My wife has one of those fridge magnet thingamajigs that asks me, each time I reach for the milk, whether I’ve nurtured myself today. Usually I ignore it with the haughty disdain for Americanised sentimental claptrap that it so richly deserves, but this week I thought I’d try and do myself a good turn after all. So rather than continue to risk the back injury, neck strain, discomfort and inconvenience that stem from using my computer whilst balancing the monitor on one Pickfords removal crate, the keyboard on another, the mouse on yet a third, all the while adopting a precarious lotus-style bodily posture, I thought I’d take the radical step of ordering a desk and a rather swanky “Executive Chair”. Thus far, I think you’ll concede, my analysis of the situation showed a masterly grasp of ergonomics, and the solution I had alighted upon could not have been more exquisitely designed to resolve my nurturing deficit.
But as so often happens, it is the complacency that emerges from a good plan expertly executed that opens one to carelessness and poor judgement. In my case it was the fatal error of selecting Argos Home Delivery as my emporium of choice. I selected the goods after a careful perusal of the necessary dimensions, construction materials, price and those helpful reviews from punters who have boldly gone before you. I clicked the relevant buttons. With gay abandon I permitted my most personal financial details to wing their way across an Internet as yet unsullied by the Digital Economy Bill. I assiduously declined permission for said Argos Home Delivery to bombard my already groaning inbox with yet more superfluous entreaties to buy things I have no need of. Finally, my joy was unconfined when I received a delicately worded, albeit robotically generated, email assuring me that my carefully selected items would be delivered on Thursday 8th April between the hours of 7am and 1pm.
So last night I set my alarm for 6am. I was not going to permit myself to wander bleary-eyed and naked from my shower to greet the delivery driver, since no-one who isn’t contractually obliged to endure such visions should ever be required to do so. By 7am I was as sweet-smelling and as presentable as any reasonably sanguine observer could have wished. The first couple of hours ran fairly smoothly, as I busied myself breakfasting and introducing my stale clothing to an eagerly receptive washing machine. Even the third hour was reasonably tolerable. At the end of it I reluctantly informed my anxious employers that I would need to make a somewhat delayed entrance. They were charmingly accommodating, without even once indicating that they thought I had perhaps had a beer or six too many and was simply playing for time.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth hours were less congenial. I became a little fidgety. Although it cannot be necessary to check the clock more than a couple of times every quarter of an hour, I was finding it obligatory to do so a couple of times a minute. When a mere 15 minutes remained, I could no longer hold myself back from making a call to the customer service department. I dialled. I pressed 1. Then I pressed 3. And then 2. And finally 1 again. This secret code was sufficient to put me in touch with an automated voice informing me that they were unfortunately unable to tell me when within my allocated time slot my delivery would materialise. By now that slot had only a rapidly vanishing 5 minutes to run. So I phoned back, this time pressing 1, followed as before by 3, and then 2. But not 1. Oh no. With an air of desperate defiance I pressed 2! The reward for my temerity was no longer an automated voice, but one with which I could converse.
In hindsight, I think I preferred the automated one. This real voice told me solemnly that they were unable to offer an exact time, and that my delivery would most assuredly arrive, but not perhaps until 6pm. I remonstrated that I had been sent an email telling me that the delivery would occur between 7am and 1pm. That, Sir, was only an estimate! But I mustn’t worry because, despite the unreasonable desire that I had to go to work this afternoon, once they had discovered that the delivery had failed, I’d be able to ring them back to rearrange it. And how much leeway should I allow for that rearranged delivery? Well, it could happen any time between 7am and 6pm on the day of my choice, not including a Saturday. So I’d need to take another day off work? Yes, apparently Sir would. So why was I sent an email dishonestly telling me that I only needed to wait until 1pm, and on the strength of which I had already taken a half-day’s leave? No, it wasn’t dishonest, heaven forfend, but an estimate. And in any case, I was showing precious little consideration for the delivery driver by not accepting that “things sometimes happen”. Not, it would seem, that those things included much in the way of delivering anything.
So to summarise: Argos Home Delivery service is a load of incompetent cack. More than that, Argos treats its customers as if they were petulant, demanding toddlers. Its customer service stinks. Its desire to assist is non-existent. And it quite clearly couldn’t give a toss. If I’m to get any nurturing, I’ll evidently have to provide it for myself just as the fridge magnet had suggested.