Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Minimum Redundancy

My new PC one week after ordering!

For quite a while now have I been toying with the idea of building a new PC. And finally at these last throes of summer, I have been given the means and time to build it. So on August 28th I placed an order, which I expected on the 29th, or if worst came to worst on the 30th. Sure enough, I got about 60% of my order on the 30th. Yet As I write this on september 4th, vital elements of my monster order have yet to arrive. The question that has been echoing through my mind for the last week has been: how could this happen?

A mental block is preventing me to do anything else but write this post. An attempt to vent my frustration that won't cause physical harm. I have been phoning numerous services and institutions and informing them about how their services and institutions, unbeknown to them, aren't working as advertised. Sadly I have gained little, save contempt. I have been getting one excuse after another and people pointing to someone else. Though it's quite clear that the whole system lacks efficiency. Belgium's motto: 'power in unity' is a terrible joke. May I suggest 'slowly but surely*' ?

The order I placed was with my favorite PC shop Forcom. I had used their services in the past, been to their shops and had nothing to report but praise: excellent range, quick deliveries, friendly service. So I called on them again for this order, expecting the same. But the expectations they had set in the past remained very much so. Browsing their site I made sure all the items I selected were in stock as to ensure a quick delivery. I wasn't fussy about price because I was convinced that less fuss would be good for all parties. Little did I know the inverse was true. Rarely have I paid such a large sum of money for the lesson that good service really is priceless.

Rarely have I paid such a large sum of money for the lesson that good service really is priceless.

The reason why, I found out while chatting with the very reasonable Forcom employee, is that Forcom was recently bought by a bigger chain of PC hardware stores called EuroSys and how they changed the delivery system to a system that couldn't quite deliver. You see, the way it used to be was that Forcom would build one big package which included all parts before sending it by courier. In contrast Eurosys sends all parts separate using separate couriers, which will arrive at separate times, hopefully during the same day. Which is what I experienced on the 30th. Eurosys also doesn't use its stores (including those of Forcom) as places to send from, voiding all the guarantees that items are available as shown on the website. Rather they need to be available in the general storehouse which is not indicated online. Making it impossible to judge if an item is available, and since their general storehouse appears to be a lot smaller and limited than either one of the stores dotted around the country a '24h delivery of available items' on is just false advertising. Plain and simple.
While Forcom's man agreed with me that getting 60% of my order within 48 hours and having to wait for the rest to show up for another 190+ hours was absurd he was unable to do something about it. As it stood, a further 20% would arrive on Wednesday and the remainder would arrive on the next Friday. To my surprise he managed to allow for both deliveries to arrive on Wednesday September 4th. As he would send them all at once, using the post office's 'within 24h delivery guaranteed!' service.

Things were looking up, I received a notice that my order was sent on Tuesday, set to arrive on Wednesday morning. As I got up early to eagerly await my long overdue goods, I waited...
Annoyed I went to go see if the mail had arrived at all and found two blank receipts on the floor (eg: not in my mailbox), left there by the mailman. The receipts for the '24h premium delivery' sent yesterday told me my order would be available in the nearest post office from tomorrow onwards...

Now, parcel delivery usually works like this: a mailman carries a package to the address and delivers it. If no one is there to receive the parcel, a receipt is left to inform the addressee that the parcel is available for pickup at the nearest post office. The receipt also specifies when the door was rang unanswered. I my case; I took the day off (again, and will be 4 in total when all said and done), I was home, I was waiting, I did not hear anyone ring the door. I found receipts on the floor with nothing on it save the name of the illiterate (the receipts are personalized by the company) on who I would have to direct my scorn.

As I stood there fuming for a little while, my world shrank to the slip in my hand and it got very quiet. I'm only a very violent person within the confines of my own mind, but the walls very nearly came down. I had to act.

Minutes later I was stomping my way towards the local post office, only a few hundred meters from where I live. I imagine the look on my face must not have been very pleasant but the case of tunnel vision I was suffering was too bad to mind my fellow man. I was near blackout as I finally swung open the door at the post office, where pleasant, conditioned air presented me with the vision of one pretty, young girl and one hunched over postal crone at the desk, either one of which would have to deal with me. I had to get in line with one of those numbered slips made to ensure order in the picking line, a feeble instrument to make me wait even more. I wished I would get the old crow at the desk to resolve my case, because otherwise the frail young thing at the other desk would have to bear the full brunt of my indignant rage. Yet, so it was. I took a deep breath and slammed the fistful of excuse-notes on her desk. Within a few lines of my vitriolic complaint the crone directed her attention away from her business to save princess's first day at the post office by telling me there was little I could do apart from filing a complaint on the website. Which to me meant I could do nothing at all. Because it wouldn't solve my problem. All I got was a reassurance my package was 'in a protected circuit within the posting company', which I thought was rather funny.
I did make a formal complaint to complete this elaborate exercise in futility. In the modest conversation I had with the post office customer service, "chain of incompetence" is the only harsh sentence I used but I don't think it fazed the telephone operator much.

I can understand that in their eyes I am a madman who can't just wait another night, what they don't know is that I've been waiting all week and am now asked to wait another day where it should have been just the other day, given the expectations I had when forking over a month's worth of wages. Not to mention all the time that was lost waiting.

All I can do now is hope the delicate electronics get here in one piece, if not: expect my next blog from a mental hospital.

All I can say right now is to stay away from Forcom and Eurosys until it's made clear they have fixed their faulty system. As for the Bpost, the Belgian Postal company: please send your employees to school before you send them to customers, even if that's beyond the scope of requirements.


Alex Vanden Abeele said...

Almost two weeks later, did you get all the parts?

Thomas Pottie said...

I did! I put the system together the following Thursday. Runs like a dream too.

Anonymous said...

gelezen en goedgekeurd