Sorry, Darling

Yesterday I tried to arrange for a particular company to send me a skilled craftsperson to fix something in my house.  This process will not be cheap, by the way, but it has to be done. The company is happy to arrange this, but they won’t commit themselves to a time of day for this maestro to arrive on the premises. We had agreed the dates, but I couldn’t get a time out of them. It would be sometime, their nice switchboard person assured me, between 8 am and 6.30 pm. Definitely. Not a minute earlier. Though perhaps a few minutes later, let’s say 7 pm. But 8 am was just as likely.

I suggested gently that as I had a full-time job which was not totally undemanding, I couldn’t just hang around at home preparing for the triumphant entry of the craftsperson, no matter how talented or skilled. Sorry, I was told, ‘but that’s how we work’. So are they completely unable even to guess when it might be, or in what order the journeyman might conduct the business of the day? ‘Sorry, Darling, we don’t hand out that kind of information.’ What, that’s classified information, in case the KGB get hold of it? ‘It would be unfair to tell you, love, since we don’t do that for anyone else.’ Why don’t you do that for anyone else? ‘I’m afraid that’s how we work.’

I am increasingly intolerant of businesses that feel it unnecessary to accommodate the customer, assuming that someone will find it easy to be at home all day, or that if not they would take a day’s annual leave. I simply do not believe that it is impossible to narrow down a service visit to something less a than a whole day.

I shall not be doing business with this company again. Once this particular job is done I shall call them and tell them so. I cannot specify what time of day I’ll be making the call, but I presume someone will be waiting at the phone between 7 am and midnight for this purpose.

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9 Comments on “Sorry, Darling”

  1. MunchkinMan Says:

    Two things:
    1. That’s how it is with some companies who offer these services. that’s what the market allows. When some alternative company is in a position to be more definite about their services then that may well be where the market goes. BTW, your company in question will not, I am sure, care a jot when you stop doing business with them.
    2. There are some academics in the university where I work who are as equally indeterminate about the services they offer to their students.

  2. Isabelle Says:

    In Brussels now, most of these companies manage to narrrow down their planned arrival to a 2-hour slot (which they normally keep). One of them recently improved further on this by promising to send an SMS (which they did) as soon as they left their previous job and were on their way to me. Makes it so much easier…!

  3. V.H Says:

    Consolidation Arrived – Pending Customs Clearance and inbound scan. That’s the latest on the Mail Service tracking for my new boots that are vastly better travelled than I am for 2013 and 2014 combined having been from the West Midlands to Brussels back to Surrey and are now some place in IE since midnight. Aaaagh.

  4. Paul Says:

    Why can’t private companies be more like universities?

  5. no-name Says:

    The position you are in commands great empathy and sympathy. An industry in which “I’m afraid that’s how we work” is a standard response to the abuse of human dignity that they choose to inflict is one that is ripe for radical regulation.

    I wonder if the “skilled craftsperson” involved is a medical doctor. It seems unlikely given the house-call arrangement.

    The fact that the vast majority of medical doctors think it normal to schedule several appointments for exactly the same time inspires nothing but contempt. There are many who would favor a greater government control over the sector, and a revision in which garbage collectors are paid more than medical doctors in light of the greater service they do for a larger community. Closer to the point, garbage collectors tend to be rather more reliable at timekeeping than medical doctors and other semi-skilled craftspeople.

    • anna notaro Says:

      In addition to what described in the post I find particularly irritating the familiarity in calling their customers often by their first name or, even worst “darling”. I can tolerate Amazon welcoming “Anna” to their site but not another, utterly unknown, human being..but that’s just me..

  6. Eddie Says:

    The power of vocational training! Another company will be no different. The power of skilled craftsmen as opposed to the powerless blokes who studied for knowledge sake! The reality in the real world!!

  7. Dan Uimhir a hAon Says:

    Ha! So, (and I am sympathetic), you’re saying “Once I have paid you my money for this once-off job, I will not engage and pay you again at some indeterminate future time, which I hope never happens, so there!” and they say…”Eh, sure, whatever”…are there any other companies that offer similar services?

  8. OMF Says:

    Yesterday I tried to arrange for a particular company to send me a skilled craftsperson….

    Yeah, I think we’ve found the root of the problem here.


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