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Well folks, after the disaster that was Wet n Wild’s woeful website last week, we decided to take a different tack to part with our money.

Yes it was brave. But we prepared well. I made coffee and cut Christmas cake, then my bride rang Wet n Wild and stayed on hold!!!

And stayed on hold…

And stayed on hold…

And stayed on hold…

For 65+ minutes she stayed on hold! What a trooper.

Eventually a human being answered the phone. Lovely chap – we’ll not use his name to protect his identity. He admitted he could see on the computer our attempts to spend money with them. He also admitted to being one of only five people in their customer service call centre.

Yes folks, on the biggest day in the history of the new Wet n Wild – there were only five people serving. Which explains the automated message “we are experiencing a higher than normal volume of calls blah, blah, blah…

It had only been open one day – how do they measure higher than normal call volumes?

So my bride finally parted with some hard-earned and this morning she ventured out in peak hour traffic with kids in tow.

But wait – now we cut to real-time reporting. Because as I type, she has just rung to share her Wet n Wild customer experience. I think the digi-spruikers mean she now controls the brand because she is talking about it. Such digi-power must be intoxicating.

“…yes dear, you’ve been there for over 90 minutes and you’re still miles from the pre-paid ticket gate. You reckon it will be 2.5 hours wait to get your tickets and you cannot buy drinks anywhere and the kids are already over it. Yes dear, they only have a few temporary shade areas. Sounds like you’re not having much fun…sorry I didn’t mean it like that. You’ll send me photos? Thank you…yes dear, oh the Police have now arrived to calm things down, wow…and you want me to buy you what to drink tonight? A case not a bottle? Yes dear.”

part of the queue for tickets

part of the queue for tickets

undercover shading with happy faces

undercover shading with happy faces

Here’s a quick quiz for you folks: How many ticket gates would you expect to manage the manic rush of thousands of customers in the first week of school holidays? Well you don’t have to guess dear reader. There was only one ticket gate, but eventually they opened four windows to handle the traffic (probably due to the higher than usual visitor volume?) And then it takes about 10 minutes to serve each customer – it’s a time and motion fantasy-land.

ticket gates

Apparently the queue for online prepaid tickets was longer than the walk-up queue – another plus for online marketing. My bride and the kids arrived at 9am and they reached the ticket booth at 11.15am. To quote my bride – “it would have been faster to fly to the Gold Coast for the day than to wait in line here!

Oh, the other customer-friendly thing they do at Wet n Wild is use security guards to physically prevent customers from bringing their own tap water in a drink bottle, or their own sandwiches, fruit or other food a typical family might bring on a day out.  They want to rape and pillage customers with over-priced bottled water, soft drinks, fast food – and the odd “healthy choice” at very unhealthy prices. And the wait to get a lousy burger is more than one hour.

I wonder what happens if your kids have food allergies?

Now it’s 3.45pm and my bride has just rung again. “Guess how many rides I’ve been able to have since we entered the park at 11.15am?” I did some maths and based on experienced suggested six to eight. “Three” was her answer. So they were staying a lot later to ensure they went on as many rides as possible.

Luckily I’m not joining the family today – I’m still recovering from my last trip. Click here if you’re interested.

Apparently my bride isn’t the only upset customer. Check out the comments on the Wet n Wild Facebook page.

The family is now home – 13.5 hours after leaving. To cap off my bride’s customer experience, a distressed man approached her for help during the afternoon. He was with a group of his daughter’s pre-teen girlfriends. One of the young girls had her first period and he didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t his daughter and he couldn’t go into the women’s toilet and just wanted a woman to help the girl.

My bride checked the toilets for the standard dispensers of women’s things. Nothing there. She talked with the girl and went to the first-aid centre for assistance – they looked at her like she was an alien.

They had nothing to help the poor girl. I suppose why would they? Only about 25% of their customers are pre-teen girls, who want to have fun on water rides!

Luckily I went to the bottle shop today – one bottle for my bride to recover and one for me as she graciously shares her experience with me again this evening:)

I think next time we’ll encourage another parent to take the kids on a fun day out…

Bring on the plastic sheet and garden hose!