Friday, May 18, 2007

Why am I even surprised?

There's a good reason why so many people are employed in Japan. Many of them have been given jobs that do nothing more than make it extremely difficult for anyone to do things in a timely way. It goes beyond bureaucracy. How anyone could use the Japanese business model as a model of efficiency is truly beyond my grasp.

Yesterday my landlady and I were on the phone for half an hour trying to cancel my cell phone account. First they asked her a million questions, then they asked me to repeat everything in English (although the woman taking the information spoke no English). Then, after I thought everything was completed, my landlady handed me the phone and said they had a bi-lingual person who could talk to me in English. Why didn't they do that in the first place? So, I went through the whole thing again, explaining that I was leaving Japan and needed to cancel my cell phone. Our conversation went on and on, just like the previous two conversations, and then she cheerfully thanked me for using SoftBank--and finished by saying, "Now you must go to the SoftBank shop and complete your cancelation. Please plan on one hour at the shop to do this."

"WHAT?" I asked incredulously. "Are you telling me that after talking to you and your colleagues for the past 30 minutes I STILL have to go, in person, to a SoftBank shop and that it will take me one hour to complete the cancellation?"

"Yes, I'm sorry, but you must go to the shop," she said cheerfully.

"But I need my phone until the morning of my departure. I won't have time to go to the SoftBank shop as I'm going to be, well, just a little freaking busy!"

"Oh," she said with that perky, smiley voice, "you can do it at the airport! We have two shops there!"

Right. Like I want to go to the airport an extra hour earlier just so I can have the privilege of cancelling my phone.

Some of my friends at work told me that SoftBank tries to talk people out of cancelling their phone service or to make it nearly impossible for them to do so. Reminds me of AOL.

Ask me if I'd ever use a SoftBank phone again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i did this when i left japan. it took about 5 minutes to cancel my phone.