There seems to be a general consensus among both locals, foreigners living here, and tourists that customer service in this great city is anything but great. (Paris of the south in this way, too, maybe?) We joke that an amazing business idea in Buenos Aires is to simply do any kind of service with a smile. And I remember clearly how impressed people were with the service at the hotel where I worked; they simply were not expecting it. I try not to complain too much because nobody is forcing me to live here, but sometimes it is just really annoying.
I needed to replace some Norwegian books that I had lost (left in a taxi, I think) last week. They belong to the institute where I teach on Saturdays so I wanted to replace them as quickly as I could. I called the copyshop where they sell them (yes, they are copies) on Monday, told them clearly which book and what edition (the old one) and they promised to have them by Wednesday. I specified that I needed the old edition as they have just started selling a newer one. Wednesday I was not able to go, so I called today on my way to the city center. The sales clerk said he didn’t have a record of my order (while at the same time saying I hadn’t specified that I wanted the old version – weird) but that he could have them ready in one hour. So I hung out for a while, then got on the metro (Friday afternoon, it was full even going in to the center) and went to the shop.
Once I was there, the clerk apologized and said he no longer has those books because they are selling the new version now, so he didn’t have the old originals to copy. So I went all the way there to pick up the books that they had twice, on two different occassions, assured me that they would have for me. I asked why he didn’t tell me on the phone and he said the other people didn’t know. I asked why they didn’t call – he said they hadn’t asked for my number. All phone these days can see the last number called, so that was a pretty bad excuse.
Oh well! Just another 90 minutes lost in the lovely maze that is porteño efficiency… 🙂