The MOT on the main family car runs out on Monday. I was very proud of myself for very organisedly having got it booked in at the garage we bought it from so as to - for the first time in my life - keep the little service history book properly up to date and ticky-boxed. (This, I learned to my cost when the previous car was written off last year, can make a huge difference to the retail - and hence the write-off - value of the car.)
It's supposed to be going in tomorrow. Half an hour ago I got a call from their MOT technician who says that because the garage has recently been taken over by a new company, he is not licenced to carry out MOTs at present. I was so furious I said to him that I was just going to hang up and call back when I could reliably speak without saying something I shouldn't.
So I phoned back, and the person who answered the phone said "How may I direct your call?" Oh God. Don't the people who write these appalling scripts ever phone up and listen? Or do they actually want their staff to sound like robots who have been specially programmed to irritate the customer? (For the record, a simple, friendly "Good morning, company-name!" works perfectly well and has the advantage of sounding like something a person would actually say.)
Anyway, I finally got through to the service manager who told me that although the site and the facilities are unchanged, and the licenced technicians continue to be licenced under their original numbers, the business is not licenced to carry out MOTs at the premises until they provide the Department of Transport with a photo of the premises with the new company name displayed outside. And they can't stick the new (temporary) sign up until it stops raining. So, about August then, I said. He replied that it's certainly not doing the business any good.
Presumably none of them have ever heard of PhotoShop. I'm tempted to phone back and offer to do it myself.
The whole MOT thing, while of course an important safety process, is getting beyond a joke. A friend of mine used to be the senior MOT technician at the place where he worked. He would carry out MOTs himself, but it was also his job to train and supervise other MOT technicians, and to be available to any of the mechanics who had a query or a problem. Then the DoT brought in new rules that you had to log in to their system when you were about to start the MOT, and you had to enter the results within a fixed (quite short) time. Suddenly my mate could no longer leave an MOT halfway through to deal with something else - which was quite safe because there was a very detailed checklist to tick off as you went - so he had to give up either doing MOTs or supervising the others. Obviously the garage weren't willing to pay him as much since he wasn't doing as much, and they ended up losing their best technician over it.
The current relentless march towards ticking boxes as a substitute for being allowed to think is NOT progress.