Tuesday, 1 March 2011

March - In Like an Idiot...

It hasn't been the greatest start to a new month. I thought, I'll pop into town, get the shopping, nip to the post office, pay a cheque into my bank, bim-bam-bom back home and writing within an hour.

HA!

Off I went in my little blue car. Into Sainsbug's car park. Last year, some impish devil took possession of the minions at Sainsbugs head office and suggested it would be a great idea to install a set of barriers in their car park, which means you have to lean out of your car window, take a ticket from the machine, then get it 'authorised' when you've done your shopping so you can get out of the car park again. If you spend more than £10 (which these days isn't difficult), then you get two hours free parking. Which is plenty of time to dash around town to say, visit the post office and put a cheque in your bank.

I have discovered that even though I have the arms of a gorilla, my car is little and I have to park really close to the machine in order to get a ticket. Now, this is okay provided you approach the barrier at the right angle, and provided you have to press a button to get your ticket. You get to stay IN CONTROL of the ticket transaction; unfortunately, the machine somehow spots you coming, and flings the ticket, frisbee-like, from the machine as you approach the barrier, and if you aren't quick then the ticket does something stupid like ending up underneath your little car that you've parked as close to the machine as possible.

And then you find you can't open the car door wide enough to hang upside-down from your driving seat in order to retrieve your ticket which is languishing in a puddle because it's still bloomin' raining in Kent.

You garrott yourself on your super-efficient seat-belt, you unplug the seat-belt, the car starts beeping at you because you are in mode of 'engine-on-seat-belt-off' and then the barrier starts threatening to come down because you haven't driven through it quick enough because the stupid machine spat your ticket under your car into a puddle.

When you finally manage to retrieve your ticket you look in the rear-view mirror and see the combination of hanging upside-down and struggling with a seat-belt plus the sheer embarrassment of making an idiot of yourself in public has given you the complexion of an aubergine. You park at the far end of the car-park and beat a hasty retreat through the back entrance to the High Street. You thank the God of Public Embarrassment that you didn't go through this ordeal at 3.30 p.m which is when all the school children gather to meet their friends/ get their fix of doughnuts and Red Bull/ stand in the way of people trying to do their shopping.

On to the bank. Closed. What?? At 9.30?? Luckily, I remember there is another branch down the road next to the post office, Perhaps that will be open.

It is! In I go to pay in a cheque. It's a simple process. 1) Put in card and enter pin 2) put cheque in slot 3) receive photocopy of cheque as proof of receipt.

HA! I am confronted with a different machine. But am I afraid? No!
1) Put in card
2) Read multiple options and press 'deposit cheque'
3) Enter pin
4) Enter amount printed on cheque.
5) Remove deposit envelope presented to me.
6) Put cheque in envelope. Machine starts beeping.
7) Notice it says on envelope that I need to put my account number on back of cheque.
8) Search for pen. No pen because I didn't bring my handbag because I wasn't going to be long, was I? All I needed I could fit into my coat pocket. I didn't know I'd need a pen, did I?
9) Ask twelve year old at 'Customer Service Desk' if he has a pen. He looks a bit narked I've disturbed him playing with his i-phone.
10) Remember I don't know my account number and my card containing the number is in the machine which is still beeping. A queue is forming.
11) Explain problem to 'Customer Service' representative without screeching too much. Still red from car-park incident, so growing anger is cunningly disguised.
12) 'Oh, we've got a photocopy deposit machine up the back,' says CS rep.
13) Follow CS rep to back of bank, where the kind of machine I am used to is skulking in the corner. CS rep skulks whilst I deposit cheque in 5 seconds flat, just in case I kick off.
14) Leave bank to visit post office.

Am I afraid? No, I'm bloomin' hacked off.

The post office is closed. Closed??? At 9.45????????? There is a queue the size of the Exodus of the Promised Land.

I give up and go back to do shopping. I may have said a naughty word or two as I stormed my way back up the High Street; I don't remember, because the blood in my ears was pounding too loudly for me to hear anything.

March Lion or March Lamb? I'll let you decide.

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