SINCE home-working, I’ve come to realise that communication can be a bit of a struggle.

“Good morning, I’m calling to confirm what time my blinds are being fitted today.”

“Morning, my name is Chloe and, yes Ms Bell, our fitter will definitely be with you at some point today.”

“Great, but I need a time please because I must nip out either in the morning or the afternoon.”

“The fitter will call you half an hour before he arrives,” was the best Chloe could offer.

“So, what if he calls me at four o’clock?” I was getting ratty. “That still means I’ve been in all day.”

Eventually, after holding on for ages... “He will be with you before 12 o’clock.”

Then 12 o’clock passed. So did 12.30pm.

“How may I help you?” dippy Chloe answered.

“Well, your guy promised blah, blah, blah...”

“I’ll put you on hold and find out where he is.”

So, there I was hanging on the phone listening to more mundane music while dippy Chloe tracked down the missing fitter.

During this, I was answering work calls and, as I had mislaid my bank card, I decided to begin a live chat online to temporarily block my card.

“Hi this is Jamil; how can I help you today?” flashed up on my screen.

“Hi Jamil, I need to temporarily block my card.”

Jamil is typing...

“For security reasons, please confirm your mother’s maiden name.”

“It is C***G.”

Jamil is typing...

Meanwhile, dippy Chloe finally came back to me.

“Hi Ms Bell, sorry but our fitter won’t be with you until at least 3.30pm.”

“Well the morning has gone, and it looks like the afternoon is now taken up too,” I narked.

“Sorry, Ms Bell, do you want to rearrange?”

The tone of my reply said it all and dippy Chloe put me on hold again to check possible dates.

“OK Ms Bell,” Jamil was back. “Can you tell me about your card?

I was offered options.

I’ve lost my card.

My card has been stolen.

I need to replace my card.


None of these were any good.

“Jamil, I have mislaid my card and am sure it will turn up so please don’t cancel it, I just want it temporarily blocked.”

Jamil is typing...

“For your security, you can change online access to your accounts to view-only mode...”

Argh... I was getting nowhere.

“Hi Jamil, as I said, I have mislaid my card and I just want it blocked temporarily,” I typed furiously as dippy Chloe had returned.

“Hi Ms Bell, we can offer you Wednesday?”

“Morning or afternoon?” I dared to ask. I’m back on hold, and another message from Jamil drops.

“I can permanently block your card and send a new one if it’s lost. Or I can replace it if it’s damaged.”

“Jamil, I don’t want it permanently blocked. Or a new one. I just want it temporarily blocked.”

Jamil is typing...

“Hi Ms Bell.” I could tell by her tone that dippy Chloe was as fed up with me as I was with her.

“Our fitter will be with you before 12 o’clock on Wednesday, is that OK?”

“Let me check.” It was my turn to put dippy Chloe on hold as I checked my screen.

Jamil is typing...

And I wondered where on the planet Jamil was typing, and what was taking him so long to reply.

Just at that, my front-door letterbox rattled loudly so I jumped out of my chair.

“Hi, we’re here to do your plastering.”

“Eh, plastering?”

“Yep, we’ll just get our stuff.”

“I think you’ve got the wrong house,” I shouted.

“It’s a blind fitter I was waiting on, not a plasterer.”

“Is this 1*** Street?”

“Nope, next door.”

I ran back to my laptop.

“Can you tell me about your card?”

I’ve lost my card.

My card has been stolen.

I need to replace my card.


I was beginning to wonder if Jamil was human or whether I was conversing with a robot.

“Jamil, as I’ve said already, I have mislaid my card and I just want it temporarily blocked,” I typed.

“Hi Chloe.” I’d forgotten about her. “Sorry, yes, Wednesday is good so long as it is the morning.”

“Ok Ms Bell, hopefully he will be with you before 12 o’clock, but if not...”

I was now seriously wondering if dippy Chloe was a robot too!

Jamil is typing...

“Chloe, as I said it needs to be EITHER morning or afternoon.”

“Jamil, are you still there?” No reply. “Jamil, we are going round in circles here. Jamil?”

I was cut off.

Next evening, I found my card and was now grateful Jamil hadn’t cut me off – so, totally scunnered with one thing and another, I headed out for a bottle of wine and some chocolate.

However, swiping my card for my goodies it read: “Your card has been declined. Please contact...”