In my pomp I had a battery of secretaries and personal assistants to cater to my every whim and to ensure my energies were better deployed on the great affairs of commerce. It has come of something of a shock to the system therefore that in retirement I have to deal with chores personally. In particular, I have to attend to the termination of utilities in the family house and the installation of them in my new coastal residence.
The saga began on calling EDF, as the account was in the name of a fusion of my own and late father. The wallah, wally would be better, triumphantly announced I was impersonating my late father and terminated the call. The next person, called Chelsea though she came from the midlands and supported Sunderland, was more customer compliant. She said she could only terminate the account if I opened up a new one which I duly did, though I have no intention of using it.
Worse was to come yesterday with British Gas. As I had no customer reference number I could not get beyond the call options. In desperation I keyed in the number referred to in past post at my new address. I have already informed my readers that there is a card system in operation which obliges me to queue up at the Co-op to have it refilled. The British Gas person told me that most of the payment goes not on the gas but to discharge a previous tenant’s indebtedness. Because of this I would have to undergo a credit check – imagine such an indignity. The logic of this defeated me and I roundly retorted that in my day I owned a utility company, admittedly one of natural gas in Azbekistan for tax reasons. Because of my high blood pressure I am now confining myself to the one utility per day, today being BT, one of the most monolithically incompetent organisations it’s ever been my misfortune with which to deal.