Samsung and Doctors and fast paced Korea - 83
There is a feeling in Korea from Koreans, that Korea is a very fast-paced society. For this reason, a question I was often asked in English classes was if I felt, as a Westerner, that Korea was indeed a fast-paced society. My answer was always that after many varying experiences over the course of two years, I feel that it is very fast paced AND it is very slow paced. In many situations in Korea, things really do happen fast and this can sometimes mean great service for example and other times it creates very poor service. Let me give you two prime examples from my own experience.
At the beginning of 2004, it was necessary to call Samsung after my laptop become unusable for what turned out to be an error on my part. I do not have any interest in promoting any particular company and I have no shares in Samsung, but it is only right that I say, in all honesty, that my experiences with them have been brilliant.
My laptop stopped working, so I called Samsung and they came to my office and collected the laptop the same day. (When I was in Ireland in a similar situation with a Compaq laptop, I had to take the laptop to them and they told me to collect it after another 6 working days). Samsung had the laptop fixed within 48 hours and they delivered it back to me and the cost was very minimal. Maybe Compaq if it had been in Korea, would also have been as efficient. I cannot say, but I do know that Samsung technical support in this instance was outstanding, with things happening fast.
Move forward four months to the middle of 2004, and my girlfriend Valeria is having serious problems swallowing food and has a badly swollen throat – the throat extremely irritable and painful. A visit to a Korea doctor (who speaks perfect English after studying for several years in the U.S. and Britain) and Valeria is in and out of the doctor’s office within two minutes. Having taken her into the doctor’s office and sat with her when seeing the doctor (to act as her voice because she was unable to speak), I witnessed the doctor speeding to an instant diagnosis of a ‘throat infection’.
Even when she could not lift her mouth open for the doctor to look at the tonsils, he did not consider the idea that something more serious might be the problem. The antibiotics she took for the next 24 hours turned out to do nothing and it became clear that her health was deteriorating by the day. A trip back to the doctor the next day and an x-ray showed that Valeria had the beginning of ‘Pneumonia’ - Pneumonia as I am sure you are aware, can be life threatening. Every time, even before that visit to the doctor, I had gone home and complained to Valeria that he was always in too much of a hurry; even for a private doctor. I understand that time is money and that it is necessary to try and get as many people through the door as possible. It is not easy to find an English-speaking doctor in Seoul; hence I had continued to use his surgery.