Today’s little irritations.

It's not even 10.30am and already I have encountered no fewer than 3 little irritations. So I'll share them –

1) Budget airlines

I used to wonder how it was that budget airlines could offer flights so very cheaply and still remain in business. Today I found the answer. Myself and Mr Vicola are going to Perpignan in mid July so, following all the sensible advice about how to get cheap flights, I decided to book now with a budget airline. After all, Perpignan can't be that far from Manchester, no more than a couple of hours anyway. I go online and bingo, look at that, only £26 per person each way, making a grand total of £52 per person return and a complete price of £104, right? Wrong. Because I didn't bank on all the little extras did I? So on we go with our little online booking expedition, next step, bags. Bags? Yes, bags, because on budget airlines it seems that bags aren't included in the price. Do they think you're going to fit all your summer clothes into the 'allowed size' of hand luggage which would struggle to carry a rolled up copy of Cosmopolitan and pair of clean knickers? Of course they don't, so they sting you with the 'bag cost', the princely sum of £10.99 per bag, per journey. So with 2 of us we've added a further £43.96 to the cost however the added price says £57.96, which is a £14 difference, so what's that for? I look it up. That, it appears, is the cost of 'checking in', something which I always assumed was obligatory and so included in the price of the ticket. Now I know I can save myself £14 by just sauntering up to the aircraft, wanging my bag in the hold myself and swanning on to the plane, ignoring check in entirely. Well I assume I can do that, since checking in appears to be an optional extra on this airline. Anyway, on we go to the next step, seats, at which a large flashing notice appears…"Don't leave your seats to chance – pre-book now to guarantee you're seated with your friends!". For an extra £7.99 per person per journey, £10.99 for extra legroom seats? You can fuck right off sunshine, for an extra £31.96 – £43.96 I'll risk sitting next to a stranger for 2 hours. If we're not sat together on the plane we're less likely to have an argument about the armrest anyway. So we finally reach the payment page and I notice another little addition "£36.00 per person taxes and charges". Taxes, well whatever, you can't even fart in this country without getting taxed on it so that's not a huge surprise but charges? What the fuck else is there that you haven't already charged me for? Seriously? Oh, and there's a £10 charge for paying by credit card. Remind me to gather up my magic bean collection next time, it seems to be the only way to pay that doesn't incur another cost. So in summary, cost of flight, £104, cost of bullshit, £139.96, total cost, £243.96. Budget my arse.


2) The DVLA   

I've recently (within the last 2 weeks) bought a car that was previously a Motorbility scheme (supplying subsidised cars to the disabled for anyone not familiar with the scheme) car, and it was pointed out to me by my dad that the car tax disc says 'disabled' on it. And I'm not disabled. So being a fine, upstanding citizen, I decided to contact the DVLA and ask them if I can keep the tax disc till it runs out in October or whether it needs to be replaced. I ring them, go through 48 thousand automated options, "If you are too stupid to be able to work out which way up the tax disc goes, press 1, if one of your equally half-witted family chose to eat the tax disc rather than affix it to your windscreen, press 2, if you are a theiving pikey who has stolen someone else's tax disc and would like to know the most effective method of changing the written date on it, press 3 etc etc" and eventually get through to a tax-monkey. Who doesn't exactly tell me what I want to hear. I explain my circumstances and after thinking about it for a few minutes, the tax monkey comes up with the following:

TM: Do you have the new keepers supplement?

Me: No, the sale was conducted over the phone and I don't have anything, the registration documents haven't arrived yet.

TM: Ooooohh, that's coz they haven't applied for a change of ownership yet, or not according to my computer (giggle).

Me (not laughing):  So how do I tax the car?

TM: You can't.

Me: So I just carry on driving it as it is?

TM: Nope, you have to take it off the road because you're committing fraud by driving it on disabled tax when you're not disabled.

Me: If I took it off the road and applied for the bloody registration documents myself, how long would that take?

TM: Well, you'd have to pay £25 to apply yourself and the documents should be with you in 20 working days.

Me: 20 working days. How helpful. So I assume that while the DVLA has demanded I take the car off the road for 4 weeks because producing a new form and filling in a database entry takes a government department longer than it takes a house builder to produce a block of flats I will be allowed to take my bicycle onto the M60 in order to get to work?

TM: Probably not.

Me: So how else am I meant to get to work in the month I'm not allowed to drive my car?

TM: Erm…taxi?

Well thank you for your help, it's been invaluable. Why are government departments so unutterably fucking useless? What the chuff do we pay them for? This is what you get for attempting to be an upright citizen, next time they can whistle for it.


3) The work experience boy

I was asked to find some work for the work experience boy to do so I duly riffled through the list of stuff that needs doing that I either couldn't be arsed to tackle or that looked a bit tedious and I came up with the task of ringing round the site agents to ask them for a list of the subcontractors they currently had working on site. Not an especially taxing job really but a bit time consuming. Half an hour later, the lady who he's working for (who happens to be his aunt) comes trundling through, "Aww…I gave him your job to do and after a while I thought, oooh, there doesn't seem to be much noise coming from him so I went over and he's just sitting there, he's not rung any of them, he's terrified and he doesn't want to do it, do you not have any filing needs doing?". No, I don't, because by the time I've explained the system to him it'd be quicker to do it myself. For god's sakes boy, grow a pair. You're not tackling the agents about their tax returns, you're just asking for a list of names of companies and if you're too scared to do that then you aren't going to last long in this world are you?

It's clearly going to be a long week. 

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13 Responses

  1. Budget airlines definitely suck. DVLA – sorry but that's your own fault. thinking any government department is here to serve you is just ignorant on your part.
    office boy – make him clean the toilets with a very small rag. Especailly the inside of the bowl. Have a big curry-based lunch and use the toilet before giving him this easier task closer to his ability.

  2. Yes, but think of the hundreds of people you'll be keeping in employment, and the nice Christmas party the board members will be able to have. Starting now, of course…

  3. Here in the US, an airline recently announced they were going to start charging an extra fee for making your reservations online. And here I thought the point of online registration was that it was cheaper for the company since they didn't have to pay someone to take the reservation …The auto registration thing … we can get all that done in about 5-10 minutes. After standing in line … if the place is open. And, yeah, if 'office boy' is afraid to use the telephone … well, get ready to support him and his 27 offspring for the rest of his life …Remind me to never take my wife to England, by the way, if you can't fart without being taxed. I'd never be able to afford anything else! LOL

  4. Hope you are not setting the standards for budget airlines over there. We are thankful to have Mr Bransons Virginblue…..his arrival revolutionised Australian aviation. Although they recently introduced a baggage charge it is only $8, and online booking is still cheaper, and checkin staff happily and freely shuffle seating so you can sit with friends.With the fart tax in place the UK will be the richest country on earth 😉

  5. In theory with the amount of shit spoken by politicians we should all be millionaires.Budget airlines do truly suck. Next time you and Mr Vicola attempt to leave the country, drop me a message. My ma works for a large travel agency and can do wonders with flights and stuff.With regard to the government, I had a private plate on my old car which was written off. However rather than the bright sparks at the insurance company telling me to transfer it (I presumed as I had the deeds I could just add it to a new car at a later date…) they just sold the car on with the plate attached. The car is now apparently in Poland, and upon asking the government why I couldn't register my new car with the plate, I was told that I should sue my insurance company because it's nothing to do with them, even though they sold me the plate. It was bought with the last bit of money my Gran managed to get together before she died, and left to me. I'll never get that back now, even though I have deeds of ownership in my drawer.

  6. She's just been beack perstering me to find something for the work experience boy to do that isn't speaking to people. Like I don't have other stuff to do, messing about on here, checking Facebook etc.
    And you'd think that given my fairly recent dealings with the passport office I'd have understood the ways of government departments but clearly I'm a slow learner…

  7. Given the price of my 'budget' tickets, I seem to be funding it single handed. Robbing swines.

  8. Ryanair recently aired a plan to put a coin slot lock on the airplane toilet doors and charge people to go for a Jimmy Riddle. Needless to say it went down like a lead budgie. I don't see why they are charging me to check in, I thought you had to check in, simply so they knew who was on their plane?
    I've never come across someone too scared to use the telephone before. Clearly I should be more sympathetic to his problems but to be honest, it's work and I have no time for wusses.

  9. The fart tax is Gordon Brown's brilliant new plan to recoup some of hte massively incomprehensible amounts of cash that his government have squandered on pointless and destructive social experiments. You will of course be exempt if you can list your job description as 'benefit bum and Jeremy Kyle fan'.
    We don't have Virgin Blue here. Our main budget ones are Easyjet (not so much 'landing' as 'dropping roughly out of the sky'), Ryanair (the Mick and Paddy of airlines, will drop you off at a provincial airport 60 miles from the city you thought you were heading to) and BMI Baby (yet to experience the delights).

  10. Thanks, next time we're going away I'll let you know and see if your mum can help!
    Firstly, I find it slightly alarming that a car that was deemed unsafe to drive in this country was then sold on to someone in Poland and secondly, surely if they are the government they can recall the plate and give it back to you? If you have the deeds then surely you own it, like a house, and can have it back if someone incorrectly sells it on? Bloody useless. And if you contact them they are precisely bugger all help. I really don't understand why, when the government seems to employ every 3rd person as some sort of civil servant, they don't run at least slightly more efficiently. What exactly are all these people doing?

  11. On thinking about it … doesn't his fear of using the phone go against his being a modern teenager? I thought they were all on the phone all the time.

  12. [esto es genial]

  13. Thye don't talk though, they just text. In 4 generations humans will have evolved to have an extra texting thumb but be entirely mute.

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