Nieuws - 20 januari 2010

Aggrieved customer

No, not there either. And if I phone I get voicemail. Not surprisingly - I had turned it off. Optimistically I look on the table, for the third time already. This is where I always put my phone and I am sure I did that today too. I walk - stamp almost - through the warehouse of the shop where I work weekends.

I have been behind the cash till or working in the warehouse since I was sixteen. My ambitions don't go any further. I have kept the job on just in case I am suddenly unable to write any more columns. But I have been all right up to now. My shortcomings - which, let's face it, are what I normally write about - provide me with sufficient inspiration. Since I started writing for the Wageningen UR magazine I have earned more money from recording my stupidities than from the professional retailing of products. That's life.
While I am searching, I start to wonder what on earth I am doing still working behind the cash till. I really don't understand my customers any more either. Only recently, I had a man who swore that €2.5 meant two euros and five cents. 'Don't give me decimal points, I've never heard of them, it's all a swindle', he said - and he meant it. Or a woman who didn't believe in energy-saving light bulbs; that too was a swindle.  My demonstration using a power consumption meter was pointless because the power consumption meter itself was a swindle.
Oh, those aggrieved customers. As if the entire world is divided into Us and Them. Us the consumers versus Them the companies, Us the citizens versus Them the government, Us the ethnic majority versus Them the ethnic minorities. At such times I suddenly feel deep respect for researchers who have to explain complex problems.
While making my sales I notice a number of customers have lost their phones and have come to me to buy a replacement. But my case is more pitiful, I feel. I have no idea why.
I have waited full of irritation for days for a new SIM card, without a full telephone book. Why are they incapable of delivering a new subscription to my home address within a day? Setting up a new number, checking creditworthiness: it can all be done in 24 hours, but a simple new SIM card... this telecom provider is absurd, and they are all as bad as each other - it's a swindle, that's what it is.