December 29, 2011

Complain Complain Complain

That’s what I do these days. Well ok, I have always complained about one thing or the other at any given time (the reason I have this blog) but I think I have even more complains in UK than in US. As a friend put it loosely for me:

“If you are moving from India to UK, you are moving from a developing country to a developed country but if you are moving from US to UK, its like moving from a developed country to a developing country.”

Ok not entirely true, but it does come close. My biggest complains in UK: snobbery and customer service.

The entire world complain about American being rude, blah, blunt and loud but seriously, I have never been treated so badly anywhere in US. My bank in US treated me so well even when I was a student and didn’t have enough money. In UK the bank which has my salary account treats me like dirt. I am the one saying all please and Thank you’s, crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s while they send me bulleted emails about things I should send them without any hi or hello or even an acknowledgement. I am their customer and not their employee, for heaven’s sake! So much for being prim and proper in England.

Don’t even get me started with the help lines. Do you know you have to actually pay to talk to a customer service representative? And the average wait time to reach a customer service representative is same, if not longer. My BP rises every time I need to call one of those numbers. Okay, I have got a plan on my mobile according to which I am only charged for my mobile minutes when I call them and not their ridiculous charges but my BP still rises every time I call them. Its just so unfair! Its not my fault that I need to call them. In most cases its their fault or their requirement (as in activating the credit card etc.) that I need to call those numbers and then I am charged for it! Seriously? Forget about the quality of service provided. I am already seething by the time I am connected to an actual person. Its not about the amount of money I have to pay but the indignation over the system. I don’t think I will ever be okay with this system. Call me spoiled American if you like.

And then once in a while you meet the famous British snobs. I had misfortune of sitting next to one such English gentleman in the flight from Houston to London. Unfortunately, I had the middle seat in the flight. This “gentleman” deemed it proper to dump all the stuff from his seat (pillow, blanket etc.) to my seat without asking me first or saying Thank you after. Then the stewardess gave me his breakfast while he was sleeping and he didn’t even as much give a smile, forget about Thank you, for keeping it for him. And then they have the audacity to tell me that Americans are rude. Seriously? (Ironically, on my other side was an old French lady who was friendly and polite).

Going off topic a bit, Why do all the women in London wants to look 25 regardless of their age. No seriously, why? The teenagers want to look 25 and women in their 50s want to look 25. How can everyone in a city be 25? What’s so bad about being young or being old? Me thinks London is as bad as, if not worse than, LA in that respect. Well, judging by what I know about the two cities. 

I have never lived in New York but I think Londoners are as bad as, if not worse than, New Yorkers when it comes to brand name obsession. I have never understood that obsession. May be its just my upbringing. I am still an Indian middle class girl who can’t accept throwing money on things you don’t need, and definitely not for sake of brand names. I have perfectly good bag that serves its purpose. I don’t want Louis Vuitton and such. I will be actually scared of owning anything like that since they are so ridiculously expensive. I will keep them in a safe place and continue using the one I have. Don’t take me wrong, I do appreciate quality and will like to have a good quality product but not necessarily an acknowledged brand name. But then, of course, I have to deal with the fashion snobbery for my choices. (Did I mention I miss US? Well, I do. Big time).

At times, I feel like I am trapped in a shallow, arrogant, rude, gossiping society. Thankfully, I do have a nice set of friends in London so I am getting along. Hopefully I will settle down soon and start accepting the life in UK. I will stop complaining so much eventually. After all, I didn’t like US during my first six months there (I didn’t have a credit history or a car back then. If you know US, you would know how difficult it is to survive in US without either). But for now, I don’t like London.


  1. I think once one gets 'into' a system ... it takes some time to get out of it. I heard some similar problems from a friend who moved from London to US and one from Germany to London :)

  2. Hah! I understand a lot of where you're coming from. When I moved here from the US I had a lot of the same reactions. It takes time, but you will begin to accept and even like and sometimes LOVE the differences between the US and UK.

    I do disagree about the snobbery and arrogance, though. I've lived here for a total of 7 years and people are just as nice or not nice as they are in other places.

    Customer service is pretty crappy. Get used to it!

    Join 'First Direct'. They are an amazing bank. Even better than an American bank. :)

  3. Oh...I always knew the stereotype of the English being snobs but I really didn't think it extended to customer service and all those areas! I hate banks and think they rort us but I must say the banks here have great customer service. And the flight experience sounds appalling...where are the manners? Sigh. Well, hopefully, things will get better. Hope you have a great 2012 and looking forward to more updates... :)

  4. Guess you are right. Every place has its good and bad. May be more places you have lived in, easier it will become to adjust to new place. May be next move will be easier than this one..

  5. I agree. Somethings are definitely better than US. I no longer have to listen to the republican Presidential candidate debates and feel appalled how can anyone in their right mind elect any of them as a  candidate for the world's most powerful position! At least, I am no longer part of that country where they have Santorum or Palin or Bachmann. Politics in UK might be bad as well but not to the level of US. 

    Not sure any other bank except the one recommended by my company will let me open an account with them at this stage. I have absolutely no credit history here and very little money. Its hard to start from scratch. I had such a nice credit history in US :(

  6. Thanks PB! Am hoping too. After 2011 where nothing ever worked out in my favor I am really hoping for a better 2012. 

    Hopefully I will get adjusted in my new environment soon...