Edgars, Gillian Soames really does not like you ….. at all

130703_edgarsMost people have a rant, and usually after the third line I am starting to feel for the shop or the service and root for them against the person having a total “poes collapse” (thanks Natalie).

When someone says Hellopeter is just about the point when I click away.

{I think having a platform to bitch and moan is a great idea. I think that there needs to be some sort of basic tick list before you are permitted to bitch and moan.  I also think that the fact the Hellopeter charges “services” to register before they are able to answer someone’s bitch and moan makes it sort of the go to site for people to have a total humour failure, and not deal with issues in a constructive manner.

Case in point – remember when everyone was having a total shit-fit about Woolworths and their recruitment policy, I would love to know how many of those ‘boycotters’ have not sneaked back for a bit of grilled chicken, and cut up mango since then ….}

I came across Gillian’s rant about Edgars on Facebook and it made me all sorts of smile.

Gillian is funny, and her eye for detail made me chuckle.

When I grow up I want to be Gillian. I want her breasts, I want her care free life, and I want her ability to tell people to FUCK RIGHT OFF, and then still love her.  I love Gillian. If I was gay, if she was gay, I think it might have been something I might have pursued.

We would be the South African version of Ellen and Portia.  But without the talk show and the eating disorder.  But I think between us we could do some moves on the dance floor.  Mine would be more “spastic” but I am placing all my hopes that Gillian moves like a dream, and then I can stand on the side of the dance floor and click my fingers as I sip my Chenin Blanc.

I knew her at Kimberley Girls’  High where I did Standard 9 and 10 – Gillian was so funny, and well, just the chick everyone wanted to be, or at the very least the girl you wanted to snog at a party.

I really hate Edgars — there is just nothing redeeming in the shopping experience, so I hope Gillian will not mind this “cut and paste” or her rant — it is too lovely not to share, so here it is:

customerrelations@edcon.co.za

To say that I am utterly repulsed and revolted by the absolutely shambolic state of disarray in your Clearwater Mall Edgars Branch is an understatement!

This is, possibly, the 10th time that I have been livid beyond human reproach by the way that customers are blatantly ignored!
Furthermore the attitudes and lack of simple communication skills of staff members is absolutely diabolical!!!!

I visited Clearwater Mall Edgars yesterday with the intention of indulging myself in some retail therapy by means of redeeming my Birthday gifts from my family – 4 gift cards valued at R1,000 each.

My first stop was at the “Free To Be You” section where I intended to purchase a pair of jeans. There was not a staff member in sight. I eventually went to the children’s section – interrupted a very loud and intense conversation between 2 staff members (much to their absolute disgust) – to ask if somebody could please assist me in the “Free To Be You” section. I was told “There is nobody there now, they are on lunch!!” Please be advised that it was 3.30pm in the afternoon!!!!!

I decided to get on with it myself, disrupted the entire display, and eventually found my pair of size 36 in between the size 32’s.

Next stop, shoes! I spotted an awesome pair of Steve Madden shoes on the display which were a size 7. As I am a size 4 and there are no stacked and sized boxes of shoes in the Steve Madden section (as there are in the Kelso section), I embarked on yet another irritating pilgrimage to find an assistant in the shoe section.

After pacing the entire section, I eventually found the shoe assistant, hidden behind a mirror pillar, squeezing the pimples on her face!!!!!!!!! I asked her if she worked in the ladies shoe section and I was met with a blank stare of absolute bewilderment. I repeated my question and told her that I would appreciate assistance with a certain pair of size 4 Steve Madden shoes. Her reply was “WHAAAAAT???”

I didn’t even bother any further!

At this stage I had a pair of jeans, a scarf, 3 pairs of leggings, a Polo handbag, a pair of Grey boots, a Lancome base primer, a bottle of Clinique Moisturiser, a black pencil skirt, a few Accessorize accessories, and the latest Justin Bieber fragrance (Someday) as a gift for my youngest daughter. I decided to just hit the till, pay, and get the hell out of there post-haste!

The frustration had only just begun!!!!

The queue at the only functioning counter was over 15 customers long and there were only 2 staff members on duty! I figured that the rest were all probably “on lunch”…..

I asked my daughter to retain my position in the queue while I carried on browsing. When I returned to her – 10 minutes later – the queue had not budged!! I approached the counter and asked yet another blatantly rude cashier if there was a problem. She snapped that the system was off-line. I told her that I intended spending my gift vouchers (as opposed to cash or credit card) and asked her if this would be in order. Without any eye-contact she snapped a barely inaudible “YES”.

I then rejoined my daughter in the queue (a lovely jacket added to my collection of intended purchases) and continued to wait. In the 20 minutes that followed, over 8 customers dumped their goods on the floor and simply walked out of the shop in fits of rage. Not a single staff member or customer services official attempted to defuse the situation nor explain the technological difficulties that the store was experiencing, or offer the customers some reassurance that they are indeed respected for their patience………..considering, after all, that the customers are the ones that actually pay their salaries!!!!!!!

The SECURITY GUARD eventually collected the mountain of clothing etc. from off the floor and deposited it behind the counter on an ever-growing pile. The staff mulling aimlessly about the counter simply watched this happen and continued their chaotic chatting, nose-picking and head-scratching with wild and carefree abandon.

15 minutes later I reached the counter and was greeting with something that resembled a Buffalo in it’s final throes of life. She proceeded to scan all the items, fold them, and set them aside for parceling.

At this stage I opened my bag, retrieved my wallet, and removed the 4 gift voucher cards for – well naturally – payment.

She stopped in mid-scan of an item and said “You can’t use those, we are off-line!”.

JOY OF BLOODY JOYS!! After I had asked the question and was told that I could, this was the final straw.

To avoid reducing myself to the level of a raving medusa, I simply returned the cards to my wallet, returned my wallet to my bag and made my way to the exit with the echo of my blood boiling in my head.

I have been a loyal and avid Edgars customer for over 20 years and, other than the fact that I have no birthday gifts to enjoy yet, I feel that I will, in future, struggle to find good enough reason to shop at Edgars without compromising my mental and physical health.

Proactive damage control is now in your best interest.

Yours faithfully

Gillian Soames (Mrs)
S-ICiBS
URBAN INSURANCE BROKERS (PTY) LTD.

Tel. (W) +27 (11) 789 6870/1
Fax. (W) +27 (11) 789 5394 / 0865 318 612
Cellular +27 (82) 398 2017
Email gillian@urbanbrokers.co.za
Authorised Financial Service Provider FSP No. 21017

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Nelson Mandela and Black People ….

We are driving home from school yesterday and Connor tells me about the theme they are doing at school. It’s all about Mandela and how things were pre-1994 and how things have improved/changed for people of colour since then.

Georgia goes: “Apartheid was when rainbow children went to a rainbow school, black children went to a black school and white children went to a white school…”  It would be nice if it was that simple, but yes, that was one of the things that was in place pre-1994.

Connor started asking me what I thought when Mandela was released.

I said – quite honestly – that at the time I did not really know who he was.  I knew he had been in jail, I knew that there had been a lot of jostling and negotiating to Release Mandela, but further than that, I really knew little about who Nelson Mandela was.  I did not even realise we had “apartheid” going on. Of course I never stopped to think where the black/coloured people went after the sun went down.

Connor asked me what it was like when I was at school and black people were treated unfairly …… I actually am embarrassed to say it, but I really was not “aware” of what was going on.

I recall when a state of emergency was announced.  As far as I knew “black people” were rioting and causing damage.  I recall us talking about how  “black people” were going to come to our school and burn things and some kids opted not to go to school – my mom didn’t roll that way, and riot or no riot we were going to school.

In our home we did not discuss politics – it was like we sat in this little bubble and lived in fear/concern of the others. We were always taught not to treat someone differently because they were not white.

But we still referred to “garden boys” and “petrol boys” and “nannies” as girls, so I guess we were being taught one thing, but in practice experiencing something totally different.

We never say black/coloured people as my school was white.  When I caught public transport I seldom saw black/coloured people unless I travelled in to Cape Town.  And they all seemed to be busy doing what ever it was they were doing, and I sort of got on with what I was doing.

The first time I started to question whether Apartheid was something that I should maybe think about was when we had to do an unprepared oral in Standard 9.  I was at a new school, and was up in Kimberley.  Kimberley Girls High was a small school, and a lot of the students did not live in South Africa.  They lived in Botswana or some of the other neighbouring countries.

The girls were far more liberally aware than I was.

Unprepared Oral and Lyndsey McLaren stands up and starts explaining how the Apartheid system is like a badly built house, that mustn’t be taken down one brick at a time, but is so terrible and such a danger, that someone should go in with a bulldozer and flatten it.  She made a plea to release Nelson Mandela as well and all with a great deal of passion.

I sat there and thought that Lyndsey was clearly demented.  But it was like someone had flicked a hole in a rather smooth and clear wall in my head …. little bits of light started to go through the cracks.

I might have argued against the destruction of the Apartheid system.  I think I had read an article about how much better it was if “everyone kept to their like” so that everyone was comfortable, and everyone kept their own culture, traditions and so on.  Clearly a Hendrik Verwoerd inspired article.

Sounds fair, except the part where we were being kept separated so that white people could be treated better, and everyone who was not in that group, got treated pretty shit when it came to government contribution, laws and employment, and pretty much daily life.

I have digressed …. so in answer to Connor’s question, I said that I was there pre-apartheid, but really was not aware of what was going on.  Like no idea.

It was not something we spoke about or discussed, or for that matter saw.  I often used to wonder how during the Holocaust German people could say “but we did not know what was happening” and I always used to tsk-tsk-tsk and go, “of course you did, idiot!”

I was oblivious to an entire system in operation around me.  I think from standard 9 I started listening more when people spoke and asking questions. I still think even up to Nelson Mandela’s release I really did not understand what had occurred and was happening.

I recall how uneasy I was when Chris Hani died and there were demonstrations that turned in to riots in Cape Town.  I knew something was happening, but I was sure our policeman would sort it out and tomorrow all would be fine.  Nothing quite like  “white optimism” for you.

I recall how unsettled I was when the flag changed — I rather liked our liked our flag before ….. I knew there was something going on that I did not quite grasp.

I am not sure if it was just the way it was. I finished school in 1989 – did anyone else have access to a bit more information than me — did you have a clear idea what the hell was going on?

{About two years ago we went to the Apartheid Museum – what an incredible place.  You need a few hours to look at the images and read the captions, but for me it was quite dramatic in terms of me remembering “the time” and suddenly seeing a photo and a caption which put it in to context and thinking HOW THE FK COULD I HAVE NOT SEEN IT?}

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