My time in Japan was great. But in some ways, it was too good and left me disillusioned upon returning to Oz. For one thing, their public transport is never late, whereas in Melbourne train delays and cancellations are liable to get you late to work at least once a week. Perhaps the most pervasive difference between living in Japan and Australia is the quality of customer service across all industries. I’d always known this of course but never was it more pronounced when, upon returning to Melbourne airport, I had to wait about 5 minutes to get served at the lunch bar and when I did eventually make it to the counter, I was given the wrong sandwich. The waitress was apathetic and unapologetic about the error and rudely told me to step aside. I realised then that I’d have some readjusting to do.
One thing I can say to Melbourne’s credit though, is that quality is good when it comes to airport transfers. Melbourne airport has taxi ranks and areas where you can hire private pickups. I was expecting to be greeted by an rough and unkempt chauffeur, whose lackadaisical driving was sure to get me to my appointment late. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when the chauffeur looked neat and conducted himself with professionalism. This city has so many things to offer in terms of arts and culture, if only they could catch up to civilisation when it comes to customer service, especially when it comes to public transport and hospitality. On the other hand, I’m definitely going to find out the name of the company that did my airport transfer, because I’m getting married in december and I need a reliable services on that day more than any other. I can’t say I’ve had any other experience with wedding limo hire, Melbourne has a few companies and they may all be decent for all I know. But wedding days are not days you want to be gambling with fate. It’s just really sad that I have to consider the likelihood of things going wrongs – it should be automatic that I can expect things to go smoothly for services that I’m paying good money for, just like you can expect impeccable service in Japan every time.