Contacting People

I'm not sure where to put this one really as I'm not sure it fits in General Discussions. I'll use humour as you probably need a sense of humour to deal with it.

We've had 3 occasions in the past (say) 10 days where we have needed to get in touch with some service (a couple have been health services, today, it's the post office) and you just get bounced from phone number to phone number (at least when you don't get a dead line or phones that ring for ages with no one ever picking them up) and it can take an hour or longer to actually get through to the person you need to speak to.

Today's one has been going on over an hour and it's looking as if the only solution is going to be a 1/2 hour drive to the depot (although perhaps a drive to the local post office which is about 1 mile down the road might work - we don't hold out much hope).

Due to an error on my part when I was rebuilding a PC at home (I pull all the POP3 mail to our email accounts in here and put it on a local IMAP server - one means of getting a consistent view of email across the PCs, laptop and Androids here) some email got "stuck" and my father missed a message asking if he could check a tracking number for a package that should have arrived. I think both parties have been thinking the other side could not be bothered as a result.

Anyway, I got involved yesterday, apologising for our delay and promising that we would check with the depot today and get back to the sender ASAP. You'd think it should be easy to just phone and ask if they have received recorded package number XXXX addressed to our address but we can't even get to speak to someone.

Do people in other countries have to put up with this sort of thing or is it only services in the UK that seem to strive to make the simple matter of contacting a human being that could help as difficult as possible?