I have to ring HM Revenue & Customs once or twice a year. Because The Husband and I are self employed our projected income figures need updating for the following year. It should be no biggy, it should be fairly easy. But every GODDAM time I ring I have problems. I can’t remember a time in ten years that I’ve rung and got through without issue, without wanting to kill someone once I’ve finished.
I realised yesterday that I had to make a call, a fairlly serious call as a payment had gone astray, so at 8am I started. I answered all the questions fired at me from the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ and was put on hold. This is standard, I expected to hold for at least 15 minutes minimum before getting through. After 26 minutes of holding, patiently holding, the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ came back to tell me that unfortunately all operators were busy and I needed to call back later – then hung up on me.
I waited half an hour and called again, this time feeling my heart rate rise as I traversed the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ and then held again. As I approached my 25th minute on hold I started clenching my buttocks, would I have to deal with the blow of another cut off?
At minute 27, and after a minute of me holding my breath, a Scottish gentleman answered and asked why I was calling. I explained and he said “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, can you speak up?”. I tried again, three times, from different parts of the house, in case it was our house phone signal (that’s how desperate I was) to be told “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, you’ll have to ring back later”.
If he could hear me he would have heard a whimper that rose into a cry audible from five houses away and then continued in a rant, alone in the kitchen, as the dogs looked on nonplussed.
Sitting down in the kitchen, to drink a strong coffee and regroup, I gave it another half an hour. By now I was an irritable arsehole. Wondering if I was delirious I listened to the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ telling me that their offices were shut for the bank holiday. WHAT BANK HOLIDAY?!
Ringing for the fourth time I answered all the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ questions in a loud, irritable, sarcastic fashion. She still fully understood, which is not surprising. Their voice recognition must be primed for a normal range of voices and then EVERY conceivable angry tone. Again, I held, this time for 22 minutes to be told again that all operators were busy and I needed to call back.
Call five, saw me rocking back and forth shouting at the ‘Electronic Voice of Doom’ as The Teenager sniggered upstairs. I realised that the voice coming out of my mouth was the voice my sister used to use to put the FEAR OF MOTHERLOVING GOD into her children when they were naughty. Again, this time I held for 32 minutes, which I took as a good sign that at least I hadn’t been hung up on … only to be hung up on.
By 10.30 I was a raging beast of rabid anger and had done nothing with my day, none the wiser as to where my payment has gone, nor whether I will ever get it.
Thanks a bunch HMRC, you arseholes.