Sorry, we don’t have enough information. Goodbye.”
The robot cuts me off for the third time. Now I’m not one of those Luddite botbashers who thinks they’re after our jobs or fear a War of the Worlds invasion scenario. I’m with the Japanese and their hit-your-G-spot-jets-and-blow-you-dry toilets. And if I could afford one of those hoovers that whizzes round all day while I’m at work, I’d be delighted. However, this particular robot on the end of the phone is starting to rattle my knitting.
Unfortunately it has something I want. Middle Child’s trainers. His work experience requires him to have black ones which is simple enough you would think. But you’d be wrong.
I gave him the money to go and buy a pair. He came back with orange ones.
“I know what you’re going to say,” he said.
I said it anyway. It’s my job.
“They’re not black. Why?”
“Because they were in the sale and an awesome colour. But not for work, obviously.”
OK, let’s start again.
“We’ll order some black ones online now,” I say.
I know. Parenting fail. I should have made him return the orange ones and trousered my cash. But what of next week, when he needs trainers for leisure? I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
We choose a black pair, I pay for them and arrange delivery. Since my house is busier than Waverley Station, someone will be in to sign for them. They weren’t.
The trainers go back to the depot. I arrange for them to be sent to my work. Two days pass, nothing.
I go online, rearrange delivery. Still nothing. I phone the courier, which is when I end up speaking to a robot.
“Is it about re-delivery?” it asks.
“Sorry, we don’t have enough information. Goodbye.”
So, tomorrow I’m going into a shoe shop, paying a human with paper money and leaving with shoes. Simple. It might even catch on. n