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Crisis at Christmas

The other day, I moaned on this bogl about the British Gas engineer, and how after I had received texts and emails on an almost daily basis for three weeks leading up to his appointment, reminding me urgently to be in to greet him ‘between 12 and 2 pm’, he had still not arrived or phoned by 2.15.

To continue the saga, which I am sure will not have interested you much – so what? I had an electrician who poo’d in the fridge! – he finally did arrive, at a quarter to four. He was perfectly pleasant, quick and competent, and offered no apology or reason for being late. As it happened, I was going nowhere, so it didn’t matter, other than for the principle that, if someone repeats a lie often enough, it’s supposed to come true.

I had in fact emailed British Gas to ask, in all innocence, where he had gotten to. So, today a letter arrives by snailmail from the ‘Shift Manager’, telling me he has instigated an urgent inquiry into my ‘complaint’, that I haven’t made. I have visions of the police and Social Services becoming involved, questions in the House, names being named, leaks leaked. And, just in case I needed more information about the complaints procedure, writes the Shift Manager, ‘I have enclosed a leaflet telling you more’.

Only, he hasn’t. The envelope is empty.

It’s a small thing, to be sure, but it’s one damned small thing, one hollow promise after another. The crisis of competence in our corporate institutions is reaching endemic proportions. Only Amazon stands between civilization and the Void.

*Since posting this post, I learn that Amazon may have paid only £3 15s 6d tax on the money I regularly send them in exchange for jazz CDs, which now amounts to £17.4 bn annually. What is the world coming to?


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