Friday, December 22, 2006

I’ve frequently mentioned just how important the personal factor is in Spain. In fact, it’s hard to achieve much without it. I’ve also said customer orientation here is not yet what it is elsewhere. So it’s both surprising and unsurprising the government should announce a law obliging companies to offer Customer Service phone lines manned by real people and not by ‘robots’, as the report calls them. Of course, it’s one thing to introduce a law and another to effectively police it.

I’ve very rarely suffered from bad service in Spanish shops. But, then again, it doesn’t often rise above what you might call neutral. It’s civil but neither very good nor very bad. This contrasts with the eternal pleasure of dealing with shopkeepers on Merseyside, where humour is more or less essential to the transaction. Well, for most of them.

The latest example of the Spanish penchant for conspiracy thinking is the belief - based on analysis of the royal family’s Christmas card - that the establishment is hiding the fact the 2 year old Princess Leonor has only one foot. Pull the other one.

The police in Tarragona this week arrested a driver for doing 170kph [110mph] on an autopista. They were then a tad surprised to find the car was being driven by a 14 year old girl. It’s good to see the old macho ways receding against the onslaught of female equality.

Galicia Facts

Galicians are reputed to be amongst the most superstitious people in Spain. So it should come as no surprise lottery ticket sales this year were twice the normal level in those towns badly hit by fire and/or floods between August and December. Being as religious as they are superstitious, they obviously believe in a just and compassionate God. So I guess they’re blaming it on their own sinful ways now that the booty hasn’t poured down from the heavens. As the Voz de Galicia put it - “A mere 15 million euros comes to Galicia”. This, they say, is only 10% of the value of ticket sales in the region. So much for justice and compassion. Ninety per cent of Galician money down the celestial drain.

Talking about things pouring down from the sky - In line with the comments I made recently about British weather, I’ve been in the UK for a week now but have not had to use an umbrella. In fact, I’ve seen very little, if any, rain. And none is forecast for the coming week. It’s not often you can go two weeks in a Galician winter without needing protection from the elements. On the other hand, it is 13 degrees in Pontevedra, against 4 or 5 here. Swings and roundabouts, I guess


murcian said...

Survey of comparable car insurance costs - Autofacil magazine - Jan 2007

Pontevedra - 779.7 euros (Highest)
La Coruna - 702.4
Orense - 680.7
Lugo - 664.8
Murcia - 649.4
Madrid - 615.4
Barcelona - 606.1
Malaga - 598.6
Valencia - 589.3 (Lowest)

Must be one of the few countries where the capital is not the highest rated for insurance.

Richie said...

I have had some terrible experiences with customer service here in La Coruña.

El Corte Ingles seems to be a particularly bad offender in this respect. Often the staff don't want to help; they can't be bothered to look for something so they fob you off with excuses. Sometimes they do help but they make it look like such an effort that you want to clout them round the ear.

And I always get frustrated in book shops because it seems that they don't want to let you browse. They come up and ask if you they can help, but if I name an author I might be interested in, they've usually never heard of him/her. I suspect that most of the staff in bookshops never even read books!

However, there are other places, mainly newer shops, where the service is better. Perhaps they've had experience of customer service in other countries.

David said...

Hello Colin,

I admire your courage in wanting to go back to the UK for Christmas or indeed any time. Rather you than me!

paideleo said...

Bo Nadal e próspero ano 2007.

Colin said...

Graciñas, amigiño. Y igualmente.