I need an electric tooth brush. I try the local supermarket, but they’re out of stock. I try another large supermarket, but they don’t have the one I want.
And so I go to a ‘professional’; a store that sells everything related to electrical and home appliances. They have such a large assortment that if they don’t have it, it doesn’t exist. The name starts with a K, and that is as far as I will go.
I ask for the electric toothbrushes. They are down stairs. A lady helps me find them. They have an even nicer model, and so I decide to buy 3 electric toothbrushes; 2 simple ones, and one advanced super soaker. That was quick, took me only 1 minute.
I am about to pick up the boxes and walk back up, when the lady takes them out of my hand.
“Wait, we need some information.”
Information? Why would I want to give her information? I do not give out my phone numbers to stores, I just want my toothbrushes.
“No, no, I need the information.”
I follow her.
“You already have an account here,” she inquires. No, I do not.
“Your name?” she asks.
My name. It is a complicated name. It requires spelling. Several times usually. I give her my name, it takes a number of attempts.
“That IS my family name.”
“Oh. Your name than,” she asks.
My first name is probably even more complicated than my last name. It requires several spelling attempts, and in the end I settle for something close enough. ‘Soeitske.’ It doesn’t really matter. I just need the toothbrushes.
“Address?” she asks.
"For a toothbrush? You want all this for a tooth brush,” I get a little annoyed here. She senses it, and drops the address.
“Never mind. Phone number?” she ask.
I never give out my phone number to stores or organizations. Why would they want it? After service? You must be kidding. Or is there merchandise so bad they need to call you at home and warn you about it. Why on Earth would they possibly want to call me? About what? And so I give any odd number.
Here we run into problems though, because the number I give apparently is an existing number of someone who does have a client file with them. And the name does not match mine. Oh dear, do we start all over again?
“Well, it really is my number,”
“Now we are being interrupted by a man who passes by with a handwritten note with a number on it that he cannot read.
“Not my handwriting,” the lady says.
“Yes, your handwriting,” he insists, while I am still waiting for my 3 toothbrushes.
She continues with me. She enters the number of the toothbrushes MANUALLY. A supermarket would have a scanner. In this place, which sells all possible electronics, they do not have a scanner. No, they enter what they sell MANUALLY.
Fine. Whatever. Just print out the bill and let me pay.
But no. Now I get a little note with a HANDWRITTEN number on it. I recognize that paper; the man who came to complain about not being able to read a number had a similar paper.
I need to go and pay with that little paper, she says. I want to pick up the toothbrushes to go and pay, but she holds them down.
“No, I will bring them.”
Whatever. I go back up, to the cashier. To pay for 3 tooth brushes. With my little paper.
“No, you need to go to accounting to pay.”
“Where is accounting?”
And so I walk 2 stairs down. I find accounting where a number of very busy people are working, with people sitting in front of their desks. It looks like the credit counter at a bank. Do they people need home loans? Are they here to pay of a car? I wait a while, but it does not look like anything is moving. So I stand here, to wait for them to pull out my file from the computer (the number which I have in my hand!!Yes yes), and print out a paper, upon which I will then pay, and with this proof of payment, I can go to the cashier to pick up my THREE SIMPLE TOOTHBRUSHES!!!!
I gave up. You cannot be serious. Getting a home loan is probably as complicated as buying your toothbrushes from this particular store.
I just walked out and left. When I passed by the cashier, I saw my 3 toothbrushes waiting on the counter for me.
I would have loved to buy the toothbrushes. It added up to almost $200! Not exactly peanuts. But sorry dudes, with such a positively slow and archaic sales system, I doubt you make any sales at all. So I failed to buy a toothbrush.
Tomorrow I’ll go to a ‘simpler’ store. Where I just grab the box, walk to the cashier, take out my money and leave with a toothbrush, all in a matter of minutes.