Friday, 25 February 2011

Opticians, cold-callers and an unfinished debate on lights

It has been some time since I had my eyes tested. About two and a half years to be more precise.
Over this period my last optician has persistently sent me reminders, chasers, redemption vouchers, special offers, hey, anything that would get my attention short of a life size caste of Daniel Craig. Or James Hook, given my latest fetish regarding eye candy.

Anyway, I finally relented. I made an appointment. Or - to be truthful - I picked up the phone and dialled the number before my colleague did it for me after my umpteenth uttering of "I need my eyes tested" and fumbling for my glasses so I could read the spreadsheet on the computer screen.

That was it. Date set, time agreed, all sorted. I almost felt pleased with myself.

Until today when, with plenty of time to spare (ok, a bit), I ended up in a traffic jam. Knowing I was going to be late, I called the persistent optician to notify them.

"You can be a maximum of ten minutes late," I was told.

Excuse me? You have pestered me for two and a half years to come back and now that I might be a miserly ten minutes late you are turning me away? Who is the customer here?

I missed my appointment.

And then proceeded to ask a succession of other high street opticians - five in total - whether they could give me a standard eye test there and then. They all looked at me as if I were bonkers. Bearing in mind that all bar one of them was actually busy and had customers, I probably was bonkers. And gullible enough to assume that they were interested in winning my business and acquiring a willing client on a Friday afternoon.

Tsk. How foolish of me.

My phone rang.

"Hello!" the chirpy voice said at the other end. "This is (insert incomprehensible name) from (insert random unknown company). How are you today?"

I know a cold caller when I hear one. It is a fabulous talent I have. Not many people know this. I should put it on my CV.

"Why are you calling me?" I barked.

"We are conducting a survey on people who have taken out personal loans over the past ten years, and_"

"Do you offer eye tests?" I cut him short.


"Exactly. Good bye." And I hung up.

Which reminded me of the most recent late-night discussion I had with OH this week. It was about LEDs.
In short, he has this idea - I use the term loosely - that we will replace all the halogen ceiling spotlights in our home with these.

We have around fifty-odd throughout the house.

They cost some £70.00 each. Halogen replacement bulbs are £4.99 a pair.

I can do basic maths (this despite my report card aged ten stating that I made "occasional errors", and my subsequent career in investment banking... actually, they probably go hand-in-hand in hindsight).

"That is ridiculous," I stated, quite defiant.

"But they are energy efficient, last twenty years, and are being introduced into hospitals where they are on 24/7," he argued. He is an electronics engineer by training. But not a scientist. Or Brian Cox, for that matter.

"I already am energy efficient," I answered, "Have no idea where we will be in twenty years, and have no intention of turning this house into a hospital. So unless you intend to change habits and allow the kids keep the lights on day and night, the answer is no."

So, final result:
Opticians, nil. Cold callers, nil, LEDs, nil. Sarcasm, rising.


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