Let me begin by telling you that I had a different post queued for today. I was supposed to publish the second half of our Las Casas vacation, a post that took me the entire morning to complete because of all the photos that I edited for it. But then, something happened at around lunch time when I went to the South Supermarket branch of LBC here in Alabang, and I just can’t let it go, so I thought I’d write about it.
The back story
I joined an exchange gift activity with my fellow World Moms Blog mamas for Valentine’s Day. I had the perfect gift already, and all that was left to do was to ship the gift to the recipient. Now, I’ve never sent anything overseas via registered mail or courier before, so I wanted to know what my options were. I was panicking a little because the target arrival of the gift is supposed to be on February 14, and I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t make it.
First stop was the post office, and I was surprised that the rate was a lot more than I’d expected. I had a feeling that DHL and FedEx would be even more expensive, but I inquired anyway by phone. My mom suggested I try LBC, so I gave them a call to ask if they ship to the country where my package is supposed to go. The lady who took my call said that yes, they could ship my item, but that I needed to go to an LBC center to get a cost estimate. So off I went to South Supermarket after the call.
Here’s the story about what happened this afternoon
I parked, got out of the car with my gift and walked into LBC. The guy at the counter was on the phone, and I assumed that he was taking an inquiry so I busied myself by reading the posters and signs stuck to their wall. After a few minutes, he asked me what it was that I needed. Seconds after I started to explain myself, he started talking again to the person on the phone, so I stopped speaking and waited. That was rude moment #1.
This guy finally hung up and looked at me, and asked again what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to ship my present overseas, and to which country it was going. He told me he couldn’t ship my item because “items like that were not allowed to be delivered overseas via courier.” I asked why not. He said that it’s regulation. I told him that I had just spoken with someone over the phone who said they could ship it. And then he asked me: “Saan po kayo tumawag?” (Where did you call to inquire?”) Rude moment #2.
Of course I told him that I had called their customer service hotline. Hello? What else could I have been referring to???
So he then said that he needed to double check with DHL, who is their shipping partner. I waited while he made the call, and after hanging up he tells me that, yes, they can ship it after all. Then he says that I need to present an invoice for the item I was sending out. Well, I didn’t have one because it was purchased from the province a while back. Then the conversation started to get really s**p*d.
Me: (In Tagalog, of course, but I’m writing it out in English) I really don’t have an invoice. Is there something else I can do?
Me: What do I need an invoice for anyway?
Him: As an attachment.
Me: For what?
Him: The package.
Him: It’s a requirement.
Him: That’s what DHL said.
Him: Ganun po talaga (That’s how it is)
Rude moment #3.
I stood there with my right eyebrow raised and my mouth open. I stopped speaking because I realized that he didn’t know the answer to my question. Just as I was about to turn and leave, his co-worker who was sitting next to him the whole time said, and this is verbatim, “Try no po sa FedEx. Baka tanggapin nila doon kahit walang invoice. Sa DHL kasi hindi pwede.” (“Try going to FedEx, they might be able to ship it without an invoice. DHL won’t.”)
Funny how LBC, whose partner is DHL, asked me to go to FedEx, who, if I’m not mistaken, is a competitor. Please correct me if I am wrong. Maybe she was just trying to be helpful, but… Oh well.
And then came a second rejection, but I didn’t mind
I said thank you, left the store and went to FedEx. When I arrived, the ladies manning the counter were having lunch. I apologized and asked if they could just quickly answer my inquiry. They entertained me without complaining. Customer service win #1.
I expained what had happened with LBC/DHL, and the woman I was speaking to told me that they would also require an invoice. Again I asked why.
She patiently explained to me that it was required by customs, and that their people on the receiving end would need it to support my declaration of what the item was, what it was made of, where it came from, and the actual value. Customer service win #2.
She said that, unfortunately, they couldn’t ship it without an invoice either. I told her that I appreciated her taking the time to explain to me why not. And honestly, I wasn’t upset over being turned down this second time because I knew why they had to say no to me. LBC on the other hand, said no without a proper explanation. Sure, it’s because of a requirement of DHL, but if the person from LBC did not understand what that requirement was for then maybe he could have called to ask. After all, he was just chatting on the phone when I arrived. I don’t think he has a problem making calls.
I doubt that I will be using LBC anytime soon, especially not that branch. There’s a JRS next to them, and the people there are cheerful and accommodating. There is also the ever-reliable Xend, who conveniently picks up my packages for shipping from my house.
I wonder who owns that LBC branch, and if this person invested in training for the branch personnel. Because it doesn’t seem like he/she did.
To further emphasize the horrible service of LBC South Supermarket Alabang, I had a super pleasant experience at the post office when I finally had my gift shipped out this afternoon. The process was quick and easy, the ladies there were so helpful, and they didn’t mind answering my questions then I told them that it was the first time I was doing this. They recommended express shipping, since I was on a deadline, and explained the difference between regular and express, as well as the cost breakdown for both. They helped me seal my box, and gave me tips for when I have packages sent to me via registered mail. They then sent me off with a round of thank you’s. Customer service win, post office ladies!
I am now just glad that this is over, and that my gift is on it’s way and should arrive at it’s destination on time. I thought the postal service would give me a headache, but I was totally wrong about that. Sorry LBC, but I don’t like you right now.