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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Professional complainers and a Road Trip

We've all met professional complainers I'm sure.  Those people who will always find fault in everything, or who are so used to complaining about everything that it becomes a habit.

We get them here in the tourist industry of course.  They complain about the flights, hotel accommodation, food, etc etc.  Sometimes there is justification and matters have to be dealt with, but often it's just petty moaning for the sake of it.  I once mentioned in a blog post how some tourists in Antalya  complained to their hotel manager about the early morning call to prayer from the mosque, and requested that it be "switched off"...how do you deal with that kind of complaint?

Yesterday morning we arrived at the hamam and made the decision to close the business.  There are  no more new customers at the hotel, and it's time to call it a day.  As we were busy packing up, a young girl came down to the hamam.  She and her friend had the full packet of treatments earlier this week. I remembered her because she and her friend haggled over the price.  I reduced it slightly but they weren't satisfied so Mr A did it for half price.  The treatments usually take around an hour in total..at the most an hour and 15 minutes.

The girls first complained that the sauna was too hot.  They then complained that the water in the hamam wasn't hot enough.   At the end of their massages (Mr A did one and Turan the other) they said that they felt they were being rushed...in fact their treatments lasted almost 2 hours.  To pacify them we explained that they had in fact had longer than normal, but if they were not satisfied they could return later in the day and we would give them another face mask and massage on the house.  They didn't return.

So when this girl appeared yesterday morning, she said that her friend had a bruise under her eye and that Mr A had caused this when he massaged her face.  I know that this is impossible.  He doesn't massage underneath the eyes because it is a sensitive area.  The girl insisted that it was his fault.  Mr A asked where the girl was, and could her friend bring her to the hamam so that we could have a look. "Oh she's too upset to come here" replied the girl......oh right!  The moaning and complaining went on for some time, and finally Mr A, actually feeling pretty stressed anyway at having to close up the business, finally snapped.  He raised his voice and said that he could not accept that he had injured this girl and without seeing for ourselves, why should we believe what she was saying.  The girl then became very insulting and said she was disgusted at our attitude and would not be spoken to in this manner.  Mr A apologised for raising his voice, and said he would refund the "injured" girl's money as a gesture of goodwill.  The girl said she thought they should both get a refund (even though she had been perfectly happy with her treatment).  OK...said Mr A we will refund your money as well.

The girl wanted the refund in English sterling and I explained that I didn't have any on me at that time, but had some at home, that we were leaving yesterday but would ensure that the money was returned as soon as possible.  I said it may be in the evening (last night) but I couldn't promise because we were off on a long road trip but that it would be returned before they left the hotel.  She still muttered on about our attitude and let slip that they were getting used to this, having had a similar experience with a waiter in Gumbet on another occasion where they had complained about the service....oh do you see what I see here?

We packed up and took our things back to the house, and then set off for Manisa. With a couple of stops it took us 4 hours.  During this time, the moaning girl had cornered Turan before he left and got him to ring me on my mobile so that she could talk to me.  She moaned again about the situation and asked when I would be there with her money.  I explained again.  She then rang another 3 times saying the same thing. Each time I explained that we would make sure they had their money before the end of their holiday.

We found the factory in Manisa and negotiated a good price for some stock for Mr A's selling business.  The guy we dealt with speaks excellent English, a bonus for me, because I can now deal with ordering and delivery of stock and leave Mr A free to sell. 

Then we set off on the long journey home.  We stopped after an hour and as Mr A was getting back into the car he leaned on his seat and it collapsed.  Funnily enough we had just been talking about how overweight he is and that he needs to start dieting...this incident confirmed it!   As we were trying to fix the seat, the bloody girl rang yet again.  I told her that we were stuck trying to fix our car and that it was unlikely Mr A or I would be able to return to the hotel last night.  "A likely story" she said "I could have told you this morning that you had no intention of refunding our money".   I asked her if she was accusing me of lying and she said yes.  I had the call on speakerphone.  Mr A heard every word.  He took the phone from me and said to the girl "Madam it is very clear to me that you have accused me of something I didn't do.  You are now accusing my wife of being a liar.  We have done all we can to please you but it's not enough.    I believe this is just an attempt to get your money back and that you are not being honest with me.  I have now decided that I am not refunding your money...not one penny.  So I'm afraid you will just have to live with it"

Not entirely satisfactory of course.  I would rather this hadn't happened on our last day of business.  It's left a bitter taste.  Mr A is upset by it all, particularly because no-one...all season...has ever complained.  Quite the opposite.  We have had much praise for the treatments from very satisfied customers.

Unable to fix the seat, Mr A had to drive with it propped up by the boxes of stock.  we'll need to get it fixed today.  We finally arrived home just after midnight, fed the dogs and immediately fell asleep.

So today is the first day of our next adventure!

25 comments:

  1. what a bitch. now you can be sure that she will complain about you in every holiday forum she can find.

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  2. jedilost: Oh I have no doubt that she will. And I'm glad you said "bitch". I was thinking it but maintaining my "customer service" approach throughout...until Mr A took over...and I'm very glad he did!

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  3. I think that once they start to haggle over prices...for something which has a set, advertised, price then you know you're dealing with crooks.

    When we had holiday cottages we had a few hagglers...and once having let them have a reduction they were nothing but trouble, so we learned our lesson and refused to make any reductions after that.

    I am so sorry that you had such a miserable ending to the hamam venture...what a rotten piece of work she sounds.

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  4. Fly: Well I certainly learned a lesson from this incident. And to think I was actually going to make a special journey over there today on the bus (costing me money) to refund her money. I'm glad Mr A made the decision for me.

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  5. It sounds like she was quite the horrid person. Good luck with the adventure!

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  6. Spencer Park: Thankyou..she was not very nice! And a warm welcome to my blog.

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  7. I agree, what a bitch. I'm glad she didn't get any money back. I'm sorry she spoilt your last day but maybe it makes it easier to put the whole thing behind you with relief. Onwards and upwards ;-)

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  8. Well done Mr A, it's what she deserved! They obviously always try to get away with everything, but this time they haven't! Don't let it spoil your adventure.

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  9. Having worked in the service industry, you have my full sympathy and I am SURE (boldfaced) I would not have lasted nearly as long as you did. Rest assured that you did much much more than most places and there has to come a time where you say, I am sorry you feel this way. Now hit the road and don't darken our towels again."

    As a waiter, I had my share of this treatment. Customers who would demand free ice water and then complain there wasn't enough ice in it. Or- and this is the worst- a drunken guy with his girlfriend who at a New Years' eve party.. where I was to work 14 hours straight, calls me over and asks me if I had a comb. I looked at him like he was nuts and finally said, "Yes, sir." He smirks and says, why don't you go to the restroom and use it!" everybody at his table was naturally embarrassed and I was angry and humiliated and just about ready to chuck both this lout and my job out the window.
    People can be jerks but I think you handled with extreme patience and concern. If you run into another such case, you might consider installing a sign with some kind of pre-peremptory warning or refund policy. That is, if you don't have one up already.

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  10. Rosie: I wasn't happy about the situation but I'm trying to forget it no. Thanks xx

    Jan: I won't! xx

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  11. If she is English, then I feel ashamed to be of the same Nationality as a woman like that.
    She must make a living out of telling lies & getting refunds.
    I hope that is the end of the very unpleasant woman and that you have better luck with what you are both going to be doing next and that you will be really rested soon.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  12. Nomad: People can be bloody awful can't they? Sounds like you had some pretty rough treatment at times. Unfortunately when Mr A is selling the treatments he always says, if you are not satisfied I will refund your money. Of course it's never happened before..clearly this woman decided she would take advantage.

    Maggie: She was English and her behaviour embarrassed me to be honest. Mr A was hurt by her behaviour. He took it quite personally. Shortly after when he was trying to explain to Turan, he said "bloody English"...followed immediately by a glance at me and "Oops sorry!". Thank goodness we're not all the same Maggie xx

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  13. We refer to people like that as Scutter. They have no regard for other people and their lives or feelings. They are the sort of people that leave cafe tables looking like a bomb hit it, allow children to run riot, leave litter, take anything they can for free despite having money to pay etc etc. This country (uk) is sadly over run with them and it is becoming worse. I apologise to you and your husband for this women's behaviour. I expect she'll turn up again in a trash mags "my mothers sister slept with my husbands dog".

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  14. Boo to your freeloading complainer - I bet everywhere she goes she makes a fuss to get a discount or freebies. I am so glad that Mr A refused to give in ultimately - he was totally right.

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  15. Kelloggsville: A pretty good description of this type of person I think!

    FF: Yes...I think people like this make a hobby of complaining and freeloading. They don't realise how much they offend by their behaviour...nor do they care.

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  16. I believe that this girl is a professional complaniner. She has learned that by complaining she can have money refunded or be given additional service and therefore she continues to do it because we want happy customers. Sorry you had to have this experience on the last day of your business. Wish you a fantastic journey on your new adventures.

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  17. Oh that girl, she's gonna get it back someday! Oh seriously! Making it hard for people, she won't be so happy when things go bad for her someday! :)

    About your new adventure, oh Ayak, Good luck! :) I am excited to read all about it! :)

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  18. likeschocolate and kaibee...Thank you both for your good wishes xx

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  19. I guess the other side of the argument is tipping. Generally speaking I tip people to show that I thought the service they provided was better than average. Not standard service. I consider that to mean, smiling and being friendly and looking after the details.

    When tipping becomes mandatory- or is simply added to the bill (calling it gratuity), it becomes meaningless. Even when I worked as banquet staff in a hotel, I was rather put off by the fact that tipping was automatically added to the customer's bills and divided among ALL the service personnel. It seemed unfair when there were people who would take long breaks and move as slowly as possible getting the same tips as I did.

    Of course, the woman you describe had probably never given a tip in her life. But I guess freeloading bums need vacations too!

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  20. Good for Mr. Ayak, those two sound terrible. I hope the new business venture goes well, I looked up herbal ingredient list online and it is pretty darn amazing. I can see why people would be interested in this product...good luck.

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  21. Nomad: I agree with you re tipping. I think tips should only be given to those people who provide service above what is expected of them...and that it should go to the individual concerned. I don't like the tip boxes you see dotted about. I don't see why tips should be shared. Why should those who give mediocre service benefit from someone else's hard work?

    Thanks Mr H. It is amazing stuff. I'm not sure I like the taste...at least not eating it directly from the jar like the Turks do...but it does add a certain extra something if you use it in cooking...particularly curries. We did buy some mesir macunu turkish delight too and that was very nice.

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  22. Having my share of working in service industry when i was young(er), i think there has to be a sharing system, because there are always some people who work in the background, not directly seeing the customers, but who contribute to the job done. i mean, it wouldnt really be fair if the waiter gets the tip for the excellent meal but the cook does not get a dime of it.

    now of course, there would be people who woıld abuse the sharing system, but there can always be a way found to solve that problem.

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  23. jedilost: Of course you're right..people working in the background should be recognised for their hard work. I just feel that people who don't deserve a tip shouldn't automatically get one, and sharing seems to do this. So I'm interested in how a way can be found to solve the problem...perhaps a way that you have experienced?

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  24. well Ayak, even though nobody cared to listen to me back then, i always thought of creating a point system so that everybody would get their share fron tip according to their points. and these points are determined by regular and anonymous votings, perhaps everybody would be asked to give the name of the guy they like the most in the job and the name of the guy they like the least. this is just a theory and it can be improved when implemented.

    now of course, such a system can only work in a big hotel or a casino or such. if it is a small place, you can create a system based on the superiors' evaluations, or by your own observations maybe.

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  25. jedilost: I think those are good ideas. A points system would certainly be a lot fairer.

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