Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Speaking of telephones.....

Speak Speak ring me.

(Well, actually they are not really called Speak Speak, but, shall we say they are called something a little similar... They are of course the same company that I have had "dealings" with in the past, on a different telephone line...But that's another story)

A nice girl comes on the phone." I am doing a survey, and we just wanted to ask you Mrs. L, why have you decided to leave us?"

"Well", say I. "I actually find your service a little inefficient."

"Why is that?" Says she.

Where shall I start? I think.


I ran a small business from home, running a part time theatre school, and I changed my telephone line over to "Speak Speak" on the recommendation of a friend, who also at the time suggested that we change our personal line over to you, but that's another story. Then you said that, as it was a business, I would need to have a business line. I couldn't really understand why, as it was only me making the calls and one person really can't make that many calls in a day, but nevertheless I went along with it and paid twice as much per month as I would have done for a private line. Then I sold the business back to my franchisor, but continued to run it for them for the next period as a manager, and my ex franchisor, who was by now my employer paid my bill.

Then I resigned from the theatre school, and we asked you to change the line back to my name and make it a residential line."

"Sorry" said you. "We can't do that, as you have signed a three year contract with us."

"If I have" said I, "I certrainly can't remember doing so, and if that is the case, then surely, given that in effect the business in my name no longer exists, that contract is null and void....

In the meantime", said I "please can you show me a copy of the contract?"


And then.......

"It was a telephone contract", said you.


"Send me a copy of the conversation." Said I.

Nothing happened.... and then I got a letter telling me that the record of the conversation appeared to have gone missing, so therefore I was free to change my supplier.

I hadn't actually wanted to change my supplier necessarily, just the type of contract... but when the original of original suppliers came back to me and offered me an alternative far more atractive contract, I said: "Yes please" as, it seemed to me that you weren't too sure whether or not your left hand was speaking ....... or even talking to your right."

So, where were we?"

"Actually Mrs. L, I don't seem to be able to find any record of these converstions. Can you tell me when it was?"

"As I said, I closed my account because I found your service a little inefficient. I think that that is the only comment that needs to go on the survey really...."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Our turn?

They say that good things happen together.

Is it our turn yet please?

So far this year...............

1. Nearly died.

2. Walked out of a supply teaching job after nearly being killed.

3. Was put in a difficult situation and felt had to resign from much loved stage school after seven years as Principal, and have lost that income as a result.

4. Have managed to do all the things that I was cross with my mother for doing as a teenager and have therefore managed to cause a "situation" in relationship with ED.

5. Have run so badly out of money that we now have to borrow all the children's money to fuel the car just to get to work and eat.............. and have now just about used up all their funds too in a vain attempt to keep those miserable so and so s (who steal our money in bank charges anyway) at the bank and various other people happy. ("You really do have to learn to keep better control of your finances Mrs. Lomax." Yes, well I would.... if you didn't take your exorbitant cut. Just you wait Mr.Bank Manager. When I'm rich, you will know about it, and I won't be banking with you.)

6. Have been miserable for so long now that I now seem to fail dismally most of the time in getting Hubby to see things from my point of view.

7. Have failed completely in trying to find a babysitter for a day in July for the two youngest. A babysitter who would be able to drive them around the country to their various commitments that is. This was so that we could go to the Henley Regatta. A rare social occasion that we had been invited to by lovely long standing some of best friends in the world. So are now likely to upset said friends as have shambolically managed to mess up their arrangements as well as ours. Plus, even if we now found a babysitter we have such limited shekels currently that we wouldn't even be able to buy a round of drinks when we did get there.

8. Have failed to read any blogs for weeks or months, and so am now likely to have upset my virtual buddies too.

9. Have lost all sense of humour and ability to be funny, so can no longer have a career as a comedienne.

10. Have failed yet again to get off that excess three stone during the winter and so now even Hubby thinks I'm fat.

11. Have got a nice maternity cover in a really nice school, but have realised that I am too old to be a career teacher and am still not sure that that is what I want anyway, which is why I wasn't, aren't and haven't been to date. Also the school is 38 miles away, so although nice it takes far too much in ridiculously overpriced fuel.

12. On the fuel note, have managed to have my bank card rejected on three occasions at fuel stations, having filled up.

First time: cried and shouted at the bank, on my mobile phone, in the middle of the garage, asking them to refund offending bank charges which had caused lack of much needed funds on that particular day.

Second time, different garage: kept calm, and, when the cashier refused point blank to put through £67 on the card - the only available funds, and the other 66p in cash I insisted.


"Can you not get someone to pay for you?" He said.

At 38 miles from home, and 100 miles from any other family, quite frankly, the answer was no. I HAVE the money here I said. £67 on my card. 66 pence in cash. "There is no need to get stroppy with me Madam. We are simply unable to split the payment." Heckles rising slightly I firmly pointed him in the direction of the supervisor, who came back and allowed him to allow me to pay by manual payment. "You'll have to wait here though, so that I can check that it has been accepted by the bank. We will ring the bank to check that there are sufficient funds." He sneered at me.

I waited, patiently.

Another customer came and went.

Still I waited.

"Yes Madam?" he said.

Suddenly, the moment reminded me of "Dory" in Finding Nemo.

"I'm waiting to see if that money has cleared I explained in my 'patient but feeling slightly tested' voice. "Oh yes." He said. It has. "You're free to go."

There were lots of things I felt like saying. LOTS. I didn't. I simply withdrew, embarrassed and upset. I kept my dignity and then burst into tears in the car.

Third time was due to our wonderful British Banking system who believe they have the right to have the cheques that I pay into my account in their account for a few days first. It makes sense of course. It's another way for them to make a few quick million a day. Well not on my funds you understand.... but on the collective majority of funds. They will probably have made a million or two in bank charges to me though, by the time I die.....

So... back to the - third - petrol station... (That's gas for all you over there in the other side of the Atlantic. And actually I usually buy diesel anyway if we were to call a spade a spade.... But we aren't of course talking about spades. We are talking about fuel.)

I put my card through. "Sorry" said the cashier. "Insufficient funds." "No." I said. "There are definitely sufficient funds." I rang the bank. The cheque that had those sufficient funds was still being looked after by them. How kind...

"Can I write a cheque?" I asked.

"No Madam, we don't accept cheques."

"But, you see, the money is in the account, and if I write a cheque, by the time it gets to the bank, the money will be there, cleared, for you."

"It is company policy Madam. We don't accept cheques."

Fortunately, this time, it was a smaller amount. I gave them the sum total of the remaining cleared funds, and scraped around my purse, bottom of my handbag and bottom of the car and for an extra few pounds cash. I left, red faced and upset again.... with a promise of the remaining £5 to be brought to them by the following day.... once the funds had been released by the bank. And the children ate gruel again..... Well OK.... no, but not far off....

On the positive side:

I do now have a proper acting agent, as of today. I got my Equity card (British Actor's Union) ten year's ago. So at that rate I might get an audition for a soap in about 2020 or thereabouts....

So, I'll buy you all a drink when I get that part.