Monday, 2 January 2012

How to keep your head when all around are losing theirs

One of the worries of having children is that you are responsible for providing for them, and I'm telling you now they're not cheap! Phyllis isn't too bad. Her school uniform is still small, she doesn't eat a lot, and Santa can fill her stocking for under £10, if he shops wisely.

Teenagers on the other hand are a whole different ballgame. All items on their Christmas list are the size of a 50p piece and cost a gazillion times more. Santa would need to re-mortgage his workshop and redeploy several elves to get even close to the amount of money needed to fill a teenager's stocking.
School trips start from about £250, and they need so much school uniform it's a wonder they have any time for learning at all with all the changing that must go on.

With this worry constantly in the back of my mind, I have always worked. Recently, however, I have joined the growing ranks of the unemployed in the UK, and the once niggling worry is now jumping all over my brain like a child on a bouncy castle. Luckily, the mortgage payments are covered by the insurance, but, my insurance company informs me, my claim is not valid unless I sign on.
"Right," I naively thought, "That should be easy enough."
Oh how wrong I was...

I arrived at the Job Centre, eagerly clutching an envelope full of relevant paperwork, on the first day it opened after Christmas. The Job Centre was empty, apart from a 'yoof' who looked as if she was expecting applause for being out of bed at such an ungodly hour (1.30pm) and two security front men.

Me: I'd like to sign on please.
Security man: You need an appointment.
Me: But there's no-one here.
SM: That's the system. Here's the number to call.
Me (wondering if the proffered number is in fact the number for the 'phone on the desk in front of him): Can I not just see someone now? There's no-one else here.
SM: No. You have to go away, ring the number, get your appointment and come back.
Me: Well, can I ring now?
SM (unnerved by a question not on the card): It's not usually done, but I suppose so.

I get out my 'phone and move to sit on one of the many empty chairs.

SM: You can't ring from in here. You have to go away and ring. That's the rules.
Me: I suppose this system, complicated as it is, is creating jobs...

The irony was lost on the 3 amoebas in the Job Centre. I moved outside and sat in the car, where I rang the number in full view of the Job Centre reception and it's 3 inhabitants. The man on the 'phone offered me an appointment for the following Tuesday.

Me: Can I have an appointment now, please? I'm sitting just outside.
Phone man: Oh. Why are you outside? You're supposed to go home and ring from there.
Phone man: I'm afraid next Tuesday is the first available appointment. They're very busy over the Christmas period.
Me: THEY'RE NOT BUSY!! I CAN SEE THEM!! THEY ARE CHATTING AND DRINKING TEA!! In the two hours it has taken me to reach this point, NO-ONE HAS COME IN OR GONE OUT!!!
Phone man (unknowingly quoting 'Little Britain'): Computer says 'no'.

I'm going back on Tuesday. It is highly likely this post may have a Part 2...

Today: Reasons to start your own business, courtesy of You Tube and Loose Change TV

Mama Jax


  1. How frustrating! Over here in oz it's quite alot different. They prefer you have an appointment but if its urgent or needed fast they will see you instantly.
    Goodluck Mama Jax

  2. That is hilarious and utterly ridiculous in equal measures. I look forward to the next instalment.