Categorized | Daily Life, Work

Spanish Efficiency

Posted on 30 January 2009 by American expat!


Today I hoofed it home (18 min walk approx) at 3pm to meet my landlord at 3:20 at my flat. I meet him outside and we haul ourselves up four steep flights of narrow stairs in the 300 year old building. There is painting that needs to be done on a part of the kitchen area (it is a studio remember). I could not care less about the unpainted bit, but he has come in from Germany to see to it that this gets done.

3:25 – We enter flat and have a chat.

3:45 – the workman hasn’t shown up yet. This is totally normal and no mention of it is made. We keep chatting and I offer up seats, as I can see this might take a while.

4pm – Landlord calls the company and is routed to hold music. He puts his phone on speaker. We have just finished a conversation about how the customer service in the US is amazing and how that makes up for the number of hours Americans spend working. He thinks he could never live in the US because we are so focused on work. I have lived in 5 different countries and all of those had shorter workweeks than the US, however in the US I always always enjoyed more leisure time because I never had to waste time waiting around for people to do their jobs. There, Shit. gets. done.

4:15 – A voice comes on the phone and he explains no one has shown up. He is put on back hold. We chat about Obama and Europe’s obsession with him. I eat crackers.

4:30 – A voice comes back on and tells him someone arrived the day before, but went to the flat on the ground floor. He commences to explain that the scheduled time was for today, for the flat on the 3rd floor. Send someone out. He is put on hold again. I eat a pear.

4:40  – A voice comes back on, says no one can come out for two weeks. He explains he is only in town for three days from Germany and to send someone out stat. We chat about how my Spanish is coming and visiting the Basque region.

4:50 – The voice comes back on and a 5 minute conversation ensues. I have stopped paying attention because I just want to go back to work at this point, knowing that even if someone could get sent out this afternoon, I would not be able to be there anyway. Landlord is put on hold again. I comment about customer service in general and good customer service makes ones life easier in general. He mentions it is actually worse in Germany, and I choke on my gum in disbelief. But he has a point, in Germany if they do not have rules to follow, they will not take any action. At least the woman on the phone is trying to figure something out.

5pm – The voice comes back on and he gives them my phone number instead of waiting longer, and says to call me when someone can come and that I, the resident, will confirm whatever meeting time they choose. Which is what should have happend in the first place instead of him coming out and hanging out in my studio apartment while we wait for someone who isnt going to show up. I send instant messages to my boss while trying not to lose temper. Boss laughs at me via instant messenger.

5:05 – We say goodbye and I run back to work. I return to find boss has spilled entire jug of tea on desk, lap and floor. I enter my “office” (which is actually a little conference room) and laugh at him via instant messenger. Revenge is mine.

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