AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Don't give up your dreams

I had lunch with friends today, and one was basically saying that when she dies, she doesn't want to have any dreams left unfulfilled. She said that there are two many people in the world, whose dreams are unfulfilled and that she hopes that this wouldn't happen to her.

I fully put my signature under this statement - live your dreams, be the CEO of your life!!

How did we get to this in the first place? Well, we were observing a business lunch - about 10 people were sitting close to us. And she saw that there was hardly any smile passing - I mean, okay, you don't always have to smile but in a meeting over about 2 hours, something must occur that makes you smile. This gave me to think - it is true - we all start out, want to explore the world, become great captains of the universe, spiderman, or superman, fight the bad and rescue the good. These are our dreams, when we are young children. We live in an endless dream. Only the "horror of the real life" brings us back to realism - schools, education, university, parents and authorities who tell us that it is important to get a job, and stop dreaming. We create the employee mentality (remember the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad?). Sometimes along that road, our rough edges become smoother, we know our way around. No more rebellion, the first job, the first salary, the first purchase with ones own money. And suddenly, ten years, 15 years later, you are entrenched in the daily fights of the traffic jams, work your 8-10 hours, and forgotten are all your dreams of rescuing the world. That is were the smiles and laughters have gone to. Keep some of your dreams. Dream big. Reach out. Develop. But don't only dream - build towards your dreams, otherwise, your dreams will be just like that - dreams.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Carrefour - one more thing

I have to add one more thing to my comment of yesterday regarding Carrefour. When I approach the security check, I push my trolley through. I don't want to be checked - okay, there are times, when they try to wave me over, but I just smile, say thank you and move on.

What will happen if they "catch me" and ask me to put my staff into their Carrefour plastic bag? I would ask them, why they want to do this, what is the reason behind it. I wonder what they say - if they say that it is to prevent misunderstandings. I would probe what they mean with misunderstandings, and if they mean that I could be subjected to theft. That will be fun, to see, how they react to this accusation of a customer.

By the way - I checked their webpage - there is no way to get in touch with Carrefour. Not a single webpage for Carrefour Malaysia, and no contact details at all for Carrefour in France. May be they don't want to be contacted by their customers?

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Toll charges in Malaysia increase - its all about inflation

Remember, about one week back (May 15), we talked about Astro and the price increase? Well, this week, and just today, two additional items can be added to the list of upcoming price increases.

One is that Malaysian Airline Systems or MAS in short, wants to levy a surcharge to cover the current price increase caused by constantly rising fuel prices. Ad now, PLUS Expressways bhd, the company running numberous highways in Malaysia says it wants to rise the prices for the usage of the North-South Highway by 10%, beginning next year.

We talked about inflation, right? Don't forget this, you hear the next time, that there is only little inflationary pressure in Malaysia.


Exhibition in Midvalley Megamall

I am not happy with the current exhibition - I think it is cosmetics. My wife wanted to go inside and although admission is free of charge, you first need to fill out a form. This form asks for a lot of personal data, handphone number, e-mail address and for your interest in the exhibition - and sure, they included everything possible into the form.

When we wanted to enter, a guy in a suit approached us and said -"sorry Sir, admission in shorts and slippers not allowed".

First - it is a weekend and a lot of people (speak guys, because women would be allowed in slippers) wear slippers and even shorts. Secondly - why judge a book by its cover? Who says I am not a tycoon in fashion, cosmetics or whatever? Thirdly - the exhibition is open for everyone - if you want to take care of attire or style, make it a closed event - by invitation only.

As such, no customer experience provided - a total failure. Thank you. Instead, I went to Baskin-Robbins and indulged in some nice icecream.


Carrefour - Or: I don't trust my customers

I don't know if you shop in Carrefour from time to time, but I do. When you have bought something elsewhere and you happen to carry a plastic bag with you, the guys at the entrance ask you to put your plastic bag into one of their Carrefour bags and/ or seal it by heating it up - in effect, instead of carrying some else's plastic bag, you carry a plastic bag from Carrefour. Seems to be a good advertisement for them - you eliminating the effort of your competitor and more people carry your Carrefour plastic bag. Does it work? I don't know and actually, I don't care.

What irks me is that I am forced to do it - I am not freely and voluntarily carrying their bag. But what is worse is my impression that Carrefour does not trust you - they seal your plastic bag because they believe that their customer might steal something or put something into the plastic bag and claims that this item has been bought before. While there are people who probably try to steal staff, gosh, they are penalising the rest of the customers!

What kind of marketing is that - what kind of experience? Don't they have an alert at the casheer, alerting them if someone wants to smuggle a product out of the shop?

Wouldn't it be much better, to post some guys at the cashier who asks customers - "Excuse me, have you found everything that you were looking for? Can I assist you in ...". I believe their turnover would grow and customer satisfaction increase.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Member of the Great Malaysian Blog List

Well, I joined them, and they actually send some traffic over here. Welcome visitors, hope you enjoy my blog - contribute, add, criticise, comment - you are more than welcome!!

Now, my nice "duty" is, of course, to link back to them. So look at the right side and you will see the link to the Malaysian (and Asian) blog list.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Schools that are great

I just received a mail from my kid's Chinese teacher - tomorrow is the little ones' exam, and she is sending a mail, wishing them good luck and says: You Can Do It.

Okay, this is just a little gesture, but it shows the value of the teacher for the children, the encouraging support. I like it. It is this what makes learning great - my kid is 6 years old, and he might or might not yet understand the underlying reason for encouragement and motivation, but he will get to it, and may be he remembers this mail from his teacher. Schools frequently destroy the creativity of children, or the fun of children for learning - and this is a mail that gave me hope that there are different teachers.


A little joke

I liked the "letter" below - it was sent to me by a friend to day and actually shows that we shouldn't take everything so serious.

Mother enters her daughter's bedroom and sees a letter on the bed. With the worst premonition, she reads it with trembling hands:"It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm telling you that I have eloped with my new boyfriend; I know how upset you will be, but I am truly happy. I have found real passion, and he is so nice, with all his piercing and tattoos and his big motorcycle. But it's not only that mom; I'm pregnant, and Ahmed said that we will be very happy in his trailer in the woods. He wants to have many more children with me, and that's one of my dreams. I've learned that marijuana doesn't hurt anyone, and we'll be growing it to sell to support ourselves and our children. In the meantime, we'll pray for science to find the AIDS cure for Ahmed to get better; he deserves it.

Don't worry Mom, I'm 15 years old now, and I know how to take care of
myself. Someday, I'll visit for I know you will want to get to know your grandchildren.

Your daughter,

PS: Mom, it's not true. I'm over at Sarah's house. I just wanted to show you that there are worse things in life than the school's report card that's in my desk drawer....... I love you!


Finally, there is rain in KL

It started to rain, just now. And this is so good for Kuala Lumpur. The city is currently heavily polluted, as there are forest fires in Indonesia. And those always affect Malaysia.

I am thinking of sending my kid and my wife to my in-laws, away from here, to a less polluted place, to give them a bit of a breezer. Lucky, there are school holidays soon!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Remember school times

My kid is having his mid-term exams next week. He is standard 1, thus just started schooling. And the amount of work he has got to do is tremendous. Subjects to learn are English, Math, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia, Art, Religion, Music, ICT - I hope I haven't forgotten any.

So we parents flip out, because of course, he is still a kid, and wants to play. But he has to learn. There is no time to play, and to develop creativity. And I know exactly what will happen in 10 or 15 years from now? The educators, the government, the employer, everybody will ask -where is the creativity? Be creative! We need creative people. We thought you learnt this in school.

I remember that in "my time", subjects were phased in gradually -one after the next, not all at once. As it happens in Malaysia. Kids got used to school in this manner and could develop. They had time to play and to develop creativity. Here, childhood and playtime finishes the moment you start school as in Malaysia, everything starts at once.

Just a thought from me on a Sunday morning, when my kid sits beside me, and is suppose to learn for his exam starting tomorrow, and just can't get started.


Showing affection in Malaysia

Remember those feelings of love? With the longing for the other "half", the tickling in the stomach, the aching of waiting? The flood of happiness in your heart, the warmth that is all over you? And yeah, the loving look into each others eyes, the holding of hands, the occasional hugs and kisses.

STOP - no more no more no more - cannot do, keep the distance. Just walk side by side. In Malaysia, this is the current discussion. A couple of couples have been suit by the "moral police" for holding hands in public as this is called indecent behaviour. The argument goes that this is against the cultural norm in Malaysia, especially in front of others. There are even letters to the newspapers supporting this. What do I believe? I believe that those who catch and those who complain probably never felt love in their heart. Poor people. And I hope that those being charged will never, never give in!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Sri Paadi's in PJ

Spoilt my tummy, on Sunday – still suffering from it. This is my problem, since I just keep going, never give my stomach a rest. Okay – went to Sri Paandi’s in SS2 (?) yesterday for lunch with colleagues. One colleague apparently goes there every week, and is she famous!! Around 10-15 waiters accompanied us inside, and I am not kidding. Half of them took our order. Interestingly, when other groups turned up, only about 2 waiters attended to them – is this the power of customer relationship? Might be. The food was okay, and the mood was only dampened by this one cockroach that run around on our table – what does this tell you about the restaurant?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Malaysia in uproar - Astro price increase in Malaysia

Malaysia is in uproar - but not because something serious goes on politically, a great corruption scandal, or that somebody siphoned off huge amount of taxpayers money or that a big project has failed to materialise. No, the local satellite provider Astro threatens to increase montly fees by RM5 (1US$ is RM3.80).

Malaysian blogs comment very negatively about it, the newspapers are full of complaining letters to editors and hey - I might be the exception here - I don't care. Okay, RM5 is quite a lot of money for many families in Malaysia, still, despite the growing economy. Overall, the RM5 is just about 4% of the whole pricing package of Astro, if one subscribes to the total package.

Let's just think what are the complaints about Astro, in the first place. It is said that it is a monopoly, and only monopolies would disregard customers for their own goals. But it is my choice to watch or not to watch. So let's talk about competition for Astro: Astro has competition, the local channels - but they are not necessarily up to standard, and full of advertisements, which hardly come in the movie package of Astro. Advertisements in local channel overpower the stories - imagine, a movie that lasts 90 minutes normally, is extended by 30 minutes - which bothers a lot. I cannot go that often to the restroom, get some water or a snack from the kitchen. The kitchen comes from elsewhere - I can read a book, listen to music, eat out and meet friends, play with my child, surf the net - but Malaysians don't read much, Internet penetration is mainly prevalent in the urban areas etc. But Malaysians like to meet up and eat, but problem is, that the TV is running in the background.

People complain about the many repetitions of the movies - true, there are many repetitions, but mostly, the movies are only shown ones on primetime. I would rather complain about the quality of the movies that are shown on Astro - many movies are third class.

It is also said that there are plenty of interruptions in the programs during thunderstorms - but hey - it is satellite TV - of course there are interruptions. But have you tried to reach Astro when the receiver is down, and how friendly those customer service attendants are, when they help you to get it back on track?

There are more complaints, like that Astro is a public company and that due to this they should have enough working capital to finance the operations - I don't see any relation to this.

There is one argument which I think is partially valid. Many Astro subscribers subscribed during Astro promotions to get a better price. They cannot get out of the subscription that easily, as this would be breach of contract. But then, in the subscription might be stated that Astro wouldn't increase the fees during a certain period - i am not sure about this, and if Astro can increase the fees during a specific time but a customer cannot get out of the package, than Astro doesn't create value.

My reasoning: What I would see as the cause of the price increase is the general trend in Malaysia currently which is called INFLATION. Fuel price goes up, food and beverage prices go up, prices for construction material go up, books appear to be more expensive, water prices are hiked, The Edge Malaysia indicated that lawyers also want to increase their fees, car prices increased after the import duties were reduced in the beginning of the year. The bigger picture behind this is the rapid economic growth, and, may I speculate, that the peg of the Ringgit to the US Dollar also has an influence - but I am not a currency expert. In addition, we have the high prices of oil in the world markets and China, whose growth let to shortages in steel supply in the world, and other products.

Everybody will say that the official inflation rate is only - what? 2 percent or so? But does this count for the Klang Valley as well? We might have no inflation in Kelantan and Pahan, but we might have heavy price increases in Johor, Penang, and especially Klang Valley.

Okay - I am rambling a lot. But I think there are plenty of more things to complain about in the world. A lot of saddening things. But Malaysians like to work hard, earn their money, eat a lot, go home and watch TV, and take care of their car. Nice people, but not critical enough in the right place.

I know that this posting might or might not generate a lot of positive feedback, but hey - this is my opinion.


MPH's follow-up reaction

MPH again came back following my last e-mail to them. They alleviate my concerns and reinstated that their employees are the most valuable assets.

So I am okay with them - and I really appreciate their responsiveness.

Friday, May 14, 2004

The book story continues - MPH's and my response

Okay - as usual, I am very open, but this time, I had to "censor" the response back to MPH (below) a tiny little bit. It is not my intention to reveal somebody's identity.

MPH also asked me to describe the staff members that I dealt with. They send the mail on Wednesday, and it took me until today to get to respond to them. It is never quite clear if it is a good move from someone to blame somebody, and I really didn't want them to be hurt, reprimanded, or even fired. My intention was and is that customer service is getting better, and not, that people loose their job. So, I hope that I will see them again, when I visit MPH - which I surely will.

Okay - let's get to MPH's e-mail first:

"Dear _____, Thank you once again for your time and effort in bringing this matter up to us as we do recall the issue on Hitler's Mein Kampf in Oct 2003.

We deeply regret the inconvenience we put you through at Bangsar and Mid Valley recently. Totally agree with you that it is every individual that counts and makes a difference in every customer's experience!

Kindly accept our sincere apology over the issue of your book search. Incidentally, the book that you were looking for ,'Double-Digit Growth' by Michael Treacy is only available at some of our outstation shops at RM79.95. The book number is (ISBN) is 591840058. Would you like us to have it transfer in from there? It will take approximately 7-10 working days to do so. Do let us know so that we can proceed to do the necessary.

To help us improve on our service, we would appreciate your assistance in helping us to identify the 2 staff who attended to you at Bangsar and Mid Valley. We look forward to serve you better in the near future. Thank you and once again our apologies for any inconvenience caused."

My response to them is coming now:

"Hi ___,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my feedback - it is highly appreciated. I understand that MPH is striving to greater heights, and that the inclusion of feedback such as mine into your business model is important to meet and exceed your goals. I believe you understand that the sale of books and other items is only the entry ticket to this kind of business but that great locations chosen (which you surely have) and especially the relationship that you develop with your customer makes customers come back again and again and again.

I took a day to think through your question to identify those staff members of yours - it took some time, because I don't want them to loose their job or be reprimanded. I believe they might have just had a very bad day or bad hour and that this resulted in something which is not necessarily desirable. The lady in Megamall was Description following - she is very friendly, and asked me over to the computer to check the retrieved results of other books - in addition I had a couple of contacts with her during earlier visits of your MPH and she was always very helpful. It is just that this time, she failed in the end to follow through with her assistance - something that can happen. I also failed to ask her to show me the place of the book although I believe that this shouldn't necesarily come from the customer.

There were two staffmembers involved in the Bangsar subsidiary of yours. One was _Description of the Staff Member. The other - Description of the Staff Member. In these circumstances, more proactivity in dealing with situations that involve more than one customer at once should be included in their training programme.

Again, it is not my intention to hurt your staff members, and I would regret it, if they would be reprimanded or something in this manner. Please use this feedback as a case study or indicate possible solutions to your staff members in such stressful situation to them - to allow for further engagement increase in their performance.

I also appreciate your offer to source the book for my, but I have to turn it down since I was able to purchase two copies of the book from another bookstore. My apologies for this. Best regards, and have a great weekend ahead."

What do you think? Send me a mail - my e-mail is

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I found the book in The Times Bookshop in Bangsar Shopping Centre

Following the disappointment with MPH in Bangsar and Midvalley Megamall the day before yesterday, I went to The Times Bookshop in Bangsar Shopping Centre yesterday, in order to scout for the book there. Naturally, I failed to find it straight away again, and went to the cashier to inquire. Interestingly, the situation was very similar to the one in MPH, but with a positive ending – there were three employees behind the counter, one apparently the store manager. Two customers were in front of me, with one in the process of paying. The store manager, who together with another employee worked on preparing plastic bags or so, asked the employee to attend to the customer in front of me. Straight after one employee was free, they attended to me and off I went with the inquiry for my two books, as in the meantime, I was also interested in Seth Godin’s new book, Free Price Inside.

They ran the inquiry through the computer, and found the book Double Digit Growth quickly – okay, they had the advantage that I knew the title and author correctly, but then, retrieving books in a large bookstore from databases is the entry ticket of being the in book retail business anyway. Without this, one shouldn’t run a bookstore, fight?

The attendant went off with me, to find the book, but it was not at the right place, so we both scouted the shelves. I asked him if he was certain that the book was there and he responded, that there are eight copies of it. My kid, who was with me, asked, if we could go to toilet, and I informed the guy thereabout, and asked him if he could look further for the book.

When my kid and I came back, he had the book already – he said, it was somewhere else. I asked him if he could show me where, and he didn’t reject – he had done his job, right? – no, he went back with me to the location, where I then took another copy and told him, that I would need two.

At the cashier, all of the employees were friendly, smiled and were professional. It is a pity that The Times Bookshop is so small in Malaysia and not available in many locations. As such, I might have to go back to MPH, but will definitely enjoy Times from time to time again. They also need the support to grow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

MPH - What happened to your service

I always liked to purchase books in MPH. They had great customer service, and were very responsive to customer complaints - I remember the situation last November, when I (and probably others) complained about the availability of Hitler's Mein Kampf in their stores and they withdrew the book afterwards.

Today, I wanted to buy "Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It-No Matter What" by Michael Treacy and went to MPH in Bangsar. The store was relative empty. I went in, browsed for a while and than, after not being able to find it, went to the cashier. There were two saleswomen. One attended to her accounting books, and the other turned around to help me. I fulfilled the normal procedure - writing down the title as I couldn't remember the author's name.

She started to type in the title into the workstation, when the phone rang. I don't know, if it was an internal call or from a customer, but she also tried to reach her colleague in the first floor. Failing this by calling, she called one on the internal houseline and started a discussion.

In te meantime, another customer checked with me, if someone would attend to me, and after I confirmed, he approached the other lady. She helped him. I still waited. After about a minute (it felt like this), I went to the side, got her attention, and made a sign that I would look myself. I was pretty agitated in the meantime.

After I couldn't find the book in any of the bookshelves, I went back to her and said in a loud voice "Thank You Very Much For Being so Helpful", and went out.

After that, I drove to the larger outlet in Midvalley Megamall. I remembered that I saw the book there, but again, failed to find it. I went to the saleswoman at the customer service station near the business section, and checked with her.

She typed in "Double Digit" in the computer, in various varieties, but nothing came up. Okay, here came my mistake: I thought to remember that Fred Wiersema wrote the book, and mentioned his name She came up with a variety of books, but MPH's compute system doesn't allow to check for publication dates. So here I was - she showed me a list of five books. I asked her, where I would find the books and she said that they would be in different sections. I asked her for the one book which was on the top of the list, thinking to myself that this could be the newest one and she send me off to the marketing section. Okay - here I stood - four or five bookshelves in front of me, packed with books. I gave up!! Went back to the section where I thought I saw the book earlier - it wasn't there.

I went home, deeply disappointed. What are the learning experiences? Sales staff needs more experience in dealing with customers. Bring them to the section, or call someone to bring the customer to the section - there was nobody lining up behind in MPH Megamall, so she could have helped me - earlier, sales staff did this. In Bangsar? Well, apologist to the waiting customer, ask another one to help, inform the person on the other side of the line that you would call back straight away - basically, communicate. The one saleswoman with the accounting book should have jumped in. Anything would actually done it, but all went wrong. I would be more than happy to develop a customer satisfaction program for MPH, to assist them in getting to the higher level of customer experience. It is not far from where they were earlier, but currently, they went a step backwards. Hopefully, it was an individual case, but I am worried that this is not the case. And it is the individual that counts, anyway!


Web Toolbar - I finally installed one

I finally got around to the idea of installing a toolbar on my computer - I choose the one from Google. I did it because I am a news junkie - read a lot in course of the day. And it happens that very often, when accessing online newspapers, a pop up turns up. I hate those, and I guess I am not the only one.

Research has shown that most user click them off, before pop-ups are completed their loading - as such, no sense in it. Othertimes, users don't manage to click them off fast enough, when there are more than one that pop up - and this is so annoying. Companies just don't seem to realise that this puts consumers off - a pop up is not a feature that is liked by many consumers. It is company centric, and inmposing. Nothing at all that relates to a great consumer experience. What do you think?

Monday, May 10, 2004

McDonalds Delivery in Kuala Lumpur

I ordered McDonalds today - ordered via telephone. And I realised that it always takes so long to get the food. I don't know why? The riders just zoom by my car, speeding and cutting in and out. But the food still takes more than one hour to arrive, sometimes longer. Any reason for that?


This is gross - experience in a supermarket

I went out last night to buy milk in Sri Kota in Taman Desa. Standing at the cold storage area, I saw this guy with his wife. He had a packet of butter in his hand and guess what: He opened it a bit - enough to see the butter - and sniffed at it. Said something to his wife, closed the butter and put it back into its former place. Yucks!!

I felt so ashamed that I didn't have the guts to say something, anything. I was close to asking him, if he would intend to buy the butter or so. Wished I would have taken a picture and opened a moblog.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

What we like

Google is going public - which is a long awaited move but apparently was hotly discussed in the company.

Why do I love this rocking company? Read some of the quotes that I took from the Asian Wall Street Journal (AWSJ) of Monday 3, 2004 which were submitted to the SEC for IPO filing purposes.

"Do no evil" - their internal mandra that they want to transport to the external world;

"No to quarterly guidance" - they write : "we are not able to predict our business within a narrow range for each quarter. A management team that is distracted by a series of short-term targets is as pointless as a dieter stepping on the scale every half an hour."

Share auction - which allows smaller investors to get into the market. And Google actually states that those "small guys" might sell quickly to gain from early rises in the market - and that this might lead to a drop in the shareprice initially.

First name basis - well, they didn't call themselves Mr. and Mrs. in the filing, but by their first names.

There are probably 10 other things that I could mention here, but this is just a short entry, without intention to get too much into detail.

Monday, May 03, 2004

One more Langkawi story

During my stay in Langkawi, I also visited the new cable car installation (is this how you would say?) - you can check the weblink at The view is great, the journey up terrific. What is missing? An orderly behaviour at the ticket counter. Total chaos - no lines at all and people just cutting lines to get ahead. Okay, it was a long line due to the public holidays, but wow - was that a chaos and a waiting time. Is it a wonder that I was the only foreign tourist - one who is used to the chaos? What would a tourist think when seeing it, and especially one, who is a bit older? He would turn around and go away, with not necessarily the best impressions.


The Andaman in Langkawi

I stayed in The Andaman in Langkawi/ Malaysia ( a couple of days last week - and again, the value chain didn't hold. Why do I keep talking about this? Well, Malaysia competes against Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore in Southeast Asia in the tourism sector, and tourism is an important contributor to GDP, and employment.

The Andaman is positioned at the high end of the hotel market, catering to overseas tourists (there were Russions, Koreans, Japanese, besides the usual German or British) who want seclusion, and be very close to nature (my trip was sponsored, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to afford it).

And may be I am a bit peculiar here, but there were certain things that didn't fit into the picture but which can only be observed by one, who lives in the country. Like, for example, the grass was not nice and looked patchy and messy - despite being close to nature, this didn't fit. The food was not nice as well - very bland. Some people that I met and others in my group complained about heavy stomach pain and diarrhea.

The workers were friendly, smiled and greeted when you saw them - but when we checked out, no one offered us assistance. An employee heading towards us greeted us, but didn't offer to help. This didn't happen in other hotels of similar range, like the Sheraton Perdana, which is in Langkawi as well.

Oh - I nearly forgot one thing - we had a pickup service from the airport to the hotel. There was a bus - but guess who had to put in the luckage into the compartment? Only when the driver and the organiser realised that everyone of the group put the suitcases side by side, and there was no space anymore in the compartment for half the passengers did they jump in to assist. And the luggage was handled roughly - I am glad I didn't bring anything that could break.

But basically, these are minor hiccups.

What I see as problematic is that a late checkout was not possible for all members of our group. The receptionist whom I talked to stated, that her supervisor told her that it would not be possible that all members of our group would have a late checkout. Please read the sentence again, and think this through - I stand there, in front of the receptionist and she tells me that her supervisor told her, a late checkout would not be possible for all members of our group. Hello!! The hotel wasn't full, in fact, considering the extend of it, it made a rather deserted impression. There were not many tourists around - which would have been a reason for this news.

It would have been possible to combine rooms with those in my group that had an extended stay or were able to get a late checkout, but this is not the point that I want to make.

Now let's go a step back and see, how things were developing earlier. The Andaman send me a note the evening before our checkout.

The note stated (and I quote):


Your stay with us, we're aware, regrettably ends soon.
Checkout and key return are tomorrow at 12 noon.

But, after that, don't hurry!

Please rest at your ease.
And enjoy using all the facilities....

The Restaurant, for example, you may use at will. At the concierge, all luggage's and valuables can stay. In any need of shower, at level one our shower room may help your day.

Anything else you might need?

To assist us we' ll try. For another great Anadaman day passes by..."

It is a rhyme and it sounds awkward. Company centric - don't care for the tourist. Give us the key and the rest is inconvenience. For the money paid, the offered facilities don't offer value. The value and the customer experience starts earlier - during the checkin time with the statement - "We are aware that your flight might be way later than our official checkout time. We will definitely accommodate your needs. Can we already organise an late checkot for you?" Something like this - not just a letter and a strange comment at the reception. What do you think? A I too harsh?

One thing was great - the tour in the rainforest. The guy organising it is called Dev Abdullah and I don't mind passing his e-mail address on to those who want to contact him - after I check with him. He was friendly, informative, helpful and talked a lot to the children, and answered all their questions.


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