The Travails of the Modern World or How Many Hours Do You Spend Doing Other Peoples’ Jobs for Them?

I could tell that the post had been privatised when I went out one day to check our mail box. We fixed one to the frame outside the front gate to save the postman/woman’s time. Now I need to add, at this juncture, that I’ve built a unit that houses the recycling bins and that this is situated on the path to our front gate, so you have to walk past this to get to the mail box. Well this arrangement work fine for some years, until privatisation. It hadn’t been long when I went out to check the post to find that there wasn’t any that day. The following day I went out to put stuff into one of the recycling bins, what did I find? Yesterday’s post. Perhaps the postal service needs to run training schemes on how to differentiate between a large, green, plastic recycling bin and a small, black, metal mail box.

A few days ago I went onto Trainline to book tickets for a journey to Liverpool. I thought  that I’d pressed the button to collect the tickets at the station only to find that I was being asked to “download the app”. For some reason, the download didn’t work. Never mind, I thought, I’ll go to the station and get it sorted out on the day of travel. Now you would think that that would be easy, wouldn’t you? Well it proved not to be. To cut a long story short, they told my wife that they couldn’t deal with her as the ticket was in my name; (I’d stayed in the car to keep the parking space). Instead they told Gaynor that I needed to ring Trainline, which I did. It turned out that the particular app doesn’t work on my phone and that I would have to cancel the ticket and buy another one; with a cancellation fee of £10! Given that the train was due to leave an hour later, that’s what I did.

I duly got on the train to find that my seat was still reserved; quiet compartment, facing the direction of travel (or so I thought) and with a window seat. I arrived to find that I had my back to the direction of travel and, yes, a seat on the window side but without a window. Instead, it was one of those seats between windows.

Item number three. A few months ago I bought a new printer; an Epson that came highly recommended at a higher price than the basic model. All seemed fine until I tried to print more than about five copies of any document. When I did this the printer tried to take too many sheets of paper and jammed.  Never mind, it came with a year’s warranty and a special Epson helpline service. When I rang, I was put through to someone who suggested that I reset the printer from scratch and used the original set up disc to do this. Perhaps it should have occurred to me that this wouldn’t be the answer. After all, haven’t I been around the block a little?

Some weeks later, I tried to print multiple copies again to find that it jammed. Being busy, I put off dealing with it as the printer would still print off the short runs that constitute most of my needs. Back from holiday and I decided to try again. So I rang the company I bought it from, who were very helpful, but said that it needed to be dealt with by Epson under the service agreement. After a couple of phone calls which involved much hanging on the line. I decided that I really should be doing some work. That being what pays our bills.


So today I decided that this should be the day that it was finally sorted out so I rang Epson. They passed me back to the company that I bought it from who then passed me back to Epson. When I finally got through to someone for the second or third time, the woman went through  a process to see if she could solve the problem. This involved checking out whether the printer would print multiple copies from e mails and by using the photocopier. This it did. Her response was that it was, therefore, not a hardware problem but a software one and that I needed to deal with Microsoft. By which point I’d had enough. I explained that, if I followed the logic of what she was suggesting, why had I had no such problems with Microsoft and my previous computer? I then asked if I could speak to her supervisor (twice) but was told that she couldn’t do that. She kept repeating the mantra about having gone through the trouble shooting procedure and not being trained in Microsoft, as if that answered the problem. So back to the company I bought it from who are going to speak to a manager in Epson for me. In the meantime, I’m trying to make a living and really not feeling like doing anything right now.

Post Script

My youngest daughter was expecting a parcel today and tried tracking it to find that they had tried to deliver it but that there had been no answer and that they have left a note to that effect. This despite the fact that we were both at home. There was no note so she tried upstairs to see if there was one there; there wasn’t. Half an hour or so later and Ellie went to the front door to find that the parcel had just been delivered.

According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2014, there were 788,000 days lost though strike action. I wonder how many were lost by people like me having to chase up others and/or do their job for them?


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