Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)


Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)


Article excerpt


IDON'T recall exactly when I turned into Victor Meldrew, but there is no doubt that we are now completely indistinguishable.

Having fallen about laughing at the line "Don't tell him, Pike!" at a recent awards dinner, and found that no one else on the table recognised it (or had even heard of Dad's Army), I should perhaps explain that Meldrew was an irascible, elderly sitcom character. I thought of him as, before I sat down to write this column, I emailed my car dealer to tell them that they were mistaken in their belief that my Land Rover was due for a service, only to have my message instantly bounced back because the email address they had provided did not exist.

The in my I then rang my energy company to ask why on earth they had written to me suggesting that I could save money by switching from my Economy 7 tariff on the grounds that I am not using enough experience that they always recommend barrage in the hope electricity at night. Which seemed odd, given that I use 10 times more power then than during the day, owing to my reliance on storage heaters.

identifying expensive treatment their representative cheerily admitted that it was a "generic" letter they had sent to all their Economy 7 customers. So no chance of some confused or vulnerable people being worried or persuaded to pay more than they need to, then.

So much for this week's sterling efforts at customer service by the private sector. I hesitate to move on to the public sector, because I have found from bitter experience that it is never a good idea to question other people's religions or quasi-religions, and the NHS defi-nitely falls into the latter category.

Nevertheless, I cannot think of any other organisation that would expect me to wait patiently for two hours, as I did on Friday in the company of my two-year-old son to see his consultant, only to be told: "He's not here today".

To be fair, I exaggerate. I only spent 90 minutes in the waiting room. The first half hour was spent alone in the car waiting for a parking space to become available, following the hospital's decision to fence off at least three quarters of its car park and designate it "staff only". …

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