I is for Irritated (A – Z challenge)

Dealing with Poor Customer Service

This is taken from the email that I just sent to Fietsenwinkel.nl

Dear Sir/Madam,

For the record:

  1. irritation
    art by:  Irritated Audrey

    Last week, Monday – June 4th – around 11:00 am, I called Fietsenwinkel by phone and explainedmy problem: My electric part of the bike – the part that switches speeds – was not working properly. It turns on, and allows me to ride only in ‘eco’ gear. I would like to change electric speeds, of course, so I wanted this fixed.I was told it would take 48 hours to get a response from the bike store or from Fietsenwinkel.

  2. On Wednesday afternoon, when I had not yet heard from your company, I called again, and was told that you are handing my request and it’s very busy this time of year.At this time (and by email), I indicated that my email had changed and is now: aXXXX@ziggo.nl

  3. On Friday afternoon, 8 June, I called again and this time was told that an email had been sent to me (to the wrong/ previous email address) and that I should contact Parnassus bike store.

  4. I contacted the bike store and spoke to a nice young man who said that I could bring in my bike “when I wanted, either Saturday, Sunday or Monday.” Because it was my birthday on Sunday, I was thinking of bringing it in on Monday, but we didn’t make a specific appointment, which the guy said was fine. He told me to come in at my convenience.

  5. On Sunday (my birthday – June 10th), I was contacted by a very angry sounding man from Parnassus bikes, who asked why I missed my appointment on Saturday. I explained to him that we hadn’t made a specific appointment and he replied that ‘this was not how things worked in his shop’. Afterwards, when I tried to make an appointment – he said I could not come on Monday, but rather on Tuesday or Wednesday. (But I work those days, as a teacher, so I asked if it was possible to bring in the bike on Monday after all), and he said that I was very inflexible and that if it’s ‘only Monday then on Monday the 18th.’ By this time, I was feeling a little bit chastened, like I was a bad child…’

  6. Then — in this same conversation – i mentioned to him that it was a problem with the electric part of the bike, because he mentioned ‘versnelling (gears)’ – but i said – it’s NOT the versnelling – it’s the electricity part of the bike, where you change gears/speeds from Eco mode to Turbo, Sport, etc. (as I wrote in my email to Fietsenwinkel).
    This caused the man at Parnassus to get even more angry at me – that I didn’t know the difference between a ‘versnelling (gear)’ and ‘ondersteuning (support).’ Now, It’s true that my Masters in Business Admin did not give me this knowledge – and so I don’t think it’s fair that I need to know the exact terms for what is going wrong with my bike, is it? However, because I apparently got the name of the problem wrong, he said I cannot bring in my bike until he contacts Fietsenwinkel and a new appointment is made ‘for the right thing – for the ondersteuning’.

  7. Today I received an email from Fietsenwinkel asking my I missed my appointment at Parnassus bikes -and can I call them to make an appointment….!!!

Continue reading “I is for Irritated (A – Z challenge)”

Emailitis: The allergy that has no cure!

Sorry April Fools Day, but it’s no laughing matter!

Earlier this week I was downstairs in the living room, watching Netflix, when I got an email from my husband, who was upstairs in our bedroom. He wanted to set a time to meet with our tax advisor. It wasn’t the first time that he’d sent me an email, instead of talking to me face to face. Now, you should know that my husband and I are definitely on talking terms. In fact, we really have good conversations – about everything. We see each other daily, share a house, a bedroom, etc. I stomped upstairs, and before opening the bedroom door, took a few deep breaths to calm myself.  Although it wasn’t the first time he or I told each other something via email, this time it felt like the last straw in a labyrinth of emails that I just can’t seem to escape.

Please cut me off!

My work email now has a bright red warning on it that I’ve reach my quota and soon I will be unable to send mail.

email Screenshot 2018-04-01 19.55.07

You know what, Microsoft Outlook and school server, I eagerly await that day! Please cut me off!  Every time a colleague wants to inform us of what they are doing – it’s done by email. Same for the management, and the students think that they can send emails to ask anything from ‘What time is our lesson?’ (It’s on the schedule!) to ‘Why did you give me this grade?” (Read my elaborate feedback form!)

Oh Fatherly (newsletter) – leave me alone!

Like my many emails from school aren’t enough, I’ve got 2 private email accounts – a gmail account for my life coaching and Intuitive painting classes, and a ‘regular’ private account, which I recently changed since the previous one was so full of spam that I could never find my ‘real’ email messages.  Why I ever started getting newsletters from Fatherly, for example, is beyond me. And why can’t I unsubscribe? No clue.


When we started using email, it seemed so miraculous… Friends and family could be contacted the same day, without the crazy costs of a phone call. Nowadays, a phone call is so much easier than a bunch of back and forth emails that waste my time and that of the person I’m talking to, but most of us don’t do that any more. We don’t want to disturb the other person by intruding on them with a voice call. Hello, I’m drowning here in emails!

Tip: Read mail LIFR (last in, first read)

When I read my emails from work, which I have learned to do only twice a day maximum, when I can actually answer them, I read them last to first. That way, half of them are already answered. For example:

  • First email (from a student): Sunday @9:45 pm. “Do you know when we are meeting for our mentor meeting?”

  • Second email: Sunday @11 pm. “I don’t know why you’re not answering me, I have been waiting for an hour already.”
  • Second email: @11:15 pm. “Oh, wait, I’ve found the email you sent last week. It’s on Monday, (tomorrow), at 12:00, right?”
  • Third email (which I’ve read last, thankfully): Sunday @01:30 am. “I’m sorry but I won’t be able to make this meeting, as I have a driving class tomorrow. Sorry for the late notice, but you didn’t answer my emails earlier.”


I don’t know what to do at this point in my life with the mountains of emails or how to get out of the labyrinth. Do you? In the past, when I worked in customer service, I’d get a similar pile of emails per day, and after I had read them, and answered them, I’d have done my job. But nowadays, it’s not an integral part of ‘my job’ to solve problems via email. The majority of my work is done on my feet, meeting students face-to-face, in class. Apart from that, I prepare lessons, I correct homework reports, I design new courses. My job doesn’t actually entail email correspondence. Except that it does.

Email has become an allergy that makes us all itch with irritation and like that allergy that you have but don’t know what’s causing it – it’s not easy to get rid of. If you really want to talk to me, better pick up the phone or wait to see me face to face, cause I’m happy to go fast forward to the good ol’ days before we were enslaved by all these piles of ‘You’ve got mail.’