Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ukrainian 'service'

If you want to be a customer anywhere in Ukraine you have to learn how to accommodate the people you are paying your money. This is very notable when you are renting an apartment but also when you go somewhere like a restaurant. In a restaurant you and your company will often have to eat in shifts, because the food will only arrive when the cook feels like it. And if the cook wants you to have your dessert together with the main meal you will just have to eat melted ice cream (or a cold main meal). You may also have to accustom yourself to warm beer. Generally, if you go to a shop or some other service provider you can expect 'no' as the default answer and you may also expect a bit of rudeness.

I guess this lack of service (or empathy) may stem from a former government system where it did not really matter whether you where doing a good job or not, and where people did not expect any strangers to want them any good. But I think it cannot continue like this. My colleagues also seem somewhat aware that the service here could be better. For example, when Alex went on his skiing holiday he decided to go to Poland instead of somewhere in Ukraine because, as he said, the prices are now the same but the service in Poland is better.

This is a picture from the day when Pavel and I where helping Jeppe move to his new apartment, it is Pavel to the left. Jeppe could by no means get the keys for his new apartment before 14:00 and he also absolutely had to leave the old one before 12:00. So we got a cap to transport his stuff to the office. Due to a small misunderstanding however the driver thought we were going to the new apartment and not the office. He started yelling at us when we told him to go to the office instead and in the end he just dropped us off at the new apartment. Then we had to get a new cap to take Jeppe's stuff to the office, and after that yet another cap to bring it back to the new apartment again.

Jeppes apartment. Everything is made of gold so of course it is more expensive than mine. In the months after moving in Jeppe had a lot of fun with things such as his bed and a shower head. For three weeks he could not take a shower because the shower head was broken and the apartment owners had to look at it and consider it several times. If they had just let him buy a new shower head it could have been fixed in a few hours but for some strange reasons they did not allow him to do that.

This looks like good service. I counted twelve people behind that counter but still it took me quite a while to get eye contact with someone willing to help me. At least she was nice enough to point at her nose to let me know that the thing a had picked out had gone bad. In that same shop a had some problems trying to buy a cooking pot, she simply would not sell it to me. Then I had myself to go back into the shop, find a guy who spoke English and let hem explain to her my reason for bringing that pot to the counter.

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