I didn’t get time to write a ‘Thinking Aloud’ post last Sunday. I had to go out, a rarity for me on a Sunday, I assure you. But I did wake up thinking about something. I was thinking about having to drive into Norwich, something that stresses me out a great deal. Considering I lived in central London for sixty years, you might think that driving into a provincial city would be a breeze after that. But I have lived in a village, close to the small town of Dereham, for over five years now. So a trip into what counts as the ‘Big City’, is something I have come to dread.
We had to go in though. The intention was to change our telephone line and broadband supplier, and we had to visit the shop to sign the contracts. It also had to be done that day, or we would miss the window of the available ‘special offer’. I would have preferred to go in by bus. I get free travel as a pensioner, and the bus service to and from the city is very good. But we had to travel on somewhere after that, so the car it was.
The first seventeen miles of the journey, on the A47 major road, are reasonably easy. Once you turn off and head into the city though, you are soon aware that this small city (population 135,000) was never built to cope with the influx of people from over half of Norfolk, and parts of Suffolk too. There are four main car parks, but three were already full by lunchtime. The rest of us were funnelled into the more expensive NCP car park, close to the busy bus station. After the usual hassles of going into a dead end that had no spaces, followed by a tricky reverse to get out, and back onto the up ramp, we found a space two floors up, and headed off to the phone shop in the large Chapelfield Mall.
Since shops started opening on Sundays, it has proved a very popular day for shoppers to congregate. As they are only open from 11 until 5, the lunchtime period is definitely one of the busiest of the week. Once in the phone shop, we made contact with the young man we had an appointment with, and waited patiently until he was free from his previous customers. The shop mainly deals in mobile phones, but the company has recently been able to offer good deals on home phones and broadband too. It was very busy, and the young men who work there were literally rushed off their feet. People love mobile phones, they really do. Best of all, they like to change them frequently, always keen to get the latest model, or the best deal. A steady stream of customers came and went, making me very glad that we had managed to get a definite appointment.
A quick look around confirmed that I am definitely not in the target market for such a shop. Mostly younger people, being served by very young men. The sort of young men who seem to have incredibly thin legs, wearing trousers that look impossible to get on and off. Young men with spiky hair, tattoos, and mostly in need of a shave. Until a lady came in with a walking frame, I was definitely the oldest person in there, by a mile. Our young advisor eventually got to us. He efficiently explained the benefits of changing suppliers, and countered my many probing questions with a calm professionalism. This lad knew his stuff, that was obvious. Despite my initial reservations, I could find no flaws in his argument. We signed up for the contract, and will enjoy an immediate saving of more than £30 a month, on current bills. We will also get unlimited Internet access, and a fibre connection too. This is a better deal than our current ADSL connection, with its ‘Fair Use’ policy limiting broadband usage.
Two hours after arriving at the car park, we were heading out. I couldn’t get my seat belt done up, then had to reach too far to insert my pre-paid ticket into the machine to be able to leave the cramped car park. That sent me into a small but out of proportion rage. I wanted out of the place, and as quick as possible. Once back onto the main road, well out of Norwich, I could feel myself calming down. The stress of the city was behind me, until next time.
The new modem should arrive soon, and the switch over is due to happen on the 16th. So if you don’t hear from me after that, you can presume it didn’t work as promised, and I am sitting in a corner, quietly fuming.
Technology. Isn’t it wonderful?