Whenever I have any dealings with the customer service arm of any government or semi-government body I can’t help but think that I am interrupting something else more interesting or more important.
It is almost as if staff have special training in being casual, off-hand and not-altogether-helpful without actually being downright rude.
Recently I had to file some document or other with Companies House – the UK’s Registrar of Companies which comes under the umbrella of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Being someone who generally leaves things to the last-minute I had missed the deadline to post the form without incurring a £150 (US$240) fine but I could deliver it by hand.
A helpful woman on the Companies House helpline told me which office to go to, what time to get there by and suggested I get a receipt to confirm that I had got the form in on time.
At the office I handed in the form and then this happened:
“Could I have a receipt for that please?”
“We don’t issue receipts.”
“But when I phoned your helpline I was advised to ask for one.”
“We stopped issuing receipts years ago.”
“So why was it suggested I get one?”
“I don’t know. We don’t issue receipts.”
And with that, Little Miss No Receipt simply turned around and walked away from me without uttering another word.