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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

22 December 2006
Dear Ms xxxxxxxx,

Thanks for your email and apologies for the delay in response.

We don't blame you for being upset, and we do apologize profusely for all of the mistakes and delays which contributed to this very unfortunate series of encounters. In deference to your valuable time, we would like to get straight to the point and say that we were wrong.

Although this issue was not dealt with in the manner we expect, we do pride ourselves and set high standards within the company which is evidently reflected by our recent Customer Service award. The problems that you mentioned have been brought to the attention. While the lack of service you experienced isunusual and not the standard of our functioning, there is no excuse for a lackadaisical attitude on the part of any of our employees. We have passed your email onto our technical department to comprehend how your order was delayed.

We know how exasperating this has been for you and we are sorry that it has taken so long to straighten out this problem. While there is a procedure within our firm to preclude this type of error from occurring, we are reinforcing this procedure.

I can see from the tracking information on Parceline's website that the order has been delivered and signed for but if this is not the case, please let us know. As a goodwill gesture, we have refunded your delivery charge and we would like to offer you with a £20 gift voucher for any inconvenience caused which can be used on any future order with us. This will be sent to you later on today.

Please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience.

Kind regards,

Alexis Constantinou
CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAMLEADER
alexis.constantinou@iwantoneofthose.com

Dear Sirs

Customer No.: xxxxxx
Order No.: xxxxxx

I refer to the four emails I have attached to this correspondence, and to the three phone calls I have made to your customer support services.

A brief summary of the story so far:

· I placed an order on Tuesday, and paid for next day delivery.
· On Wednesday the order did not arrive.
· When I call customer services, they said the order had not been received, and that I should re-order my gifts, or find gifts from another source.
· On Wednesday evening, I bought alternative gifts from another source.
· On Thursday, I received an email saying my order (which previously didn't exist) had been dispatched.
· On Thursday afternoon, I called customer services, who could not confirm when the order would be delivered.
· On Thursday evening, I called customer services again, who told me that my order would be delivered in January. I was advised again to find gifts from another source.
· I tried to cancel my order, but was advised that I could not do this, that I would be charged for the order, and would only receive a refund when the order came to my house, was refused, was kept in a warehouse by Parcelforce, returned to your depot and reprocessed.
· This morning (Friday), the parcel arrived at my address.

A briefer summary:
· I ordered them on Tuesday.
· On Wednesday they didn't exist.
· On Thursday they'd come in January.
· On Friday they arrived.

Since I was advised on two occassions by your customer services to buy gifts from elsewhere, that is what I have done. I no longer want this order. I have asked to cancel this order. This order has alternatively been lost, non-existent, arriving in January and is now sitting in my house.

My main issue now is getting a refund for the delivery costs I paid, since I ordered the next day delivery service on Tuesday, and they did not arrive on the next day.

I will consider whether or not to send the entire order back for refund, in accordance with your refund policy, in the near future.

In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would finally reply to at least one of these five emails, as I am incredibly unhappy with the service I have received from you.

Yours sincerely

Oh dear Lord.

After all the heartbreak over my internet presents - including three phone calls, four emails and numerous temper tantrums - they literally just arrived on our literal doorstep. Even though the nice girl last night they told me that they'd arrive mid-January, and advised me to buy different presents.

I'm not sure whether to be pleased or infuriated. I think I'll probably just be pleased.

And continue my email campaign.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Post Number 1,000 on my blog.

21 December 2006
Some email correspondence, entitled: "The Reason Why All Of My Hair Has Fallen Out With Stress" or "How Not To Run A Business"


EMAIL NUMBER 1:
18/12/2006 13:15:55
From: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.
To: Shazzle

Dear Shazzle:
Thank you for shopping at www.iwantoneofthose.com.

Here is a summary of your order:
Order Received at: 2006-12-18 13:15:46.0
Bill To
xxxx
Ship To
xxxx
You will receive a second email confirming your order within 24 hours and, as soon as your order is despatched, you will receive notification via email.
If you have any questions, please email us at customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.
If you are ordering from the USA please contact us at customersupportUSA@iwantoneofthose.com
Thank you for shopping at www.iwantoneofthose.com



EMAIL NUMBER 2:
19/12/2006 14:54:11
From: Shazzle
To: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.

I have not received a second email in relation to this order, and have not received confirmation of dispatchment. Can you please let me know as soon as possible if this order is being dispatched today, as I have paid for the next day service. If possible, can you let me know when the order will be delivered.

My contact number is xxxxxxxxx, or xxxxxxxx.

Thanks



EMAIL NUMBER 3:
19/12/2006 15:39:55:
From: Shazzle
To: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.

I placed the order below yesterday lunchtime, and chose the "next day delivery" option. This order comes to approximately £xxx, and contains all of my Christmas presents for friends and family.

On ringing your customer support services today, and holding the line for a full 12 minutes before being answered, I was told that this order has not been received, and therefore will not be delivered. Further, I was told that there is absolutely no record of my order - despite the acknowledgement I received below.

Can you please reassure me that if I replace the order this evening, it will still be delivered on Thursday? Obviously if I can't rely on this service I will have to go elsewhere to get my Christmas presents.

I am very upset by this loss of order, as I have used your service regularly in the past without any problems. I appreciate that Christmas is a busy period for you, but it is obviously very distressing when orders are lost.

I look forward to hearing further from you.

Yours sincerely

Shazzle

For your information, my postcode is xxxxxx.



EMAIL NUMBER 4:
20/12/2006 11:20:50:

From: Shazzle
To: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.

I refer to the order below, which is order number xxxxx.

This order was placed on 18 December 2006 at 13.15. I ordered the next day delivery service, however, my delivery did not arrive.

Despite speaking to your customer services yesterday, and sending you two emails already in relation to this order, I have still not received a full response as to what has happened to this order.

Could you please respond to my urgent enquiry as soon as possible.

Thanks,




EMAIL NUMBER 5:
21/12/2006 12:59:52
From: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.
To: Shazzle

This is your Email Customer Invoice

Dear Ms xxxxxxxxx,

Thank you again for your order, which is now ready for despatch (sic)!
Details of your order are below, however, please feel free to
contact us (details below) if you need any further information.

Order Taken By: xxxxxxxxxx
Invoice Date.: 21/12/2006
Customer No.: xxxxxxxxxx
Order No.: xxxxxxxxxxx
Invoice No.: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shipper Consignment No.: xxxxxxxxx
Shipped By: Parceline Guaranteed Next-Day (Monday to Friday
Delivery)

If your order was despatched (sic) by Parceline, track it here:
http://www.parceline.com
If you do not receive your order within the time specified above, please call us
on 0870 241 1066.
FOR ORDERS DESPATCHED BY ROYAL MAIL STANDARD, PLEASE ALLOW 5 WORKING DAYS (10 WORKING DAYS FOR ROYAL MAIL INTERNATIONAL) BEFORE CONTACTING US.
To see our full terms and conditions, please click here:
http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/terms.do



EMAIL NUMBER 6:
21/12/2006 14:51:18:

From: Shazzle
To: customersupport@iwantoneofthose.com.

Customer No.: xxxxxxxx
Order No.: xxxxxxxxxx

I attach to this email three previous emails that I have sent to your company, all of which have remained unanswered, and the one email I received today.

I am utterly appalled as to the service I have received from you.

In brief: I placed this order on Tuesday for next day delivery.
On Wednesday I called to track my order, and was told that my order did not exist. I was advised to re-order everything.
On Wednesday evening, I bought different presents for my friends and family.
Today, I am now told that my original order has been dispatched.

On contacting your customer services, my partner was told that the order "might" be delivered tomorrow, however, this could not be guaranteed. I have been informed that if it does not come tomorrow, it won't arrive until "after Christmas".

Obviously, when I paid for the next day delivery, I expected my order to arrive on Wednesday, and not "after Christmas". If the orders arrive "after Christmas" they are entirely useless to me, as they are Christmas presents.

Could somebody please contact me as soon as possible in order to let me know what exactly is happening with this order. I am very distressed by what has happened with this order, and the fact that it now appears I will be charged for presents that I no longer desire, and also charged for the next day delivery service, when my items will in fact not even be delivered within the next week.

I look forward to speaking to someone.

Yours sincerely

Shazzle
Ph. xxxxxxxxxxx

11 December 2006
Another word on the Ladies' Christmas Dinner/Gentlemen's Christmas Dinner. In the run up to the two events, the gentleman who was in charge of organising and running the Quiz emailed all of the WAGs and asked them to participate in one of the rounds. We each had to provide three words that describe our particular gentleman. The words would then be displayed to the gathered gentlemen who would have to guess which three words had been provided by their own Lady. I got this email at work, gave it roughly 30 seconds thought, and dashed off:

Hairy
Big-Nosed*
Special

I got an email back from the organiser, who said he was particularly pleased with "special". I didn't give it any more thought.

On the evening of the Ladies' Christmas Dinner, as we all arrived in the door, we all asked each other what our three word choices had been. With a growing feeling of utter horror, I listened as each Lady said three complimentary, loving, positive and affectionate words. Some of them included the words "talented", "gifted", "gregarious", "clever" and "kind". I was appalled.

Thankfully, another Lady had said both "difficult" and "naughty" for her Gentleman, and so I felt a little bit better about it. The winner of the Ladies, in my opinion, was the Lady who submitted:

Bond
James
Bond

for her Gentleman. That's the best answer anyone could have given.


*A note on this choice: in the opening of all of He Who Only...'s comedy shows, he describes himself as "the tall skinny one with the big nose". This is funny, because his comedy partner is also tall, skinny and has a big nose. Doyousee? I thought I'd be clever, because this description could also fit at least half of the boys that would be there on the evening. As indeed would "hairy". And, come to think of it now, so would "special". I think I just described that whole group.

10 December 2006
Last night I went to the first of four Christmas dinners I'll be attending before the actual dinner on the actual Christmas Day. I discovered there that two people I know read this blog quite regularly, so before I go on I'd like to say HI AL! HI ROSIE! It's always a bit weird to find out about new readers I wasn't previously aware of, and I always start wondering about what I've put up, whether or not I've given anything away that maybe I shouldn't have, if I've mentioned these people at all, and if I have, whether it was in a good light... but I think I'm safe. Welcome to the two of you. Please join in the comments.

But I mustn't get side tracked. A short note on the background to this Christmas dinner: Every year since a long time ago, He Who Only... and all of his freaky friends gather together to have what is known as the Gentlemen's Christmas Dinner (the capital letters and italics are implied by the way that each and every one of them referred to this hallowed of all nights). The Gentlemen's Christmas Dinner involves them preparing with great care and eating a five course meal, complete with dessert and cheese course; partaking in port and cigars; drinking an unfeasible amount of booze; taking part in a quiz which this year stretched to eight rounds; sitting around and singing songs of their own composition; generally being manly in each other's manly company. From the title, I think you'll already have guessed that this is a masculine-only event, and the various ladies in their lives are annually abandoned on this evening, only to be woken up in the early hours of the following morning by their other halves arriving home, bloated and belching, reeking and farting and generally being fit for absolutely nothing the following day. So this year we decided to hold an event of our own. We decided to call it the Ladies' Christmas Dinner (but without the italics).

Unfortunately we didn't start planning it last September (as, genuinely, the Gentlemen did) and so ours was a little more understated. Many of the WAGs had to pull out due to other commitments - probably having made plans to do something with the sweet, sweet freedom afforded by their other halves' welcome absence, perhaps getting on with the ironing, darning some socks or whitewashing the house - but five of us, left bereft in our respective partners' absence, were pleased to brave it out in each other's company.

Every time we started on another juicy topic of conversation - the night began with the names we would call our children, the manner in which we'd like to get married, and kind of went down hill from there - we kept commenting on the fact that there was no way on earth the gentlemen were talking about the same thing. Mind you, half way through the lengthy conversation we all agreed to refer to as the Cock And Balls Discussion (capital letters and italics), we agreed they had probably covered that particular topic at some point during their evening.

We weren't as prolific in our booze intake as the boys managed to be, and only managed to limp towards 3am before having to call it quits and retire to bed. He Who Only... turned up at 8.30am the following morning, and inexplicably took a shower before coming to join me in bed, "explaining" that he didn't want to smell of booze. Which is a beautiful gesture, but I'm afraid one made slightly in vain as, over 11 hours later, the booze is still oozing out of his very pores.

06 December 2006
And back to the blood now.

I went to the hospital yesterday for another set of tests. This time, I was there to be checked that my blood clots, and that it does something else, although I'm not clear on what the other one was. I was also there to get my feet checked to see if my arthritis is getting any worse, since my feet are being total bastards in the mornings and after long walks. I think they hate me.

The first blood test went incredibly well. I love the phlebotomists in the hospital I go to because they're (a) so efficient and (b) incredibly unsympathetic. They're absolutely not interested in anything you've got to say or do - I don't think they even see past the crook of your arm. The whole way through my life up until now getting blood tests has been an absolute pain. I apparently have weak veins, which faint as soon as they see a needle coming towards them. This usually meant that I had to be pierced about four times - two in each arm - before they got to any of the good stuff. On one memorable occasion I even had to get the blood taken out of my foot instead. Word to the wise, my good people - never let anyone near your foot with a hypodermic needle. It hurts. It really fucking hurts.

Two hours and many queues later, I was back at the blood test clinic to get a second set of tests done, this time for the rheumatology clinic. I had to point out to the lady - thus forcing her to look me in the eye and not just view me as a collection of veins and arteries - that I'd already been done in one arm, and could she please do me in the other one instead. There was then much banter between the ladies as to whether or not they needed to repeat the tests I was getting done, and they decided that since they'd been ordered by different people I'd have to get the whole shebang done again. So she poured at least half an arm full of blood into a variety of containers and off I popped again.

The only huge disappointment from the whole experience is that neither of my arms bruised very much. I'm absolutely gutted. I loved it during the summer when I got to swan about the tube with short sleeves, shocking anyone who noticed my obvious track marks. Drug taking is super cool, after all.

03 December 2006
Enough about the blood already!

IT'S CHRISTMAS!

Actually, I wanted to decorate our flat on the 1st of December, as that's the official time to put up Christmas decorations in my book (my book is entitled "CHRISTMAS!!!!" with four exclamation marks, written in red ink and slightly tilted to the right to imply jocularity). So I dragged He Who Only... down the street to find someone selling Christmas trees on a Friday evening in North London at 8pm. In the rain. We didn't find any trees. So we decorated yesterday instead, and this is what happened:



The slight blur is not that my camera batteries are running out. It's caused by the catastrophe of tinsel. Our entire flat has the look of a children's party just about to happen.

And the Fairy at the Top of what I'm going to insist we call our Tree'O'Love is Mr Tony Bear:



Hooray for Christmas!

01 December 2006
"Baby*? Wake up."

"Mmm?...What?"

"I seem to be spitting up blood."

"What?"

"My mouth is full of blood. I don't know where it's coming from."

"...What?"

And that was 7 o'clock this morning in the Nest'O'Love.

Standing in the shower, I had felt that there was something in my mouth and so, being a lady, I spat it out. And there it was, a huge lump of disgusting blood. I spat out again, just to check. Yes, it was actually happening to me. I was actually spitting up blood.

I have never in my life felt so frightened. It was the kind of fear that really only comes over you in the course of a nightmare, when you've fallen over and the faceless man with the axe is looming down over you and you realise you've got absolutely nowhere to go and you think to yourself "This is how I die" and then you wake up screaming and sweating. Only I knew I was awake, and I was spitting up blood and I didn't know where it was coming from.

Thankfully, He Who Only... kept his head. He stared blearily at me and said, for the third time, "What?" I was at that point standing in front of the mirror checking my gums. It wasn't my teeth. I hadn't bitten my tongue. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my mouth, other than the fact that it was continually filling with blood.

I explained all of that to him, but with less words and with a mounting sense of utter horror.

"I don't know what to do," I said.

"It's probably just a nose bleed," He Who Only... reasoned.

"I never get nose bleeds," I said, panicking.

"Well this is probably your first," he said, with incredible calm.

Mind you, he wasn't the one spitting up blood.

For some reason I carried on getting dressed. I even blow dried my hair and put on moisturiser, all the time spitting blood into a growing collection of wadded up tissues.

I called my Mum, who was at that stage getting on a plane to Scotland. She fired a round of questions at me, the answer to all of which was "no". I wasn't feeling sick (except through the horror of it all), I didn't have any aches, I hadn't bitten my tongue, I didn't have heart burn, I didn't feel faint, I wasn't afraid of lights, I didn't have a rash, my throat wasn't sore, I didn't have a cough, there was no other discharge, I was still spitting up blood. My Mum said to call the doctors. It was 7.45am. The doctor didn't open until 9am.

He Who Only... very sensibly made us both a cup of tea. Thinking things through, he pointed out that we could call the NHS Direct Line, who would at least tell us if an ambulance was called for. While I was on hold with them, He Who Only... started talking about what he would say to people at my funeral. He was picturing the accusing stares he would get from my sisters at the inquest, and day dreaming about what he would say to the newspapers.

"I've probably got Russian spy poisoning," I said.

"Yes," he agreed. "Or it's probably consumption."

The NHS Direct doctor asked me exactly the same questions my mother had, only in a slightly different order, and in a less rapid fire manner. We eventually agreed that what I needed to do was see a doctor.

It was 8am. The doctor didn't open until 9am. However, the bleeding seemed to be slowing down.

"It's slowing down," I said to He Who Only...

"I thought it would," he said sagely. "It's probably just a nose bleed. I'm going back to bed."

I sat up for about 10 minutes on my own in the sitting room, fully dressed in my work clothes, complete with shoes. Then I came to my senses and went back to bed as well.

At 9am, I called the doctor. The receptionist seemed a little astonished at my "woke up with a mouthful of blood" story and I got my emergency appointment.

The GP said it was probably just a nose bleed. I'm going for blood tests on Tuesday. It's all go round here.


*We started calling each "Baby" after seeing Walk The Line. This started as an ironic nod to the film, but has now become habit. And I like it. Don't judge me.