It is unusual for me to rant on this blog. You may have read the posts about my favourite car brand or the sanity of the chicken man, but they are far and few between. Today, however, I have to write another one. Because sometimes, the repeated lack of courtesy and consideration to others is just too annoying.
Back in February I signed up with a new sport club. I love it. It is beautifully designed and all the staff members are competent and friendly. The variety of courses on offer is impressive and luckily includes my favourites such as Tae Bo and Pilates. The pool is not huge but big enough to swim in and you can choose from many different aqua classes. The weight training and cardio area is equipped with the latest machines. There is also a physical therapy centre – which would have come in handy last year when I broke my arm! – a beauty salon, sun beds, a café and various seminars and events are regularly organised. Finally, the wellness floor is heavenly, with several different saunas, steam baths, another pool, the most comfortable loungers and a huge terrace very popular in the summer.
Not the poshest or most exclusive gym, but one of high standard. You would therefore think that courtesy from the members would be part of the deal, right? Not really. In the shower area, there is a long built-in table in front of mirrors with two basins. A few steps away toilets can be found with another basin and paper towels. How difficult is it to grab a paper towel once you have rinsed your bathing suit, or washed you hands, or brushed your hair and just wipe the basin and surrounding surface? Apparently, too difficult:
Every single time that I want to put my wash bag down and use the products in it without getting the lot soaked, I have to do it myself. The same applies in the changing area where wet swimming costumes are being dropped down on benches. I know, compared to some of the terrible things going on in the world, this is nothing. But still. I try very hard to teach my children manners and I find it disheartening that adults cannot be bothered to set an example.
Two months ago I replaced my iPhone 4 with an iPhone 4S. I know, I know, the 5 model was out already. But I specifically wanted a 4S because in the S versions Apple fixes the bugs found in the previous release, right?
Everything worked seamlessly until a few days ago. My phone rang, I answered… and I heard nothing. Rather a major flaw in a phone. I hung up and rang the number back. Nothing. Then the person rang me on my landline. She said that she could hear me fine but that obviously I could not hear her? Exactly. After our conversation ended I looked at several forums and realised I was far from the only one with that problem. There was a few recommended “tricks” and I tried them all: Switch the phone off and back on again, plug and unplug the earphones, do a restore – which is a pain, I had other things to do. Nothing. I kept fiddling with it and found out that I could use the speaker mode and that still worked. Great. Gives you a lot of privacy.
Off I went to my local telecom shop. The nice guy told me: “Not a problem, you leave it here, we send it for repair and it will be sent back to you.” Pause. I was waiting for him to carry on, but that was it. So I said: “First of all, I do not want my phone repaired. I want a new one. It went wrong after TWO MONTHS. Obviously there is a quality issue.” He shook his head: “I am sorry, but repair is the policy.” Next question: “And how long is this going to take?” Answer: “About two weeks”. I barely dared ask: “And you are going to lend me a phone during that time, right?” Another pause. Then: “No, I am sorry, Apple does not do that and we as partners cannot buy and keep phones for such cases.”
Appalling comes to mind. I am very disappointed in Apple for providing such poor customer service. I will now have to drive over an hour to the nearest Apple Store to get my phone exchanged. Again, I have other things to do. Yes, I could go for another brand. And spend HOURS syncing, transferring and getting everything to work. I am far too busy to do this right now, so I will not. And Apple knows it.
I have already told you how long it took for our marriage to be registered in Switzerland in my original The Swiss (In)efficiency post. This time I discovered that we physically had to go to the consulate simply to renew Second Daughter’s identity card.
As obtaining a new passport entails having your fingerprints scanned nowadays, I totally understand that there is no other way than a visit, really (for the moment at least!). But an ID card? This could be done in a much more practical way. We had to bring with us a long list of documents and official papers, but nothing that could not have been copied and sent through the post together with the expired ID card and the necessary photo. And it would not be that difficult to provide an on-line ordering form that the person can fill in, print and sign, right? You can then imagine either electronic payment facilities or a bank transfer at the time of the order. This method could of course be applied to other official documents that you might need to order at some point in your life. But no, you have to get in your car or on the train (in our case, the consulate is about an hour away from our home) and waste at least half a day on such a standard procedure. Not to mention that it makes the new identity card quite pricey.
We had of course made an appointment, so we got there with Second Daughter and announced ourselves at the door before being buzzed in. The consulate was empty. Still, we had to take a number and wait five minutes before being called to the counter. I thought this was really funny!
The whole process took quite a while, but the lady was very friendly and to be fair, although we were told it would take two to three weeks for the new identity card to come through the post, it arrived a week later. Also, Second Daughter and I turned into a day out what originally was a hassle, having lunch together on a nice sunny terrace and doing a spot of shopping, so it was quite nice in the end.
I am however curious to see if next time we need an official document the system will be less archaic? What are your experiences? Is it the same in every country?
As you probably guessed from the title of this post, something not very nice happened in our house last Friday… Yes, these horrible monsters called lice used Second Daughter’s hair as a medium to invade our home.
Now as most of you know, First Daughter has gone back to Switzerland to live with her Dad, which means that I only had one child to set lice free. And this fact is what made me write this post for Flashback Friday, as this event sent me right back to my childhood and the memory of having lice myself. I think we have to stop kidding ourselves like I did, feeling smug that I had managed to avoid this pest all these years, using lavender oil on my two long-haired daughters. The probability of our kids getting lice during their school years at least once must be close to 100%. So yes, it happened to me as a kid too, and of course I promptly and kindly passed them on to my brother and sister. I am therefore having a very sympathetic thought for my poor Mum right now, who had to deal not with one but with three lice-infested kids!
It happened like this for us: I dropped off Second Daughter at the hairdresser last Friday afternoon, arranging to pick her up again an hour later. Second Daughter was so looking forward to getting her hair done in time for going back to school. And we all know how important that first day of the new school year is, right? So imagine how she felt when the hairdresser found lice in her beautiful hair and called us to say that she was very sorry but could not go anywhere Second Daughter? Well, she burst into tears as soon as she got into the car. That is how she felt.
So instead of going to the restaurant and watching a movie all together as planned, we spent the evening:
- Rushing to the chemist to get treatment for all three of us as well as a spray for the car, furniture and rugs
- Using said treatment on our hair (it stinks like hell)
- Going through Second Daughter’s hair for two hours with a fine, special comb, removing the culprits
- Losing count of how many times we switched the washing machine and the dryer on
- Putting anything that had come near us, the beds or the sofas and could not been washed at 60° in big bin bags, closing them tight and storing them for the week to come
- Grabbing a quick bite to eat in the form of pesto spaghetti before going back to our lovely tasks
- Arguing because of the stress and tiredness of it all
This was definitely no fun. We then collapsed into bed, Second Daughter wearing a thick winter hat, as I could not be totally sure that there was nothing alive left in her hair. The following day, we treated Second Daughter’s hair with a different, gentler and less foul-smelling lotion as a precaution, and I then spent another two hours going through her hair with the comb and a pair of tweezers.
I believe we succeeded in eradicating the bastards. And I sure do not want to see them ever again.
More flashbacks here: Cafe Bebe.