Bad customer!

There are various tortures involved in navigating the beaurocratic waters of South Africa from far away, but the part of the process I dreaded the most was  (after finding out that to get new degree certificates from UCT I would need an affadavit) calling up the UK solicitors to find out:

  • A. What an affadaffy thingy was
  • B. Was there some kind of generic form I should fill out.
  • C. Did it have to specially written up for me?
  • D. How much would this cost?
  • E. Would a UK affy thingy be valid in South Africa?
Obviously I didn’t have the faintest clue about affadavits, and so I emailed my solicitors of choice, explaining my unusual request, realising that it is unusual, and asking for advice, help, etc.

I was told to call x number.

Here is the thing. Generally when you phone up South African customer service people they are either super polite and nice or helpful, or indifferent but still give you what you need to know, or factual, or blunt and to the point.

Whichever they are, you get what you need to know without feeling like pond scum.

In the UK, if you have to interact with customer services, either in person or via the phone, you may get a super nice, super friendly person. You may get a super indifferent, bored person.

But there is another kind of person. I just don’t get it, but you get people who make you feel guilty for speaking to them, for being so ignorant as to have to ask a question, can you not see they are busy playing solitaire, how dare you exist and ask a question of them, the customer service people.

You come away from these people feeling guilty, stupid, nay idiotic, and not normal.
Seriously,  what is up these people’s asses? Instead of customer service you get customer guilt and fear.

Anyway, the solicitor had some lovely secretaries, but unfortunately I got cut off from them and got put onto a lady who thoroughly scolded me for not having an affadavit ready to be signed (I was asking for one to be made), for not knowing what and who exactly I needed (that was what the email was for, I was hoping to avoid irate secretaries, but I failed) , who was rude and told me off for being a customer, and informed me that I was going to have to pay to so inconvenience her boss.

Uh, no duh. That is what I was phoning for. To pay whatever the hell they wanted from me, to make this weird and wonderful affadavit that I know is not in the normal sphere of things in the UK. I was going to depart from my money. That was why I was phoning.

I met up with her boss, he was lovely, he made me my beautiful and now useless affadavit, and I paid. After being made to feel guilty, idiotic, ashamed and insignificant by his secretary.

So ja, things may be done “in their own time” in South Africa, but I would prefer to deal with a South African on the phone rather than a Brit any day, just because the chances of being told off are lower.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Prixie
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 08:18:42

    Shame, your saga continues! Sigh… wishing you the best of luck!


  2. paula
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 08:39:25

    Oh the old grand duke of York
    He had ten thousand men,
    He marched them up to the top of the hill
    and marched them down again
    and when they were up , they were up
    and when they were down, they were down
    and when they were only half way up
    They were neither up nor down.

    In other words: I haven’t a clue on what to say and have resorted to nursery rhyming because international relations are very weird. I ordered my spectacles using an international company and incurred expenses that I am sure, they are not even aware of.

    If anything it shows your openess to learning and also your openness to admitting fault- which in my book, is a jolly good feature to have.

    Crap. All this grand duking and “jolly good” have given me a hankering to purchase a pipe. And a beard. And a parrot, for each side. Become a hermit.

    (I just used a Bjork reference, very cool song.) [Unison – Bjork – Vespertine (album)] in case you’re interested.


  3. Tamara
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 11:10:24

    Weird how much of a mission it is there. Here, every time I need an affidavit, I type out whatever I need to say, make a copy and get it stamped (for free) at a local police station. Very easy. Not that you’re likely to get good customer service at the police stations ;-)


  4. paula
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 12:45:57

    Do your boobs hang low?
    Do they wobble to-and-fro?
    Can you tie them in a knot?
    Can you tie them in a bow?
    Can you hand them over your shoulder, like a continental soldier?
    Do your boobs. Hang. Low?

    (crescendo of appplause)

    This was me, checking if you had replied.

    And somehow, I’m in a rhyming mood. Thought I would make this one, slightly scandalous!


  5. poseamonkey
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 13:02:19

    Prixie: well to be honest I ahve pretty much done everything now so I am sitting pretty waiting to see how it all turned out!

    Paula: lolololololololol you are so awesome. I am trhough complaining about all this, I swear. Just wanted to show that beaurocracy is a pain in the butt everywhere! PS My boobs do not hang low, not much. They are too damn small ;P

    Tamara: hahaha the thing is you would never need an affadavit here, except for swearing in court or something. If you needed new degree certificates ehre you could just apply and send money. It is a South African thing, this affadaviting everything. All the South Africans were like, come on, just go to the police station, it is easy. I’m like, um, no,. The police here won’t take fingerprints either, unless you re being arrested for something. LOL. Doing SA type stuff here is always a challenge, but there is always a way.


  6. Helen
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 14:53:27

    I know now why I cut so many corners when getting some theoreticl academic transcripts for a theoretical friend who is overseas. I may have (allegedly) faked her signature and put on a bit of an accent (which is ll hearsay of course and never officially happened).

    P.s the accent part was just for fun


  7. poseamonkey
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 16:30:54

    Helen: you rock! Faked signatures all the way! am still considering applying for my new degree certificates even though I have been told I dont need them to apply this time, I mean, I have a freaking posh affadavit, with nowhere to go. And I will probably get asked for those certificates in the future and wish I had them. Just so expensive to do it from here blegh.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: