Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mercury in Retrograde

I think, although I'm not sure, that Mercury, Planet of Communication, must be in retrograde at the mo, because since Saturday we have experienced, here at the Manor, a variety of forms of miscommunication.

'Yes,' says Mrs Pumphrey. 'I, for example, sent a communication to the kitchens yesterday evening for a plate of warm buttered toast and Marmite and a pile of profiteroles with toffee sauce and for some strange reason, my order never arrived.'
'Strange indeed,' says I.

Anyway, this weekend I tried to order a range cooker from an on-line electrical appliance store. I wanted to place the order by phone because I had a couple of questions I wished to ask. Like would it be able to handle a Christmas goose without me having to shove it in sideways and give it an extra heave-ho with my foot.

I phoned the free-phone number. The website said that they aimed to answer all calls within 20 seconds of connection. After ploughing my way through the mass of 'Press 1 for...' option button doo-dahs, I was connected to some VERY LOUD music where I was deafened for 15 minutes and, with no sign of a customer service person, I decided to hang up.

I e-mailed their customer service department, and an automated response said someone would be in touch within 24 hours. 48 hours later, someone DID get in touch, apologising and saying that if I called their free-phone number, a customer service bod would be pleased to take my order. Doh! By now I had decided a) this was a shonky on-line company who didn't have any electrical appliances at all and were trying to steal my credit card details and b) I didn't want my hearing damaged further by their VERY LOUD music, so I ordered the same range cooker for the same price from Boots (I know - weird!) and got £27.36 worth of Boots points to spend!

Next, for some reason known only to AOL, we lost our internet connection for 2 days. Andy ran the gauntlet known as 'Technical Support' where the Level 1 operator refused to be sidetracked from his script, probably because the support line was a premium line and they were earning some money from us. Andy was then transferred to LEVEL 2 support, who said that it WASN'T our connection, it was a problem with the phone codes in our area (?????) which AOL was working hard to rectify. Andy was cross because a) why didn't the Level 1 technician know this and b) the Level 2 man was probably lying just to get rid of him.

Today, by some miraculous process, the internet is restored. And has there been any communication from AOL? Like an apology? An offer of refund for the two days we were off-line and the hour long phone call to their premium cost Technical Support line? Have there heck!

Next again - do you remember the saga of my pensioner tax code? Well, I got a new and correct tax code through the post 3 weeks ago. Toute de suite I took it to work where it was duly photocopied. Today, the finance lady tells me they haven't received notification from the Inland Revenue and they can't put me on the correct code until they do which means that AGAIN this month I'll be paying too much tax, but it's okay, she said, because it should be sorted by the end of December and it'll be like getting a big Christmas bonus when I get the refund.

I wanted to shout, 'NOOOOO!!!! It's not a bonus! It is, and always has been, my hard-earned money. And I need it NOW because I've just spent a fortune on a new range cooker and tiles for the bathroom. And if YOU hadn't inexplicably changed my tax code in the FIRST PLACE, then I wouldn't be having this aggravation now! It's all your fault, you bunch of incompetents!!! Aaaarghh!!!!!'

But I didn't because there were children present.

So I phoned the Inland Revenue AGAIN, who said they had sent out a notification to the school at the same time they sent out mine so it should have arrived. We checked addresses etc. The nice man said he would send out another. It should arrive in the next 7 days. It better had.

A courier has 'delivered' two boxes of Christmas pressies from Amazon by flinging them in a wild and careless fashion over our 7 foot fence and into a puddle on the other side. Luckily, the contents were undamaged, but I'm hoping the same courier hasn't been booked to deliver our bathroom tiles, or we could be in trouble with his maverick ways.

On the plus side though, communication with Dave the Plumber has been good, mostly because he has a very organised wife, and communication with Matt the Gas Man, who is installing the range, has been good mostly because he is a cheerful and obliging type with a diary.

And lastly, dear readers, I am sorry that my blog comments box has been spammed this week, and I hope no-one has been inconvenienced by clicking on the comments and ending up on some dubious website. I have deleted the comments.

And the communication I wish to send to those who spam is a) you are NOT welcome at the Manor, and b) well, b) is unrepeatable.

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