Wednesday 20 February 2008


My toy boy reached the age of 65 last October. Recently his new Tax Coding Notification arrived but the IR had calculated that he had received state pension for 12 months instead of 6 months.

As he never taxes (geddit?) his brains with such trivia I ‘phoned the tax office, handed him the ‘phone to give his permission and to answer a couple of security questions, including his address, so that I could speak on his behalf.

The call centre operative was very efficient and assured me that this error would be corrected immediately, and I thanked her. That was easy.

“Before you go, can I check his address again please?” I repeated our address to her.
“That isn’t the address that I have on the screen”
“What address do you have on the screen?”
“I’m sorry, I am not able to tell you that”
“Sorry? But I don’t understand, all his correspondence from you comes to this address, how can you have a different address on the screen?”
“I’m sorry, I am not able to discuss that with you”
“Will you discuss it with my husband then?”
“No I’m not able to discuss it with him either”
“So, you have a different address that you are not allowed to divulge to us, but all his mail is coming to this address”
“Yes, but I will alter the address on the screen now”
“But that doesn’t make sense, how is the mail coming here if this isn’t the address you have?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t tell you”

I woke up this morning thinking, this just isn't right. They must be breaking some sort of data protection law by not divulging this information. Should I ring up and demand they give me the information or do I do what I increasingly seem to be doing nowadays – just go WHATEVER and start screaming at breakfast TV again! I decide to go the “whatever” route. So the bastards have won again. I feel a Deja-Vu stress headache coming on!

While this was going on my husband received a call from the Radiologist to say that his kidneys could not tolerate the chemo, so we should expect a call from the surgeon to arrange a consultation within the week. Excuse me, fuck, fuck, fuck. Sorry about that. Now I guess we have more weeks to wait for an operation date.

On a lighter note I received a long, long email from my lovely loony friend entitled:


You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you

You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away... (note from me - doesn't that sound scarily familiar?)

TO BE CONTINUED....................


aims said...

I had to go and check - again - where you live. I thought for a second there that you lived in the US....their medical system is crap too.

My girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer five months ago. They are going to operate on the 26th!! Can you believe that? And not just a lumpectomy - a mastectomy - they have known all along that it was a large enough mass that it needed the whole breast removed. Makes me crazy!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Oh God - the Inland Revenue and those poor Cows - they both made me laugh I'm afraid. It's all scarily familiar. Lovely post! M xx

Anonymous said...

Well first of all sorry to hear about your husband's chemo. I'm sure they will find what works.

And secondly, the Inland Revenue are complete clowns. Fact.

Crystal xx

Maggie May said...

Really sorry to hear about the chemo being delayed. We often find that we are put "on hold" by the hospital. Keep ringing them.
You still have your sense of humour. Laughed at the cows.
The idiots in the Inland Revenue (sorry if any of you are reading this!) are always pulling stunts like this.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Screaming at breakfast TV is a perfectly legit. option.

Anonymous said...

Do you sometimes wake up and wonder where in the world you are and why me? And why oh why would the address that should be yours be such a secret. I don't know, I give up. I could go on about government workers and politicians and what they're good for, and why they don't listen to the people who vote them into office, and then I wonder why I vote. So guess the solution is go out, enjoy the day and have another glass of wine.

Dumdad said...

Aaargh, I HATE that sort of thing! I don't hate bureaucracy because we need that to function as a nation but I hate people within bureaucracy who can't exercise some commonsense.

If it's any compensation, it can be worse over here!

There are times when I feel I want to head for the hills..... said...

aims this is a total revelation to me. I thought that this only went on in the UK! said...

Dear Mother The cows thing will continue...... It makes me howl with laughter everytime I read it. said...

Dear Crystal, part of me is actually glad that OG doesn't have to go through the trauma of chemo. At least now he will be going into an operation in a fairly robust state of health. said...

Hi Maggie, I think that cows should rule the world. At least they have more sense than the Inland Revenue staff. said...

Carrie, I am beginning to believe that screaming at breakfast TV has become an addiction, but hey, who said that I am perfect! said...

Flagmaker, I'll drink to that! said...

Hi Dumdad, bureaucracy good? Spoken like a true Guardian person. Umm, the jury is out on that one I'm afraid. said...

Dear Dumdad, of course I agree that bureaucracy makes the wheels of goverment turn but it has to work effectively and that doesn't seem to be happening. We have a particularly charmless bureaucracy in this country at the moment which blames,punishes and is top heavy with inefficient, self-seaking idiots.

PS I love Guardian people really!

Anonymous said...

isn't bureaucracy fun? Ilove it when the computer says no and they end up saying things that patently arent possible....

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the chemo.

Thinking of you both.

I share your blinding frustration with telephone conversations like the one you had with something that sounds like a human but clearly isn't for the utter lack of reason. said...

...and after all that, guess what? No new Tax Code Notification has arrived, so I'm going to have to go through the whole damn thing again! Maybe Hat is right memsahib, we already DO live on the moon.