Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Buying things wastes time!

About 12 years ago we spent a couple of years living the USA. One of the good things about the USA is that when you place an order with a company it is nearly always fulfilled on time and on specification. Contrast that with the 3 years we spent in the UK directly after that when only one order I placed with a company was fulfilled on time and on specification. Sometimes I feel it hasn't got any better in the last decade. Today was an example:

About a month ago I placed an order for a Manfrotto 522C - it's a remote zoom control handle for our Canon XL1 video camera - the C is important it specifies that it works with the Canon cameras and not the Sony cameras. Because we're in Cyprus I got it delivered to a colleague who would bring it out. When it arrived I found the company had supplied a 522A not a 522C. So I got in touch with them, firstly they claimed that the 522A works with Canon - I referred them to the Manfrotto website.

Then they came back and told me Manfrotto no longer made the 522C and so I would have to have a cheaper and not so good one. No that wasn't what I wanted. So I researched the Manfrotto website again and found a better version which was slightly more expensive... yes they could get that for me and deliver it to the international office in the UK in time for the filming I am doing next week. I also ordered 40 video tapes for that filming and FAXed them delivery details.

Today the people from the office are going to the venue where the conference will be held and phoned me to confirm everything I had got sent to them had arrived. Everything had... except... yes you guessed, the remote zoom control and the 40 tapes I had ordered for filming. So I phoned the company [yes, these are all International phone calls] and eventually spoke to one of the managers who apologised profusely and said that the piece of paper with my order was sitting on his desk and he had forgotten to sent it out!

After a whole series of phone calls he is now sending it overnight to arrive before 9am tomorrow at the international office, when one of the team will hopefully collect it and take it to the conference. and all of the sellers I have used through, on the other hand, delivered everything on time and on specification.

We're not a commercial company but I wonder how much it costs european industry [we have the same problems out here in Cyprus] with people spending hours and many phone calls chasing orders, sending back stuff that is wrong, re-ordering what they should have supplied in the beginning and waiting till it arrives late.

My youngest son came in today to try to build a new video edit computer, and, no he didn't complete it because the Cyprus company that faithfully promised to supply the RAM failed to do so. That too ended up with numerous phone calls and wasted time chasing it up. One wonders why europeans don't have a word like the Arabs do - maleesh - which is close to our 'whatever' but much more expressive.

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