Modern life is conspiring to do me in, I am almost at the point where I have lost the will to live.
Some of you may have read my previous post, Alexa and the Amazon Music saga which took place just over a week ago and I have to admit I had barely recovered from the trauma of dealing with this when modern life struck yet again.
As we live in the countryside we had occasion to have our septic tank emptied yesterday, I shan’t be going into details of this for fear of offending those who may be reading who are of a delicate disposition, but suffice to say it involves a fairly large lorry backing up our drive and emptying the tank.
The same man and his lorry have been doing this for years, unfortunately this time he managed to take one of our telephone lines with him on his exit, which was indeed unfortunate as this was the line which we use for our broadband and I was in the process of trying to get the phone number of the waterboard on my computer at the time.
Eventually, having found out how to work the internet on my phone I found the number which rather amazingly resulted in a young fellow from the water board coming to have a look at the problem later that afternoon. Bravo Thames Water.
It seems that the septic tank being brick built may have become porous and is taking in water from the ground level water table, although why the ground level water has risen we have no idea.
This could be quite a long post, so I suggest if you are not bored to death yet perhaps this might be the time to go off and make yourself a cup of tea if you’re staying for the long haul.
So, with one problem not solved I then set about getting someone to come and repair the phone line and yet again came upon the problem of not having any internet as it took some time for me to find a document in my computer where I had made a note of the phone number which we use for the broadband to say which line was broken.
That problem solved I phoned Vodafone who unfortunately have a voice recognition computer system which was unable to recognise what my problem was and having tried multiple variations of “broken phone,” “phone not working,” etc I finally stumbled on the phrase “broken landline.” I often wonder why they have a machine which eventually recognises the word “landline,” but is unable to recognise the phrase, “for Gods sake, all I want to do is speak to a human being!”
Eventually I managed to get through to a very pleasant fellow in Egypt who took all the details and promised to have someone to fix it within the next three days which was a step in the right direction. I did rather wonder if they might have found a location somewhat closer to the UK than Egypt which even as the crow flies is 4197 kilometres away, obviously they save money on the wage bill but as virtually everything has to be repeated twice this obviously takes more time and wages, one wonders exactly how cost effective it actually is.
During my conversation I was informed that the engineer would first check the inspection box down the road and then check the line to our house and finally check the line in our house. I tried to inform them that the line was broken at our house and not to waste time elsewhere but they were adamant they would check the box first, I was not lost for words but chose to use them after my telephone conversation had ceased.
I’m not sure that jumping up and down swearing to myself does any good in these circumstances but it is a temporary fix to alleviate high blood pressure I think.
I have placed a map of exactly how far away Egypt is for the benefit of those readers who are not geography scholars, but I suppose I can’t really complain as the next day a telephone engineer from Open Reach phoned me to say he was on the way, although luckily not from Egypt!
He informed me he would go to the inspection box down the road first to ascertain what the problem was which gave me the opportunity to say, “no, please come straight to our house where I can show you the broken wire which is the problem.” He replied that had he gone to the box he would have wasted ages trying to find the problem and came straight round.
Nothing, it seems in modern life is easy for our phone lines runs from a pole over the road to a pole in our garden and then affixes to the wall of the house, the broken wire being from the house to the pole in the garden.
The garden being somewhat large the hedge and small trees in this corner have grown up making it rather difficult to get to the pole, surely you didn’t think he was going to come and fix it in two minutes and leave, did you?
He protested that he would need the assistance of another fellow with a cherry picker to get to the pole and even then he was doubtful they could do it as the trees were in the way but could mend the wire temporally and run it along the ground should the cherry picker not be available.
Not one to be defeated I rushed to the garage and grabbed my chain saw and equipped with my health and safety T shirt set about taking down the trees which were barring access to the pole and rubbing on the wire.
Having cleared quite a large area I asked the engineer if he would care to get his ladder and shin up the pole and fix the line which unsurprisingly he declined, insisting that health and safety demanded the use of the cherry picker.
All was not lost, for almost immediately the fellow with the cherry picker arrived and set about fixing a new line which would carry both phone lines in it from the pole and then to the house which he said should have been much higher so that it wouldn’t get caught on the top of lorries. I was delighted to have just the one wire and now fixed much higher on the wall.
There were now three men on site feverishly working as a well oiled team and after some checks the fellow with the cherry picker left whilst the other two did the final checks and found that only one of the phone lines was working.
A quick call to the fellow with the cherry picker and some adjustments to the connection on the post resulted in both phone lines and the broadband working, sometimes I can almost believe there is a God!
By way of celebration I am going to make a cup of tea and have some cake to celebrate and I suggest you do likewise for I haven’t finished yet, this is a marathon moan!
That’s better, lemon curd swiss roll and a cup of tea has enlivened me sufficiently to regal the tale of the Asda last four digit receipt.
I purchased some Amstel lager in Asda and was delighted to see I could win a weekend in Amsterdam if I were to text the last four digits of the receipt to 81400, what could be easier?
When in any supermarket I never use the self service checkout so I don’t consider myself as an employee of any of the supermarkets including Asda, this being said I am not aware which of the multiplicity of numbers on the receipt is actually the receipt number.
How hard can it be to find out thought I, surely a quick phone call to the supermarket where I purchased the beer and a member of staff would have the answer in a jiffy.
Once again I was faced with modern life and a telephone selection system, press 1 if you are a customer, 2 if you are staff, 4 for grocery etc but once again no number to speak to a human being.
Now I realise those of you who have remained with me on this marathon post will see were this is going and to put you out of your misery I can confirm that eventually I managed via a foreign call centre to eventually get back to a human being who I believe was actually at a supermarket although I have no Idea where except I think it must have been the UK.
The line was exceptionally bad as I was having trouble hearing them and they asked me to speak up, which by this time I was only too happy to oblige as I was getting a little frayed at the edges by now. Having responded louder, I was then accused of shouting but eventually was told the receipt number was at the bottom by the bar code, or it might be at the top!
My patience having finally run out I stuck the last four numbers that were at the bottom in the text and sent it off, I won’t hold my breath waiting that I will be going to Amsterdam but you never know.
oh my goodness………….put down the phone and just walk away. this is for your safety……….
If only it were that simple!
You have absolutely earned a trip to Amsterdam. Possibly with a stop enroute at Bedlam….
Compared to modern life I imagine Bedlam would seem quite calm!
We had a cess pit in the cottage and the local farmer came to empty it when we put in a request. In seven years, we had it emptied three times, and one of those was when we sold the property. It worked well for us as we had an overflow chamber and soakaway for excess liquid which was not the yukky stiff as that sank to the bottom. We were careful what we put down our drains, so the bacteria worked for us not against.
As for call centres, I remember when I worked for the American Bank that I had to contact Barclays in New York USA to chase up a special clearance item.
Imagine my surprise when after three transfers I was put through to my counter department in Barclays International, which I could see through the window as it was about 100 yards away from our offices!
It’s the lack of logic that I find so frustrating!
I’m with you there!
If you do get to Amsterdam you may wish to invite a member of Thames Water to accompany you. I believe they have somewhat of a problem with their water table over there!
I think in that case I might be better off asking someone from the Amsterdam water authority to come here and sort our water table out.
You and my husband have exactly the same thoughts over “modern lifestyle” he actually dislike the word itself because he find the whole more primitive that back in the 70s or 80s. Services were better then too.
That was funny!
It feels like everything was better but we do tend to look at the “old days” through rose tinted glasses.
Thank you, if you didn’t try to see the funny side of things you would end up losing the will to live!
We have septic tank too but fortunately we’ve not had landline damage as a result.
This post was hilarious Joe, thank you for making me laugh! 😂
Thank you, I wasn’t laughing at the time though!
Modern life can be exhausting sometimes, that’s for sure. But thank you for making me laugh…especially as I’m sure you wouldn’t have been laughing while you were having to endure all of the above!
If you didn’t look for the funny side you’d be in trouble!
OMG that was the day from hell! I hope all is well in your world now because damn! That would try the patience of a saint!
Wonderful article, thank you so much for sharing with us!