Yesterday was certainly not a good Friday. I was supposed to be taking our daughter and son-in-law, along with baby Harry, to Norfolk to meet his great grandparents (on my wife's side) but life had other ideas.
We set off around 7:15am for what would have been about a five hour drive but by 8am had broken down on the M62 with the car overheating. I called our breakdown service (one of the big national companies) who said we were a priority but things were busy being the Easter weekend.
I spoke to a number of different people who all advised different things and different timings. "Our partner is already enroute and will be there within the hour." "Recovery was booked at 8:12am but with a three hour ETA."
We finally got picked up at gone 11:30. I'd hate to see what it would be like if we weren't a priority.
We were supposed to be recovered to home but the "partner company" could only take us as far as the motorway services about 15 miles back along the M62 where we would have to be collected by someone else to take us the rest of the way. At least we could go to the loo, have some lunch, and feed and change Harry.
We were originally advised that pickup would be between 1 and 1:30pm and the next couple of calls seemed to confirm that. But then I started getting multiple texts messages that the job was being sent to different partners before getting a call saying it could be another three hours because of delays.
"Just leave the keys with one of the shops or the petrol station and we'll get you home by taxi."
There's no way I was just leaving my keys with anyone so I said get a taxi for the others and I'll stay with the car. That should have been simple but, in truly farcical fashion, I was notified by text of two different taxi bookings and called by a third taxi company to make arrangements.
A taxi turned up around 2:20pm and the others were taken home while I waited for what could be another couple of hours. But, no! Within the next 15-20 minutes a recovery truck turned up and I was on my way. On the journey back I was called by a taxi company saying asking where the pickup was – too late. And then got a text advising that another pickup had been cancelled and was being rebooked. A complete joke.
We pulled up and unloaded the car at about 3:05pm, a mere 7 hours after the first phone call to the breakdown service who, at 3:34, rang to say that they were still trying to sort out recovery. Sorry? I'm already home!
I must have spoken to about 9 different people all telling me different things and obviously not communicating with anyone else in the company. Both of the recovery drivers said, in their experience, this was typical and that, for a major organisation who do this tens if not hundreds of times a day, it always seems like it's their first time.
It wouldn't have been so bad but for the fact we only broke down 40 miles from home and it took 7 hours to get us back such a short distance.
Total shit show, RAC. There, I've named them.