I know that one swallow doesn’t make a Spring and, most certainly, one anecdote doesn’t make up a Whole Story. However I offer this personal yarn on the basis that I’d be surprised if you haven’t experienced similar.

In mid-August our 12 year old fridge – which had been making death rattles for the best part of 2 years – finally gave up the ghost and shuffled off this mortal, make that ‘electrical’, coil. The fact that it expired on the day that we went off on our hols could make up a whole rotten story (sic!) on its own. Upon our return from Turkey, virtually (sic again!) our first act was to order its replacement from a fine company, Appliances Online. We were delighted that the model we wanted could be delivered and installed the next day. The next day however we were far from delighted when delivery operative, John Jobs-Worth, performed before us.

imagesInspecting the premises he gave a sniff that suggested a nasty smell was about. “Not sure about this” said      Mr. J-W, “I very much doubt whether we can get your new fridge into here”. Despite my protests that it was the same size as the one in situ, he agreed to remove our moribund fridge but reserved his rights with regards to the new one. After much huffing-and-puffing, he and his lad eventually delivered said new fridge to the border of our property but it was clear that in order to bring in the new fridge, which was styrofoam packaged, the gate would need to be removed. At this point Mr. J.W. declared he “didn’t have all day” but, if I got on with it, he’d be prepared to watch me remove our gate. Twelve rusty screws and some sweat later, this expert in Jewish D.I.Y. amazed himself by actually succeeding and unhinging the gate. To my horror, when Mr & Master J-W resumed their labours, the girth of the fridge+packaging still exceeded the width of gate-space by a couple of millimetres. “No problem’ said I “remove the packaging and it’ll get through with easily”. At this point Mr J-W gave me a look of horror as if I had just asked him to assassinate The Queen. No amount of reasoning could persuade him to wheel an unpackaged fridge into our home, despite the fact that there was more than sufficient clearage to wheel it through. “Company Regulations! I’d lose my job, if I did it” said Mr J-W. “I’ll write you out an indemnity” said I. But it was not to be and so, faced with the prospect of the much-needed appliance being returned to base, I snarled at him to “just leave it where it is”. And off he went, without an apparent care in the world to make some other poor bugger’s life a misery. In the end, I had to hire* a trolley  and a ‘Man What Does’ to help me wheel the (unpackaged) fridge into our kitchen.

As (bad) luck would have it, our new fridge turned out to be faulty and required replacement, which Appliances Online offered without hesitation. When I recounted the delivery problems I had had to them, they promised that they would try to arrange for more helpful delivery operatives. However I still had my doubts, but these were assuaged when I received a text to let me know that: “Your delivery will be made tomorrow by Tibor between 7am and 9am.” And you will not be surprised to learn that Tibor turned out not to have been born in the UK but also that there were no issues with the delivery whatsoever.

In my book Tibor and his fellow EU workers – (as opposed to pure benefit seekers, flags-of-the-eu-member-countrieswho are very few in number and of whom disproportionate political capital is being made) – are more than welcome in this country, if they work for legitimate (state minimum, union-negotiated etc) recompense and pay their taxes. That is what the EU is all about: an area of equal economic opportunity, whereby labour can move to areas of opportunity and need, for the benefit of all. And one of the benefits, in the long-run, will be more like Tibor and less like Mr Jobs-Worth.

 

* Appliances Online, who now call themselves ‘ao.com’, are an exemplary internet operation that I can recommend not only in terms of its competitive price but also excellent customer service. Without hesitation they accepted responsibility for the failings of their 3rd party logistics company and refunded our costs for trolley-and-man-hire plus the price of a new light-fitting, that Mr J-W & lad had managed to smash in our passage on the short route to the gate.

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