Several days ago I received a lovely letter from Mr Gas man, he politely informed me that:
“We have not heard from you despite leaving a number of cards urging you to make an appointment with us”
The problem was they had in fact left a total of no cards at all. The accusation that I was ignoring them was somewhat irksome and I informed the nice person on the phone that I did not really appreciate this accusatory tone to the letter.
“Oh don’t worry sir lots of people have not had any cards, just ignore that part.”
Ignore the fact that you are accusing me of ignoring you? Classy.
Anyway down to the arranging the appointment, apparently there are slots from 8-12, 12-5 and 5 to 8. Clearly I use gas so I have a job to pay for it, somewhat ruling out the first two straight off. The last slot is still somewhat problematic, like most people I have a normal job, that does not let me get home by 5.
I inform the phone monkey of this little factoid and we come to an agreement that she’ll add a note to come after 6 so I stand a chance of being in. Also, I politely inform her that I don’t have a door bell (I like to have as little contact with the random outside world as possible) so if they want to stand a chance at getting in to see the meter they will have to call me when they get here.
Wing forward to the day of the visit and I leave work at 5:02 to ensure that I am home in time. I cycle hard, I don’t even slow down to hurl abuse at moron road users obstructing my path. This takes a lot of effort but needs must and all that. I get to my (primary) door at 5:39, leaving a full 21 minutes to make it through my 3 front doors to be home at the appointed hour, easily early enough time. Result!
Wait… What’s this, a note! Oh now sweet, maybe it’s a belated Valentines card, perhaps an amusing missive from some religious group or other. No it’s not these things, it’s a bloody note from the gas man telling me that:
“Urgent gas safety inspection – Called after 5 as arranged. Time of call 17:05″
Only that’s not what we arranged is it. No no, we arranged for you to come after 6. Well at least there will be a missed call on my phone to tell me he’s here and it’ll have been my own stupid fault I did not hear the phone… Only there isn’t. So in fact none of the instructions were followed.
I grab the nearest phone and jab away at the keypad to hammer in the number on the card and get through to someone who sounds so stupid I just know this will go badly. After explaining the situation he tells me, in his tedious droning voice, that he can’t actually help and I should phone another number which deals with appointments.
Me – If there is another number, why not just put that on the card rather than this one?
Moron – Well some of the cards are out of date sir, we outsourced appointments some time ago.
Me – Maybe you should stop handing them out the wrong cards then…
Moron – Well it’s not us that hands them out sir, it’s another company.
Yes, I know what outsources means you blistering idiot, I was just venting a general annoyance at your stupid system not imparting sensible business advice – I thought quietly to myself.
Me – Fine, whatever I’ll call this other number and shout at them then
*jab jab jab*
I politely explain the problem again (contrary to popular belief, I try and be nice to call center staff for an long as possible, often not very long I admit) to the infinitely more pleasant sounding appointment facilitator:
Phone girl – Oh, we’ve no notes on that, I can make another appointment for you if you like
Customer – No, I want him to come back today as previously arranged, it’s still not 6 so it’s not even after the agreed time
Phone girl – I can’t get him to come back today as he called as arranged and you weren’t there
Miffed customer – No… he… didn’t… As I just told you, I arranged for them to call after 6, and to phone me when he got here. He failed on both counts
Phone girl – Well it doesn’t say anything about that here
Incredulous customer – I don’t care what it does or doesn’t say ‘there’, its not my fault the person I spoke to before took down the wrong details is it?
Phone girl – I can try and call him if you like and see if he’s still in the area
Anyway the long and short of it is she tries to call the meter reader but he’s ignoring call, no doubt aware he’s upset Karma and thus avoiding any retribution. So we have to go through this whole tedious process again. Only, just to wind myself up even more I decide to wait till tomorrow to re-book, forcing myself to explain this whole tedious affair again, just in case they get through to him and he comes later. I’m an idiot, an furious idiot.
It’ll be just my luck if I’m blown to smithereens in a tragic gas meter fight accident later on.