Mainfreight . . . My Heroes!

Who else but Mainfreight goes to this degree of effort to pad up a used boardroom table?

Is Mainfreight a pretty special company, or what?

A company with the ultimate “can do” ethos, Mainfreight continues to get a thumbs up all the way from this customer.

A couple of months ago, I needed a newly-imported, super-sized, delicate electronic printer whiteboard to make its way from a small town in the North Island, to my new videoconferencing studio in the lower half of the South Island.

The catch was I needed it to get from Point A to Point B . . . overnight. For which it had to go from said small east coast town in the North Island, up to Auckland, back down to the interisland ferry and across Cook Strait, and on down towards the bottom of the South Island . . . all within 24 hours.

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Supplier of the Month (Decade?)


I’ve written a good number of glowing articles about great companies giving awesome service, but this one takes the cake.

Heartbreakingly, today, I broke the exquisite and rare art deco glass pane in the front door of my 1936 villa.

Now, I live in a regional town where, for some reason, reliable tradies that give timely service can be as rare as my broken art deco glass pane . . . and when you get a good supplier on your team, you do everything in your power to keep him there.

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Spark! This Is A Totally Unworkable Situation for Anyone


The service standards at “Spark” – New Zealand’s not-so-aptly named national telecommunications provider – continue their downward spiral.

Last week I received an account showing an overdue amount . . . an amount I’d already, in fact, paid.

At the same time, I received another account from Spark . . . an account saying, “no need to pay anything”, and showing a credit for the amount I’d paid.

Two invoices: One showing an overdue amount, and one in credit for the same amount.

So today I bite the bullet at what I expect will be the normal unnecessarily lengthy and frustrating exercise New Zealanders have come to expect from their not overly sparky telco.

On my first attempt, after the usual round of ads for phone apps etc, I was directed by an automated voice message to “request a call back”. I did, and was mechanically advised that I would “receive a call back later today”. No indication of whether said call-back might be within five minutes or five hours.

So – let’s think about this. That means I have to stay within earshot of the phone, and stay off it, for the rest of the day, in hopeful wait for the “call back”.

Not an option, as far as I’m concerned. So I decided to see what would happen if I tried the 123 “customer service” (the broadest possible definition thereof) again.

This time, as you’ll hear from the recording, there was no call-back option offered. I was just put straight on hold. But . . . this time, an expected timeframe was given: “Current hold time is greater than two hours.”

So . . . let’s get this right: Spark’s management thinks Spark’s customers have nothing better to do than sit on hold for “more than two hours” (and, precisely how much longer than two hours would that be?) in the hope that someone will finally answer their call.

Is it just me, or do other phone users have something better to do with their Monday afternoon than sit with their phone to their ear listening to banal on-hold music for some period “greater than two hours”?

Spark Management, What Gives?

What gives, Spark top brass? Would it be perfectly OK in your world, if you were made to sit for a period “greater than two hours” in your offices, with your phone to your ear, able to do nothing with the rest of your work day than listen to someone else’s choice of music? To say nothing of the fact that – for a cell phone user – there are health implications associated with sitting with a microwave-emitting device stuck to the side of one’s head for 2+ hours?

PS:  I finally got a “call-back” from the first exercise. It came approximately six hours after the request.


When the Ultimate Commodity Purchase
Becomes An Awesome Experience

Question: When is a shipping container not just a shipping container?

Answer: When it comes with the extraordinary service levels of Dunedin’s Royal Wolf sales office.

Recently I’ve been experiencing a home and office storage crisis. Earlier this week, I decided to solve it with the purchase of a 20-foot shipping container.

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Remember the Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Next Time You’re In A Quandary


This is a “shout out” to remember the existence of a fabulous, no-cost service available to any member of the New Zealand public seeking an authoritative pointer in the direction of the correct service, information, Government department, or put-it-right strategy.

I recently became aware of just how valuable this great force of volunteers can be, when I came across an elderly lady in my neighbourhood who had (in my opinion) been, to put it somewhat euphemistically, the victim of a lack of follow-through and concern on the part of certain parties benefiting from her recent purchase of a retirement unit.

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The Best Soy Milk
I’ve Ever Bought


A decades-long search for a decent-tasting soy milk that isn’t full of added sugar, artificial flavourings and other crap (sorry, no other word for it) has ended . . . successfully.

In the most unexpected of places – a Four Square store in deepest rural New Zealand – I stumbled across the Pure Harvest brand of organic soy milk: the yummiest, purest, most reasonably-priced of all soy milks I’ve tried. And I’ve just about tried them all.

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Allied Pickfords . . .
The Not-Quite-So ‘Careful Movers’

This article will prompt you to be very, very careful the next time you select an international removalist.
After a brief but enjoyable stint in Brisbane, I returned to New Zealand in November of last year . . . making the regrettable choice of selecting Allied Pickfords to pack and ship my effects back across the ditch.
‘Tell Us the Three Most Important Things About Your Move’

Export packing and shipping. . . Allied Pickfords-style

  • For readers following this unfolding story, here’s the latest update, hot off the press. After ignoring all my communications for a full month, I finally provoked a “response”. Well, sort of. More the response you get when you’re not getting one.

This article will prompt you to be very, very careful the next time you select an international removalist.

After a brief but enjoyable stint in Brisbane, I returned to New Zealand in November of last year . . . making the regrettable choice of selecting Allied Pickfords to pack and ship my effects back across the ditch.

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House Removal Disaster:

How to Make A Bad Situation A Whole Lot Worse

After ignoring all my communications for a month, I finally provoked a “response” from Allied Pickfords.

Well, more the response you get when you’re not getting one.

This (the receipt of an insurance claim form template and a two-sentence covering email), came either as a result of:

(a)  My phoning and emailing around half of the Australian branches of Allied Pickfords and a handful of New Zealand branches asking them to forward my communication to “someone who cared”, or

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Hiding Big Brother:

Southern Cross Puts Positive Spin
on Reduction of Choice

If you’re a suitably cynical and sharp-minded consumer, you’ll have noticed the tendency of medical insurance companies to send out a happy, cheery, positive letter/newsletter whenever they want to announce something that isn’t actually so cheery at all. (Premium rise announcements typically take this thinly-disguised form.)

Last week, Southern Cross Health Society, New Zealand’s most-recognised, “household name” medical insurance provider, of which I am a policyholder, sent me a letter.

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