate”

The Days Inn will almost certainly be next to a fast food joint which is both open and fast. The Travelodge may be next to one which will be either closed or slow. The US will have me served drinks when I want them, in the UK, I have to ask when the bar is open.

If I want an extra pillow in the US it is brought to my room with a smile, in the UK I am told where to collect it from.

In the US I will most likely have air conditioning, in the UK I will have a window that will open only an inch for health and safety reasons but as the corridor outside is totally sealed for fire safety there is no breeze anyway so I cook.

Some things we copy like for like. In both I may expect to find ‘caution, water may be hot’ on my hot water tap. Strangely neither country adds the word ‘duh’ after that notice.

But then, this is the UK and we will hold on to all which is bad about our country despite the damage it causes and, to make matters worse, we then embrace all that is bad from other countries too just to finally hammer that final nail in our reputations’ coffin.

Me and Deej had our hair cut earlier and his looks amazing. Not so sure about mine, I think it is too short. On the plus side, it will grow.

Zoey’s group at college are doing meals now each Wednesday, anyone wanting to go should contact Jane Pawski on 07985 662236. The cost is £3.75 and this is the menu choice for 14th Nov …

Cream of Onion Soup
^^
Lamb Stew
Potato & Onion Tart
^^
Queen of Puddings
Pears in Red Wine

That seems quite yummy to me and Deej and I should be going all but 21st November. The final one of the year is Dec 12th, the Christmas Meal which looks really yummy.

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