The 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.