2 November 2010 (Tuesday) - Efficiency

Yesterday I thought I might possibly be eligible to upgrade my mobile phone, so I phoned the nice people at the G.P.O. I was indeed eligible for an upgrade, and they suggested I might consider the new Satsuma Castanet ZV5 phone. The thing comes with a 12 megadoodah camera and an HDMI output that I can plug into my telly. It has WiFi (must learn about that), GPS, free windows messenger and Skype. Every month I get 500 free minutes to other people on the same network, 300 minutes or texts to people on any other network, and 500 Mb worth of Internet. And my monthly payments will be only two thirds of what they used to be. They posted the phone last night and this morning I received a text telling me it would arrive between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. It arrived at 2.05pm. If only every other delivery service could be so prompt. I had a minor hiccup in that the mains plug didn’t fit into the mains socket, and had some fun lashing the phone into my PC, but I’ve eventually wrestled the thing into sounding like the old one did. Now to spend three weeks learning to use it. Especially the internet bits. I’ve never had a phone that does Internet before. Well, I have, but I’ve never done Internet on the phone before. I wonder if it is the same Internet as this one…?

On the other end of the efficiency scale is HM Customs and Excise. Two weeks ago (20 October to be precise) I phoned the tax office. I’d forgotten that I can claim tax relief on my professional subscriptions, and they told me that I’d not actually claimed since 2004. They said if I wrote to them they’d see about sorting out my tax codes. So I wrote to them the same day. I phoned them today to ask if they’d received my letter, and to ask if and when I might expect to hear back from them. The chap at the other end of the phone laughed and explained that because of their backlog, as post arrives it is being stockpiled in order of arrival at their office. They currently have a backlog of two months, and said they probably won’t open the letter I sent until Xmas Eve at the earliest…

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