After a week away on holiday I came back home invigorated and determined to tick off the top 10 jobs on my ‘to do’ list.
- Book into the doctors about arthritis pains – Repeated FAIL
- Book to see a recommended physio about above – Message left, no reply
- Book into dentists – not making appointments, they’ll ring me
- Sort out some replacement windows – commissioned this job before we went away, have heard nothing since
- Get bike serviced at Halfords – they promised to ring back last Wednesday, still heard nothing and can’t get through on the phone
- Go to tip – still have to make an appointment and what you can dump remains so limited it’s not worth going
- Get patio paving slabs relayed – waiting for a much delayed start date
- Buy a new hot-tub – Out of stock until late September
- Sort out plumbing issue – am still waiting for a bill for some work done back in June, have chased twice
- Replace Calor Gas bottle – size I need is out-of-stock, “always happens this time of year” I’m told. Supplier will call me if they get one in next delivery.
That’s nought out of ten. I know there’s been a global pandemic and some businesses will be catching up but that’s pretty poor return.
This morning’s Daily Mail reports that a range of other bureaucratic backlogs are paralysing the country including:
- Thousands of elderly motorists are housebound and isolated because of chaos at the DVLA
- More than 150,000 babies are thought to lack legal status because parents could not register their births
- Travellers are waiting more than four months for passports to be processed, causing families to cancel holidays
- Grieving relatives are suffering the extra heartache of long delays in obtaining probate to administer estates
- Nearly 200,000 suspected cancer cases waiting for key tests – a rise of 44 per cent.
Difficult to know what to say or think. In some cases, I guess, the delays are understandable as long as the organisations involved make some effort to catch up quickly. In others it feels like people just don’t care, don’t want to work or are using coronavirus as an excuse for poor customer service.
By contrast I’ve had great service from two businesses – my garage who helped me with an urgent repair and a nearby pub – welcoming, all set up for social distancing with prompt table service.
What do they have in common? Small, owner-managed, local businesses desperate to get back on their feet after months of lockdown. If our public sector organisations and multinationals had that kind of approach I’m sure we’d be back on our feet before we know it.