If nothing else, this pandemic and ensuing holiday destroying after-effects are giving me plenty of stuff to blog about. I know that many of you will be really missing those weeks when I’d squeeze out a few hundred words on walking the dogs or how great my commute was, but I’m sure there will be a time for that when some form of normality begins.
Speaking of normality, on Tuesday, clearly based on the science, ahem, the 2m rule was abandoned from the 4th of July and in surely unrelated news, pubs and restaurants would be able to open again from that date. You may have spotted an opinion or two from me on Twitter during this crisis that I do not feel the government have covered themselves in glory. Certainly, if the drop in my follower numbers is any judge, a good number of you did and decided you didn’t want to see any more. Each to their own of course.
Now, as much as there may be arguments and reasons to suggest that the entire exit from lockdown was driven by a reaction to, cover-up of and defence of a certain person driving to Barnard Castle rather than the science, I do recognise that at some point, the risks of further infections and deaths have to be balanced against the country being able to function and survive economically. I did hope that we would all be able to behave ourselves once in the pubs and restaurants so that they can earn some money but we could avoid a Florida style spike in cases as soon as they re-opened. But even before they open, the evidence of the beaches in Bournemouth and some football fans in Liverpool suggest we cannot.
Lots of news again this week. Virgin deferred their resumption of flights from the 20th of July to the 24th of August, still without any news on when international travel may be allowed again. Our original travel date was the 26th of August so you can only imagine the panic-stricken carnage this blog may have witnessed if we were still booked to travel then. Be thankful we moved stuff to next March as it would not have been pretty. Add to that the not unexpected horrors of folks trying to reserve their days in the theme parks and I may have combusted from a mixture of frustration, stress and wind.
TUI went a step further than Virgin and abandoned all plans for Orlando until November. A sign of things to come? Maybe and if so I fear for Virgin’s viability.
This huge spike in cases in Florida and other states is horrifying and weird. Not that I would suggest for a second that the stats may be doctored, but to see such record levels of infection have little or no effect on hospitalisations and deaths (yet) seems odd. I really do hope that we don’t see similar spikes in deaths and it might be possible, to some extent, to live with this thing just making people ill for a few days and not killing them. The way things developed as the week went on did not look promising. Now we are seeing re-openings reversed in some states and beaches being closed in places like Miami.
Seeing the depressing tales of woe from those trying to make park reservations on Monday and Friday did not fill me with glorious delight and anticipation. As I girded my loins for my turn I was both dreading and looking forward to 12pm today, being online and ready to go.
To make that a reality I would, of course, need our theme park tickets in my hands. To this end, I sent Floridatix a huge sum of money on the 19th of June so they could get them to me in good time. Their web site promises that once your balance is paid you have your tickets within 7 days.
By Thursday I was getting a little jumpy as I had not got any texts or emails with the promised tracking number so I called them. I was told that they had been posted that day and was given a tracking number for the 48-hour service they were using. They would be with me on Saturday they said. Jolly good.
I did try to use that tracking number to see where they were but the Royal Mail web site didn’t recognise it. Giving them the benefit of the doubt I thought it may take a while to come up there so I left it till Friday.
Earlier in the week, I think it was Monday, I had emailed them on a separate matter about being able to get a refund should my tickets be worthless if I could not reserve any parks. They replied within a day or two saying I could. I replied, thanked them and asked if they knew when my tickets would arrive. They hadn’t replied by the time I called on Thursday but, on Friday I did get a reply to that email saying they had been posted “today”.
I thought that was odd but took them at their word.
Saturday came, as did the postman. Sadly the tickets did not come with him. I tried to call Floridatix but they were closed. I tried their Facebook page, with no response and emailed them, expressing my “mild disappointment”. I had no reply to any of those methods but spookily, within half an hour I had a text and an email from Royal Mail telling me my package from Floridatix was on its way and would be with me on Monday.
Imagine my absolute rage. The tracking number was of course not the one I was given earlier in the week and when I did use that new tracking reference, it told me the sender sent the package at 7.28pm on Friday, using a 24-hour service, not the 48 hour one I was told they always use.
Now, I suspect I will still be able to book the parks we want a day after everyone else gets to have a go and I know of course that things go wrong from time to time, but what I cannot fathom or accept from a company I have just given a shit ton of money to, much earlier than I usually would, is being lied to, not once, but twice.
I have been a “happy” customer of theirs for a few years now. By happy I mean they have done what they were meant to and provide me with something I wanted when I wanted it at a price I was willing to pay. Now, they have shit the bed, pissed me right off and not only lost my future business but led me to moan about it to a few people who may at some point be in the market for theme park tickets.
I am by no means a “Karen” (google it if you don’t get the reference) and I am not inclined to “ask to speak to the manager” or moan about stuff (outside of my weekly blogging, but you know what I mean) but I’m afraid lying is beyond incompetence or human error and I need to passively aggressively shout into the void to make myself feel better. My first world problem rage grows by the hour as the 12pm milestone grows closer and I can only imagine thousands of others piling on to the website to book up all the slots I want, but due to shit service and dishonesty, I cannot.
I will admit that the completion of my self-assessment tax return early on Saturday morning, right around the time that I realised I had been shafted by Floridatix, had not helped my mood for several thousand reasons, but regardless of external factors ticking me off this is, whichever way you look at it, a bit shit and it needs calling out.
Although I do genuinely think there will still be slots to be had tomorrow (although I can’t possibly be sure) if there are not then the actions of Floridatix could potentially have ruined the entire trip and made the huge sums being paid for it null and void should we not be able to reserve entry to any theme parks at any point during our trip. I am, as you may be picking up, absolutely furious.
Anyway, after another post which confirms this blog as first-world problem central, I shall go and silently seethe for the rest of the day watching social media fill up with tales of everyone booking the theme parks I want to go to.
Till the next time……