Normally this involves me changing service provider and porting my number, but that's a headache, so this year - being mostly satisfied with Orange - I decided to upgrade instead. This is fine in principle, I order it, I pay a nominal amount about the same as the various "admin charges" to move a number across networks, and it arrives.
Only it didn't.
The Royal Mail has a strange relationship with the-address-where-my-post-goes. Many of the postcode databases miss out a key element - instead of "99 Acacia Avenue, Stella Street, Red Light District, Birmingham, Bx xxx" they report "99 Stella Street, Red Light District, Birmingham, Bx xxx". The current trend for "Look, you needn't even remember your address - we can fill it in for you! We're very clever!" websites means that I'm used to checking it, attempting manual override, then picking up the phone and giving up on the whole online thing.
Orange, as one might expect, currently send me bills. These come to me. Occasionally I even open them and see how many premuim rate SMS messages I've been charged for. But the key fact is "Orange have an address for me that works!".
So, imagine my surprise when the phone doesn't arrive on the promised day. It gets a bit "blow by blow"...
I phone Orange. I say "It has not arrived on the day an email I recieved said it would".
They say "It can take 3-5 days from the day it is ordered".
I say "That's not what I said. Can you please check?"
Orange say "Oh, ok." Brief Pause "Delivery failed yesterday and a card was left."
"No it wasn't!"
"It says here it was."
"Well I am sitting here and there is no card."
Reads the delivery address to me
"That's not the right address."
"It's the one we have."
"But it's wrong. I get this all the time."
"We can only deliver to the address Royal Mail tells us from your postcode."
"I get this all the time. It is wrong."
"I will have to phone Royal Mail. Can you hold?"
Sure, I can hold while you tell Royal Mail something they already know! They won't care, but it's costing you money as I phoned from an Orange phone.
"I've told them, but they didn't care."
"So, how do I get my phone?"
"We can fax something to the courier, but then it's 24-48 hours for them to read it, then they will redeliver."
"I will be away by then. Delivery will fail and it will come back to you."
"Oh, well, we'll send it out again when you call us then."
"I'm not really happy with that. Can you follow-up the fax with a phone call to get things moving quickly, so I can collect it?"
"No. We can't phone them."
"You're not allowed to phone your courier?"
"No, they complained we kept phoning them to chase delivery."
"Can you send me out another one today, then keep the original when it gets Returned to Sender?"
"No. Well, unless we charge you £300 for the handset."
This is the point where I had an (internal) customer service breakdown. Lisa, on the other end was obviously getting increasingly bored with my coming up with other ways to get my phone and save them the hassle of the returns.
"I'm not happy with this. I don't feel you're really trying to help and offer me, the customer, service. Go ahead and send the fax then."
"I don't have a fax machine. I'll have to put you on hold while I get my supervisor to do it."
During this pause I calmed down a lot.
"Thanks for your call blah blah blah."
Then I phoned the courier. They were very helpful.
"It doesn't have quite the right address and I don't have a failed to deliver card."
"Don't worry, just take along some ID and they'll be fine."
So I did. Easy. Well, finding the actual site was a pain in the ass, and it was like getting into a prison through metal detectors and following coloured lines on the floor around the site; but I have a box! Hurrah! More gadget-freakery.
Now, I wonder how much I will have forgotten by next year when another 12 months are up.