My Lost Mobile and Royal Mail Ineptitude By Mwelwa Chungu, AFRican Londoner

My Lost Mobile and Royal Mail Ineptitude
By Mwelwa Chungu, AFRican Londoner

Published on Sun, Feb 10 2008 by Mwelwa Chungu
The best laid plans are usually scapered by the most mundane occurrences. I had planned to write this blog about something intellectual, something about the current affairs of my adopted country or even intelligent comments about the various conflicts on my continent, Africa. Unfortunately life got in the way; two weeks ago I lost my phone and now I am using this space to vent my very passive anger at my mobile phone company and Royal Mail.

Granted the cause of this whole situation was my own ineptitude; I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and blissfully unaware of it until I realised I had had my phone stolen. However, seeing as I have insurance (against all possible occurrences of my own incompetence) I was hopefully only going to be slightly inconvenienced. .

My very lovely, organised partner had the phone blocked, while I unhelpfully fell asleep. With his guidance I reported the theft to the local police station before the 'you are out of time to get a new phone' twenty four hours had expired. I called my phone company, had the nicest conversation I have ever had with them and gave them the investigation report number as required. They promised to send a new phone out. They have a seventy two hour service level agreement (SLA) with their customers so I was expecting my replacement phone on Tuesday. I sent out the embarrassing email telling everyone I had lost my phone and then I waited..

As I am writing about this you will have realised that the phone did not arrive, so technically I am still waiting. I am most angry about this situation because being a woman of the noughties I put my life on hold in order to ensure that when it resumed, it was a normal life, with all my necessary appendages (legs, arms, bank cards, mobile phone with all the appropriate numbers). When the phone did not arrive on the Wednesday (three working days after my conversation with the phone company) I called to check on it. I was told I miss counted. As the first conversation occurred during a weekend I should have counted three days from the Tuesday, so the phone would be with me tomorrow. .

The postman came and went and still no phone, so I called back. Apparently my phone was delivered and signed for the day before i.e. on the Wednesday that I had called to ask where it was. The phone company told me as the phone had been signed for I would have to deal with Royal Mail to sort it out; finding my missing replacement phone was now my problem. Being the wimp and control freak that I am I decided to do the required leg work. I quickly showered and rushed down to the local sorting office. It was closed, quelle surprise. .

I called the phone company to further explain my dilemma (I was leaving for France the next day and had been hoping to take my phone with); they told me there was nothing they could do for me. Having been calm I was now annoyed, so I called, my man who is so much more competent than I am. He is much more adept at dealing with 'big business' when they refuse to acknowledge their responsibilities. He spoke to them and received a much more satisfactory outcome. Apparently there was something, other than the nonsense non solutions they had been giving me, that could be done to solve this situation. Unfortunately it was too late to actually do it. The phone company promised to email and phone him back within three hours (SLA's are big in the UK corporate sector). They did not; he phoned them for the third time and coolly gave them a piece of his very capable mind. Still, no satisfaction was to be had. .

Needless to say the various communications and correspondence has resulted in no real resolution. I know my frustration is not uncommon. What is interesting is if I was in my motherland, Zambia, I would not have expected anything from my phone company, the police or the post office. Hey I would not have been able to insure my phone so I would have simply bought a new phone, and then purchased a replacement SIM card and carried on with my life, embarrassed, inconvenienced but without any expectations and thus no disappointment. .

So as I sit here thinking about my situation, I wonder when I became such a Londoner. I count on things I did not three years ago. I do however, realise I am still African, because I was not shocked that someone had stolen my replacement phone and I am much more comfortable with this drama than I would have been with receiving my phone with no hitch. And I have realised there is no point fighting the way life works. My phone will turn up when it turns up and that is just the way things are right now.


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