Friday, 2 November 2007

The death of chivalry and service in SA

Today's a day for a good rant about South Africa's (lack of) service.

Let's start with Sun City. One of South Africa's top tourist destinations, Sun city offers a world of facilities, a range of accomodation and, of course, much gambling. Hubby had never been there before, so as a joint birthday present for the two of us from my folks this year, we were given a weekend at the Cabanas family hotel there.

Our room was not up to scratch (single beds when we'd specifically requested double and phoned to check, shower that didn't drain, bedside lights that didn't work etc), so I wrote a polite letter to the general manager detailing the problems we had experienced. I got a phone call from him awhile later. He couldn't remember what my complaint was about (the first sign of bad management), but he wanted to give me his cell number so that I could call him next time I came to the hotel and he would check the room and give us free breakfast.

So, instead of assuming responsibility, this moron wants me to spend my airtime calling him so that he can check a room that should already be in good condition (seeing I will be paying good money to stay in it), and give me a free breakfast that is already included in the price of staying at the Cabanas? That's fantastic service, isn't it? I think I'll recommend the experience to all my friends: "Visit the Cabanas - you get shoddy rooms and an incompetent manager, but at least you don't have to pay for your complimentary breakfast if you complain!"

Sun City, however, is not a patch on South African Airways.

I don't have a credit card, so I asked my mother to do me the favour of booking a flight to Upington for hubby and I to visit the in-laws in December. She did so, but booked it in my married name. As my ID book is in my maiden name, she needed to change the booking to the correct name, so she called them back to make the adjustment.

They don't do adjustments.

She had to cancel the tickets, forfeit a portion of the price and book new tickets. The woman who booked the tickets gave her two wrong numbers to call, told her she would have to pay double the original amount for a new set as the lower-priced ones were not available (despite the fact that my mom had just cancelled two of those, making a pair available) and generally had no clue about how to do her job.

But what else would you expect from the airline that issued my husband and I tickets on opposite ends of the plane on our first day of our honeymoon? As SAA is the only airline flying to Upington, you have no other choice, so they really don't give a flying (excuse the pun) ehm... truck about customer service.

All this sunshine journalism about South Africa being a great tourist destination forgets to mention the bit about getting to that destination.

Ok, enough for today. If you want to check out more ranting, visit, a brilliant South African customer service website.

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