I am a man of many parts, most of them broken or missing. Much has been happening in my little life, most of it either thoroughly domestic or wholly incomprehensible or all three.
Two weeks ago and four moorings back Messrs ASDA went quite deliberately and with malice aforethough apex over fundament in re my grocery delivery. In most places a very substantial steel tube is not the place to expect or to receive a mobile telephone signal, text or voice. The interwebnets is captured via a boosted aerial on the forward gun-deck. It is not, therefore, possible to simply wait inside for a delivery as do most bricks and mortar dwellers – even more so since the Cardinal is rarely the point of delivery, since neither he nor I possess a “postcode”. Being old-fashioned and trained to not unnecessarily disconvenience others I tend to be outside, waiting, some twenty minuets (sic; headphones) afore the appointed delivery hour.
A fortnight ago this saw me on Bridge 104 in a minor thunderstorm. I kid you not. The weather is whatever it turns out to be at the appointed hour (in this case 1400-1500 hundred hours o’clock).
This being a public bridge and in the way of a C&RT Yard, long-term moorings, and a working farmyard there were folk passing by (offering advice, conversation and – latterly – tea or coffee). Standing on a raised bridge in a storm I was thus hoping for some sixth sense to give me enough warning of lightning strike for me to be able to say ‘Beam me up, Scottie’ into my sleeve before being vapourised. I would thus enter the hallowed halls of legend and mythology in one fell swoop. It did not happen though. Zeus has little to no sense of occasion or humour.
Messrs ASDA didn’t arrive. There are major roadworks nearby; I gave them a little longer. Texts arrived announcing that a., my driver John was on his way and then immediately afterwards b., that my driver John would be a little bit late. I waited some more. I telephoned ASDA’s “customer” “service” number and – eighth wonder of all worldly wonders – not only navigated the “Press 217 with a wet index finger in one ear for all other enquiries” menu system but spoke to what seemed, initially, to be a human being. I was assured that the man and van were definitely on their way and please to wait. I waited. I couldn’t get through to them again by tephelone. I walked back to the boat to access the interwebnets – the ASDA website read “on the way” and the money, the moolah, the dosh had been taken from my bank account. I went back and waited some more, and tried to contact Earth Central again…
…all of which, in the wind and rain (the thunder and lightning having blown through) wasted some five hours of my day.
ASDA remained incommunicado – a recording told me that they, poor loves, were ‘…very busy…’ and ‘…experiencing a high level of customer enquiries…’
I dug out – and it took some digging – the number of the local branch, the one the man and van were being despatched from… their number announced in robot tones that they were too busy to take customer calls and then it hung up on me. Click, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Some time in the evening, I know not when exactly for I was not watching, the status of my order on the ASDA webbery sight changed to ‘Cancelled’.
The following day Messrs ASDA finally answered me – on “The Twitter” of all things – and I was invited to “DM” them, using the “invited to DM option” and being critically careful to quote code ‘SMT’ as advised. Failure to follow these steps exactly would result in my remaining in the great wailing wash of unanswered “customers”.
There had been a ‘driver issue’ they explained in jaw-dropping detail, as though that were sufficient to dismiss my “do excuse me” enquiry about five hours spent both wasted (and not wasted in a good way) and in meteorological peril.
Gnoshit again, Shylock. A “driver issue”. Dead? Twelve points in his licence and banned? Abducted by aliens? Lost the keys to the van? Hmm.
They offered me a £5 voucher as a ‘gesture of goodwill’.
By dint of using long words that I knew they wouldn’t understand I advised them to print out the voucher on Cartridge Paper, to fold it until it was all sharp corners, and to then insert it without prior warning into the ASDA Chairperson’s powder-dry rectum – purely as my own ‘gesture’ of ‘ and furthermore I haven’t been paid £1 an hour for my trouble since the nineteen-seventies’.
As with all such corporations the long and the short of it was that they neither understood nor cared – they didn’t even care to care that they didn’t understand – and I could please to oblige them by taking a long walk on a very short pier at high tide.
It is the first time they’ve copied their blotty book in this manner but my goodness me, what a blot. All that it would have taken for sweetness and light to prevail was a text message or a telephone call from the local branch wherein they were experiencing these “driver issues”.
The entire system though, as – again – with all such corporations, is not in the least way designed or set up for the benefit of “customers”. They have entirely lost sight of the nature of their business.
I tried again five days later, once I’d huffed and puffed enough, and this time went out to wait bang on the first minute of the allotted delivery hour. Six minutes beyond the end of the delivery hour I turned around and had taken one, perhaps two steps back towards the Cardinal with my little trolley when I heard the sound of a van scrunching the gravel in the Cheshire potholes…
Well aware that the driver might likely not be the one with “issues” and thus would likely be utterly oblivious I did my best to hide my inner darkness. The driver did his best to be unnecessarily full of cheer.
In another week or two, when broccoli deficiency and medical absence of carrot set in with a vengeace, I shall have to try them again – this time it will perforce be at a different postcode to the scene of the earlier… nonsense… albeit a postcode where I still have to wait outside, for signal and for sight.
Cross your fingers for me.
Arsebury’s [some still term them “Sainsburys”] – having summarily abandoned me during all of the lockdowns and silliness – are beyond the pale.
Morrisons are too “WOKE” [what the hell does that even mean? Is it an acronym or is it a modern “Americanism”?] to ever be used again in my lifetime.
ASDA? Well, we’ll see. I do hope that their copied blottybook is not the sign of some Walmartean decay (for that is their current corporate owner).
There’s always Tescoids, I suppose, but if they fail me where then, Zarathustra?
None in the real world can afford to shop for everything at a local Co-operative Shop. I notice their prices and mutter ‘What do they think I am? An MP?’
Given that the New World Order is arriving apace and we are in some Spitfire-esque screaming dive towards a society once again founded upon the phrase ‘Irhe papiere, bitte…’ with the ‘bitte’ also once again being merely good conversational form rather than indicative of good intent or actual manners, I was sort of hoping to maintain grocery deliveries. Several districts of Germany (of all of the people who ought to have learned from history!) and several districts of Italy have already implemented rules entirely banning from even shopping for essentials those who have yet to fully engage, shall we say, with this global experimental drugs trial. No drug-trial papers; no shops. No anything, in fact. Sinister, much.
Talking of ‘sinister’ (but not of dexter) here’s another of my attempts to photograph Hitchockean flights of avian creatures agin a new moon and a sunset over the reservoir…
This one actually looks like a still from some murder mystery.
Film title ‘He Waited With His Axe Behind The Big Bush’?
Oh well, that’s quite enough drivel for one blog post. There’s more to tell – I’ve mooched on several times since, once initially in early-morning darkness, which is wot were quite fun, and have settled into new digs for a week or so – much, story to be told, to the annoyance of the local anglers.
Je suis ici, ici je reste.
Chin-chin for the mo, Muskies.
Ian H., and Cardinal W.