Wednesday, 19 January 2011

We called while you were out....!

A lot of people have been complaining on Twitter recently of waiting in for a delivery or workman only to wait and wait with no result but some time during the day and then to suddenly find a card on the front door mat with "We called today at xxx to yyy but you were out, in order to receive your package please wait 36 hours and then visit our 'local' office which is situated halfway up Ben Nevis and is open between 3 and 4 am every morning for your convenience"
If it is a workman then they give you the telephonic equivalent of 'halfway up Ben Nevis'  or a CTI (Computer Telephony Integration system where you are asked to make a choice from a series of options, none of which involve talking to another live human until you are hopelessly lost in a maze worthy of King Minos and slump sobbing in a corner waiting the sound of hooves and snuffling.
People ask "How is this done?" and "Why?".
Here, like the answer book section of Lenny Henry and his "Magicians" show, we reveal the technique and reasoning.

How do they do it?

Well simple, they use what used to be known in the Gas Board days as the "Feather and Trainer Technique", this is kind of like the "Four Sprung Duck Technique" employed in German Brothels but without the sexual undertones and basically involves the workman slipping on some plimsolls (Cheap Trainers for anyone born after the 70's!) and creeping up your garden path/front steps to your front door, tapping on it with a feather twice and when no answer is heard slipping said card through your door and tip-toeing away and driving off.

Why do they do it?

Ah, yes, the puzzling part, but that's because you are looking at it from a "Customer" perspective or even an "Employer" perspective!!
Now put yourself in the position of a worker who is paid on the basis of x customer calls or deliveries a day and where if a customer call just takes the time driving to it you can do x+y visits.  Therefore either gaining extra bonus for more calls, even abortive ones or for callbacks and of course it is always the customer's fault as they were not in were they??

Of course from time to time nowadays with more and more personal webcams etc it is possible to "prove" that when a person said they called the householder was actually there but who would take "proving" that to any length?

Also, if I wanted to set up a small courier service and cream off jobs from the Post Office pre-privatisation, a good wheeze would be to have a few real delivery vans full of parcels trolling round the inner city close to each other addresses and just a motorbike guy with a list and some "Whilst you were out...." cards zipping around the more rural addresses just delivering those quietly so the end customer gets the pleasure of going halfway up Ben Nevis to collect his Kindle 3G or Wii Game.  Save on vans, people and fuel and get the people to collect from the depot.  All the while charging the full posting and packaging.

So, the next time you have one of these "We called while you were out...." cards through your door and you know full well you were in waiting all the time, check with your neighbours friends and work colleagues as to who else this has happened to and see if you can spot a trend.  Then complain to the supplier/utilty.

Ghenghis 2011

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