Friday, 18 April 2008

My Two Cents About Connex - Posted for Cam

I thought I'd also throw my two cents worth in with the latest incident that has occurred with Connex officers bashing a passenger.

What does one expect if you hire staff that have delusions of grandeur?! Not once have I ever been spoken to by a Connex officer in a polite manner, and I don't expect to now that you've hired a pack of thugs, who probably didn’t even complete basic education. Just because you wear a trench coat and have a plastic badge doesn't give you the right to take the law into your own hands like your auditioning for the show COPS. Surely by hanging around in packs of 3-5 is patronising enough without the need to wear army boots and other apparel likened to a battlefield. Perhaps you’ve forgotten who pays their wages…

Can Connex do anything right this year?.....I really doubt it. Soon I’ll have to wear a flak jacket and battle armour to get to work unharmed.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Yarra Bend Golf club and no refund policy

Not a particlarly harsh complaint but a worthy cause. This is one I really do want to work!!!

To whom it may concern,

I have enjoyed your golf course for a number of years now and have just recently played a round there with a couple of associates. The date I played was Sunday the 6th of April. I called initially on the Friday to book in and was advised that you required payment by close of business the next day which I thought was fair enough.
When asked how many would be playing I stated that it should be a foursome but possibly three as I was having difficulty contacting one person to confirm. The clerk then advised me that I could just book for three and if the fourth was to join us that all would be fine and he would be able to tee off with us. At that particular point in time I was almost completely sure that we would have a foursome, so to avoid any trouble, I decided to book for four.
Before close of business on Saturday I called and made the payment for all four and also managed to get an earlier tee off time due to others cancelling which was great. Unfortunately though, one of our group fell ill the night before and was unable to join us for the round and we had little or no time to offer his spot to anyone else. Either way, the three of us left were still happy to play our round and we proceeded to the course.
However, upon arriving and informing you that we only had three it was made known to us that the green fee for the fourth would not be returned. I find this extremely hard to swallow. I do not see why we should have to pay and extra $25 for nothing!!! I also do not see why this was never mentioned when I initially booked? Had I have known I would never have agreed to book for that many just in case something went wrong, as it did. Further more, when asking for the refund, the clerk advised me that to get it returned, we had to give them one days notice. This was a completely ridiculous statement due to the fact that it was impossible for us to do that as the fourth in our group pulled out that morning. Needless to say, our hands were tied.
I find this extremely unfair, not to mention a rip off and excessively bad customer service. I cannot see myself (or my golfing partners) playing at this course ever again simply due to this situation. It does not make sense to me why this should be occurring. I would be more understanding if all of us pulled out and you did not refund or gave us a cancellation fee, but for one person out of our group? Come on. And again, if we had of been advised of this I would simply have booked for three.
As a result, my friends and I have had to wear the extra cost and due to this inauspicious situation, played a round of golf which was not very enjoyable. As I stated before, I will not be frequenting your course any longer unless something is done to rectify this problem as I believe it is grossly unfair and a shocking way to treat your customers.
Any type of response to this would be greatly appreciated.

Yours regrettably,
Ross Hughes.

Gloria Jeans and Mercy Ministries part 3

This is part 3.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

So this is a final response to Gloria Jeans. I don't expect a response back - Jean's have already indicated that they're not going to move on this.

I was absolutely mystified by the repeated Hillsong references - while I already know the nature of their Hillsong links (their founders Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine are prominent members of this church and Saleh appears as a listed Elder on their website) it wasn't what I was complaining about.

Having said that, it wasn't beneath me to bag Hillsong in my email.

Dear Dianne,

Thank you for replying to my email.

I must admit to some confusion reading your email, and some anger as well, as it did appear to me that you cut and pasted a standard prepared statement that had minimal relevance to the email that I originally sent.

For example, you initially started by referring to Hillsong Church, which I did not refer to in my email. I should perhaps clarify that I am happy with Gloria Jean's statements up to this point regarding links, or lack thereof to Hillsong. I should further remind you that Hillsong was not the subject of my email - Mercy Ministries was.

The rest of your email appeared to be irrelevant guff, referring only obliquely to the points that I raised about your sponsorship arrangement with Mercy Ministries.

Somewhat strangely, you referred me back to the media statement made by Mercy Ministries which I will remind you, made me quite angry due to the fact that it, and I'll quote myself here, "doesn’t even contain a shred of sympathy for the women in question, nor does it suggest any action that the centre will take to ensure that such mistreatment doesn’t happen again."

Part way through this, you point out that you will only take action after due diligence has been undertaken. Dianne, organisations such as Bunnings, Rebel Sport and LG Electronics promptly cut off the organisation the next day after the allegations surfaced, and while everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence, the fact that so many organisations have terminated their sponsorship arrangements suggests that your due diligence process is either deficient, or wilfully ignorant. Indeed, the loss of corporate sponsors appears so embarrassing for Mercy Ministries that they have deleted all mention of who their sponsors are from their website.

Then for no apparent reason, you mention Hillsong Church again, once again denying links with this church.

I'm reminded of a popular misquote from William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." I don't mean to sound blunt but I don't really care what kind of (non-)relationship you have with Hillsong Church, although for some reason, Hillsong reminds me of the goings on in a Californian church called Peoples' Temple, before their leader, Rev Jim Jones packed everyone up and moved to Guyana in South America. I'm sure that you don't need me to remind you how successful that turned out to be.

If I might quote you from the end of the email:

"The religious affiliation of our management, staff, Franchise Partners, charity partners has absolutely no relevance to how we operate our company."

If this is truly the case, then you will have absolutely no problems terminating your sposorship arrangement with Mercy Ministries forthwith. I expect that this is all talk but this much is clear: the ball is firmly in your court.

I would like to add to my initial complaint that I am unhappy that you chose to respond to my initial complaint with a prepared media statement bearing minimal relevance to my listed queries.

Yours sincerely, Dikkii.

So I'm going to completely avoid Jean's for my coffee requirements. I think you'll agree that I'm fully justified.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Gloria Jeans and Mercy Ministries part 2

This is part 2.

Part 1 is here.

I received a response to my complaint to Gloria Jeans. It's maddening to note that it's a standard response by numbers press release type thing that doesn't even address the points that I raised or the question that I was after an answer to.

I'll type a response a little later on. In the meantime, here is Hillsong's sorry, Gloria Jean's response:

Dear Dikkii,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We are deeply concerned with the recent media coverage related to our sponsorship of Mercy Ministries and association with the Hillsong Church and feel it is not reflective of what our business is all about.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a company built on family and community values with the vision: “To be the most loved and respected coffee company in the World.”

Our responsibility is to our Franchise Partners and our guests.

We are not religiously affiliated, or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences. We are non-discriminatory and accept staff, franchise partners and guests from all walks of life.

We believe as a truly responsible corporate citizen, that we should have a positive impact on the communities from were we source our coffee and the communities we serve. Our values include: “Belief in people, building and changing lives”.

Our sponsorship of many international and local charities including Mercy Ministries is based on giving back to the communities who have helped us become the brand we are today, there are no hidden agendas.

We assessed Mercy Ministries along with many other potential charity partners several years ago now and found that their work transforming the lives of young women in crisis was a good fit with our vision, mission and values.

Our corporate donations amount to approximately $150,000 – $170,000 per annum plus the donations made by the public through the money boxes in stores.

Since then we have seen many young women’s lives transformed for the better. We have regularly visited Mercy Ministries homes to meet with the residents.

All our Franchise Partners in Australia have the opportunity to do this as well as all our Master Franchise Partners from the 29 other countries in which we serve coffee. We have several Mercy Ministries graduates working in and making a positive contribution to Gloria Jean’s Coffees both in our stores and support office.

We have been in direct discussion with Mercy Ministries and we will be working with them to understand what elements of their program could have given rise to these very concerning claims. We would encourage any member of the public that is concerned to review their response to these allegations on their website at

Many of the issues facing these young women are not easily fixed. While the vast majority of young women succeed in the program, there are those few for which this program is not the answer. Clearly they have the right to give their views.

We believe this however should not outweigh the positive impact Mercy Ministries has had on the lives of many young women. By removing our sponsorship without due diligence, we would be removing our support for the many young women dealing with eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, abuse and other life controlling issues that are in desperate need for help to turn their lives around.

We have no relationship with the Hillsong Church. Gloria Jean’s Coffees is an Australian-owned private company and there are no financial or legal ties between Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Hillsong Church. This remains unchanged.

The religious affiliation of our management, staff, Franchise Partners, charity partners has absolutely no relevance to how we operate our company. Our responsibility is to our Franchise Partners, our guests and the quality of our coffee.

Thank you for your concern, we really do take your thoughts & feelings to heart in trying to ensure we serve you in the best way possible and in our journey to become the most loved & respected coffee house worldwide.

Yours faithfully,

Dianne Baise Guest
Relations Officer

Gloria Jean’s Coffees

I may even blaze away at them with a fisking, but I'm undecided, yet.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Gloria Jeans and Mercy Ministries

Like most Australians, I was pretty disgusted with the whole Mercy Ministries saga. If you haven't read about it yet, I've stuck links into my complaint down below.

It's good to see that their corporate sponsorship has dried up. However, and this is hardly surprising, Gloria Jeans have indicated that they will not be changing their sponsorship arrangements. So I will not be having another delicious white chocolate caramellatte from them until they rectify this.

(Although in fairness, I usually get my coffees from the cafe at the foot of the building where I work, anyway. I can't recall the last time I went to Jeans', Hudson's or Starbuck's)

Here's the complaint I sent them:

To whom it may concern,

I have been following the Mercy Ministries story closely. It is a sad and harrowing tale involving weird cult-like activity and some disgraceful treatment in a facility which purports to help young women suffering “the effects of eating disorders, self harm, abuse, depression, unplanned pregnancies and other life controlling issues”.

Like most Australians, I was shocked and horrified by the goings on at the centre on the Sunshine Coast as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 March 2008
( . I was even more amazed at the media response posted on their website
( accessed 1 April 2008 at 13:26) which doesn’t even contain a shred of sympathy for the women in question, nor does it suggest any action that the centre will take to ensure that such mistreatment doesn’t happen again.

So I was pleased when I read in The Age on 18 March 2008
( that most of Mercy Ministries’ corporate sponsors had cut all ties with the centre.

Most but not all. In that same article, it reported that Gloria Jeans would not be terminating its sponsorship and would in fact not even be changing their sponsorship arrangement. I understand that this article is dated 18 March, so things may have changed since then.

However, I still notice that Mercy Ministries appears on your corporate website, which I am taking as evidence to suggest that Gloria Jeans is not only still associated with the organisation, but has continued to support Mercy Ministries in an undiminished capacity.

Given the above paragraph, I wish to strongly complain, and would like to know when Gloria Jeans will be terminating their arrangement with Mercy Ministries.

Yours sincerely,


Just simply disgraceful.