Pencilling STA Travel in my bad books

I woke up yesterday with my game face on. Well, I say game face. It was more of a sleepy ‘what time is it?’ expression. But after that and a cold shower (not intentional, this hostel is just real bad) my determined look was there.

11am was the job introduction presentation, 1-to-1 CV meeting, and time to discuss about New Zealand bank accounts. It was a day to get all the crappy boring stuff out of the way.

Or so I thought.

The word STA Travel were pencilled in my bad books before this due to a previous incident. You see, with the “full monty” package I was sold, the agent (is that what you call people working in Travel agents?) sold it to me by explaining how it comes with a pass to go to the top of the Sky Tower and see the views, go on a 1.5 hour cruise around the harbour along with a few other things.

Before I asked how do I get the voucher my agent stated “it’ll all be sorted out there” and if I had any trouble then to visit the STA Travel in Auckland and they will sort it out.

So the time had come and I was ready to collect my Sky Tower coupon. Luckily, the STA Travel in Auckland was right near my hostel. I walked in and spoke to an English girl who informed me that she had spoken to a few people about the same thing and that I’d just take my STA printout to the Sky Tower to get access.

Off I went, looking forward to my visit making sure I had full battery on my bridge camera to get the 10 minutes of battery life out of it while I was overlooking Auckland from above.

I handed my ticket over at the Sky Tower box office to a very confused lady. She stated that she had no idea what it was. Even the words STA Travel seemed alien to her. She called over another employee who seemed just as confused. Then came the manager.

I was there patiently waiting for a good 15 minutes when I was told that because it wasn’t an official ticket they wasn’t sure what to do. I explained where and how I got it which the manager then stepped to the side. She rang the number suggested and they said to her they didn’t know anything about it. She then rang STA Travel in Covent Garden who told her to ring STA in Auckland.

I had mentioned to the manager that they were the ones who said to come to the Sky Tower which baffled her even more. Once she was on the phone to the Auckland branch they didn’t quite know what to say other than for me to go back and see them.

So I did. And what was there response I hear you ask?

“Since it’s not a deal we do over here there is nothing we can really do.”

Erm….say whaaaaaat!?!

What happened to the “if you have any problems, just pop into an STA Travel whilst over there and they will sort you out.”?

After going back and forth I then decided to ask the help desk at the hostel to see if they could help. According to them they didn’t know anything about the offer. There seems to be a theme here.

Finally,  I emailed STA at Covent Garden about the Sky Tower and also about the cruise. Due to the time difference I woke up the next morning to this as a reply…

“That cruise is part of your Base package [the hostel] so it will be the hostel who sort it out for you.”

I give up.

So back to my original reflection of the day. I’m so sorry for that massive side story, I’m sure I’ve bored you to tears with my little rant so I’ll keep this next bit short and sweet.

The 30 minute presentation was the woman plugging all the companies that most likely pay them.

“go here to get a free drink…need a hostel elsewhere,there will be a Base there too…go to our bar and get this…”

About 5 minutes of the presentation was about CV’s where she asked the small audience if anyone knew what a cover letter was. Seriously this actually happened. The only type of jobs mentioned were hospitality options, retail, working in remote farms and fund raising. That’s all well and good but what about the people looking for careers?

I was sat next to a girl who is a qualified teacher, how does this help her?

The help with setting up a bank account was the presenter bigging’ up this certain bank who our bank account would be with. So, is that another commission award for signing people up to this particular bank? What are the banking options I have with other banks?

I got talking to a couple from Manchester who were also in my dorm and they were feeling the same way so I’m glad it wasn’t me being cynical.

It just felt like all these companies have signed one massive agreement and get paid an absolute load for every sucker that signs up. There seems to be no genuine desire to help you on a personal level, which is a shame after paying so much to STA Travel.

Paying for something anyone at the hostel could have sat in on and paying for a deal that even it’s own company doesn’t know about.


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