Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, March 21, 2017

Internet bullying
Internet bullying

It’s just the system. Four little words that are fast moving to the top of my most disliked phrases. Still top of the list is “do you mind if we put you on hold for a minute”, but sweaty palms, a racing heart and a dry mouth are fast becoming my Pavlovian response to the words, “I’m sorry, it’s just the system.”

I first realised how hateful “the system” had become to me when I tried to get my telephone connected when I moved in.

Yes, we live in a remote place but even to my non-techy brain, if there is already a telephone line, then connection shouldn’t be a problem?

Apparently, it was “just the system”, which meant I had to endure a six week wait to be connected to the outside world.

A threat to go to a rival supplier was met by a deviation from IJTS, namely: “you can try but they are on our ‘system’, so the wait will be the same.”

Then there was the delivery van that had managed to collect a desk from a manufacturer in France and get it all the way to King’s Lynn but not manage the final five miles because it was “out of my area, love.” Again, “the system”.

The latest IJTS incident involves a bank. Two banks in fact. There is bank ‘a’, which allowed ‘the system’ to completely close my business account because of a malfunction in said ‘system’.

The bank I am choosing to move my now defunct and useless account to, bank ‘b’, sends me e-mails every day asking me to log on and ‘complete my application’.

I have called the bank to ask what else I am supposed to do with my application to complete it and I was told to ignore all the e-mails for the time being because, you’ve guessed it, “it’s just the system”.

In my, by now, fevered imagination, there exists in the underground bowels of all major institutions, foul-smelling, belching and smoke-producing beasts of obstruction that just emit a steady stream of contradictory and obstructive “systems’ by which all employees have to abide.

It is these institutions – banks, insurance companies, internet and mobile phone providers – that look to all intents and purposes to be helpful. But lurking behind the facade all employees work to one rule: “use the system to create angst, frustration and anger until the subject (me) crumples in a heap and accepts the all-mightiness of “the system”.

Which leaves me with a conundrum, at what point do I stop ignoring e-mails from the bank, because presumably at some point my application will be completed and the account will be up and running. But I won’t know that, because I have been told to ignore all e-mails. I suppose this is what is meant by the phrase “lost in the system”.