Tuesday 28 January 2020 21:30
When I got back from doing my weekly food shop this afternoon, I found three envelopes waiting on the mat for me. The one I opened straight away was a beautiful card from a friend, with some good advice inside and a delightful stamp on the front. The other two I was a little hesitant about.
I suspect most people are a little wary of an envelope with Her Majesty’s very own Revenues and Customs on the front. My first thought was, “I shouldn’t have complained about the system! They’re going to pay me back by investigating every nook and cranny of my non-existent financial affairs for the last decade! Or (more likely) – they simply don’t believe me, and they’re going to investigate every nook and cranny of my non-existent financial affairs for the last decade!” I put the envelope aside unopened.
The third envelope, I could see, was from the energy supplier I’d had the run-in with on the phone last week, after they’d scared me witless with utterly unwarranted threats of court action, bailiffs, and cutting off of my electricity. As I’d already had a written response from them, which was both not the apology I’d requested, and which did nothing to make me think more fondly of them, I was puzzled. Had they unearthed another fictitious energy bill that I hadn’t paid?? Were they looking for a re-match? Had they wiped out all memory of our phone conversation, and were now coming in with the news that there was a cell being readied for me even as I read. I put that one aside too.
It’s funny how two ordinary paper envelopes, unopened, can shout so loudly, and tug at ones sleeve so persistently.
After writing a thank you email to the kind friend for the card and the advice, and having made myself a cuppa, I decided that like the proverbial plaster, it was better to just rip open the envelopes and face the contents.
Well! Waddya know…!
Thinking it was probably going to be the worst of the two, I tackled Her Majesty’s Tax Inspector first, and was so taken aback I had to reread it. No, I didn’t imagine it, it really did say that the 2019 Tax Return will be the last one I’ll ever have to complete. Ever. For the rest of my born days. No more Tax Returns after April! Did they read my blog?! Did I add it to the “Poor Me” category by mistake?! Awww. Thanks Lizzie.
Somehow fortified, I felt quite carefree as I opened the energy supplier’s envelope, and blow me down, that was good news too! Why they’d sent the previous letter a few days ago heaven only knows, but this was, indeed, a positively grovelling apology and – AND – not a M&S voucher, but at least a £20 credit as small recompense for what they put me through (and a promise that my suggestions – they were polite ones and sincere – would be passed on and given serious consideration).
Well. There you go. Sometimes you fear the worst and get all worried, and everything turns out the way it should.
What it does prove though, and in itself this makes me a little cross, or certainly a little sad that it should be so, and that is that you do need to complain when things aren’t “done right”. It makes me cross and sad because not everybody can complain, let alone will, and so it’s assumed that getting it wrong is ok, and so it continues. I surprised myself that I stayed utterly calm and polite throughout the hour long phone call with the energy provider (and indeed in my typed messages to the tax office when the online return system didn’t work), but I was firm, and I was absolutely not going to let them get away with it. For all sorts of reasons, not everybody is confident enough or has the experience to do that. Indeed there have been many times in my life when I haven’t felt able to. I seriously do believe that had someone with a heart condition received the original threatening letter from the energy bods – and god forbid that anyone did – it could have had dire consequences.
So I feel I’ve had a couple of ‘results’ today. And I feel more inclined to believe that maybe, just maybe, in the case of the energy supplier, I’ve saved anyone else from a shock (no pun intended!), or worse.
As an afterthought – I did at first have a different reaction to the Revenues and Customs letting me off ever having to fill out another tax return. They don’t have much faith in me turning things around and making a good living next year do they?
Huh!. I’ll show ’em…