A fish out of water

How do I approach the words of the day? I could quote the words of a famous American general and say it was one big cluster F___, and it would be close. But it was still fun. I am finding that being angry for short durations is part of life here… I have lots of experience and should be accustomed to the things that happen, but it seems it gets to me every time. Let me tell you about a simple purchase. I have mentioned some of the details in previous blogs, but I will add more detail now. For my Vietnam readers, I will try to make clear what is different.

 In North America, if you want to buy a product in a store, you simply pick up or select the item, go to a cash person, pay and leave the business…… It is that easy. You can use cash, check, or credit card and you are out the door. Here it is different. I went to purchase a Kettle so I could offer coffee in the lobby of the hotel. I also selected an Emergency light if we had a power failure. Here is how the transaction worked. A sales person that makes commission will follow you everywhere hoping to make a sale. Lucky for them…. I am a big catch! I select two items that I wish to purchase. The product codes are recorded and taken to a desk where an order sheet is written. I then am escorted to a payment desk where after offering Id, I was then able to convince them to bill to my credit card. After a little time and approval, we are submitted 3 receipts. You the carry them to a shipping area and give them one of the receipts. When it gets to your turn, they put the receipt into a small elevator. The elevator descends and after a time comes back with your purchase. A clerk picks up the item and your purchase is delivered. You leave one copy of your receipt with them and then proceed out the door…….. but wait!! There is a security guard that wants to check your purchase against the receipt. He or she will take the final recipe from you leaving you with just one. The whole process??? Maybe 30 minutes.

I have gone through this already and have returned home when to my shock I see that I have been given the display units of both. I do not want that. I returned to the store angry that I got the floor displays and not new items. They did not have stock on the items I wanted so typical Vietnamese style, instead of asking if I wanted the floor models, they just assumed they were doing a good thing by giving me the floor model. I did not want older scratched up items. To their credit, they were very happy to replace the items with others of my choice and assured us that they will not do that again as we have spent 100 million in their store, and do not want to lose such good customers. OK…. I am now happy…. Time to go… But wait again!!!  Now they have to do a return bill, a reason form, and issue a new bill. We cannot get the shipping department to get the items until we show up with the copies. Finally we get then and off to the shipping area… It is busy…. ARRRGGHHH!!  We finally exited one and a half hours later….   Purchases can be difficult here.

I arrived back at the hotel just in time to have the new experience of a giant fish tank exploding. The water flooded the lobby in one big swoosh, the fish flapping away gasping for breath. I thought it only happened in James Bond movies. So here I was until midnight, sopping up water with towels. And this morning??? I wake up to the calls of no water in the hotel. After trying to get to the bottom of this and having the Vietnamese running amok, I was finally able to determine that they shut it off at night in order to save money. Sheesh!!  Let us see what today brings.

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

2 thoughts on “A fish out of water

  1. Owen, how about this, The hotel I stayed with turned the electric to the “on demand water heater” off to save money also. Everytime I wanted to shower I had to call the desk, but the day I was checking out, very early too I might add, I couldn’t wake the night desk guy. Late night or a hot date. Finally I had to trot downstairs and wake him to get a hot shower. “No sweat baby”…..it’s Viet Nam!

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