CALL CENTRES: I think I am turning into Victor Meldrew (Head Office thinks this happened years ago!). It has just taken me 45 minutes on hold to speak to Bromsgrove District Council Bin collection about the start date for my garden waste brown bin collections. The service operates from March until November and, as I no longer have a compost heap (sob sob) it is a useful service. The annual bill came in January telling me that the service would recommence in February/March and that I should check the website for the start date. If that failed, I should ring a number printed on the letter. For weeks, their website has been telling me to check the “Bin lookup” section but this is still unavailable! So, because their website is rubbish, I have had to stay “on hold” for 45 minutes to obtain the answer to a simple question. When the call started, I was told that I was second in the queue. When the lady answered, she told me that I should understand that this is a particularly busy time of year (why?) and that, as she was in finance, she could not deal with this question She transferred me to Environmental Services who were also suffering a high volume of calls and, after a few minutes telling me how important my call was, they transferred me to an answering machine. I left a message and I decided to complain to the Borough Council. Under their “How to complain by telephone” section,,the website told me to ring the same number which had kept me on hold for 45 minutes. So, I complained by Email and received an apologetic ‘phone call from Angela who told me that they had been having trouble with their website and that she would get a manager to ring me so that I could tell him how better to run his business (my words, not hers). I am still waiting to hear from the manager and from Environmental services.
You may have noticed that telephone numbers are disappearing from all sorts of organisations’ documentation, presumably because they want us to use the internet. Fair enough unless the website is duff or we don’t have a computer. The call centres are almost always experiencing a higher than usual volume of calls but our call is most important. Don’t start me on British Airways with their 45 minutes on hold policy before they pick up.
Thank you for your patience – I feel better now.
THE GYMNASIUM: Management and I have hibernated during the winter; it rains every day so we have let the fitness levels slip (no comments, please!) and thought we should do something about it. The local secondary school has a splendid gymnasium which is open to the public from 5pm daily (subscription £12.50 per month per adult). One of the members of the Free Church we have joined has a history of heart problems and encouraged us to join him; we now go for an hour at 5pm three days a week and we are getting used to the machines and how to use them. I started on a cycling machine which made my hip start to dislocate so I soon stopped that and went to the cross trainer where you put your feet in the trays and hold onto the handles. Then, as you “walk”, the feet and arms move in harmony. I started off and was finding it quite difficult when my friend came over and told me I was going backwards. I reversed the flow and found it easier. Many of the machines develop upper limb and upper body strengths, when we next meet, you might mistake me for Tarzan. I once met a USAF serviceman in Feltwell Post Office. He said “Do you pump iron?”. “NO”. Hopefully, I shall be able to fool him again before too long.
A man was travelling alone to a conference. He found himself sitting next to a lady in the aeroplane. Bored, he said “Ask me a question. If I get the answer wrong, I give you £5. Then I ask you a question and, if you get the answer wrong, you give me £5. She is tired and not interested. So, he says “OK, I’ll pay you £500 if I am wrong but you still only have to give me £5.
He asks her the distance from the earth to the moon and she does not know so gives him £5
She then asks him “What goes up the hill with 4 legs and comes down with 5?” He pulls out his laptop, telephones friends and, after an hour, he gives up and hands her £500 saying, “What is the answer?” She handed him £5.
Bill and Fred were in a small chartered aeroplane when the pilot died of a heart attack as they approached the airport. Bill decided to land the ‘plane and he did really well. However, when the wheels touched the ground, Bill could see the end of the runway was really close. Reverse thrust and full braking brought the plane to a rapid halt, just as they ran out of runway. Bill said “That really was a short runway” and Fred replied “Yes, but just look how wide it is!”
A five year old boy threw a tantrum in a crowded airliner, screaming, shouting, kicking the seat in front, and so on. An elderly man in the uniform of an Air Commodore walked slowly up the aisle and whispered in the boy’s ear. Immediate silence and obedience ensued. The stewardess asked the Air Commodore what he had whispered to the boy. “Oh, I showed him my pilot’s wings and all my medals and I explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out of the aeroplane door on any flight I choose”
A travel agent saw an elderly poor-looking couple looking sadly at all the lovely holidays advertised in the window. He felt sorry for them, took them into the shop and gave them tickets for a wonderful two week holiday. A month later, the lady came in and thanked him before asking “Who was that old man I had to share the room with?” Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet