Dappled antidote to utter frustration

It's been a desperately frustrating day on three fronts (and writing this summary has been a cathartic exercise which fellow blippers are not required to wade through if they do not wish):

Negotiations with Renault about having the window malfunction covered free of charge under the terms of their recall letter remain unresolved. It's now been left to the Service Manager in the garage to decide if the problem is a direct result of the known fault.

Getting this far was annoying. I feel a strong urge to put out a contract on whoever came up with the idea of call centres and then made them even worse by forcing unfortunate customers to listen to inane pre-recorded promotional messages in an unending loop of repetition while on hold. That's even without having to deal with (a) people whose accents make them desperately difficult to understand and (b) people who promise to call back but don't.

Collecting the final batch of print jobs for The Wedding of the Century.

Hacketts can be good, but they also be very, very bad. Included on the disc I left with them yesterday was a READ ME document which gave detailed instructions for each of the four jobs involved. When I met the 'client' (euphemism for the do-us-a-favour-sure-it'll-only -take-you-a-few-minutes friends) at 2.30 I said to him that I hoped everything would be okay. It wasn't. One of the four jobs hadn't been done at all. Another had been trimmed to the wrong size. Most significantly, the place-name cards had been trimmed and scored despite clear instructions not to do this. (The design involves a section which needs to be cut out by hand so that it can 'pop up' above the basic shape of the front of the card. I'm the silly duffer who's going to do all this, and the only way to tackle it is to work from full-size sheets, each of which contains eight cards.) I reminded the dozy girl who'd been called up yesterday from the design area (because "you'd better talk to Emma. She's the designer, and will know about that sort of thing") that I'd stressed not to trim or score or fold this job, and told her the job would have to be done again.

What looked like a boss-man was called to the counter, everything was explained again to him, he agreed to do a re-print and said the replacement would be sent to my place by courier. Client and I went across the road for a coffee and scone. As we left, I told him I'd be happier if we went back across to Hacketts to make it absolutely clear that the cards were to be left as they came straight out of the printer, without trimming or scoring or folding. We spoke to Emma again, who assured us she was clear about what had to be done.

The courier arrived at 4.45. I opened the package while he waited on the doorstep. Guess what? That's right: wrong again! This time, the cards had been left 8-up on separate sheets, BUT each sheet had been trimmed to A4, which meant, of course, that all my trim and crop marks had been cut away, making the re-print utterly useless. So I refused to sign the courier's docket and sent them back. The courier said he couldn't get anything back to me until first thing tomorrow morning, so my grand plan to make a start on painstakingly cutting the pop-up outline and scoring and trimming the individual cards to size - that plan has now gone up in smoke.

Why can't people do what they're told to do?! How difficult is it to read a set of instructions and listen to follow-up face-to-face instructions when they're provided?

I got an email on Monday about the apartment we'd booked for our stay in Marseille. I was told there was a problem with the hot water, and that it was unlikely this would be resolved by the time of our scheduled arrival. Huh? The email arrived on Monday morning (13th September) and we're not due in Marseille until the 22nd. Is there no plumber in Marseille who could fix the problem between the 13th and the 22nd?

Included in the email was a query: "Is your arrival in Marseille fixed?. I'll see what other solutions I can find." I sent off a reply confirming that yes, our arrival was fixed and that we already had our train tickets from Lyon to Marseille. I expressed disappointment at the news and asked him to find alternative accommodation for us. Since nothing further had arrived by last night, Carl and I decided that we'd better do our own thing about finding an alternative. First thing this morning, Carl confirmed our booking for a rather nice hotel instead (not as good a location, but convenient to metro and tram lines and considerably more up-market than the original apartment).

It was 6.30 this evening by the time a follow-up email arrived about the apartment. This confirmed the hot water problem and offered to put us up in the owner's own place instead. I sent off an immediate reply saying we'd already found something else. Grrrrr ... What a dreadful day!

At least I got a serviceable blip before any of this nastiness reared its ugly head. I'd just parked the car, was a bit early for my assignation with The Wedding 'client', and rather liked the dappled light and shade on the Georgian buildings on Baggot Street.

To help calm myself down, I'm turning now to my second gin and tonic, which I feel I deserve if ever a gin and tonic was deserved.

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