Monday, 27 February 2012

Zero zero zero zero zero and scissors

Well I have spent more time than seems reasonable trying to contact the Inland Revenue today.

Having experienced such spectacular lack of success trying to contact them by phone and as they hadn’t answered my letter, I walked the mile-and-a-half down the hill to the sea to their office in Ocean House to speak to the Sheriff of Nottingham in person.

The receptionist at Ocean House said I couldn’t do that because it was neither Wednesday nor Friday.  So I went home and called them on the phone again, this time getting through.

And when I made this phone call I had cause to bless God for our tenant Tracey who lived with us in our home in Aylesbury for a while.

There were many good things about Tracey, but the one that I have carried with me down the track long after our ways parted was something she taught me about phoning faceless organisations.  I don’t know if this works in the US.

Tracey (a social worker who knew all about faceless organisations) told me that when you have to phone a F.O., if the robot answering the phone starts a spiel giving you “press this, press that” options, you can cut the whole rigmarole short by repeatedly pressing zero.

Last week when I phoned the Revenue, I had to sit through an extended yadayada about all kinds of things from a robot before they bounced me offline.

So today when I called them and the robot picked up, as soon as she launched into her speech I pressed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

There was a silence.

Then she said: “Okay.  Please hold while you are connected to an operator.”


There.  Isn’t that a secret worth knowing?

I spoke to Ian, a reasonable kind of Yorkshireman who agreed that yes indeed I had paid my taxes, and consented to pass on to the Faceless Bureaucrats my opinion that sending letters threatening bailiffs and unlimited fines might not be the wisest manner of opening a correspondence. 

Ian thought that if enough of us expressed this opinion – and he said I was not the first – the Revenue might even deem it churlish not to consider modifying its tone.


365 366 Day 58 February 27th
 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

For some reason we had a chronic scissor shortage in the family where I grew up.

We had an ancient pair of kitchen scissors, completely blunt and somewhat given to coming apart.  I believe my mother had some nail scissors.  Later, during my teens, she acquired a pair of scissors with massive handles and teeny blades that she thought looked elegant, and had a large ball of string to go with them.  That was it.

I used the power of adulthood to equip myself more effectively in this area. 
Recently it got beyond a joke.  I had two pairs of nail scissors, two pairs of craft scissors, the five pairs of scissors that came free with the sewing machine, three pairs of kitchen scissors, plus the Badger had two pairs of scissors on his desk.

The ropier of the kitchen scissors were despatched to the Shed to become garden twine cutting implements.  The sewing scissors have gone to the sewing station, leaving one pair behind in the Garret to be General Scissors.  One of my pairs of nail scissors fell in half and I binned it.

This pair of craft scissors went with one of the children’s craft kits I made up for Freecycle.

We have to get over these areas of childhood deprivation somehow, don’t we; even in matters that cut as deeply as scissors.  


Revsandy said...

Thank you for the advice. Hours spent on the phone with FOs are the one thing that will send me into an early grave! I can't cope. I don't like the phone at the best of times and these type of frustrations really raise my stress levels. I will try the Zero trick next time.

BLD in MT said...

I've heard the trick works here in the states too, but I've never tried it personally. I count my blessings I don't have to make to many FO calls, but it is something handy to remember for when you do!

Pen Wilcock said...


maria said...

Yes, it also works in the U.S. It is good to be able to get through all that automated speech! :)


Pen Wilcock said...

Hooray! "Zero Power"!

Julie B. said...

I have also tried it with mostly good results. Occasionally I'll press zero and the voice will say, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand your choice." Bleh.

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, I've had that happen too. Good to see you got in here again finally! xx

Penny said...

I had a smile at your scissors post. :)
I live very simply with scissors in my house - I simply can't find them often enough to warrant considering living without any of them!
Where they go I just don't know.

Pen Wilcock said...

Aha - yes! We have an eerily similar ball-point-pen problem!