Plus - Letters to the editor

Biscuit manufacturer gives crackling good customer service

I recently purchased a packet of Maliban Krisco biscuits at a superstore. On opening the packet a few days later, I found the contents crushed to bits. I took the packet back to the supermarket, but the salespeople said they could do nothing, as it was not their responsibility. Moreover, I did not have the purchase receipt.

I called the customer feedback service number given on the packet. The response came as a pleasant surprise. Within minutes, representatives of Maliban Manufactories called over. Not only did they address my complaint, they replaced the damaged packet with a fresh one. I was most impressed, and grateful.

Maliban customer service could teach a thing or two to the customer service of other commercial enterprises. I had quite a different experience with one of our bakery outlets. Their products are quite up to standard and, as I found out, very hygienically prepared. Naturally, lots of our neighbours patronise this bakery. Then started a rival bakery service that offered home delivery, with three-wheelers coming to the front gate.

Not to be outdone, the other bakery started a delivery service, and with much fanfare. Consumers were pleased, but the service did not last long. Some days the delivery van failed to turn up, and on such days it was usually too late to buy bakery products at other outlets. When I rang up the neighbourhood sales outlet, an irate female voice said she was not responsible for employees taking leave, and slammed the receiver.

I wonder what the Consumer Protection Authority has to say about this. Do they have any control over customer service too?

Thank You, Maliban, for your excellent service.

Ms. M. A. Ferdinand

Sigiriya: Why this special treatment for some visitors?

The December vacation was exciting for my three children. They wanted to explore the ancient capital, Polonnaruwa, and climb to the top of the rock fortress, Sigiriya.

We set out from Giritale at about 9 am and took the jungle route in the hope of arriving at the Rock in one hour. At the turn to Sigiriya, we asked villagers in the area to give us exact directions. The routes have changed since our last visit. There has been much road and infrastructure development in the area, as in most parts of the country.

Foreign tourists at the site. (File pic)

We were given directions to a “vehicle park for locals”. We were told that “sudhdhanta witharai mahattaya gala pamulata ethulu wenna dhenne” (only foreigners are allowed to take vehicles up to the entry point). Five years ago, when we visited the site, we were able to go straight to the entrance to Sigiriya, without any hindrance.

We drove a few kilometres to the so-called vehicle park. There was a pathway through the jungle. Local tourists have to walk a distance of three kilometres to reach the entrance to Sigiriya. As we had a three-year-old and a five-year-old on our hands, we decided to try our luck at the other entrance.

We drove another several kilometres and found the Sigiriya entrance allocated to foreigners. We told the security guards that we had come by car rather than on foot because we had very young children with us. The security guards flatly refused to let us proceed.

Finally, we decided to take the challenge and go on foot. This would serve as a warm-up for the big climb. It was now almost noon. Only my little son grumbled. The rest of the family was very cheerful throughout the jungle trek.

I was glad we took the rough route. Most of the local tourists walking with us were average citizens, from humble backgrounds and rural areas. There were small children, elderly people, and some even walking barefoot. We saw no one who could be described as a “westernized” Colombo type. This confirmed our suspicion that there was another route to the ticket counter, or that there was some “funny business” going on at the “foreigners only” entrance.

On reaching the ticket counter, we saw a number of vehicles that looked like they were carrying VIPs, or affluent types, and these vehicles were allowed through the gateway. The guard at the entrance to the fortress asked to see our IDs. I asked him why, and his reply was that we “looked like foreigners.”
All Sri Lankans – regardless of caste, creed, race, or social class – should be treated fairly and as equals. This is our cultural heritage, and the children of Sri Lanka hold a birthright to these places.

We are proud citizens of Sri Lanka and that is how we want to be recognised, whether we are in Sri Lanka or overseas.

Dr. Samanmali Sumanasena, Colombo 7

Two-day weekend should be enjoyed by all

In February, the majority of employees enjoyed 12 non-working days. And because some holidays fell on a Saturday and Sunday, an additional half-day or full day was granted. There were only 17 days working days in February.

Sri Lanka is a developing country, and we cannot afford to have too many non-working days. Using its two-thirds majority powers, the government should reduce the number of non-working days. The weekend should be adequate for those who wish to engage in religious or ceremonial observances.

The Saturday half-day should be abolished and Saturday should be a full holiday for the mercantile sector. Making Saturday a non-working day would save on transport and other costs. The two-day weekend will generate goodwill in the working people and increase output. Of course, the two-day weekend cannot apply to shops, hotels, bakeries, pharmacies, supermarkets and other such private sector institutions.

Amor Patriae

Flyover a must for Panadura

Panadura Town is heavily congested with vehicular traffic, especially at peak hours, at the Clock Tower junction where two trunk roads meet, the Colombo-Galle Road and the Panadura-Ratnapura/Balangoda Road. Rows and rows of vehicles of all types crowd these two roads, causing traffic jams and inconveniencing road users.

Former Minister of Highways, the late Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, laid the foundation stone for a flyover five years ago. For some reason or other, work did not proceed, and there is still no flyover.

The volume of vehicles and vehicle users has increased dramatically over the years since the foundation stone was laid. Work on the flyover should re-commence as early as possible.

Vivian Fernando, Panadura

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