Friday, August 30, 2013
Numbers and letters
The small person and I went to the Botanics yesterday, as we often do. I go for the plants and for the pleasure of his company - the enormous pleasure of wandering along beside him as he chats away: "Big tree... lotsandlots of leaves... fluffy flowers... Grandpa in Granny's house... ." Grandson goes for the tactahs.
He is very good indeed at identifying cars of the same make and model as ours: "Granny's car!" he announces. I, less talented, peer at it, read what it says on the back and agree. He's always right. His other skill is identifying numbers 1-9 - on buses, gateposts etc. (But - "How many feet do you have?" - "Fee four five!")
He hasn't got his colours yet, or not reliably. However, a career as a mathematician might be more profitable than one as an artist, anyway. Or he might be a car salesman, though I think being able to tell a red car from a black one might be useful there.
We watched the tactah digging a hole in the corner of what had been grass. The driver then cleared it of some bits of root and deposited them carefully on the path. Then a van came along with some other broken roots and stones in the back. Its driver jumped out and with a shovel, shovelled them into the hole. No, I have no idea why. Still, they seemed pleased.
I am currently also pleased at having got satisfaction out of Hotpoint regarding our dishwasher. Its history is: we bought in in October 10, it broke down in Jan 12, we got it expensively mended and it broke down again two weeks ago - same fault (dodgy switch). Of course it was out of guarantee even the first time it broke down but we feel that 15 months of working followed by another 19 months is a bit feeble. So I wrote to Customer Services asking what they thought. Silence.
So then one evening I emailed the managing director of Hotpoint UK.
The next morning, someone from Customer Services phoned up, apologised and said that an engineer would come and repair it, free. And he did.
The next day, a snotty letter arrived from Customer Services - sent, of course, before my email to the Managing Director.
This tactic - writing to a managing director - is one that I have employed before. The first time was when we were not long married and bits kept falling off our vacuum cleaner - which was again just out of warranty. As a result of my letter, an engineer was sent and he replaced all the broken parts - they were plastic - with metal versions. Again, free. A few years later, tiny Daughter 1 used to delight in pushing her feet against the plastic rain cover of her buggy / stroller and unpopping it, so that she got wet. Another letter to the MD, pointing out this design flaw, produced a replacement cover - redesigned, with loops instead of poppers. In more recent years when Daughter 2 was studying in Sheffield, she couldn't get the electricity company to send her and her flatmates a bill, despite many emails. Eventually I wrote to the MD - the bill was waived.
I don't do this all the time - four times in nearly 40 years of marriage - but I commend it to you. It works!