Tuesday, 1 September 2009

British Engineering and a Bank Holiday in Northernshire.

Here in Northernshire we are celebrating this weekend the last Bank Holiday, or public holiday, in the UK until Christmas. The roads here are quiet and so are the shops but that is because it is a traditional British Bank Holiday cold, over cast and so no one wants to do anything. Bit like the NHS on a weekday.

Neither did one of us at ND Central whose residence has been in the process of being redecorated for the first time since the seventies. What should have started as a few weeks job has become a nightmare: dust, dust everywhere, wood shavings and nails under foot on bare floor boards. Files, books in corners, can’t find anything, sleeping in a tent you get the picture your average Vietnam dug out.

So following the failure of a lawn mower, and the ideal growing conditions of the British summer for grass in the UK damp, wet and warm, one of us was sent to the local home improvement store after the most catastrophic equipment failure known to a wife of NO WORKING LAWN MOWER. The grass needs cutting NOW.

After extensive research and a chat over the garden razor wire fence and minefield to our neighbours we opted to purchase a BRITISH lawnmower. There wasn't really any other Choice at the local DIY megastore.

Big mistake. The instructions followed to the letter led to an immediate destruction of a vital component. Super glue and Sellotape used against the background of screams of “take it back NOW”. The instructions said that you must route a cable into a guide but the cable would not reach the guide in anyway or form hence instant destruction of a vital component in trying to do so.

The instructions refer to a plate that you had to remove and then reinstall but after a lot of lateral thinking this was totally unnecessary. We still cannot work out where the “plate” is and cannot work out why the “plate” needed to be removed at all.

The instructions referred to a “primer button” but we could not find the “primer button” anywhere. We can only conclude that this lawnmower company employs brain damaged halfwits whose first language is not English and then use Babel fish to translate their rantings into English. Furthermore their graphic artists must have had used some serious weed to draw pictures that did not relate to the product before us. They even show the non existant "plate".

It took half an hour to get the lawnmower 2 hours to figure out how to operate it. The instructions were the biggest load of sh*t* since the last Party manifesto we read and the pictures bore no relation to any product we had purchased that day.

Of course if you did not work for the NHS where crap is the common denominator, especially at weekends and Bank Holidays, you would have read the incomprehensible literature which said don’t take this crap product back to the store ring an equally crap helpline and oh yes it is an 0870 number on a bank holiday weekend.

Curious that? Print incomprehensible instructions with meaningless drawings and provide a helpline number costing up to 8p a minute to ring. If we had not the experience of working in the NHS where such crap is commonplace we would probably have succumbed to the help line scam. We did not and eventually we worked out by logic how to work the equipment. And cut the plains of elephant grass on our large rolling estate in Northshire that the wife was not happy with.

We have also had the misfortune to have our broadband service (again) drop to less than the “world class” N3 connection speed which is known anywhere else in the civilised world as dial up speed. This happened a week ago.

We had a conversation with Vijay in India in a call centre who assured us that this would be fixed and service has got worse day on day. Case automatically closed after 5 days with no consultation with the customer who was at work when call back occurred so therefore Vijay has no problems. Just like a NHS manager he can tick a box, say a problem sorted and do nothing but all the boxes are ticked so Vijay will get a promotion for doing nothing.

On the phone again to Vijay #2 who goes through the whole process again with the case notes on his screen telling him that the problem was fixed. Eventually after trying every trick to avoid running a line test, which is what we wanted, he succumbed and did it. And guess what? It confirmed to him that what the customer was telling him was right the problem was worse than before.

An engineer was put on the case and as we write the line speed is up to what it was last week when we reported the original fault. Many messages left on answer machine overnight from India too. Funny how we were asleep with the answer machine in night mode. We think Vijay #2 is on track to a promotion fast as the problem will be "fixed" automatically after 5 days.

Once again Britain shows what it does best. Produce over inflated costly goods that don’t work. After a period of reflection and consumption of some organic naturally produced liquid chemicals we at ND Central realised that none of our high cost products be they cars, TVs, fridges, washing machines, etc we own are British.

None of them.
We asked why? The answer we think is selfevident.

What has happened to British manufacturing and servicing industries? Compare British Leyland with Toyota. One had the crap bombed out of them and came back better. Another had, dare we say, state intervention for many years.

The parallels of our bank holiday experiences mimic the health service which seems to be using the private sector as a means to drive things forward. Unfortunately it is not using the same models from the countries that produce our reliable cars, TVs and fridges it is using the same model that makes our lawnmowers and telecommunications and their back up services.

Praise be to the Party for using the private sector to model our healthcare and all its successes thus far: NHS Choices (none), NHS (re)Direct, NHS Flu PANdemIC line and British Leyland (long since deceased).

British Engineering at is best. The Party probably does lawnmowers as well as it does healthcare. It is using the same models to do so. You have been warned . . .

And back to work tomorrow whoopee!! An extra Brown shift to start the week too. Uncontained joy after a relaxing Bank Holiday.

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