Thursday, September 06, 2007

Service in Britain

Well, well, you'd think it's nice, polite, a little Americanised, surely?
Ha! Not when it comes to delivery services! Man, man, man.
I was getting a big parcel delivered and went to all kinds of trouble
to have somebody at the flat to open up ...
only to get a phone call in the middle of the day to hear
that the guy just hopped out, stuck a 'you weren't home' note
through the door, and drove off!
Colleagues told me that this happens quite often
when the driver is on a tight schedule and is trying to make up
for lost time!

Aaanyway, I call them up, annoyed and grumpy,
just to be told that the redelivery will be the next day
somewhere between ... mh ... 9 am and 6 pm.
Kindly I ask for a more precise time only to get a rude
'sorry, we cannot give better estimates
of when the driver will come by!'
Right- so I position myself at the window with my book
and some coffee, imagining the driver coming up
and me giving him hell, when hour after hour passes by
and my bum gets increasingly sore from being perched on the edge
of the couch to be able to peer out of the window ...
Finally, around noon, and halfway through my book,
I see the delivery van (Amtrax) pull up in front of the building.
I rush out, keys in hand, complaints on the tip of my tongue,
arms waving wildly, a slightly crazed glint in my eyes,
adrenalin pumping and throbbing through my veins-

The driver, a young tall man with not-so-clear skin,
and quite yellowish eyeballs, steps out of the vehicle to greet me.
We shake hands and a slight whiff of onions
creeps up my nostrils ...
'the big heavy box is for you?' he asks.
All the things that I had neatly prepared in my mind,
the nifty, smart, verbal 'kick in the butt' dissolved to nothingness
when his breath unfolded its full bouquet of onions, garlic,
rotten meat ... and there was a hint of fish in there somewhere too.
I nod, trying to hold my breath without passing out or
vomiting over his blue overalls-
'right then, you need to carry it upstairs with me' he exhales.

Carry up what? ... Do what?
Surely he has some kind of equipment/wheelie thingy
to take that box (roughly 45 kg) up to the flat?
Slightly intoxicated and engulfed by his breath I nod again,
my sole wish being to escape the stench before I drop dead,
and grab onto the box that he starts to pull out of the van.
And my god it was heavy!
With trembling noodle arms I heave the thing over to the door,
into the hallway and at the bottom of the two flights of stairs
that need to be mastered.
Garlic-man then starts pulling the box towards him and up the stairs,
while I just look at him in disbelief-
'you want me to hold the bottom part (with all the freakin' weight)?'
I ask in exasperation.
Garlic-man pants, stares,
his brain working its way to comprehension at snail speed.
'aw, right, up you go then'

So up we go,
I lose half my fingers and get big chunks of dust all over me.
once done, I sign the stupid paper, usher Garlic-man out the door,
hop under the shower for a second time that morning,
and battle my way onto the bus to work
which is packed to the point of bursting
because the tube was on strike,
great stuff when you are on armpit level like me.

What a day ...

2 comments:

gabeB said...

Ah man, poor girl. Next time offer him a tic tac.

Tamara le Roy said...

mints, chewing gum or even something like a clean hanky to hold in front of his mouth...
Thanks for sharing your London-adevntures again though.
Miss you
Big OX