Monday, December 12, 2011

To Stay or Not To Stay

Yeah I get it, I'm a trini.

By all accounts, I belong in Trinidad, plain and simple.

It's just that the very concept of moving back, always seems to invoke a mixed bag of emotions for me. There's the obvious excitement at getting back to the familiar (friends, family, food), but I almost always experience a slight sense of dread when giving it serious thought. Many of us talk fondly of going back, but seriously, who are we kidding? Why is it so hard to repatriate? We all have our own reasons but here a few of mine which I suspect will resonate with many of you "homesick but not so much" folks out there.

Public Services - Jeebus Cribes, why is renewing a drivers license an all day affair? Why are they going to lunch all at the same time? Why are the lines so long in the damn bank? Furthermore, a year and a half for a passport appointment? Really?!?! Call me spoiled, but I am used to things happening quickly here in the US. Drivers license, 30 minutes tops, half the damn time I can renew it online and have it come in the mail anyway. Trips to the bank, 10 minutes.

Which brings me to my next point.......what the hell is a home branch? Why is it that if I'm in Gasparillo, should I have to inquire at my home branch on Independence Square for certain services? A bank is a bank, this isn't a damn franchise, if I want to change my address, phone number, etc, a trip to the home branch for such a mundane task should not be necessary.

Service in general - Customer service in Trinidad has always been poor; so poor in fact, you'd think it was a part of the culture or something. During my most recent trip, things had obviously improved tremendously since the time I'd been there previously but still. Retailers at home, seemed to always behave as though they were doing you a favour by having you shop at their store. Have you ever had to wait for service while the mook behind the counter talks on the phone, only to give you attitude if you steups?

Oh Lord, don't even get me started on returns (or lack thereof).

Have you ever tried to return anything to a store in T&T? No, of course not, you're not stupid, who'd want to willingly subject themselves to that sort of experience. Point blank, trini retailers don't believe in returns.

 It was broken in the box when you got home? Tough, you should have checked it before you left the store. 

What's that? The product doesn't work as advertised? You probably didn't read the ad properly then.

To illustrate my point, I had an experience over the weekend at a Pizza Hut here in Atlanta. I had called ahead to order my pizza so that in the time it took me to get from Stone Mountain to Norcross, the damn thing would have been ready. By the time I got there, it turns out that not only was the pizza not ready, they hadn't even given the order to the cooks to prepare. I ended up sitting patiently while the manager lost his mind but 30 minutes later, I had a free pizza, and a $20 credit for two additional pizzas the next time I came.

Do you think that would happen at home? Don't make me laugh.

I have numerous other points of course but I won't burden you with them today. The fact of the matter is that Trinidad & Tobago is my home, I'd love to move back there at some point, but seriously, some things have to change.

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