I don't know if this only happens to me, I'm convinced that I cannot be unique in these experiences, but I'll relate a tale that I believe illustrates the way we in the UK interpret the concept of customer service.
Anybody who reads on will I am sure, be gripped by the memory of the terrifying experiences they have had on the day that...The exhaust on the car went kaput.
I apologise now for raking up any old mental traumas and wish to point out that I will entertain no claims from readers who contact The Spoof demading damages as they have had old wounds opened as a result of reading this.
The exhaust on my car went yesterday. So gripped by terror but knowing that there was nothing else to be done, I drove to my local "Nippy Fix" centre.
I noted as I parked outside that there appeared to be a ramp free inside, so I ran to the desk to check in. Perhaps, I foolishly allowed myself to think, I might make it back home before nightfall. I mean it was only 10 am. "Who knows?" I speculated, even in time for lunch!! ... Ah but sadly no; this was just a pipe-dream as Reg the Centre Manager saw that it was never to be.
All five of his mechanics seemed to be working on the only other car there, and it was some fifteen minutes before he approached me and asked what I wanted. I told him the problem, that I required a new back silencer box, but he seemed less than convinced by my amateur diagnostic abilities.
"We'll just get it on the ramp and check that, have a coffee and let's have the keys" he sneered. I handed them over and walked dejectedly towards the coffee machine. It was then that I knew that I was sunk.
Thirty minutes later my car was where I had parked on my arrival. Two of the mechanics were still working on the other car, two were dealing with a woman who had arrived, some twenty minutes after me, with a puncture and one had left the centre in the van. I tried to catch Reg's eye to register my annoyance at the slow service I was receiving, but he ducked out of sight behind a pile of exhausts and tyres.
I carried on reading the three day old copy of the Sun for another twenty minutes and then at last success! My car was hoisted aloft on the ramp, by one of the mechanics who wasn't scratching his backside. The first car and puncture had long gone by now and all the mechanics had been standing around for five minutes chatting about the football and ignoring both me and my car up until this point.
Anyway the mechanic walked in below it, shone a light at the underside, hit the back box with a rubber hammer and then he went to join his mates to continue the discussion about football, not returning to my vehicle for several hours.
In the end all five of them fitted my back box, but I was so "wired" on the twenty cups of old sump-oil that they called coffee that I can't be sure exactly when this happened. However I do recall a one hour delay when one of them left to get a back silencer box from their supplier.
Once the box was fitted it only remained for the mandatory scene at the computerised till as it failed to recognise my post code, mind you this delay only took a mere twenty minutes and in the scheme of things passed as if in the blink of an eye.
Oh yes I got home eventually. In time for supper!!
There can be no doubt; we certainly leave the rest of the world standing when it comes to providing service.