Waiting, waiting and yet more waiting

Over the last 10 days I’ve spent approximately 32 hours waiting for things. It hasn’t been an entirely joyous experience. Sure, TalkTalk arrived within 2 hours of their 5 hour window beginning to fit a phone line (but I now have to wait an indefinite length of time for the broadband to be connected). And yes, Ikea have a system where they call when they’re nearby, so at least on that occasion I wasn’t tied to being in an internet-free flat (but they were an hour late). But there are two stories that need to be told…

Firstly, John Lewis – a name normally synonomous with excellent customer service. I’ve waited for two separate deliveries during this moving process (one for the flat I was moving out of, one for the one I was coming into). The first was fine, bar the tiredness that follows a jet-lag interrupted night’s sleep and a slightly late arrival. But the pain of that day paled into insignificance after the debacle that was the second delivery, which finally arrived during delivery window number three.

Delivery window #1: 7am-2pm on Monday. I used the time wisely, organising a vacationing student to come in and help build the bed Ikea had delivered the week before. I even anticipated a tardy arrival by re-locating an afternoon meeting from the church to the cosiness of the flat. 2pm came and went, a phone call to customer services yielded no info – apparently the van had no phone signal, a common problem in central London (not). At 3pm, a call back informed me that there’d been an ‘incident’ and delivery was rescheduled for a 2 hour slot the following day, helpfully coinciding with a wait for TalkTalk.

Delivery window #2: 1pm-3pm on Tuesday. Not going to lie, I had a nap – that’s an excellent use of time in my book. I began work on my furniture restoration project. TalkTalk arrived 3 hours before their window ended (good work) and I got onto the phone to John Lewis.

[I should at this point mention a mysterious call I’d had that morning from a John Lewis van asking for Mr Reagan who had ordered a TV to Lambs Conduit Street. It was my contact details but not my name or order – I should have taken this as a bad omen and called John Lewis, but was in the middle of a staff meeting.]

Turned out my order had never made it onto a van. A much more helpful member of the customer service team apologised profusely and got on to sorting it out – he also offered to escalate my complaint. I suppose you have to like a shop who realises you’ll be making a complaint before you’ve even mentioned it.

Delivery window #3: 5-6pm, Tuesday. Call from van driver at 5.06 saying they’re half an hour away. Van arrives half an hour later, tumble dryer and mattress safely installed. Simples. Did it really have to be so hard, or involve nearly 12 hours of my time?! I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of compensation I get offered for the saga…

The reason the John Lewis saga was really the icing on a cake was thanks to the Heathrow debacle of last week. I’d cheerfully gone off to Terminal 5 to meet an American couple who are coming to work at the church for the summer. I like airports, I like Americans – what could go wrong?

A lot, it turns out, when you’ve never actually seen the flight itinerary. Sure, I knew the flight number and terminal and that they were leaving San Diego on July 3rd. What no one at the church knew was that their flight didn’t get in on the 3rd, it arrived on the 4th. We discovered that helpful little detail nearly four hours after I’d arrived at the airport. It’s an excellent job that:
1. I have an excellent sense of humour.
2. I previously worked for organisations where international visitors were commonplace, as was itinerary confusion. (Some time I should tell you the story of Bishop Zebedee from the Solomon Islands…)
3. The Americans have turned out to be utterly delightful.

Needless to say, I will not be doing any waiting unless it’s absolutely essential, for quite some time to come!


  1. Steph Sercombe says:

    I got £250 in vouchers from JL after a much less convoluted story than that so you should be in for a windfall!!

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