I know you probably come here to read about positive, art related stuff and check out how I’m doing (or not doing) with whatever I’m attempting to create but, although it’s art related (sort of) this post is not very positive.
But do not fear, it’s not that serious it’s just, well, annoying.
I’ve always had an abiding hatred of bureaucracy, no doubt programmed into me at a young and impressionable age by my father, who had an equally passionate hatred for the deliberate creation of paperwork for the sake of creating paperwork. We didn’t agree on a great deal but that was one of the things we did.
A couple of days ago I ordered some much needed Jacksons’ Acrylic Matt Gel which, frankly, doesn’t go too far when you’re collaging large bits of paper. I ordered it directly from the commendably easy to use Jacksons website and opted, in hindsight rather foolishly, to have it delivered to a local Collect Plus shop rather than my flat. This would give me, I reasoned, a much higher chance of getting it on the day of delivery, as there wouldn’t be the risk of the item turning up on my doorstep just at the point where I’d had to go out.
I know what you’re thinking; surely it could just be left at a neighbours? A fair point and one that in reality I could probably have relied upon but why take the risk when all I have to do is pop in to the newsagent while on my morning bike ride and coffee run and there it will be?
Presenting myself to the young lady at the counter I first produced my barcode, then produced my I.D. (apologies if you now have Whiskey in the Jar running through your head) and said I’d like my parcel. Things started to go downhill from there. Having disappeared into the back of the shop to retrieve the package she re-appeared with nothing. She studied the sheet of paper that contained the barcode and her quizzical expression became one of vague understanding. I was confident at this point that she now had all the information required and all would be well.
She disappeared again. And re-appeared again, as equally unencumbered by a parcel as on the previous occasion. Now I was starting to get a little worried.
“Who was it from?” she asked.
“Jacksons”, I replied.
In what was now becoming a tediously repetitive scenario she disappeared again. And re-appeared again. But lo! (as any good Fortean would exclaim in such a circumstance) what is that I see under her arm? Could it be my parcel? Could be! (As any fan of Hong Kong Phooey would exclaim in such a circumstance).
Things were at last starting to look up. With the package still securely at her side she started tapping keys on a small yellow box on the counter. The PayPoint logo on the box allowed my Homes like detective reasoning to deduced that this was the PayPoint terminal, and that it clearly needed to be fed vital information to allow our business to be concluded.
Oh dear. That quizzical expression was back and looked a lot more severe; something was amiss.
“Can you hang on a bit? the system isn’t working” she said.
“No problem” I said, aware that this was not strictly true as I had a life outside the shop and it had been my intention to get back to at some point during this century.
After serving the customers that by now had been gathering behind me she looked back at the terminal. The quizzical expression changed to one of relief (as did mine) at which point she picked up a barcode scanner and wielded the thing in an impressively Xena like way in the direction of the barcode.
There was a reassuringly loud beep. Perhaps I would leave the shop with just stumble rather than a full beard.
“Sorry”, she said (and I have to admit I fully expected this to be followed with a “computer says no”) “the system still isn’t working, you’ll have to come back tomorrow”.
At this point my otherwise patient and pleasant demeanour took a rather serious turn for the worse. It was bad enough that I’d spent half my life waiting for the parcel, but to be told I couldn’t have it just because the bleedin’ system wasn’t working was too much.
I tried to persuade her that if I left the barcode with her she could sort out whatever bureaucratic process needed to be concluded while I was happily creating works of art in the safety of my home.
“No” she said. “You’ll have to come back tomorrow”.
I didn’t exactly turn green and rampage through the shop, partly because I was mindful of the fact that as a member of staff she was just following orders, but I did express my annoyance at what seemed to be an unnecessary protocol, one that ignored the very thing that should have been the priority; the needs of the customer.
So, with a sense of pre-determined destiny, I went home without my package.
Having got that off my chest I shall now send an email to Collect Plus and share my displeasure with them. They will no doubt point out that it’s not their fault that the PayPoint machine wasn’t working.
I don’t know, if you want something done in this country…
Meanwhile, Brigantia and the collaging I was planning to do will have to wait (probably a good thing as I still can’t decide an whether the drawing is right), so I’d best get on with my next pencil drawing instead, the progress of which I’ll update you on in my next post.
Let us hope that it is a more positive report than today.
And if you’d like to share that would be fab…