can i help you, sir? the men's page MALFUNCTIONING MOBILES, INCOMPETENT SHOP ASSISTANTS AND MILES OF RED TAPE - STEFFAN RHYS IS HOPPING MAD AND READY TO GIVE UP ON MODERN LIFE.
I 'M calling for a boycott. A great big, nationwide, carpet bomb of a boycott. On everything. I want everyone to join me in never using another service that any company has to offer ever again.
Unless you've already bled for it after being stabbed by the tax sword, of course. So feel free to walk along that new road that's a wee bit smoother than the old one was thanks to the council, and only took six months of roadworks to get there.
But, other than that, please support me by growing, breeding or killing your own food, walking to work, washing in your nearest river, and doing your business in a compost heap.
The reason I'm calling for this abandonment of all commercial services is not the credit crunch, as bilious as that is. (Did no one, not one single person in a position of authority somewhere, think that perhaps giving wheelbarrows full of cash to people who would never be able to wheel it back might not be such a sound policy?
Or that having more houses than people was somehow flawed?) No, it's not the credit crunch. It's the rancid levels of service we are all forced to endure wherever we turn, or however much money we dish out.
The winner of the grand prize for the worst customer service and complete absence of basic decency in the history of shops goes to Carphone Warehouse.
A few months ago - though it feels like I've been battling them my whole life - they sold my special lady a mobile phone.
They might as well have sold her a pebble. So far, it has been sent off to be repaired - presumably in the jungle by monkeys - three times.
Only after, of course, the staff in the mobile phone shop have stared at it in bewilderment as if it's a trinket etched with ancient Sanskrit.
They offered to send it back a fourth time, when I pointed out to them that their army of monkeys had failed to pick up on the fault three times already and my money was on the same outcome the fourth time too.
"Seeing as you sold us a phone that has never worked since we took it off that virginal 16-hour charge, is it not the case that you should just give us a new one that does?" we ask.
"No," they reply, perplexed. "But you can have a reconditioned one."
"What's that?" we ask.
"Oh, that's one that has been sent back by someone else because it doesn't work," they say.
"Awesome," we say. "What could be better? We'll take it."
"Be with you in two days max," they say. And 10 days later, here are we, still waiting, waiting, waiting. My guess is it never comes.
Jolly bit of bad luck, you may think.
Happens once in a while. Must grin and bear it. Head up, chin out, back straight. Be a while before you come across that sort of thing again.
Wrong. Next on my list of woe comes Barclays. Massive, Cyclopean, Samuel L Jackson-hiring, global banking giant Barclays. Surely with all the people they've got working for them (albeit 300 less than last week) they could get things right?
Well. In April, I transferred what little savings I had into their shiny new high-interest Tax Haven cash ISA.
"Your account will be open in five working days," they said, before my money went off into the ether.
Two months (or 45 working days) later, after countless calls, "next few days" reassurances, and me having given up on ever seeing my money again, it opened.
Barclays already had my goat because of their passion for cancelling my cards whenever I use them abroad, making for a riot of a good time on the Khao San Road in Bangkok at 3amas I tried to hear the woman in the call centre on the other side of the world while some Thai midget shouted "Ping-pong show! Ping-pong show!" in my face.
It never ends, it really doesn't. On the weekend, I put my racist debit card - working again now I was back in dear old Britain - in a service station ATM. At which point, the screen went blue and I blew up.
It was the poor old dear in WH Smith that felt the fury, and she deserved it too, because of Smiths' love of giving you a receipt for every single tiny thing you buy and sticking it in your palm under your change so you have to take it. I could go on - try paying a gas bill on an automated voice recognition service, or ever speaking to a human at BT - but I've exhausted myself by reliving these horrors.
But please join me in my boycott, and let's all go and enjoy ourselves talking about the weather. Oh wait...
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jul 15, 2008|
|Previous Article:||all about hair; TOP WELSH CELEBRITY HAIRDRESSER LARA JOHNSON SHARES HER PROFESSIONAL HAIRCARE SECRETS beauty.|
|Next Article:||big boys toys; the men's page IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHAT FISH ARE FEELING, BUT THERE'S NO DOUBT FISHING CAN BE PRETTY PAINFUL. PAINFULLY BORING THAT IS....|