June 15, 2012

Well, a few things to chat about today.

Again, I have to question the mentality of people at times.  Today, as has been for the past little while, another rainy, muggy, humid day.  Personally, as I’ve said before, I don’t mind the rain.  What I do mind, is the mentality of people when the weather is not ideal.

You have to wonder what goes through people’s heads, when the rain (in the case of Taiwan) is so heavy, that it is hard to see properly.  Even being in a car, with wipers, when the rain is coming down so hard that you can barely see across the street, people still feel it’s necessary to test out how much traction their tires have on the roads.  Or are they testing out their Formula One racing skills?  Or are they just plain oblivious to the fact that there are other people on the roads?  I have tried to figure it out, and still, I just don’t understand.

I’ve always maintained that Taiwan people are extremely friendly people.  You go to their homes, and they bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable.  You go to a wedding feast, and they make sure you eat, eat, eat!  The teachers and friends I have, are always more than willing to help out when I need translation.  But when it comes to driving, all that goes out the window!

It’s like everyone is wearing blinders.  They only see what they want to see.  They are the only ones on the road.  They don’t care about what is behind them, or coming at them.  As long as the path directly in front of their tires is clear, that is what is important.  Watching people zip around corners without looking, or crossing red lights, zipping in and around others on the road…  it really does make me wonder how Taiwan has a population of over 23,000,000 people!

And the typhoons haven’t even started yet!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance.  The letter dealt with the Uniform Invoice numbers and their website.

Basically, every time you purchase something, you get a receipt.  On the receipt is an eight-digit number.  Every two months, the Ministry ‘draws’ numbers.  If you match the numbers in the proper order, you have the chance of winning 200Nt to 10,000,000NT. They also draw one or two, three-digit numbers.  On the website, it stated that all you had to do was match the numbers to win 200NT.  However, it did not state that it had to be the LAST three numbers on your invoice.

I received a response, and checking their website, have now noticed that that has been changed.  As with any government agency, even in Canada, they gave me some reason about how busy they were, and that it is not always a simple task to make changes to their website.

Well, in this day of the Internet and high technology, it really isn’t that difficult a task.  And if you’re going to publish something on the Internet, especially being a government entity, you have to make sure that the information is correct.

I’m still waiting on their response to the second part of my letter, whereby I was not impressed with the ‘English’ service available to me when calling their offices.

The next letter I sent out was to KFC.

In a nutshell, the complaint I had was their ‘loss leader promotion’.  This is a matter that is taken very seriously in North America.  A business cannot, legally, advertise a product or service, and then not be able to deliver.  Fines are steep for violators.

However, here in Taiwan, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.  Perhaps, and again, this is my own opinion, because people generally don’t concern themselves with problems, and don’t want to ‘lose face’, and perhaps in their own business practices, use these methods, they are either unwilling to uncaring about illegal practices.

When you look around and see all the designer knock-offs, the pirated copies of CDs (music and movies) – almost anything you can think of – being sold, you realize quickly that the laws or enforcement of laws, especially those of trademarks and international regulations regarding copyrights being abused, that there just isn’t enough enforcement in Taiwan.

So it goes without saying, that something as menial as loss leader advertising, is not a big concern.

About a year ago, KFC launched an advertising campaign that went wrong the very first day!  When you bought a sandwich, you gave them a coupon and 1NT, and were to receive a second sandwich.  However, as it was proven in court, on the very first day of the promotion, over 90% of the KFC locations across Taiwan, ran out of the supplies needed to fulfill the demand, before lunchtime was finished!

The court fined KFC (Taiwan) a measly 100,000nt (approx US$3000) for not being able to provide the product as per their promotion.  Big deal.  That’s like pointing a finger at them, and saying, “… you naughtly little company… ”  I wonder if the courts in the United States would have been as lenient!

However, I did receive a response.  I was actually impressed, because the response was from someone I was totally not expecting to get a response from.

My complaint dealt with a promotion this year, of barbecued chicken.  KFC apparently was trying out a new product, and no less than 10 visits to KFC, proved that I was unable to purchase what I wanted.  I had the coupon, the money, but they had run out of product.  Not once, or twice.  I could have dealt with that.  But 10 times!!  Each time was a different day of the week, a different time, so there should not have been a problem.  The excuse given to me, was that dinner time they had a rush.  BULLSHIT!

I was there at least 3 times during the dinner hours.  There was one visit in particular, I got there between 4-5pm on a Sunday, and they had already run out??

Doing my research on the Internet, I had found addresses of the people who head up KFC (Taiwan), including the company that manages KFC (Taiwan), from their offices in Hong Kong.  Also, I went a step further, and sent a copy of the letter to KFC Corporate and KFC Customer Relations, both located in the United States.

The letter I received back, surprisingly, was in English, and it was from the Chief Executive Officer of Jardine Fast Food Restaurants (Taiwan) Ltd.  I hadn’t even sent a letter or copy to this particular person or address, simply because, I couldn’t find this listing ANYWHERE on the Internet.  I even had a friend search the Internet in Chinese, and didn’t have this information.

Anyhow, Mr. Ricky Wong (Chief Executive Officer), has since sent my letter off to five other people in the KFC (Taiwan) system, as well as the location I visited, ‘demanding’ an explanation.

Although at present, there is no conclusion, I am satisfied so far, that they are taking the matter seriously.  I find that people, generally, in Taiwan, do not want to cause problems.  They don’t want to challenge these large businesses to provide good service.  They don’t want to ‘lose face’.  In many cases as well, they don’t know how to handle customer complaints.  Probably because, they don’t get customer complaints and therefore, don’t have anyone trained to deal with such matters.

Perhaps, because my letter was actually addressed to the U.S. corporate offices, this may have been taken a little more seriously by the Taiwan office.  I’m curious, since I did provide a link to the court case from last year, whether the U.S. offices are even aware of what had transpired.

I’ll keep you updated as I receive responses.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!



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2 responses to “June 15, 2012

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