Friday, December 10, 2004

The Day From Hell

When you pay year on year for emergency vehicle breakdown cover, it’s reasonable to expect that should you ever breakdown (as I did at midnight last night) a simple call to a phone number should be all that is needed to get help dispatched.

What you don’t need is to be greeted with the information that according to the computer your policy expired in 2003, despite the fact that you know you have renewed it twice since.

Eventually they agree to send someone out, provided I underwrite the fee on a credit card. Having just come from a gig I don’t however have one on me; fortunately Stewart comes to the rescue. Not the ideal way to cap off a difficult evening with some fairly serious post-gig heart-to-heart discussions.

One jump-start later however, I’m finally on my way (the long way around the M60 to try and charge up the battery). When I get in, I dig out the paper work and there sure enough are my renewal docs.

Fortunately I’m on leave today to get the burglar alarm serviced and then set off around lunch time down to Suffolk for a family weekend. Accordingly after just a few hours sleep I’m up ready for the service person to call and whilst I wait I get on to the insurers about the breakdown cover. It transpires that the system has one digit wrong on my registration number, but why the policy number didn’t do the trick remains a mystery. I await the manager’s call back…

I spend the rest of the morning getting the alarm serviced, packing a bag, wrapping presents and ringing around trying to find a garage who has the new car battery I need in stock.

By noon, still not having heard back from the breakdown people, I head over to Rusholme and pick up a new battery for the car (at least one thing goes right today!).

Sat in the reception area I go to check my mobile to see if the breakdown people have rung yet. That would be the phone that I’m sure I put in my bag before heading out. That would be the phone that is clearly not now in my bag. Or the car.

I get home and tear the house up searching. I ring and ring, but nothing.

I exasperated beyond belief I give up and call Orange to get it barred. Fortunately I have insurance so they will send a new phone out in the morning (not ideal as I’ve got a long drive ahead – let’s hope the new battery solves the problem eh?). However to get a new phone ordered, I first need a Lost Property Number from the police.

After about 15 mins I eventually get through to the police, who take a message and tell me someone will ring me back in a few minutes.

Half an hour later, nothing. I spend a further 10 mins getting back through to them to be told I have to come in, in person to complete the form. Why this can’t be done over the phone is a mystery as is why they couldn’t tell me this 40 minutes ago!

I give in and head out to the car (praying it will start). At this point it occurs to me that the one place I haven’t ‘tracked-back’ is my garage. I nearly don’t bother, but figure for completeness… I open the door and… sure enough, there on the cold wet floor is my phone. Cold and somewhat scratched, but working (well apart from being barred!).

Jubilant I ring Orange back who very efficiently check my security codes and set the process in place to remove the barr.

I try to ring the police to tell them I won’t now be coming in, but after another 10 mins trying to get through I give up and with the time now approaching 4.30pm I eventually head off to Suffolk.

I never want a day like that again.

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