Buddy can you spare $14.97?

A few years ago, I gave up on Blackberry and got an iPhone. I patiently waited in line at my unnamed provider’s local outlet to complete the transaction. You see, I’d been pitched a deal – “trade in your old brick for a shiny new tricorder for only $50 (if you sign a three-year contract).” Well, I did sign a three-year contract (the first and only time I’ll EVER do that); a few weeks later, I received my regular bill with the added gift of a $300 charge for the $50 iPhone. Huh? And thus began my odyssey, an epic, infuriating journey that went all the way to the ombud’s office and culminated in a one time reversal and a “we’ll never do this for you again Ms Barnett” lecture. From my (expensive) service provider. Who’s supposed to provide me with customer service.

Sadly, I’ve had too many of these experiences – with car dealerships, with insurance companies, with banks. It’s like I attract bad customer service because some greater force, somewhere, likes to set me up to go all apoplectic. “Woohoo, look at her spin!” I rarely disappoint.

Today’s test was courtesy of Canada Post. Apparently, to receive a package from the crown corporation that claims to be all about packages these days, you need to be: (a) psychic, because, should your package be COD, they won’t warn you of that in advance; (b) a bank, because, given how far ahead of the technology curve they are, they only have one option for collect (no longer “cash”) on delivery (cash), and even if you have cash, it needs to be EXACT cash (so maybe call it ECOD) or you’re screwed; and (c) infinitely patient. So even though my package was tantalizingly within reach, I couldn’t grasp it because il postino needed EXACT CASH on delivery. To placate me, he promised my parcel would be ready for pick up later this evening. Only it isn’t. And predictably, I’m super angry about it.

Between my fits of rage, I wonder how many of these ridiculous scenes play out across the country, across the world, while leadership everywhere wring their hands, wondering why there’s no such thing as customer loyalty anymore, before they cut another 10% from their headcount to give shareholders a bump in their returns. Don’t invest in your people, don’t innovate, just give your organization a big ugly haircut and jack up your prices.

Today, I can cash a cheque by taking a picture of it with my smart phone; I can even pay for a painting from a starving artist usingĀ Square, but I need to pay a posty in cold, hard, exact cash to get my damn parcel that I’ve already paid too much postage for. Canada Post is a perfect example of a dinosaur about to meet its ice age, a Napoleon about to meet his Waterloo, a Kodak about to meet its digital camera.

You can imagine where I think they can stick their $1 stamps and their community post boxes. Next time, I’m going with a carrier pigeon.