Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Happy Life of an IKEA Jobsworth

I'm in grumpy old git mode. We just had a call from IKEA to say that they are trying to deliver a sofa to Doughty Street (yes, OK, nothing to do with me, I wouldn't buy one from there either) but due to Health and Safety their drivers can't deliver it. Why? Because they have to park on the other side of the street and they're not allowed to cross it. This, despite the fact that there's a zebra crossing.



What gets me though is the mentality of the driver who, rather than doing what any normal person would do, decided to ring up his call centre and then get them to ring us. So now they'll have to come back again and no doubt we'll go through the same palava all over again. Does anyone seriously think this would happen in any other country? We must be mad.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iain, Is there a primary school near 18DS?? If so could you ask the lollipop lady to help them across with the sofa?

Ed said...

I had a similar thing with British Gas. I was allowed to be put through to the engineer via the call centre, and the engineer was allowed to take my number but when I asked for his number so I could call him back he said he wasn't allowed to give it out - probably to prevent "moonlighting"

Chris Goodman said...

I cannot get anybody to clear out my gutters now, because there is new legislation that gutter cleaning above a quite modest height requires scaffolding, and erecting scaffolding for the modest reward of cleaning some gutters on a house is too much bother for most builders.

Result, overflowing house gutters, no doubt leading to future damp problems, leading me to have to buy a ladder and do it myself (which since I am not experienced at such tasks is more likely to result in an accident).

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

You may have been caught in the crossfire of some private quarrel between the haulier and the suppliers.

I don't know about European countries, but I expect in the USA one of IKEA's competitors would be on the phone to you right now.

Marquee Mark said...

I'm at a loss to understand how coming back again will alter anything. What are you going to do in the meantime - build a bridge? Move to new premises on the other side of Doughty Street?

Ridicule the hell out of them for this. It's idiocy.

Anonymous said...

"they're not aloud to cross it"

You need spelling lessons.

Peter Mc said...

Was talking to a tall ship skipper a couple of months ago. He had just been at a health and safety meeting where the assembled skippers had been told that climbing rigging was unsafe, and in future a cherry picker with qualified operator must be used.

Skipper asked where he was going to find one of those when he had to reef a sail or repair some broken rigging up a mast in mid Atlantic. H&S didn't have anything on file about that.

verity said...

"We must be mad."

No. Not mad. Just passive cowards. How can you allow some little Hitler in some government department somewhere interfere with your lives in this way?

The British are having their everyday freedom to live their lives without interference from the state nibbled away at an alarming rate and all they do is complain to one another and then say, "Hopeless!", as though that were an appropriate response to the theft of your liberty.

Anonymous said...

Yes jobsworth par excellence! I think we exported this quality to our colonies too. I think it started as an authority rite, but now I see it's used like a work to rule by the comrades.

btw, typo alert: 'allowed' not 'aloud'

sockpuppet said...

We must be mad......literally mad, as a nation..."

careful, Iain, you're starting to sound like mmfflmmfflfgerroffmmflmmff

;-)

Newmania said...

I recall that IKEA were close the the top of the poor service league a couple of years ago . They were beaten hands down by British Gas though.

Personally , any sympathy I ever summon for the Met disappears in about five minutes of trying to navigate round their Fawlty Towers system of non assistance. I believe the British Police are the worst failing Public Service and David Cameron said himself they were last entirely unreformed Section..Ken Livingstone supports Iain Blair. Politically correct , fosters good community relations and couldn`t run a piss up in a brewery. Course he does

The Police are a disgrace and its time they stopped getting off lightly when teachers get a daily kicking. 3 weeks is the average sick days in the Met ...that is sick sick puppy of a service


IKEA its nuffin

Anonymous said...

The power you have:
If IKEA ring back tell them I have read this post and the devil will be skating to work before I will set foot in the place again. Also I promise to tell no one about this,honest.

Anonymous said...

morons. will dave cameron do aything to tame the health and safety beast? there's a majority waiting for him if he would promise to do so.

charlie root said...

haha, Is this all part of the 'erosion of society' DC talked about?

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

Having recently moved house I noticed four things about the companies I dealt with:

1. Legislation (health and safety, data protection) is often used as an excuse for inaction.

2. Technology is used both to inconvenience and to fleece customers ("your call is important to us...").

3. Utilities and communications companies are hopelessly inefficient and usually dishonest.

4. The bigger the company, the worse it gets.

Is this what free markets are supposed to lead to?

verity said...

Ed - No. It wasn't a similar thing at all.

It's no use railing against Ikea. It's the controlling monsters who passed the legislation. Ikea doesn't want to get sued if their people break the law and there's an accident.

Blame this controlling, insane communist government, not private enterprise.

Vienna Woods said...

Iain Dale wrote,
Does anyone seriously think this would happen in any other country?

Unfortunately, yes! The difference being that nowadays large companies are always out to make the extra fast buck! In our case we had ordered two computer systems from Dell to be delivered on a certain date. When the delivery time came and went, I called them and they casually announced that as our offices were not on the ground floor an extra handling charge would have to be levied before delivery could be made. These clowns had actually been to our address and returned the computers to their warehouse, without making any contact. As a matter of interest our office is located on the mezzanine floor just half a flight above ground and in any case there is a lift! We had equipped our office with something like 15 Dell systems, a server and numerous Dell peripherals. As a result of this fiasco they stubbornly refused to see any sense and we cancelled the order. We now order from a company that is pleased to have our business and Dell will never see the light of day in any of our sister companies either!

fatboyslimming said...

Being said jobsworth as you so wrongly put it. I can quite agree with the delivery people and feel sorry for them. Fir the past two months I have worked as a drivers mate for a national electronics firm. Delivering all manor of goods from small televisions upto 29 stone american fridges.

I am employed through an agency because thanks to the employment rights of this country and the balance of expense over profit and influx of foriegn nationals who will do the work for next to nothing. You no longer have fully trained and professional staff in these companies.

You will have one driver who bares all the responsibilty for the truck,goods and delivery including health and safety and he will have no backing from his company. Whom at any given accident will have the backing of well paid solicitors to get them out of anything on a technicality and leave the driver or his agency worker left without work and possibly crippled and without means of income.

You are told that there is no set regulation for safe loading weights or how you are to do your job. You are simply meant to do what you feel comfortable with and in a safe way. Now please explain to me how 2 men are meant to manually carry 29 stone american fridge thru and into peoples houses. If we refuse to many you get the sack for not fulfilling your duty but each time you put yourself at risk of injury.

The customer on many occasions does not care. As they have been fed a line by the shop in which we the delivery people will do almost anything. This is said because the shop worker wants to make a sale and get a bonus. This is never followed up by the head office it is always left at the delivery drivers door to sort.

So in your example if the driver and his mate decided not to deliver a sofa due to the fact of crossing a road. I say please consider both side. How many drops had the driver to make. on average mu firm can expect 20 plus a day. which includes installation most times. You are given sometimes 3 mins just to deliver an item. which can be the length of time just to find the person who ordered the item. Thats if they are in.

I think if you really do care about this situation look into the working practises of the firm and the conditions they expect folks to work under. You wish to be a member of parliament may i ask you to take this cause up for me. also ask why they also dont pay overtime to agency workers. though it isnt a legal requirement why do we have to suffer with a minimum wage which forces you into working longer hours and leaving yourself open to injury thru tiredness.

Please look at both sides and not all people are jobsworths some of us are fighting just to survive with no help from anyone and just treated like slaves by our employers and like trash by the customers.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

fatboyslimming [3.42 PM] Sorry, but if they are not prepared to carry a sofa over a pedestrian crossing they should be looking for another job.

Moreover, not all delivery men are conscientious. How often have you been told, 'our driver called and could get no reply' when you know perfectly well you have been at home all day?

Fred said...

Or Tree Surgeons who are no longer allowed to use a ladder or a certain type of climbing rope! they must use scaffolding! If YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF THE RELEVANT LEGISLATION- YOU WILL SOON AND BE OUT OF BUSINESS!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

A good wheeze, if you are told that something is prohibited by law is to write and ask for particulars: 'Precisely which section of which statute do you say is applicable?'

Last time I did this the company phoned to confess that they could not give me this information, and it was 'more a matter of company policy.' And that, I suspect, is the case nine times out of ten.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Iain,

You're really not taking this Grumpy Old Git movement at all seriously. It's not a 'mode', it is a whole way of life - a calling if you will. You've got to do it 24/7 or whatever they call it.

Do promise me you'll buck up. We need to do much better than this.

fatboyslimming said...

In reply to phoning customers... Yes I will admit different drivers have different standards of service when it comes to ringing customers. But this is due to the fact of being worn down in the past in some instances...

Look at these facts... the company i work for give customers a four hour window as to when an item will be delivered the first call will have been given a time of between 6am and 10 am not bad considering you dont clck in for work until 7.30 am and that is if the van is loaded due to any problems thru the night. so this already makes you late.... the times are given due to the fact of working time directives.... but no time is allowed for traffic jams or road works or distance to deliveries or how difficult a location maybe... wether it be an upstairs flat or isolated farm... all carry the same time slots.

As for phoning a customer... we get three problems.... 1. that the shop has taken down the wrong number 2. that the customer wont answer the phone or wont accept with held numbers 3. the customer has given the number of someone who has no connection with the purchase. and complains to say you havent phoned and then go oh thats the number of...

And if you do get the customer you have such conversations as... we will be with you in half an hour... customer. so what time will you be here ?

or the customer will complain they have been waiting in all day for us... and when you ask what time they was given they say 2pm till 6pm ???

So I suggest this blog is infested with white collar workers who wuldnt know dirt unless they was scrapping it off there shiny shoes at ascot.... you should go and try delivering a sofa across a road after doing the same job for a few months and making ends meet for a pitance pay.

Barry Day said...

fatboyslimming, don't expect any sort of consideration for your plight around here. What you wrote was an interesting and knowledgeable summary of the daily pressures and problems facing delivery drivers, but unfortunately this doesn't fit in with the 'society is going to hell and it's all because the people who actually do the work are wanting some security and control over what they're asked to do' attitude espoused by the intellects who frequent this board. Best of luck mate.

fatboyslimming said...

Barry Day,,,

You are correct I may as well pee in the wind for what use this will be. But then again should it be.... Mr Dale is wanting to be a member of parliament and he is there to represent me and my fellow workers and ensure our rights as workers. If he doesn't know what is happening I would expect him to have the interlect and concern to investigate further and now just make shallow assumptions and comments. Is this a sight into how mr Dale will work... He is happy to annouce his appearances on telly but not causes and concerns of the electorate.

Should overtime rates be compulsary ?

Should there be a maximum weight any worker can carry ? at present there is none it is down to the individual which is exploited by employers.

Should firms be forced to employ people instead of having workers thru agencies for upto 4 years if a worker does the same job for more than 13 weeks surely thewre is a full time job there for them to do.

I await a reply from the prospective member of parliament.

judith said...

Chris Goodman, please don't clean your gutters if you have no experience - I mean this seriously, a life-time friend died 5 years ago doing precisely this, he was on his own and he fell.

Try asking a friendly roofer, who will also check your tiles etc.

Chris Goodman said...

Thanks Judith. I am going to follow your advice.

troll patrol said...

Did you ask these these guys if there was somewhere you could meet them to pick up the said piece of furniture? Why not? I usually do. They are not your servants. Why do you think they are? Get over it. What they do is what they do.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Remember IKEA are not British.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

fatboyslimming [5.44 PM] You ask, 'Should firms be forced to employ people instead of having workers thru agencies?'

No. We have more than enough employment laws already, thank you.

Richard Holloway said...

Simple answer Ian...

Cancel the order and buy it from John Lewis...

(I must declare my interest, I work for them, but they'll certainly not be worried by crossing the road).

Mark Harrison said...

I'd love to have had such minor delivery problems.

When I ordered by Mother-in-law a new washing machine from Comet, including an installation service as an early Christmas present a couple of years ago, they turned up...

... put the new washing machine in front of the old...

... announced that they couldn't fit it, because the old "had the wrong kind of connections", and went on their merry way claiming that otherwise they'd be "late for the next appointment."

The fact that my M-I-L, in her 70s, was left with a washing machine blocking both the old washing machine and the fridge seemed not to concern them.

I finally got a £10 refund... because the installation service had been a £10 "special offer".

fatboyslimming said...

Still awaiting a reply from what may be called a jobsworth blogger... does he only blog about his appearances on the television and radio /

chris (m) said...

It is not true that health and safety rules have made it impossible to have your gutters cleaned by ladder (at least to second floor level). This seems to be a widely held belief but is not true. It is necessary however that it is done using a safety ladder and not a basic "window-cleaners' ladder". We have a gutter cleaner regularly clean our three storey building this way.

Chris Goodman said...

"It is not true that health and safety rules have made it impossible to have your gutters cleaned by ladder"

All I know is that in the recent past I had no problem finding somebody to clear them, and now three different house maintenance firms have declined to do the job citing this as the reason.