Muggers’ Day

flowersThe even tenor of my morning was disturbed by an unwelcome piece of information.

The next day would be Mothers’ Day in the U.K. and, as I had been totally unaware of the hazard, I had not ordered flowers to be delivered to my aged parent.

Panic! Forget to order those blasted flowers and you might as well order a guillotine in kit form and make an end of yourself, otherwise you are in for a bloom by bloom description of the flowers delivered to her friends by their dutiful offspring spread over several ‘phone calls.

Mark you, given the incompetence and downright arrogance of firms these days the guillotine kit would probably arrive with the screws for the blade missing and an instruction to buy your own rope.

Only a few online flower suppliers were still offering delivery on the day so I thought it would be quick work to find something she would like….but we all know what thought did…

Most of what was said to be available proved to be no longer available…and the minutes were ticking down to the delivery deadline – Costa Rica being six hours behind the U.K.

Finally I found a bouquet which I thought would be to her taste. I went through the rigmarole of ordering….and just as I was to confirm found that the delivery date was for the day following Der Tag.

Much bad language followed as I tried to unravel the mysteries of a system which said it could deliver this bouquet on one date and then changed it for another date…but finally I discovered that it could indeed deliver on Mothers’ Day – if I was willing to pay ten quid more! Not so much Mothers’ Day as Muggers Day.

The blazes with that! I just had time to ring her local florist and appeal for mercy.

Mother is getting freesias tonight when the florist’s son gets back from football.

Online transactions are becoming part of our life: for my husband the perusal of Chinese mail order lists happily occupy him as witness the shower of  canine nail clippers, hair scissors, collars, leads, files, watches and mouse traps which have descended upon us in recent weeks.

I have to say that all have been top quality, have a no questions asked return policy – if you can read Chinese addresses – cost bugger all and are despatched post free.

By the look of the local Post Office half the town is similarly engaged in doing its bit to support the Chinese economy in its hour of need and so far the Costa Rican customs have not been holding items to ransom in their lair in the outskirts of San Jose.

Whether this will hold good for the tazer he seems to have ordered remains to be seen …and no, I don’t know how he managed to order it either…

Back up for the mouse traps perhaps…?

Or perhaps he was prescient.

We have been trying to rationalise our various bank accounts online….but banks have developed beyond the Chinese model of trying to please the customer.

The current bank model is, unless the customer is a drug trafficking human rights abuser introduced by Tony Blair (for a consideration), to treat said customer as a drug trafficking human rights abuser not introduced by Tony Blair.

You want to transfer some of your money?  Prove who you are! Prove that the bank to which you wish to to transfer the funds exists!

As proof of the latter seems to consist of producing said bank’s letterhead  the John Bull printing set must be making record sales in Nigeria…

Mark you, since one of the banks concerned is owned by Richard Branson, Britain’s prototype for Donald Trump,  perhaps they have grounds for concern…

Things are no better at the other end.

We’re sending back this money unless you can prove how you came by it! How they expect us to recall where the odd five grand came from is beyond me – it’s just sitting there, where it’s been sitting for the last few years…

So far a collection of old conveyances and actes de vente have provided sufficient cover but at some point some bright spark might notice that the same conveyance has covered a number of transactions…

Add to all this that reaction to mention of the Costa Rican currency – the colon – varies from crude remarks to blank incomprehension in banking circles and you can see that our rationalisation programme is on a hiding to nothing.

Still, the human touch still exists.

On Monday I shall be going in to my local bank branch to pick up my new bank card.

I had gone in to do this on Friday and waited for half an hour while increasingly frantic staff hunted for it high and low. Eventually, after consulting the computer and calls to Head Office, it was suggested that I go home and that they would call me  when they had a solution.

I had been home half an hour when the call came.

They had my card after all.

It had fallen down the back of the filing cabinet.








44 thoughts on “Muggers’ Day”

  1. At lest it had fallen and the filing cabinet hadn’t tried to eat it because it didn’t contain the secret password for the Bogota Banana Growers Federation.
    Well done on overcoming the obstacle course and getting the flowers. I’m sure Aged P will be delighted.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  2. Your last sentence made me laugh out loud. That filing cabinet exists in all offices, all banks, all over the world. Poor blameless cabinet; never did nobody no wrong.

    Your Mum is lucky to be getting flowers. I haven’t seen any for decades, nor cards, for that matter. Well, okay, one in about ten years. I used to get the date badly wrong; in Germany Mothers’ Day is in May and I frequently sent a card to my bemused Mum in March.

    1. I had to laugh too when they told me!
      Mothers’ Day being a moveable feast depending on where you are living is a real puzzler for me…but I know I’ll get it in the neck if I get it wrong!
      These elderly ladies seem to have a sort of league table when it comes to flowers…I send her scented narcissi from the Scillies during the miserable time of the year and one of her friends sniffed disapprovingly and said that the least I could do would be to send orchids…

  3. I hope your mother enjoys her flowers…I was in my late thirties when my mother passed away and one day a close friend confided in me that my mother was surprised by the nice card that I sent and its note…the friend remarked to my mother that she should not be surprised as I was a very nice woman…That shut her up…just goes to show what people take for granted…Glad your bank card was located.

    1. Yes, I was glad that it turned up as my residence is up for renewal and if there is any delay – or if my residence card falls down the back of the filing cabinet – then at least I can draw money from the machine. You need the residence card to undertake bank transactions, would you believe…

      I can’t say that mother and I are bosom pals…our prejudices differ…but at least we have armed neutrality these days.

  4. What a fiasco. Personally I don’t think we need a specific day to celebrate mothers. It’s just another event that has become commercialised and an unnecessary expense for a lot of people. You are very good to your mother, and at a distance I’m sure it’s difficult. Mothers should be appreciated every day of the year xx

    1. I too think it a commercial nonsense….but mother has been conned by it so I go along with it…
      I do send her flowers at odd times – when the weather is lousy, or she seems a bit down…but miss the Big One and you’ll never hear the end of it.

  5. You must send all your posts to Galton & Simpson immediately so they can write them up in form fit for TV & Movie! The TV series would outsell ‘Faulty Towers’ and the movie would gross millions. This must happen!

  6. I have the same problem as several above. Mother’s day is in May where my mother lives, but not necessarily the same Sunday in May as where I live. My sister never remembers to remind me either. I guess it’s better than when I lived in the UK, where Mothers day is in March. Mind you, I’m not sure how much Mothers day impacts on my mother now that she has dementia.

    1. I’m so sorry that her problem developed into dementia….and hard to know what impacts and what does not in that situation, especially when you can’t see her physically.
      I’m all in favour of a worldwide date for Mothers’ Day……I might stand half a chance of remembering it then.

  7. Your posts are always such a delight, Helen! I hope the flowers arrived as promised, and that your mother is enjoying them. Instead of you getting a bloom by bloom description of her friends’ bouquets, she can now give a bloom by bloom description of hers to her friends. Much better that way. 🙂

    The banking scenario nowadays is ludicrous. It’s all in the name of stopping terrorism and/or drug money laundering, which, of course, it doesn’t. And better that your new bank card fell behind the office filing cabinet than into the office shredder.

    1. I’m sure that the flower inspection is underway by now…
      As for banks and their absurd regulations: I bet I wouldn’t have these problems if I were laundering millions…….

  8. . . our kids have been told ‘Don’t you dare!’ No birthdays, no christmas, no mothers no nothing!! Every day is a celebration of life and a banking system that hasn’t yet screwed us over – screwed up, yes – but it cost them compensation because, as they found out, I have time and experience of report investigating/writing health and safety incidents in the Prison Service. They were like lambs to the slaughter! Good luck with your bank robbers!

    1. Mother likes the seasonal rituals…cards, flowers, chocolates….I couldn’t give a hoot, but if that makes her happier, so be it.

      I try not to let banks do anything with my money except to horde it…no direct debits…no insurance…no loans…no nothing.

      Odd you should mention bank robbers…our local branch was raided a week ago by men dressed as postmen: probably frustrated customers whose cards had fallen behind the filing cabinet…

  9. I hope the freesias were well-received and appreciated.

    Last week I had to do some banking in Poitiers, using the automated systems for paying in cheques (in a plastic envelope) and cash, and when I couldn’t find Terry’s bank card I thought I must have inadvertently paid it in with a cheque. I had to ask the cashier to open the locked box where the deposited cheques go. This caused much tutting and head-shaking and a lecture on how nobody is allowed to touch the cheques once they have been posted into the box.

    It was quite a commotion finding the envelope, and whilst the cheque was in it, the bank card wasn’t. General panic ensued and business came to a halt while staff and customers searched every nook and crevice and down the back of the filing cabinets without success. leading to everybody presuming the card had been stolen from the counter while I wasn’t looking. I went to the car to explain my lengthy absence to Terry, and had a thorough look in my handbag. There, amongst various camera lenses, tissues, receipts, brochures and other detritus, was the missing bank card.

    With regards to your banking problems, doesn’t it strike you as ironic that customers are required to provide evidence that their money has been legally acquired, while the upper echelons of the banking system get away with mismanaging, misusing and misappropriating millions of their customers’ money?

    1. I did appreciate you subverting the work of the bank in Poitiers and it is a comfort to me that another woman has a handbag which resembles mine. Leo’s theory is that when the handbag can contain no more I ditch it and buy another….
      Ironic…and moronic! And when we have a banking money launderer for Mexican drug traffickers who becomes a government minister…..

  10. Fete de Grand mere here today and they were all being wheeled out for lunch. Yet another business opportunity. With no Grandma or Mother now and no children these ‘days’ pass me by. The husband said that our dog could get me a little something, you know , a nice bottle of wine to share..

  11. I always buy flowers from one of the Guernsey online companies, and they kindly send me emails in advance of any occasion when I might be buying flowers, including Mother’s Day. The freesias (too) arrived yesterday. Perfect timing.

    Banks are becoming increasingly incomprehensible. Customers now have to do all the work, can’t get at their money, and have to bail them out when they teeter on the brink of yet another disaster. Bankers should be shot at dawn actually.

  12. I ordered flowers for the Matriarch on Saturday with Interflora, to be delivered yesterday. I went to bed (I’m 5 hours behind the UK) with a clear conscience and secure in the knowledge that I had done my bit. I woke yesterday to an email from Interflora telling me that they could not deliver until tuesday and that they would include a complimentary box of chocolates. I wrote a furious email to customer services and they have refunded the tenner in delivery charges. My mother will be receiving a rosebush with trailing ivy in attractive planter tomorrow and can make herself sick on chocolates. She will think I forgot because I haven’t the strength to explain the cock up and anyway she will just assume its another of my excuses. So I am £25 lighter in the bank balance and still regarded as a complete imbecile by the family at large. Which is probably just as well – the shock of my not being a selfish baggage who has entirely messed up everything in her life might be too much for them 😉

    1. Best to live down to family expectations….don’t want to give anyone a heart attack for which,of course, one will be blamed…
      But how these companies cock things up!

      1. I didn’t even stick my toe in the water of your commentry on money transfers … it’s alarming to me that these imbecillic establishments wield such power 😦

  13. Online solutions are no match for careless human beings dropping things down the back of a filing cabinet!

    I persuaded my mother years ago that Mother’s Day was a bit of a con and there was no need for bunches of flowers from all and sundry. So I can now relax and phone her up for a chat instead.

    1. I could do with your powers of persuasion!
      At least with the filing cabinet there’s a chance of the thing surfacing…online you’re on a hiding to nothing.

  14. My mother died many years ago, but thankfully my darling mother-in-law is happy to have a card. I’ve also made it very clear to the offspring that a card is more than enough if they manage to remember in time. Daughter always does, son often doesn’t, in which case he rings for a a nice chat.

    Your bank card saga had me on the edge of my seat. How fortuitous that the filing cabinet had only hidden not eaten it. We do as much as we possibly can online nowadays, but our little French water supply company still insists we write them a cheque which then costs an entire pound to post to them!

    1. I think it is having different dates in different countries which confuses me… and I’m not very happy about the peer group pressure to have flowers on particular occasions, but if it makes her happy,then I’ll go along with it.
      I too was relieved that it was only the traditional method of losing the card rather than some arcane nonsense with an internal bank system,
      A pound to post a cheque! Horror!

  15. OK, I admit it, I have been such a fool!! I haven’t been reading blogs recently and now I’ve read this, I am kicking myself for my stupidity. I needn’t have wallowed in self-pity for the past few months – I just needed a good dose of your excellent prose to have me laughing aloud and fully cheered up! Even if I am laughing at your frustrations….which, I realise, is not quite so kind. But it is with a sense of kinship….my dear husband spends half his life on the phone trying to resolve one ridiculous bank problem or another. We have no mobile coverage inside our house, so the thing about proving who we are involves carrying out a transaction online, inside the house where we have WiFi and a computer – then taking the mobile outside for a walk to the bottom of the garden to wait for the SMS that contains the all-important verification code. One day, he spent the whole evening unable to complete a transaction because Orange wasn’t working and no SMS arrived.
    Thank you for cheering me up! And thank you for popping by my own blog. Axxx

    1. I was pleased to see your blog popping up again…you’ve had a tough time just lately.

      Oh, even here I don’t have the long walk to the end of the garden to get a signal…I have visions of your husband camping out for the night with tent and bonfire waiting for the elusive code to arrive!

      Lovey to hear from you again!

  16. I can’t remember when I abandoned mothers day. At an early age I suspect. I often bought flowers and other things during the year and I refused to be dictated to by hallmark and overpriced flower retailers. I was delighted to meet a man who also ignored it. Until the day when we went to his mother’s and I saw a card he’d sent. Behind my back. Huge spat. He swore blind he hadn’t sent it so we could only assume his mother put the same one out every year, or sent one to herself in his name.

    Banks. I doubt there is anyone these days who doesn’t have a banking incompetency story.

    1. If it gives her pleasure in the keeping up with the other mothers stakes, then so be it….
      Yes,banking incompetency….but why are they so incompetent…and why are we unable to do anything about it….

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