Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Detecting an irony alert

It seems our world is continuing to spiral downwards towards a pit of unworkable mayhem.

Please allow me, as illustration, to describe a very recent three-hour period. It involved three separate incidents, a frustrating rate of one incident per hour. They were back to back without even a tea break between them.

The first involved appliance repair. Two days after the appliance had been fixed and returned [under warranty], it developed exactly the same problem again.

There followed a four-way game of phone, email and text tag and miscommunication. The four players were us, the original retailer, the approved repair agent for the particular brand, and the national head office of the importer of that brand.

To cut a long and frustrating story short, let me just simplify it all by saying that none of the other three parties knew what the others were doing [“We haven’t received any paperwork about that”]. To describe what happened as an endless carousel ride would make it sound way too merry. Let’s just call it a hellish helix.

The only thing that saved me from pulling my hair out was the fact that I haven’t got any. Lucky, because it would have hurt.

The second incident, a sandwich filling between the other two,  involved one of those lengthy phone waits and having to prove who you are by citing your date of birth, address, your first pet’s name, your favourite colour, and your inside leg measurement [you never know when you might need new trousers] as well as listening to execrable hold music. 

You know the details because you’ve been there. Possibly often. [I’ve even had a family member told he got his birth date wrong.]

The third incident involved a visit to the service that offers what, for satirical purposes, I shall call my medical deliverables. I was in the adjoining pharmacy anyway, so I figured it would make sense to pop into reception and make a GP appointment as I was due for one.

My logic and forethought were thwarted. I was informed by the receptionist – and may I stress that none of this was her fault – that I couldn’t do that because they had a “new system”. I would have to go away and wait for a phone call [within two hours] and the caller could make the appointment.

Well, that certainly sounded like – irony alert – a good system! How quaintly old-fashioned I must have seemed.

Half an hour later, while I was walking the dog, my phone rang, and the appointment was duly organised. I pointed out to the caller that I was there in person half an hour earlier and could have saved her this bother. She responded by telling me that wouldn’t have worked because they had a new system.

I had to pass the centre on my way home, so I could not resist calling in and offering feedback [I’m sure my feedback is important to them]. To make my appointment, I pointed out, involved three separate human interactions, three separate uses of human time and money.

Just over half an hour ago, I reminded them, I was there in person and could have made the appointment on the spot. Of course, I was reminded that they now had a new system.

I should add that, if I had been in the classroom, my phone [as required by government decree] would have been off and away. This would have led to a more infuriating phone tag.

Those were not three enjoyable hours, but things can only improve. I feel sure that the people involved in those three incidents will soon come up with a better way.

I think what’s needed is … a new system.


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