Thursday 11 October 2012

All parcelled up

I think 25 or may be 30 was the tipping point.  On Tuesday, if you were younger, you stood out like a sore thumb, on Wednesday if you were older it was, well kinda  awkward.

In a rash moment earlier this year, I bought tickets for Chris Isaak in Hammersmith, probably on the  back of buying a 'Best of' album'.  I learnt a long time ago that greatest hits album are not really worth the bother...just like too much candy floss...but in this case I quite enjoyed it.  My expectation was that he would be mean and moody and the songs slow and bluesy with a rock'n'roll tinge.  It quickly became apparent that I was wrong and we were in the minority..just about everyone else was a fanatic.  And when he walked on stage, it was in a bright red and sparkly suit.He knew his audience, and was a real performer, laughing and joking as he went along....for the first time that I've been to the Hammersmith Apollo, the artist, took the opportunity of walking through the audience and up the stairs to the balcony...a very smart way of getting everyone going.  Anyway, he played all his best songs and a few by Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis plus some more I didn't recognise.  A real entertainer, and as a one-off fantastic...but my favourite still remains this one

Last night we headed off on what is usually referred to as "One of Nota's adventures'  At least, for a change, The Cat's Mother knew where we were heading and what we were doing....and that's probably a good thing as she's not great with surprises.

We were off out to dinner - in a garage in Dalston.  If you don't know Dalston, that may be because you don't watch CrimeWatch.  It's generally one of those parts of London best avoided after dark...especially the back alleys.  The garage was one of those places that has been around since your great grandfather's days...probably sorting out horseless carriages when Mr Benz invented them.  I guess that means that at some stage, Dalston was a nice area.  The event was sponsored by 'Tradicional' who are purveyors of fine tequila.  As I sit here typing at lunchtime the next day, the effects seem to be getting worse.  The meal was, of course, Mexican...all five courses of it, and truly scrumptious.

As usual with these things, you take pot luck as to who you get to sit next to.  And we were lucky, a guy and his wife who were excellent company.  It turns out that he works for a company also I used to work for - a PR business - I would say about 22 years ago.  It was immeasurably gratifying to find out that he was aware of a project that I'd put in place for the parcel company UPS, as it had run for fifteen or so years.  I'd never got the glory I thought I deserved for it because (as I was reminded a couple of weeks ago by an old friend) I'd lost my job because of an inappropriate relationship with their receptionist (we were both single and over the age of consent - but evidently employees were strongly discouraged from having relationships with each other by a very puritan company).  Anyway, it's really nice to know that my legacy was a good one.

As it happens, I'd struggled to avoid parcel companies over the last couple of days.  A package due to be delivered by DPD to the office on the 9th had been lost/found/delayed.  It started off being quite amusing because I had lost count of the number of e-mails and texts they had sent confirming the date and time of delivery (a one hour timeslot they promised), but as it was a new cooker hob for a tenant it became a source of angst and embarrassment.  Even when they found it, and rescheduled, they managed to delivery it six hours late...and damaged.

It was, therefore, doubly irritating that yesterday I was also due a delivery from the same company - Interlink (same company, different brand).  Same process...lots of e-mails and texts imploring me to make sure that someone was at home to sign for the package...and a one hour time slot (11.38 - 12.38).  They like you to be at home, because re-deliveries are expensive for don't get sucked in to thinking they're doing it for your benefit. It too didn't arrive.  The Cat's Mother waited all day

Now there's one thing of which I'm certain, because I'e learnt it through experience,  if a company hides its contact telephone number so it becomes practically impossible to talk to them, then they will be a bad company.  And indeed that is the case with Geopost - the owners of DPD and Interlink.  But after a long search I managed to find a number for their PR.  This provoked the response I needed...a call from their customer services and the package arriving at 8.00pm...complete with apology and bottle of wine.  It had taken many phone calls, a great deal of my time and emotional energy, but I got the packages.  BUT, I doubt that I was unlucky...I bet that their service standards are pretty low, and I doubt many people would have had my persistence to sort it out - actually judging by the response to my Facebook post many people have suffered the same problems.  So the next time I order something, the first thing I will check is which company will be delivering it.  And if it is DPD or Interlink I will take my business elsewhere