Jane Bradley: Novel approach to the daily grind

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I have a long to-do list. A typical example starts with something like, “Do washing”, and always ends with, “Write novel”. The former often (but not always) eventually gets accomplished. The latter: not so far.

In between, however, is a whole string of niggling things I really should get done, but never do. Many pertain to consumer issues – which would undoubtedly save me money, but, despite spending my working day battling for others’ consumers’ rights, I usually hope will just go away.

Things changed, however, when I was on maternity leave. While 90 per cent of my time was a mad whirl of nappy changing, feeding and long hours spent doing laps of the Botanic Gardens in an attempt to get my daughter to nap, the other 10 per cent was fairly peaceful.

I had time on my hands. I turned to my to-do list. The number of problems I tackled stacked up quickly in a few months. Some were quick and easy – others required persistence. But without exception, so far, the customer has always been right.

When the sales assistant at SuperDry rudely refused to refund me for my dodgy new coat, insisting that the sticky zip was not a fault, but a feature, I was like a dog with a bone. I chased that company down for two months solid, speaking to person after person in their customer service department, until they got so sick of me, they gave in.

When I lost a Topshop gift card but found the receipt in a drawer, I actually bothered to hike up to Princes Street, pour out my sob story of sleepless nights and disorganised nappy change bags and a nice lady agreed to give me another one.

Previously, I would have written off these issues with the attitude that I was far too busy to waste my time on such a futile business.

But I am a convert to the world of consumer wrangling. If something is unjust, I will fight it – to the death – until I get my consumer rights.

As a result, I’ve now crossed off most of my to-do list. One item remains: I must get around to writing that novel.

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