Silverstone Circuit and Customer Care

Some time ago I posted my feelings on the “Rain 1, Silverstone Circuit 0,” episode. Well, eventually Silverstone put a claim form up on their site so that disgruntled fans had a mechanism to claim refunds on their unused tickets. I duly completed the form and sent it “Signed for” rather than using the freepost they provided.

So, a couple of weeks went by. I decided to contact them but the telephone number they published didn’t work. Directory Enquiries to the rescue. I spoke to a pleasant lady who informed me that

  1. They were collecting all the claims forms and entering the details into a database. 
  2. After the 17th August they would start processing them in the order they were received.

Hang on.

All they are doing at the moment is recording claims? They haven’t begun to process them and they won’t start until the 17th? The pleasant lady confirmed this. I politely told her how unreasonable I found this (which predictably fell on deaf ears).

What a shower. What a rubbish system. They should have a process in place such that each claim gets processed through each stage as soon as it is received, rather like a production line. Can you imagine a car manufacturer making 10,000 car bodies and arranging them in neat rows before starting to assemble 10,000 engines? No, neither can I.

So, I can do no more than wait. Except; I did write to Derek Warwick. He’s the President of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC). The owners of Silverstone. The body behind the organisation of the GP. The body responsible for investing in the circuit infrastructure. The body which has spend gazillions on fancy facilities for the BRDC and the monied hangers-on. The body which could have spent money over the last 20 something years on decent car parking and civilised toilet facilities but hasn’t.

Glad I’ve got that off my chest.

Silverstone, nearly.

I took my wife & daughters to Silverstone for the GP practice last Friday. We went but we didn’t get in. This was due to the utter incompetence of the organisers. You probably know about this – it was all over the news. Like many others I was extremely pissed off. Silverstone issued a press release promising refunds although they apparently expect us to email them explaining our “difficulties”.

So I wrote an email, quite a long one. Here are some extracts from it.

At no point did anyone from Silverstone Circuit inform us of the situation; e.g. why there was a hold up or when we could expect to get into the circuit. Why was there no communication? Eventually we managed to speak to one of your helpless traffic marshals who told us we would never get in, he remarked that our tickets were worthless. …

…  the second practice session had finished by the time we had crawled to the roundabout where your traffic marshals were attempting to direct spectators through the solitary gate into the parking area. Of course the gate was completely blocked with officials at a complete loss as to what to do with everyone. A single gate for everyone to get in? One entry point? What were you thinking?

In case they didn’t comprehend the length of time we spent in one short stretch of road, at this point I attached some screen shots from my iPhone Maps App showing my progress along the Dadford Road.

You and I both know that Silverstone has received severe criticism over many years regarding the appalling facilities for the fans. What you have spent on peripheral infrastructure, parking, “decent” toilets and proper (as opposed to scaffolding) grandstands is small beer compared to the enormous sums you have spent doing Bernie’s bidding and making everything nice and comfy for your shareholders and the BRDC. You cannot blame the weather for this debacle, this is England. It rains in England. When it rains, the ground in this part of the country gets very wet and muddy. This is not rocket science, you have known about this for years. Despite this you have chosen not to invest in proper tarmac car parking. That said, you had the option to provide a decent Park & Ride service on Friday. You could have planned this well in advance, so you can’t use the “there were no buses available because the schools were using them” excuse. Come on Silverstone, sort it out. And when you have, please let me know. In the meanwhile I shall spend my valuable cash (and less of it too!) on trips to european circuits where they do know how to organise a GP weekend.

I wonder when I’ll hear about my refund?

A little bit of Zen

I was on the way to an appointment this morning and in the course of my journey I got stuck behind a dust cart. The road had cars parked both sides so I had no alternative but to wait as the wagon moved forward in 5 metre bursts while the bin men did their thing with the wheelie bins. Now normally I am an impatient sort of chap but today I just found myself relaxing and thinking “OK, there is nothing I can do, I have no control or influence over this situation. I simply have to wait a few minutes until there is a space to one side where I can pass the wagon safely”.

And there it was, a situation where I found myself relaxing and accepting the situation, knowing that I would soon be on my way. A bit like my life at the moment, since the personal situation I have found myself in has been one of great stress and, on my part, impatience to see things progress. And, on that score, things have today moved closer to my desired outcome. Which is nice.

Driving standards

So we’re in the left of two lanes approaching the magic roundabout and this dick in a small white van suddenly just pushes in from the right lane like I’m not there. I’ve nowhere to go and so I sound my horn, he’s still trying to occupy the same bit of tarmac I’m already in and I’m up against the plastic roadworks barrier on my nearside. Anyway, I lean on the horn and he stops, his hazards come on. Maybe he wants to make something of it, who knows? I reverse a bit and drive around the right side of him and off I go. In all the excitement he seems to have stalled or his van has packed up. All I can say is what a tosser.

I am so fed up of being cut up, pushed around and generally subjected to aggravation from moronic arses like that. This country has more traffic regulations than anywhere else (Ok well everywhere except Switzerland. Or Germany, or… well, I digress) yet that makes no difference, England is full of selfish, ignorant, arrogant, aggressive bastards who think they can bully the rest of us off the road. This wasn’t the first time it’s happened to me recently and I regret that it won’t be the last either.

Oh, well. Rant over. Hope being shown up and maybe having his van break down on him will have restored some natural justice. For a while.

Christmas at the Ballet

clara

We spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening watching The English National Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. Nutcracker is the traditional Christmas ballet, however the concept design for this production was by Gerald Scarfe so it was completely different from the version we’ve seen previously. This was the first time we’d taken our “children” to a ballet and they weren’t disappointed. It was brilliant!

Interesting journey up to town. With most tube lines shut for the hols we had to take the car. I naively assumed, it being Boxing day, that the roads would be pretty empty. Wrong! The West End was totally mad to the point of gridlock. In increasing danger of getting there too late, we dived down one narrow theatre-land back street after another, looking for shortcuts and a place to park. I managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat – somehow! – as we magically arrived outside the Coliseum. Right around the corner was a tiny NCP which we managed to park in. That was a challenge in itself as the entire two storey carpark seemed to be contained within what I can only describe as a wardrobe. Anyway, against all the odds we were there with time to spare!

Image unashamedly borrowed from the ENO website.