I should be packing for our holiday. We set off first thing in the morning and I am nowhere near ready to go. But for some unknown reason I felt the need to write this. Now, tonight – the queen of procrastination.
It’s been a good while since I last wrote here. For those who follow my blog on Facebook, you’ll know why things have been ‘quiet’ here. All the children, home, hungry, occasionally ‘fighty’, very often whingy, but all together nonetheless. And that has mostly been just lovely. There have been moments that have made me raise an eyebrow:
But we’ve almost made it. Our holiday in beautiful Wales is the last stop before The return to school to my big boy and for the first time, my oldest girl (don’t set me off, I’m being brave, remember?)
Normal service will resume, when me and my youngest will spend our last year at home together before all of the children are in school. What will I do then? That’s for another day. Today is about putting off the job in hand, taking an opportunity to tell you a story of something I will never do again.
This episode of The Tantrum Tales is all on me. I’m not proud, but if I had the chance again, it would blatantly play out the same way!
It was a day much like today, a race to get packed and a to-do list as long as my arm. I’d been nursing a parcel all week for my friend who had just had a baby. It was a treat package for her, with some nice bits and bobs and I really wanted to send it to coincide with her birthday. After finishing the packing I decided I had just enough time to go before the school run. In the queue at the Post Office I realised I’d been too ambitious: the world and its wife were there for all and sundry and the queue was creeping at a snail’s pace. And during that slow queue I remembered that the address book was still stood on the hall table (I know, I know). So rather than ruin the surprise for my friend, I figured I’d get the parcel labelled up correctly with stamps and throw it in the box on the way to our holiday.
Meet, my customer service representative, let’s call her Jane (she’s not called Jane). “Contents?” (Internally: good afternoon Jane. I’m so pleased to be served by you today.) “Oh, erm…Chocolates, fancy tea, magazine, popcorn… Nice treats really! It’s for my friend, she’s had a baby you see-”
“Mmm. Pass it through please.”
“Actually, I’ve left my address book at home, so I could do with the stamps and then I’ll pop it in the box later.” (I said ‘pop’ for crying out loud, that’s pretty jolly and inoffensive.)
“Can’t do that, sorry,” she looked about as sorry as I do when I eat my husband’s Easter eggs every year “you need to pass it through or I can’t sell you the postage.” No Jane. I don’t need to do that. A good ten seconds of stunned silence passed between us before I said “Fine. I’ll go elsewhere.” Swoop, I’m outta there.
In the car journey to collect the address book, load the car with the cases for our holiday, then collect my son; it dawned on me: I’m an idiot. Of course I can’t go elsewhere, the Post Office is my only option at this short notice. I need to return…I need to take on Jane once and for all. I relayed my tale of woe to my friend on the school run, she laughed her face off. During this interlude of hysteria, I realised something…Jane could sell me my stamps! She could sell me any damn stamps she wanted! I only needed to hand it through if I was using some kind of special service! Post. Office. Rage. Descended.
Husband and all three children in car, I left them fighting over who was picking which DVD and promised to return quickly.
“Well hi there, Chocolates, fancy tea, magazine, popcorn… Nice treats really! It’s for my friend, she’s had a baby you see…again, as I’ve just been here a minute ago.” Death stare from Jane. “Can you explain to me Jane, why did you feel you couldn’t sell me the denomination of stamps I needed? Cos it’s just dawned on me: you could do that quite easily…”
“Well, if you hadn’t stormed off so quickly, I might have been able to!” Did she just say that? I’m struggling to comprehend that level of-
“Look, it is not my job to know the intricate workings of your hierarchy of stamp options, I’m a customer, help me! And while we’re on the subject there is no need to be so rude.” She rolled her eyes, she actually rolled her eyes. Ten minutes of back and forth continued, it felt like an argument you have with your boyfriend at 17. Full of rage, totally pointless and massively public and spiralling into raised voices. Getting nowhere I asked to see her manager (internally: why are you doing that? What are you going to say? She picked on me! The nasty stamp lady won’t share! Yes, yes that’s exactly what I’ll do.) I returned to the back of the queue as a) I had to keep my fellow queue friends onside – no one likes a pusher inner! And b) it gave me a good seven minutes to treat Jane to my Resting Phelps Face while I waited.
By the time I reached the manager, I had calmed down to an embarrassingly polite degree. I awkwardly slagged off Jane’s lack of customer service, her rudeness… I think at one point I apologised for inconveniencing the manager, who I must say was lovely. Lordy. That’ll learn her!
Package finally posted, no apology from Jane; I went back to the car, now 30 minutes late. Barrage of abuse from all three children about not returning with at least a snack, we went on our (modestly) merry way. My husband was treated to what will now be known as The Battle of the Stamps, as were my parents, sister and her partner on arrival at Centerparcs (I know, rent-a-party or what!) we settled into our lodges and set about celebrating Grandma’s birthday in style. Cake, delicious dinner, chats about the trip ahead…
It was only when we were putting the children to bed, that I remembered something I had meant to ask my husband earlier on, when I was looking for a clean t shirt for our youngest daughter. “Which room did you put the kids’ suitcase?”
“Theirs, you’re looking at it.”
“No, that’s ours.”
“Oh, it’ll be in ours then.” I stuck my head in our room.
“Nope. That’s our other one.”
“Huh. Well, those were the only two you left out to put in the car…”
“No. No no no no no no NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!”
Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could hear Jane cackling from over 200 miles away…