, , , ,

She’s got the right idea

We Brits are competent in so many ways.  In a speech at the Conservative Party Conference the other day, London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said this:

When they watch Gangnam Style on their TVs in Korea, do you know they watch it on TVs with the use of aerials made in London, in Wandsworth?

The Dutch ride bicycles made in London

The Brazilians use mosquito repellent that is made, in London

 Every single chocolate Hobnob in the world, is made, in London…

So we’ve established we can make things.  Why is it therefore so hard for us to fix things?  Voice your need for an electrician, a plumber, an engineer or delivery service, and you are guaranteed a sympathetic stare if not a frustrated sigh of empathy.

Only in the United Kingdom would a boss actually buy the excuse that installing a new dishwasher requires you to take an entire week off work.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I recently needed something to be fixed and have experienced the dreaded rigmarole of trying to get someone to fix it.  As a freelancer it’s lucky I work from home, although obviously I have neglected to tell this to third parties.  It adds more weight to my hefty argumentative correspondence if they believe I’m getting stick for their incompetence the other end.


Do you know how many emails I have received concerning WashingMachineGate, aka the simple process of exchanging a broken washing machine with a new one?  39.  Yes, that’s right – 39 emails.  And I’ve still not got clean clothes.  If I didn’t retch at the stench of my current attire every time I open my mouth, I’d probably laugh about it.  But I can’t.  Because it’s just not funny anymore.

In a nutshell, WashingMachineGate has gone like this:

  • Kind Landlords order a New Machine as they fear Old Machine is on its last legs
  • New Machine is set to arrive at the end of September
  • Old Machine dies a timely death in the last week of September.  RIP Old Machine
  • New Machine delivery is delayed
  • New Machine delivery is delayed again
  • New Machine delivery is booked
  • New Machine is finally delivered.  Deliverers refuse to install New Machine
  • New Machine sits in sitting room chilling out and being fucking irritating for 4 days
  • Plumbers come to install New Machine
  • Plumbers get electrocuted and say New Machine is faulty
  • I send angry email to New Machine Company
  • New Machine Company say they don’t trust Plumbers
  • New Machine Company want to send out their own New Machine Engineer
  • New Machine Engineer comes to inspect New Faulty Machine
  • New Machine Engineer confirms New Faulty Machine is in fact faulty
  • I send angry email to New Machine Company asking for a New New Machine
  • New Machine Company tell me New New Machine is out of stock and would my Landlords like to spend more money on a different New Machine?
  • Kind Landlords wade in and get angry
  • New New Machine ordered
  • New New Machine delivery is booked
  • 20 million emails between me and New Machine Company about parking in the area
  • New New Machine scheduled for delivery
  • Morning of New Machine delivery, at 8:11 today, I receive this email:

We had a look at the parking below, they don’t take commercial vehicles.  We may ask you to stand guard with the van

My response:

I very much doubt that in the 1-2 minutes it will take for your guys to carry the machine up one flight of stairs, a parking warden would have time to spring up from behind the rubbish bin, fling themselves across the road and slap a ticket on your very obvious tradesman van…

But yes, I will stand guard if necessary.

No I will not stand guard if necessary.  I emailed my Landlord to tell him so and to say I’ve had enough and have decided to blog about WashingMachineGate.

Landlord’s response:

Is it trending on Twitter yet – maybe you could get a small army to come and stand guard?

I like that idea.

It remains to be seen if by the end of today, I will be able to wash my clothes again.  Looking back over this ridiculousness, I’ve come to the conclusion I am glad I shall never be able to afford a house – for can you imagine the horror of re-decorating?  Yes, all too clearly.  A militia of builders and plumbers and electricians all saying they’re going to come and then not coming, and working at a snail’s pace, and finding problems that aren’t there, and fixing things that don’t need to be fixed and then breaking them…

Boris is right, we Brits are good at making things – good at making simple things bloody difficult.  And the sad fact is, this applies to all of us – both Washing Machine Installers and Users alike.  For as I stare at my brand spanking new appliance, a mountain of clothes in hand, this horrifying thought runs through my mind: how the hell do I turn it on?

Yes Britain CAN deliver…whether they will or not is another thing entirely

By Beenie Langley