Let’s Get (Insert Here) Done

Another day, another period of torment as a citizen of the UK.

Following yet another terrorist attack committed by a released offender, the fingers are once again being pointed by people who haven’t yet realised that delayed release would only have meant a delayed attack. For a solution to the problem, I could just draw them a picture. But when the Home Secretary refers to ‘counter-terrorism offenders’ seven times in an interview, I’m not sure that even a potato-print would provide clarity.

Things are Priti grim here at present.

In fact, with many of the situations I encounter on a daily basis, I cannot get my swede around the ‘why’, if indeed there really always is one.

On Sunday, I needed to phone through an electricity meter reading to an automated service, only to receive a recorded message stating that ‘office hours were closed’.

Well, it comes to something when even the automated bots are working shifts. You wonder what clueless gimps are running these operations although if you’ve worked in outsource contact centres, you won’t need too much stimulation.

Presumably, ones who don’t realise that if you can play an automated message out of hours, you can also run an interactive service out of hours. I would have phoned them the following day to complain, but I didn’t fancy a 55-minute conversation with a chap in Bangalore, hell-bent on remote-connecting to my laptop.

Nor explaining to Mastercard how I hadn’t made 196 taxi journeys the day before in the state of Karnataka.

It’s becoming clear that the present-day UK has become a place where you just can’t get anything done. Try getting an electrician, plumber, or a roofer round for a quick-one off job. You’ll be whistling in the wind. Mind you, if you’ve got and £8k rewiring job to post on Bark, you’ll have an unabating stream of cranks filling your inbox for the next 6 months and most of them will not even know how to wire a plug.

They’ll all pretty much (or Priti much, as is the current flavour of fuckwittery) want to be in on the ‘work one day then trouser some money for materials’ action. Then you’ll see your 2-week job morph into a 9-monther, stranded in the purgatory of the criminal justice system (which won’t want to know) and the civil court (which you can’t afford because Darren has got a firm grip on your ‘grip’).

(Limited) salvation may come in the form of a late-late-show if Darren can assemble the first links on a sub-sub-sub-sub-contractor-chain that will include bright sparks only at your double sockets.

But it’s not only your average HMRC-averse household maintenance specialist who will twist your shit. Garages are another hotbed of cash-whoring tailpipe suckwits. I mean, I have a small leak in the steering fluid return pipe at the front of my car, so I made the call to my local garage. They were apparently ‘rammed’, even though I just wanted a new rubber patch glued and clamped over the previous patch. It would take 15 minutes; I told the guy over the phone.

Yes, but what if it got more involved? That was the next line he trotted out. At this stage, he was wriggling on a hook and his reluctance to engage was palpable. Like he was desperate for a piss. It was killing him; such was his passion to not take the job.

Now it could get more involved. There could be a gas explosion just as he pulled out his monkey wrench. Someone could suffer a burst appendix, which might complicate the daily routine. I understand the variability of the world and know as anybody else does that that surprises do happen.

But based on what we know, he could easily plan a time for me to drop the car in. If somebody in the workshop kicked the bucket unexpectedly, I’d wait a bit longer. The job is straightforward, and I’d even do it myself, but regrettably I don’t have a hydraulic ramp on my driveway and find the prospect of two tons of Frances’s finest falling on me unappealing. Notwithstanding the fact that 999 calls take about 20 minutes while the operator navigates their way through a script that would make George London and Henry Wise baulk.

So, no dice – not even big fat furry Ford Escort ones. I felt like ‘ramming’ the garage myself but there’d have been no guarantee I’d have been able to steer it into the forecourt.

Of course, the real issue with garages is that you can never drop in the car and then wait while they do the work. Then you’d know how exactly how long it really took and the garage couldn’t double-bubble on the labour. The catalytic converter would be right out of the bag.

You see, all garages work on the same premise that they book the cars in and you pick them up late afternoon. In the meantime, the service manager works out how to overlay all the jobs so that overall they can charge out 12-15 hours labour for each 7.5 mechanic hours actually worked.

If he comes up short on the billing target, a selection of the jobs will be identified for the ‘stuck or sheared bolt’ routine.

You’ll get a call to inform you that the job took 30 minutes or so longer because it took them an additional 30 minutes to dislodge a bolt that had got stuck. You of course still pick up your motor at the same time, and you’re none the wiser. Hell, the implication is that they still got you your car sorted on time in spite of the unforeseen circumstances, so you’ll probably even thank them.

Next time I quote for a writing job and subsequently raise the price because it took me longer to conjure up the right words within the quoted time, I’ll see how that flies.

Another garage asked me to explain what I needed and after a few minutes of me providing an account of this, they asked me to call back the following afternoon once the boss had got back. It pushed moronic ineptitude to the outer limits. Furthermore, a mobile mechanic offered his services, but he couldn’t get out to see me for 3 weeks. Must be comforting for his clients who have broken down in the Hackney at 11pm.

But few bat an eyelid at this counterproductive insanity because it’s all become normalised. We just keep ringing numbers until we come across someone who is honest and intelligent, hopefully both.

So, it’s still leaking.

I later went back to the office somewhat hacked off and found an email in my inbox from a well-known industry search engine provider for $100 credit for an Ad campaign if I set up an advertising account. It is of course a ‘bait and switch’ and lo and behold, the $100 will be forthcoming once I have spent the qualifying amount which is ‘to be confirmed’. That will be when the shirt is being peeled off my back, no doubt.

I should know better particularly as I worked in advertising which, whatever the discipline, is premised on promises and up-front payments. You don’t get any recruitment executives offering payment by results – they won’t back their money as they ask you to back their judgement. Of course, they jabber on about cost-per-click and pretend that this constitutes results, but that means very little. Sales or hires, or whatever the outcomes are all that matters. And of course, as most small businesses will tell you, ad campaigns can leave you open to shenanigans with your competitors who click your ads like Michael J Fox to burn your budget. It won’t stop all those chinless, tan-brogued client directors from telling you otherwise, but this is all part of post-fact narrative.

To them, a result is when somebody engages with your advertisement. It’s only a result (for them) if you swallow it. In other scenarios mainstream advertising campaigns would be classed as ‘advance-fee fraud’ but as ever, it’s become accepted practice. I am half expecting the next pitch to be prefaced by a need to move $30m of Gadhafi’s savings out of Libya.

In fact, if you are unfortunate to be ripped off by a conman, see how far you get with your local police. You’ll be told to gallop off back chez vous and to report it online to Action Fraud where it will consume up to 1MB of memory on a government server for the next six years. The only person who is likely to read it will be a post-pubescent hacker in Kyrgyzstan and unfortunately, he’ll have no immediate plans to fly to Nigeria to recover your pension any time soon.

Wherever you look, people are just killing time, picking up enough of whatever pays the bills. Could any of this truly be described as service? In whatever circumstances, there is a growing number of charlatans who function in a manner that is detached from any cohesive strategy or fixed goals. It’s just about getting as much money any way they can and hoping that nothing will come up that will oblige them to hand any of it back or out to a different party.

You know, we’ve all been aghast at how the whole Brexit debacle has continued to plunge to ever murkier depths. Both from a government and opposition perspective it only aspires to the status of piss poor. But the truth is that we have been decaying for a long time and in every nook and cranny of our lives.

Fundamental to everything is a growing disengagement. People don’t bother because they don’t have to. At a certain level nothing is questioned or called to account, but that bar has been rising, and we are facing apathy and dysfunctionality at every turn. And this will continue to exponentially grow if it is felt that with time anything will just blow over.

We are about to hit an era when the blowing over will run out of puff, but we’ve not heeded the red flags.

‘Let’s get (insert here) done’ has become the mantra of the new UK.

Yet, we’re the ones who are about to get done.

unsplash-logoNigel Tadyanehondo

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