Leave it to the professionals

I called Olympus Australia to express my grief over my beloved camera’s faulty focussing system. Kelly on the phone promised to have a courier pick up my camera from work and send it to Sydney for an extreme makeover. Olympus would pay for everything.

I put my camera in a brown paper package and tied it up with string. Then I slapped on a letter of complaint at the front.

My work phone rang at about 3 PM. It was Carmen from Level 7.

“Joan? Do you have a package? There’s a courier here for you.”

“Yes but I told them I’d leave it at the Concierge Desk on the Ground Floor.”

“Right. I’ll send him down.”

Five minutes later, another phone call.

“Joan, this is Melissa from Concierge. The courier refuses to take your package. He wants it boxed. And there’s no address on it.”

My mind went blank. Wasn’t Olympus meant to organise everything? Where was I going to get the box from? Why doesn’t he know the address?

“Um. I’ll get the address and come down.”

(heard in the background) “She’s coming down now…”

I grabbed my warranty card. I found a random box by the lift. I waited two minutes for the elevator to arrive on my floor. I power-walked to the Concierge desk.

Melissa and Carmen were waiting.

“He was so rude!” Melissa exclaimed.
“He could have waited,” Carmen fumed. “He said ‘I don’t have time for this,’ and left this card for you to call back.”

I was speechless. I took the card and stared mournfully at my lonely package.

“Why didn’t you get us to help you with the courier?” Carmen asked. Carmen is one of my company’s support staff. She looks after packages and couriering.

“It’s a private package,” I explained, “Not work related.”

“That’s okay. We do private packages all the time.”

“Oh no, I didn’t want to abuse…”

“Don’t worry about it! We’re here to help,” she informed me. “Give me all the details.”

Silently, I handed over my warranty card and nudged my brown paper package towards her.

She took me back to Level 7. I sat there as she efficiently bubble-wrapped my fragile camera and taped it up in a box. She rang Olympus and abused them. Having obtained their courier account number, Carmen phoned the courier to reschedule the pickup. Then she abused them too, just for good measure.

“There you go, honey. It’s all organised. They’ll come pick it up tomorrow.”

“I’m embarrassed,” I said humbly. “Thank you for doing all this for me.”

“Tut tut, don’t worry about it. Remember, we’re here to help.”


  1. Daniel says:

    Gee, couriers are shocking these days. You’re lucky the guy even called you. I often walk downstairs to find one of those “sorry we missed you” cards and think “how strange, I was home during the time it says on this card”.

    Yeah… what was wrong with your camera? What would have happened if you were on assignment for national geographic (to take an everyday example) in the sudan or something? Do they send couriers out there? I imagine the insurance would cost a packet.

  2. Beldar says:

    I hope the courier gets fired… I wonder how much business his company loses as a result of his rudeness?

    Carmen sounds lovely. Don’t feel guilty for making her take care of private packages, it makes sense for her to do so. From your company’s point of view, I’m sure they’d rather have a dedicated person to take care of couriers and packaging, rather than have you take time off engineering work to do so. (Just like you have dedicated people to do the formatting and printing of your reports.) Also, they can’t expect you to do all of your private jobs in your off time, since banks, the post office, etc, are all closed then, and it’s often too much of a rush to do it in lunch hour (not to mention crowded, and also the fact that you actually need to have a break from work then). Finally, despite the evil corporate image some big companies might have, internally many of them actually treat their employees like human beings, accepting that they have lives away from the company and doing as much as they can to make them comfortable and productive. You are lucky to work in such a friendly and understanding company. Make the most of it, I’m sure they’ll be happier knowing that they are catering to the needs of their employees.

  3. joanium says:

    Wow, Beldar, you make people sound nice 🙂

    Daniel, Vera, my camera’s focus (auto and manual) stops working every now and then. It used to never happen. Then it stopped working one in four times I turned it on. Then it was one in two. Now it’s three in four times.

    At the beginning, I thought there was something wrong with me — I’m a newbie photographer. I was probably doing someething obviously wrong (Was the aperture waaaay too small so there wasn’t enough light? Was the ISO setting too low?). But I’m not a newbie photographer anymore. I know what every single button and setting on my camera does. I know there is no button that turns the focus off.

    So now I feel confident in explaining my problem and asking for a solution.

    (I still feel like a pest though.)

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