I really don't like to complain. Most Poles are very helpful and courteous – that is until they are given a position of authority. Every now and then I come across exceptionally poor customer service. It saddens me to think how much more efficient everything would be if people actually did what they say they are going to do…
On Thursday night our modem stopped working, so on Friday I went to the local office of our internet company and told them that our modem was broken, and asked if I could buy a replacement. They had a look on their computer and said that it probably wasn't my modem, but the signal. So I was told to wait for a call for the service people sometime before 5 and they would fix everything. I thought 'fine' and went home waiting for a call.
At five to five we still hadn't received a call, so my dutiful wife called them up and was told that the service people were probably busy, and so we would get a call sometime the next morning (how hard would it have been for the office people to say within the next 24 hours instead of by 5?).
The next morning we received the call. My wife explained the problem and the service people said that it was obviously a modem problem and that we should take the modem back to the office for a replacement. At this point I wasn't very happy, because I had done this the previous day.
So we took the modem back to the office where we were told that before we could get a replacement we had to supply not only the modem, but also all of the cables with the original box and CD! I did well not to lose my temper. Why couldn't we have been told this the before?
(If you are reading this, it means that we have somehow sorted the problem out and have internet again)
Today I bought some bread from our local store. The bread has always cost 2.19, it even says so on the shelf. But when I got to the checkout the lady said it was 2.30. My response was: no, it's 2.19 (I said it a few times in Polish). However she must have realised that I'm not Polish and simply smiled and pointed to the price on the checkout. Because I wanted the bread and didn't want to waste any more time over 11 groszy (5 cents Australian, or 2pence), I paid her and left. Obviously someone changed the price in the computers, but couldn't be bothered changing the price on the shelf. This is not only bad customer service, but in Australia it is illegal.
I think the problem is that Poles don't complain to the right people. They love complaining/gossiping amongst themselves and their friends, but they very rarely make official complaints. Maybe they are embarrassed, or they think that nothing will change, or they don't to cause any problems. This is most likely due to the years of repressive government that they endured. However the time has come to move on. Poland has been a free country for quite a few years now. It's time to take the next step and for the people to start demanding that other people/organisations/government do what they say they will do. The days of accepting the mediocre and inefficient is over.