RANT: Services in Ireland

I’m so sick of the service you get in this country. Yesterday we were in the Blanchardstown Petshop Superstore looking for an aquarium. That’s what junior wants from the Ho Ho Ho guy. We were waiting for someone to talk us through our options, standing there with our body language blasting out WE NEED HELP, but we just got ignored by all the teenage staff. The place is ran by teenagers! After a good few minutes I gave up and asked one of them if he could come over and answer some questions. No response, he just skulks over as if I’d just told him he had to stop playing with his friends and come in and do his homework. Here’s the conversation…

Me: “So we’re thinking of an aquarium about the size of this one but there’s no price on it, how much is it?”

Spotty: “Well it depends if you want a cold water tank or a warm water tank.”

Me: “What’s the difference?”

Spotty: “The cold water tank is for cold water, the warm water tank is for warm water.”

I swear that’s exactly what he said. We both just stared at him, deciding whether to just walk out or maybe grab him by the ear and see if there was a superior nearby who’s older than sixteen (there wasn’t). But Spotty cracked before I did and explained that you could only put goldfish in cold water and tropical fish in warm water. We had to drag everything else out of him. It felt like we were asking him where he’d been all night, and what time do you call this!?

Who the duck runs this place? Why do they only have moody teenagers working there? Why is nearly every experience in a retail outlet in Ireland similar to this one? It’s the same in the dreadful B&Q, Woodies* and Tescos. (And we all know what the likes of Eircom and NTL are like). What happened to treating customers like customers? Oh Christ, that’s it. I’m officially old. I’ve just had a birthday that made me closer to 40 than 30 and a gear has shifted already. Seriously though, I’m really sick of this kind of service. The rare occasions where I’ve come across good service really stick out a mile these days:

  • Aston formal wear.Ok the site is very dated but the service isn’t. This is where I hired a suit when I got married and the guy who runs the place really knows how to treat a customer. Excellent service all round.
  • Blacknight are definitely the most headache free and value for money web hosting company in Ireland but their customer care is really excellent too. Any problem or query I ever have is always dealt with instantly. I always get people who I do sites for to use blacknight. I have nothing else to do with the company honest!
  • www.computerbits.ie . I ordered a firewire card from computerbits earlier this year, and there was no sign of it after a couple of weeks. Then a guy rang me to tell me it had been discontinued but he’d try other places. Then he kept kept me up to date by email and a couple of phone calls and eventually gave up on his supplier and offered me a better model for the same price. I paid €40 and the one I got was worth €85. Bargain!
  • The people on the tills in Marks and Spencers deserve a nod just for acknowledging your presence, rather than craning around you to tell Tracey what Sharon did to Trevor last night.

So the moral of the story is, keep it up! It doesn’t go unnoticed. As for the other guys, I reckon your days are numbered. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of your life every single type of service will be rated online, so you better start sending your teenagers to how to treat a customer school.

*An exception to the case in Woodies is one really friendly helpful guy who funnily enough happens to be in a Rabodirect ad. The guy with the beard:


I can’t believe I forgot something that I definitely meant to include in this post. Someone who really deserves a big up is Allie who runs the Alpha school of driving. I had Allie for a few lessons and he goes through everything. For example he’ll show you exactly how to reverse around a corner, step-by-step. And was over the moon when I passed, first time, thanks to him.

Compare this to the lesson I got from the Irish School of Motoring while Allie was on holiday. It was supposed to be a pre-test but she didn’t go through anything under the bonnet, even though I asked if I needed to know this. After my dismal two attempts at reversing around a corner, said we better give up on that one. And she spent the first 10 minutes texting her friend, not paying any attention to my driving! Overall, she didn’t go through half of the stuff that I needed to know. Luckily Allie gave me his own pre-test as soon as he got back from hols and I definitely wouldn’t have passed without that lesson. Highly recommended. Ring Allie on: 0879860170.

  • Reply dor

    November 27, 2007, 6:29 pm

    James told me santa was bringing him an aquarium full of fish – when I suggested alfie might like them for his tea, he didn’t quite get it – maybe he thinks cats just eat whiskas. Maybe try whackers on parnell st for acquaria – I find them good generally and they have COOL animals like bun-buns and the like.

  • Reply John Braine

    November 29, 2007, 10:29 am

    Yeah hence the fish having to go into his room and it’s going to be great fun trying to get it setup in another room without him seeing and then trying to carry it to his room on x-mas eve at 3am. Got the aquarium now but we’re going to get all the fish and accessories in Whackers.


  • Reply Feebee

    November 30, 2007, 3:51 pm

    another one for your cust service list, me v bank of ireland:

    me: why is there an overdraft facility fee on my account when i don’t have an overdraft?

    boi: you do have one.

    me: i canceled it last year, sent you a letter.

    boi: you will have to put it in writing if you want to cancel it.

    me: i did that last year.

    boi: the only way i can cancel it is if you send me a letter stating that you don’t want it any more.

    me: i did that last year, if you look in my file you should see the letter.

    boi: i’m sorry, the only way i can cancel it is if you put it in writing.

    me: ok, bye.

  • Reply Anonymous

    December 5, 2007, 1:46 pm

    Hi, being a bit older than 35> I am delighted to see your rant, I thought only us oldies complained. Of course the socialist in me says there are ‘only teenagers’ ‘cos they are paid so poorly…..

    Walk away, it is the only solution, a) they lose the business and b) your blood pressure stays under control (you need to worry about that at 35 😉

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