Justice is served

Last week I took 20 mins of my precious time to write the below angry email to HongKong Post (the government postal service in Hong Kong) because of a HK$1.7 (US$0.21) stamp. Some Facebook friend said it wasn’t worth my time. I know it’s just HK$1.7. You can’t even buy a can of coke with it, but I didn’t do it for the money. I did it because I have this fire burning inside me. It is definitely more sensible to just let it go, but if I let injustice slide, I would not be honouring who I am. I will not be mistaken for a person who takes random shit.

Read on:

To whom it may concern,

I’d like to formally lodge a complaint to Hong Kong Post regarding the ill-designed stamp machine 177.

At 1pm on Feb 27, I attempted to buy a $1.7 stamp with exact change from the said machine located in Ocean Terminal. After I had inserted the exact change ($1, 50 cents and 20 cents), I realized the $1.7 stamps were sold out from both slots. I tried to press the “press for change” button, but nothing came out. Without any extra change at the moment, I could not use the credit to purchase a $3.7 stamp for future use. I literally had to walk away from the machine and give the $1.7 credit to the next person who uses it.

I think this is a major design flaw of the machine. Granted, $1.7 is peanuts in terms of its monetary value, but it is my hard earned money no less. I feel cheated in this situation, and I hereby demand Hong Kong Post to make amends and give me back the money I rightfully deserve.

Please find the attached photos of the said machine. If you need any additional information, feel free to call me at (number).

Nicky English

I even attached these photos as evidence.

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Fast forward to today, I got a phone call from a very well-spoken lady who is the head of the post district in charge of that machine. She apologized for the “stupid” design of the machine (in her words) and said it was their bad to not have refilled the stamps early enough. If it ever happens again, I could call her directly for personal assistance. She offered me a HK$1.7 cash refund, which I’ll have to collect in person at the post office, or a HK$1.7 stamp which could be mailed to me. Not willing to waste anymore of my precious time to go to the post office, I chose the latter. She even offered to mail the stamp using registered mail, which I turned down because that’s just a waste of taxpayer’s money.

Honestly, I don’t think she would have taken my complaint so seriously had I not written such a well-worded and well-documented letter. I’ve learned this from Singaporean customers at work. Unlike us Hong Kongers who only know how to throw tantrums, Singaporeans lodge compelling and reasonable complaints, and you can always tell that they are looking for justice, not merely monetary compensations.

To cynics, what I’ve done is an absolute waste of time which could be been used for more “productive purposes”. To me, it’s a personal victory. When I wrote the letter, I didn’t think they would resolve it so efficiently, but I felt obliged to at least fight for what I think was right.

When I was in my final semester of my master’s, I had the worst lecturer on Earth. He was the least responsible teacher I had ever seen. He literally graded us randomly. He gave me a B- for that course. I had NEVER gotten a B- in college or grad school (I had like, two full B’s, everything else was B+ or above). I knew that even with that B-, I’d still win the most prestigious scholarship of the entire program, but I still went ahead and lodged a complain to the program director. They later on revised my grade to a B+, which was still unsatisfactory in my opinion, but if I wanted to further appeal, I would need to wait another year to graduate. Weighing the practicality against my ego, I decided to accept and still managed to graduate with the second highest GPA in the class of 150 students that year. I know I should have been first. I wasn’t the happiest, but I was still proud. Unlike some of my other classmates who chalked that class off as bad luck, I actually fought for what I deserved.

That experience has taught me attempts don’t always result in success, and we don’t always get what we want, but I will never be the one to go down without a good fight!


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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