Cartoon of an angry phone caller

A world of complaints keep coming and I can’t stop them

It’s not often someone calls to make a complaint, but it’s been happening a lot over the past few months. It turns out my phone number is similar to supermarket chain New World Hobsonville.

From the conversations I’ve had with callers it seems the typeface New World uses on its website makes some people believe the number 6 is an 8. And when they make that mistake my phone rings. And it’s been ringing a lot.

From the many calls I get it appears the bakery section at New World Hobsonville is a bit flaky and some of the produce that changes hands at its deli stinks.

My first experience of a call complaining about New World Hobsonville was a lady with poor spoken English insisting I refund her for half a dozen custard donuts that tasted strange.

I tried to convince her she hadn’t bought them from me, that I don’t sell bakery goods, and perhaps she should take them back to the store (it was a few weeks until I discovered exactly which store).

The caller spoke over me and the language barrier was clearly an issue. I let her speak uninterrupted before offering a full refund and replacement donuts, suggesting she get jam donuts because they taste far nicer than custard ones. She was very happy and we ended on a good note.

The next memorable event was a lady who left a prickly voicemail one Saturday afternoon complaining about some soft cheese she had bought two weeks earlier. One day before the use-by date she opened the wrapping to find the cheese had gone off.

Now, I am not much of a cheese eater, so I don’t know how anyone can determine if stinking cheese is edible or not. Still, I took the lady at her word, and because she had left a message I felt duty bound to call her back and explain the error of her ways.

Despite this, the lady opted to repeat an over-embellished tale of runny cheese, how it had spoiled her lunch, her husband was upset (and hungry?) and that she’d never felt so let down in her life (you don’t get internet services from Spark then?).

In my mind I thought that if you buy soft cheese then you’re really on a sticky wicket before you leave the store, let alone hanging on to it for two weeks, chancing your arm with a big reveal seconds before it is supposed to be inedible. You’re asking for it aren’t you?

Patiently, I listened as the lady told me she thought she had called New World, and explained the phone number advertised by the supermarket wasn’t clear enough for her tired, tearful, red eyes.

Yet another complaint – number nine I reckon. I was able to convince this caller very quickly that she had rung the wrong number and gave her the correct one to call. She says my number appears on the company’s till receipt.

Another call…This one from someone asking if I had a job for her 19-year-old child. Now, this was interesting because having been a former editor of a careers / employment magazine I had something to offer.

I advised the lady that it’s best if her child does the ringing-around on the job-hunt front as it shows they have confidence and if a prospective employer has a vacancy they can have a chat with job hunter there and then.

The lady had also asked to be put her through to the HR department. My advice here – only call HR if you want a job working in HR. Otherwise, call the manager of the department you want to work in, as they will know if they have a vacancy (or if someone is about to resign and create one).

And with that I thought it about time I let New World Hobsonville know my phone was ringing when it should be theirs.

The person I spoke with at New World Hobsonville was very polite, but apparently legging it out the door to make a delivery when I called.

She eventually called back and said she can’t be responsible if her customers can’t dial a phone number correctly.

Oh, okay then. Cheers.