Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grumpy OLD woman?

During my playcation ( about which more in a later post) I turned 39. I didn't think 39 was old but today we saw two neighbourhood Policemen. One was still of the age where he hardly picked up his feet and still breathed through his mouth. His colleague still had acne. I know its a cliche but, really! And then there is the grumpiness. Or maybe its justified. Let me run the two scenarios that are really bugging me past you, for your opinions

You will be aware that I have been dissatisfied in the past with a City and Guilds provider which I tend not to name. Well to heck with that. I paid School of Stitched Textiles over £20 to get a certificate saying I had passed the course. After a few weeks I noticed that it had not arrived. I emailed and politely asked them to send it to me, pointing out that they may have overlooked it because, if you remember, I did not exist on their records and therefore my receipt of payment was on the sign up sheet for the diploma course, to which I am not signed up.

Their response: They never post certificates out. I have to drive 28 miles to pick it up in person. But in September when classes start again. On a Sunday. Or if I want it before September I can go midweek ( when of course I am at work). I did enquire why it could not be sent registered post if they were worried about it getting lost. No response to that comment. This is a school who has learners all over the world. How do Australians get their certificate? By post maybe?

I was tempted to point out that this is my certificate and technically they are indulging in the tort ( civil offence) of conversion... but I think I'd rather just tell you the story than try to make them think logically.

Then there is the organisers of Festival of Quilts. I bought tickets for me and a companion for the dancing event. They charge £23 for a buffet and some dancing. Not cheap but it is in the Hilton who do tend to charge on the high side. And it a good night. I also know that cash flow is vital for a business and I believe in supporting businesses who provide what I want. So we booked in advance when tickets come out and paid then.

This week I get an email. If I book now I can get two tickets for the price of one. This did annoy me somewhat. I emailed pointing out that I felt it was very unfair to offer free tickets to latecomers, having had the benefit of our cash for sometime and that it did not encourage early booking.

They emailed stating that they paid the Hilton a set figure for the event based on minimum numbers which they had not achieved. They were therefore likely to make a loss on the event. they were trying to incentivise people to come along. They compared it to buying an item on sale in a shop and finding it on sale later. "That is the nature of a sale."

I don't think that is a logical comparison as, had I bought a jumper I would have been wearing it for the period between purchase and the subsequent sale and therefore benefited from the higher price. Here they have benefited from cash flow but I have not had any benefit at all. As they advertise the numbers of tickets left on their website it is not even as if I had the benefit of booking and knowing I was safe to get a ticket as there was clearly no risk I would not. A better analysis would be an airline where the model is, the prices are cheaper if you book earlier.

They are of course entirely within their rights to offer a promotion like this. But, to my mind promotions like this treat customers with contempt and are entirely counter productive if they wish to encourage customer loyalty, good will and early booking. Or even booking at all next year. Do you agree? Or am I just getting old and grumpy?

9 comments:

Quilt Pixie said...

You're getting old and grumpy like the rest of us -- justifiably so, but still older and grumpier :-)

Deborah Boschert said...

Arg! Seriously. These kind of things drive me crazy. I am also 39, but I don't think it has anything to do with our age, it's just because we are reasonable and so many others are not.

The principal at our elementary school sent out an email this week saying that parents who volunteer to help teachers by making copies and completing other tasks will no longer to allowed to do so during the school day (when our kids are in school and we are free to offer our time). Ahem.

Kristin L said...

It would all make me grumpy, but then again, I'm older, so it's probably to be expected. ;-)

Terry said...

Perhaps because I am much, much older than you, that would make me very grumpy. This kind of treatment of customers, whether it is legal or not, is very disrespectful and does nothing to honor customer loyalty. It is, in fact, the road to ruin in the business world. I would be tempted to tell them this is the LAST time you plan to do business with them.

Gina said...

I'm with you all the way on both of these issues.
I had to travel 45 miles to get my certificate for my Horticultural Cuty and Guilds because the college wouldn't post it out.
On the tickets front, we go to the NEC every year for MPH and Top Gear Live but what they do is if you've bought tickets from them in the past you get an offer for the week before they go on general sale. this year I upgraded the tickets to include seeing the live show plus a tour of the backstage areas and the 3 tickets cost less than 2 bog standard, only see the exhibits tickets. I saved over £100. Perhaps the Festival should think of doing something like that and maybe they could fill the tables then.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Feather on a Wire said...

I would be fuming at the college.
With the FOQ, I think they made a basic mistake in thinking most of us (older than you and even me) would have the feet to dance after a day at the show. And the thought of dancing with so many women and hardly any men......
Just not the sort of thing I would have thought would sell well even without the credit crunch.

Margeeth said...

39 is not old, but you certainly know how to 'grump'.
Righteously so in these cases, ridiculous they don't want to sent you your certificate by mail and that offer for the dancing event in Birmingham is just not fair to early bookers.
Me, I started to feel old and grumpy at thirty, when me first child was born. The things they expect you to do when you are a mum, the claims other people (not your children) lay on your time, the injustice of school systems, child care, getting help for children who need it and so on and so on. It made my a much more grumpier, much less nicer person.

Garnered Stitches said...

First, let me wish you a happy birthday - 39 is not old and as a member of the over forties I feel younger the older I get - something I didn't think I would feel as a teenager - fortysomethings were old and passed it back then.

I am doing a City and Guild by correspondance and when I finally complete it I hope that I don't have the same difficulty.

As for F.o.Q. during a recession and the credit crunch we find our selves in some businesses don't seem switched on to the real world. Make the customer discontented and we walk and not return! Unfortunately similar to Football (being a Football Widow with the new season begun I know what I'm talking about!)- quilting and crafting has us in it's grip and it's hard to allow long time established shows which allow us to show our expertise to fold.
best wishes

Shasta said...

This sale thing is a hard one. The early buyers are people who are dedicated and who would pay no matter what the price. Then they try to snag the other people who are on the fence, and price would maybe entice them to buy. The key is to treat the different groups differently without the others knowing. My internet provider is the same way, I pay much more than new buyers, but since I am already a customer, they won't reduce the price for me. I plan to cancel, so I can come back in as a new buyer, but by that time I might find another provider I like better, and it will be their loss.
The certificate thing is just pure crazy. I think they are simply being lazy and not worried about your certificate.