Call us biased, but we’re pretty fond of this recent customer complaint from one Intrepid traveller from England. We did our best, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep us from feeling the full wrath of Rebecca Gadsby. What can we say? You can’t win them all…
I have just returned from one of your trips to Thailand (Hike, Bike & Kayak). I understand you are an Australian company and therefore, you may not understand very much about the British culture. Allow me to explain; British people like to complain. They will complain about anything; late buses/early buses, noise/quiet, the weather, food, the colour of the bedspread, someone’s nose hair being too long etc – you get the idea. It’s part of our culture and it is literally the only way we know how to communicate with each other. Imagine then, my absolute horror in undertaking a trip of this kind with plenty of potential for misdemeanours and errors, only to discover I have absolutely nothing to complain about. Not a single thing. And believe me, I have tried.
Part of the issue, I believe, is down to the organisation and attention to detail in the first place – how is anything to go wrong if someone has carefully planned everything? But the overall problem is with your extremely professional guide – called ‘Is’ (Prapassorn Yapiang) on our tour – who solved any potential for a problem with such efficiency that I think she might actually be a machine (in fact, I wish my computer worked as effectively as her. It frequently causes me problems and gives me plenty of reasons to complain). How on earth are things to go even slightly wrong, if your guide is always one step ahead constantly working to make sure there are no problems? On top of this, she was always extremely informative, meaning I had no grounds to take legal action for any incident occurring due to my own stupidity, but one that I should have been informed about in the first place. Her helpfulness was particularly frustrating; she literally worked around the clock to make sure we were safe and very happy – often going above and beyond the ‘call of duty.’ I never found myself even remotely ‘unhappy’ during the entire trip, which is very disappointing.
There were two particular incidents where I came close to being satisfied in my quest to complain; the first occurred in Kanchanaburi where a meal we ordered was taking a particularly long time. Some had received their meals – but mine had not arrived. “Excellent”, I thought, “here is my opportunity for a full refund….” but just as I was beginning to mentally script my complaint letter, ‘Is’ stepped into the kitchen and actually began cooking! Yes, she actually cooked my meal so that I didn’t have to wait any longer. Before I knew it, my meal was being served and an opportunity to complain had been lost.
The second incident occurred on the Hill Tribe Trek – the ground was particularly muddy due to a spot of rain (unfortunately not as much as in the UK, otherwise I would have complained about this); due to my lack of athleticism and extreme clumsiness (and despite our guide repeatedly telling us to be careful), I slipped slightly on a steep bank which went into a fast moving river. The words “compensation” and “insurance payout” quickly sprang to my mind and I was thrilled by the prospect of some injuries or at least minor scars to complain about for the next 10 years. But just as I was envisaging the payout cheque, ‘Is’(our guide), grabbed my arm, pulled me up the bank and placed me firmly on my feet as if it was no effort at all (I am not your usual thin, sporty, Intrepid traveller). What sort of Jedi Guides are you employing at Intrepid? More importantly, where do you find these ninjas? I wouldn’t mind a few working for me.
Then came my birthday – being in the entertainment industry, I am your typical quiet, shy sort of traveller, not wanting to make a fuss on my special day. Imagine my surprise, then, when our guide had planned a very special day for me – being blessed by a monk, no less! And then came cake in the evening. Something I had not at all anticipated, and a surprise which actually made me smile, much to my disgust.
In essence, I would like to say it has been a completely disappointing trip – with absolutely nothing to complain about and only amazing memories, the most beautiful scenery, fantastic food, new friendships and an all-round outstanding experience.
Here’s hoping you understand the British use of irony and sarcasm.
P.S If your guide, ‘Is’, isn’t already on a ridiculously high wage, then you should take steps to alter this. Otherwise I’m going to poach her. I could do with a Jedi like that.
So cut up were we for ruining poor Rebecca’s travel plans that we felt it necessary to send her some flowers in apology. But even then, we couldn’t quell her fury:
I don’t know whether you’re trying to earn yourselves some sort of award, but let me make it clear – I don’t have involvement in OBEs. You had much better send flowers to Prapassorn Yapiang; as she is Thai it is more acceptable for her to be grateful – even happy – about such a lovely surprise. Besides, as a Jedi, she probably has the ability to get you your OBE.
With flabbergasted thanks,
“Complaints” published with permission from Rebecca Gadsby.