Posts Tagged ‘automated phone system’

Another week, another chip in my poor car’s windscreen. This one, like the nasty one it suffered three months ago, is bad enough to require attention from someone who knows about chips, and so I shall have to muster the mental strength and the space in my diary to seek help.

It brings me, with sinking heart, back into contact with an insurance company, this time the car’s insurers. It is going to be doubly trying as it comes so soon after the grim skirmish with the home contents insurers when my mobile phone swallow-dived into water.

These experiences, now woven into the fabric of our daily lives, are defined by what I call the Equation of the Hapless Customer: small voice in wilderness + faceless company with automated phone system = frustration and loss of half a working day.

It’s what we are all up against, whether we are trying to contact insurers, as in this case, or any of the countless other businesses or public bodies that eschew customer service in favour of customer get lost. The factor they have in common is the ease with which they take our money and the poor hand they deal us in return. All we want is to speak to a person, so that when something vaguely recognisable as a human voice eventually responds, it would be swimmingly fab if they could just shut up and listen before spouting lines from a crib sheet.

OK, now that’s off my chest I’ll calm down and steer myself back to the happy memory of Sunday, when, glad to put the approaching storm of the chipped windscreen out of my mind, I accompanied petrol-head Geoff to the annual Classics at the Castle event at Sherborne Castle.

Such a setting in such weather would surely guarantee success whatever the event, but the attraction of a huge gathering of ancient and modern cars proved irresistible to thousands of happy punters. The ubiquitous bouncy castle, burgers, hot dogs and ice-creams probably played a part, too.

We loved it, walking miles and missing not a single one of the thousand-plus exhibits. Beside many of them sat their owners, like proud parents overseeing their well-behaved, shiny-faced offspring.

We heard stories of how new life had been given to so many vehicles that were no more than a car-shaped pile of rusty scrap metal when discovered. Now, the reborn, pampered beauties, unrecognisable in their perfection and unblemished by 21st century life – not a chipped windscreen to be seen – provoked Geoff and me into thinking along our favourite theme of “What if?”

Obviously, a spare garage and being reborn ourselves as qualified motor mechanics (I do like a nice set of greasy overalls), were two basics taken for granted. What car would we choose upon which to lavish our every waking hour and our last pound?

It would have to be an Austin Healey 3000, we decided, or perhaps a friendly old Riley with a running board. Then we saw a Jaguar SS 100 and added that to the fantasy list. We had to rein ourselves in as our imaginations ran wild, especially when I started lusting after a combine harvester that we followed on the way home.

It just seemed so majestic, filling the road in its superior way. Also, I pointed out to Geoff as I extolled its virtues for taking over our spare, expandable, virtual garage, I bet it doesn’t get its windscreen chipped all the way up there.


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