So first thing tomorrow morning (Friday) it's bye bye time to another car. I'll be dropping the squished-up Smart Roadster off at the fleet workshop - where a careful eye will inspect its every panel and cavity to ensure its in no worse condition that when I collected it in January. Should I pour water over the seats to recreate the wet-bum sensation I lived with for the first month or so? Probably best not to.
Then it's off to Charles Hurst (which still feels like it breaks some fundamental law of the universe) to pick up the new car that should be waiting for me. Oh, and there's some kind of financial transaction to complete - thank goodness pay day was this week!
So the new car doesn't have heated seats, automatic lights and wipers, electric mirrors, automatic transmission or cruise control! But it's cheap, fuel efficient, has a boot that you can fit more than a sandwich in, doesn't sound (inside) like you're driving a tractor ... and I'm hoping that it won't have the same tendency to ice up the inside of the front windscreen!
I arranged the insurance pretty speedily last Friday on the phone to Hughes in Newtownards. Got a good quote, paid the money by credit card and they promised to send out the paperwork asap since I need a cover note in my hand to pick up the car from the dealer in the morning.
(What's that about? Normally you need insurance to get a car taxed. So do they have to promise to check the insurance on behalf of DVLNI when a new car - that they tax - is collected? Didn't think the dealer really cared about the insurance once you drove it off their premises?)
Anyway. Monday. Tuesday. No envelope in the post. Was in London yesterday. So it was this morning when I rang Hughes to ask if they'd actually processed the insurance and where they'd posted the cover note to.
"It was posted out on Monday ... usually go first class ... so it should be there by now. Maybe it'll arrive today. Could you call and collect a duplicate today [from Newtownards]?"
Since I need something looking like a cover note in my hand in the morning, I asked for them to fax it across to work. I felt let down. Until now, Hughes have been incredibly straightforward, and I've used them regularly since I bought the Polo ten or so years ago.
Got home. Chunky envelope from Hughes sitting in the kitchen. The date at the top of the cover letter.
Tuesday. So it wasn't posted out on Monday. That was a lie. And that was when I got cross. When something goes wrong, customer service is all about honesty and openness. Not telling porkies - whether deliberately or not - that are later found out to have no basis in fact.
Begs the question what Hughes were doing between last Friday morning when I got off the phone at 9.15am and when their laser printer spewed out the cover note on Tuesday and someone popped it into the post.
Anyway, the first part of tomorrow morning will be spend zooming around greater Belfast in the great car swap.
And don't forget, in the spirit of driving smaller and smaller cars, this one will be a smidgen shorter than the last one, since when you breath in, the Aygo is 3.410m compared to the Roadster's 3.427m.