On December 28 I opted to use the PTSC's "Deluxe Coach Service" from Port of Spain to San Fernando, because I did not want to endure the long drive using my own vehicle. I had only used the service once before and I found it to be satisfactory, so I decided to give it a go again. However, my opinion of this "Luxury Service" changed drastically on the said morning as an unfortunate event unfolded.
I got to the PTSC hub, located on St Vincent Street opposite the Central Bank, 20 minutes before the departure of the 7.30 a.m. bus, purchased my ticket, and sat in the lounge area for a minute before realising that I had to use the restroom.
As I entered the stall, I recognised that there was no toilet paper available, so I proceeded to the counter to inform the staff of the deficiency. I thought it would have been an easy process, where a staff member would have simply replenished the stock. I was quite astonished over what then ensued.
I approached one of the seemingly friendly customer service attendants and told her about the "tissue issue" and she told me she knew there was none. I paused and asked her if there was none at all, and she said no. I then asked her, "what do you use?" because I was sure that a well-established "Luxury Service" like this must have some toilet paper on hand. She then said, and I quote, "we have yuh know, but it's for us." At that point I asked her if she could provide me with some, because I really needed to use the bathroom. Again, she said no. I headed back to my seat feeling dazed and confused because I couldn't believe that I was being treated this way at this fine-looking establishment! After sitting for about 30 seconds, I realised that it would be wise to use a restroom before I boarded the bus for that one-hour drive, because I am pregnant. Nothing is more agonising than a pregnant woman holding her urine. At that point, I did not feel like begging for toilet paper, so I decided to go to another establishment to either get some toilet paper or use its facilities.
I was heading out the door when I was summoned by one of the attendants who informed me that I could not leave the facility with the boarding pass. I was about to return the boarding pass in order to leave when I felt it necessary to inform all three of the attendants that I was going outside to find a restroom because there was no toilet paper at their facility. Thereafter, I decided to ask for tissue paper again, because at that point I decided it was utter nonsense that as a paying customer I should be inconvenienced like this.
The young lady I had approached initially made it a point to tell me and I quote, "if you had ask for the toilet paper nicely, I would have given you some, but since you asked 'what do you use?' I decided not to."
I almost flipped because I knew I did not speak to her in a rude or condescending manner. I simply wanted to know what the staff used because it appeared as though she was telling me that there was absolutely no toilet paper in that fine establishment, and I knew that at some point during the course of their duties they must use the restroom. I was confident that they were not going to use "gazette" paper or some other unlikely substitute.
To make matters worse, I informed them that I was pregnant, and really needed to use the bathroom, and asked or rather, begged again for some toilet paper. The attendant I asked initially still insisted on saying no, and her colleague on the left echoed the same callous response. Thankfully, their colleague in the middle got up, went for a roll of toilet paper and offered me some. She was the only person who showed compassion and used her customer service skill to resolve the problem. It occurred to me afterwards that there were other people around as well (two bus drivers, a conductor, and another person), and none of them had the good sense or wisdom to say anything to persuade the two inhumane women to do the right thing and offer me some toilet paper.
I intend to take this matter to the highest levels possible, because the young lady in question did not only show her incompetence regarding customer service skills, she was downright condescending. And for what? Toilet paper!
What hit home for me is that most of us happily digest the crappy customer service we get from various establishments without voicing our opinion or going the distance to ensure that the perpetrators are disciplined or that measures are implemented to improve standards of service. Remember folks, we are paying customers and as such we require that they provide the best service possible. Without paying customers, the business will not survive, which is equal to no job, no salary!
The PTSC will be hearing from me again and very soon!