Konga.com and I had a tumultuous three-week relationship.
We broke up.
And now, I’m certain that we are never ever getting back together.
Here’s what happened.
It started with a book, A Handful Of Dust. Yes, that anthology that Farafina published for the creative writing workshop class of 2013. The book is on sale on Konga.com. And my cousin, who stays in the UK, wanted to have a copy. So naturally, the plan became this: I would purchase the book, and his friend who was on a short visit to Nigeria from London would retrieve it from me and get it back to him upon his return abroad.
But I was not to know this at the time.
So I clicked onto Konga.com, opened and account and went about the business of purchasing A Handful Of Dust. Price was N1500, and at the checkout, the total amount I was going to get billed was N2000. I clicked on ‘Pay Upon Delivery’ and signed out. Prompt emails were sent to my email address, informing me of my purchase and the fact that delivery would happen in seven working days, and furnishing me with an order number. It was Monday evening; I was looking at getting the book on Wednesday. All was well with the world.
I am no novice to the art of online shopping, and so I knew that with the approach of the date of delivery, I was supposed to be getting emails alerting me to the imminent delivery. Mails that go with subject tags such as: WALTER, YOUR ORDER HAS BEEN SHIPPED… WALTER, YOUR ORDER IS ON ITS WAY TO YOU… WALTER, IF WE DON’T BRING YOUR ORDER TO YOU, WHO WILL?
I got none of these email alerts. But I waited until Wednesday to call the Konga customer service to know if my order was still on track. The very chirpy girl who took my call took a glance at her monitor and was instantly sorry to let me know that my order was still being processed.
Like, WTF! This was the seventh working day after my purchase and it was still being processed?! However, I didn’t get unduly upset by this news. I took it in stride, and asked what could be done. The chirpy girl told me she’d get to work on processing it. Feeling as though I had to do something to hasten things along, I asked her if I could have the number of whoever would be delivering the item to me. Perhaps I could call him and meet him halfway in obtaining my book from him. She conceded and promptly rattled off the eleven digits for me. The moment I disconnected from her, I called the number. A man answered. When I informed him of my reason for calling, he told me he’d call me back the next morning, that he couldn’t do anything about my order that evening. I didn’t expect any other response, so I conceded.
The next morning, when I recalled that I was supposed to get a call, it was past 10am. Thinking that perhaps the man had forgotten, I called him. He answered and I started again with my case. He interrupted me halfway, to inform me that he was held in traffic, and he’d call me back later in the evening. I didn’t dwell on the issue that entire day, and so it didn’t cross my mind that he didn’t get back to me in the evening.
And Thursday passed.
Friday dawned with my cousin’s reminder that his friend would be leaving Nigeria by the following Monday. So I was determined to get to the bottom of this issue, come rain or shine. I called the man again. I felt a slight sliver of déjà vu run through me as we started again from the beginning: me introducing myself, embarking on the explanation of my issue, and him interrupting me to tell me he’d call me back later.
Oh no, mister! This is not Thursday Walter. This is Friday Walter. And Friday Walter is not going to be so easily brushed aside.
I interrupted him with a sharp reminder that he’d given me the exact same line three times already, and that it had gotten old. He needed to listen to me, and let me know if my problem was what he can fix; if it wasn’t, he’d have to let me know what I could do next. He quickly backpedaled and calmed down to listen to my narrative, from start to finish. Then he told me he’d look into it.
I hung up. Feeling dissatisfied with his response, which seemed a little too pat for me, I called the customer service. It was a male who answered this time. I related my issue to him. He checked up on it and was instantly sorry to let me know that my order was still being processed.
JESUS, GOD OF MARY, MOTHER AND JACOB!
Hadn’t that chirpy girl told me she would fix this? Why was my order still being processed at more than seven working days after purchase? WTF was wrong with all these people! I was starting to get angry, and it leaked into my voice. The man on the other end must have heard it, because he continued with that irritating contriteness, assuring me very profusely that he would get right on this.
I couldn’t deal! I just couldn’t deal with all these ‘I’ll get right on it’! Feeling impatient and wanting to light a fire under someone’s ass, I called the delivery guy once again. When he said ‘Hello’ in that faintly-befuddled, ‘who is this calling’ voice, I knew he hadn’t been doing anything for me. Mining for patience within me, I reminded him of my issue, and he replied with: “Ehen! There is the number of someone I will give you in Konga mall who will settle your case sharp-sharp!”
Unbelievable! Na me buy, na me dey runs make the thing reach me. Since when did I have to do anything other than to relax on my chaise lounge and wait for my order to get to me?
But no shaking o. I asked him for the number of this person in Konga mall, and he said he’d text it to me. It took thirty minutes and three calls, which he screened off, before he texted me an eleven digit number that I called. And I got the mechanical ‘Welcome to Konga dot com, Nigeria’s largest online mall.’ The idiot had given me another customer service number!
Anger of monumental proportions began building up inside me, cresting and crashing inside me like the waves of the Atlantic. I called the customer service with a thinly-restrained desire to draw blood, and it was with sheer effort that I responded civilly when someone answered my call and wanted to know what he could do for me. However, I did not hide my disappointment. I made sure the person I was speaking to knew that I was one customer who wasn’t going to return once my current business with the mall was over and done with. He started again with the apologies. I cut him short with a terse ‘I don’t want an apology. I want some action.’ He promised he’d –
‘Get right on it,’ I finished for him. ‘Yes, I’ve been hearing that a lot these past few hours.’
He added that the customer service would call me back within minutes with a solution, before we disconnected. Feeling disheartened, I carried on with my day. Minutes later, I got a text from Konga, letting me know that I now had a new order number and that my order would be right with me. Feeling marginally better, I resumed with work. Three minutes later, my good mood vanished when the customer service called me. This time, it was another girl. And she told me, very tentatively, that they’d had to cancel my order because of processing issues and that I would have to re-order the book. Feeling the reemergence of my temper, I asked, “And that will mean another seven working days?”
The girl let a pause go by before tentatively saying, “I’m sorry about that, Mr. Walter.”
You know when you get to a position of so much exasperation that you do not even have the energy to get angry anymore, and all you have left is sheer exhaustion? Well, at this point on Friday afternoon, I was exhausted. I didn’t blow up. I didn’t yell. I didn’t cuss. I simply told the girl that I’d get right on with it. She was thanking me for choosing to shop with Konga.com when I disconnected.
I returned to my laptop, and placed the order again.
I wasn’t so panicked about my cousin though, because I had a backup plan. You see, as one of the authors in the anthology, I was going to get a copy from Farafina delivered to me the following day, Saturday. So I figured I’d just send my copy off to my cousin and wait for his to become mine. And so, by Sunday, I met with his friend and gave him an autographed copy (my cousin specifically asked for me to make sure I autograph it, just in case the book’s value appreciates in the event of my – I dunno…death?).
By Monday, he had the book.
Tuesday went by uneventfully.
Wednesday held no such promise.
Of course by Tuesday, I was getting those alert emails I expected to go along with the imminence of an order’s arrival. On Wednesday, I got the email that told me I’d surely be receiving my book that day. But I was up and about outside the office, so I informed a colleague of my business with Konga, and asked him to receive the order for me and pay the delivery person N2000, as stated on my checkout on the site.
I was off on my assignments, when the delivery man called. I told him to go on ahead to my workplace and deliver the item. I told him who to ask for. A few minutes later, my colleague called me to tell me that the charge expected of me was not N2000 but N2250. I was taken aback; that was news to me. My colleague handed his phone over to the delivery man, and he maintained that my bill was N2250 and not N2000.
My dear people of God, what was an upstanding citizen of Nigeria like myself to do next in a situation like this? Is it not to call customer service to verify? Yes? Ok.
So I informed the delivery man of my intent. He agreed and the call was disconnected. And in a call that has placed Konga above my mother as my most frequently dialed number, I got reconnected with the customer service. I queried who I was onto about the extra N250 charge, and he gave me some rote answer about how Konga was making some reviews and looking into increasing the efficiency of its delivery system.
My next question was simply begging to be asked. “How does the increase of your delivery’s efficiency affect the service charge? Explain to me why making your delivery more efficient should cause an increment in the service charge.”
He repeated the answer to me, as though he was a robot programmed to give just that one answer: Konga is doing some reviews and looking to increase the efficiency of its delivery system.
I gave up. I disconnected and called my colleague back to pay the delivery man. But my colleague had a shocker waiting for me. He interrupted me to say, “The delivery man got angry o, and walked away with the book.”
Those words exploded inside my ears like the report of a fired gun. First came shock, and then on its heels was anger, fluid and hot, with a strength that rendered me momentarily speechless. The “What do you mean he got angry and left?” I replied my colleague with came out like a croak. He repeated himself. I ended the call and stood there, slowly coming to terms with the certainty that I was done with Konga.com. ABSOLUTELY AND IRRECOVABLY DONE! This was my first time shopping online with the mall, and I didn’t care about any good testaments they may have had with other customers; this first impression was indelibly etched on my mind. If the exact furniture I need for my future house is found only in Konga mall, I would rather sit on the floor than click onto the website to shop for it.
And they had to know. So, with my temper still running high with the vestiges of my anger, I called the customer service for what I hoped would be the last time, and finally let rip on the unfortunate receiver. I spent a full two minutes venting – the best two minutes of my life! I left the girl flustered and struggling to string together a coherent apology.
Their apologies – Ptueh! I’m so done with that shit!
I hung up, navigated my way to Facebook and proceeded to update the following:
‘I am never ever, ever, ever, EVER shopping with Konga again!
Ever! EVER AGAIN!
Even when I’m dead and gone, my corpse is going to reject being buried in anything shopped from Konga!’
What I forgot to add is:
‘And if anyone should go against the wishes of my corpse and goes ahead to bury me in a Konga product, my ghost will haunt him or her for the rest of their natural lives.’
I am @Walt_Shakes on twitter