December 24, 2012

The following story is true; I promise you. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A West Lothian gentleman – let’s call him Mr Frustrated –discovered that the double radiator in the sitting room wasn’t heating up. So he called the local specialists… And that’s when it all started.

Friday: Mr Frustrated took the day off work. Plumber Number One turned up and checks the radiator with an impressive laser heat-measuring piece of techno-wizardry that involved pointing it at the offending radiator and declaring “It’s not heating up”. His diagnosis was that the radiator was filled with sludge.

The solution was a full flush; a job that would take at least half a day.

Monday: Mr Frustrated takes another day off work. Plumber Number Two turns up. He, too, declares “It’s not heating up”. However, his diagnosis is that it would be simpler replace the offending radiator, rather than flush the whole system.

Tuesday: Mr Frustrated takes another day off work. Plumber Number Two phones to say that, despite their best planning, the replacement radiator has not arrived from the supplier. It will now be tomorrow.

Wednesday: Mr Frustrated takes another day off work. Plumber Number Three turns up. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the radiator with him. It’s still at the depot… He will be back after lunch. Later that day there is a phone call; actually, the radiator still hasn’t arrived. However, it will definitely have arrived in the next couple of days. So that Mr Frustrated doesn’t have to take the day off work, they will fit it on the Saturday.

Saturday: Plumber Number Four turns up – without the radiator. It seems that the radiator is somehow damaged; scraped right down to the metalwork. No worries though; they’ll get another one, and somebody will phone next week to arrange a day and time to fit it…

So, there you go. Almost two weeks from the initial appointment being set up, four plumbers, and four days – count them, four days – lost work for Mister Frustrated. Yet despite all this activity the old, non-functional radiator is still there. And still cold.

How can such an inept firm remain in business? With that level of incompetence and inefficiency you would think they would be bankrupt, defunct, and their army of plumbers on the dole.

But no. And do you know why? Because the local firm of specialists is none other than West Lothian Council. The reason they aren’t out of business is because people like you and me are paying to keep them in business through our taxes and rates.

No wonder West Lothian Council is in trouble. All this activity, lost time from work, expense – just to replace one radiator. Or NOT replace it, as it happens.

According to their own Repairs Information Leaflet, Mr Frustration’s situation is treated as a “Priority Repair”. Makes you wonder what this Clown College would do it if WASN’T a priority.

That said, WLC eventually apologised, and said it shouldn’t have happened. Once they got their act together, everything was sorted. Eventually.

That said, over a fortnight to change a radiator? They should hang their heads in shame.

Drew McAdam