Reference number not included

Dear ACME* Drainage and Civil Services,

thank you for your charming letter, which I received this week, expressing your desire to drop by and do maintenance of the Sewer Line that is apparently in my property. (Your emphasis and choice of red lettering.)

It’s unusual to receive anything in the post apart from bills, and pamphlets from the local real estate agents letting us know about the range of services they have on offer, so I’m surprised and flattered at the effort you’ve taken to write me a letter about this. According to your letter, you appreciate the inconvenience, but you require access to the manhole/inspection opening in your property at the location shown on the sketch below.

Now, it is a fact that I don’t have a qualification in engineering. Perhaps this is why I’m slightly perplexed by the aforementioned sketch below that you’ve supplied.

A detailed “Plan diagram” supplied by the drainage and civil services company, clearly showing the location of the “manhole/inspection opening” on my property

Now, I work in the arts, where of course, as is well known, we are so uninhibited that we just grab our tin of colored pencils and do a freehand scribble of any whacky image that comes into our heads – most likely something that we dreamed the night before – and that’s just when we are drawing up legal contracts in meetings with external clients!

But for some reason I’ve always thought that “plans”, and for that matter, “diagrams” too, normally contained information about what they represent (eg, which is the front facing the street in this representation?) and numerical notations as to the scale and dimensions they were drawn to represent. I would certainly expect this from a  “Plan diagram,” which is clearly the advanced, iPhone 5 version, that combines the best elements of both the traditional Plan and the traditional Diagram and morphs them into a kind of super PLAN DIAGRAM. (Soon to be marketed and trademarked as the ACME PLANAGRAM, or the ACME DAIGLAN – the ACME advertising team has not quite decided.)

Version 1: Plan diagram showing manhole (somewhat) in proportion to the property.
Result for the resident: minor inconvenience

So, ACME Drainage and Civil Services, I figure that this can only mean one of two things. Either you lost your 2B pencil, and forgot to fill in the sketch to show where the manhole/inspection opening is on the property, or the manhole/inspection opening is exactly the size and dimensions of the entire property.

If it is the latter, this suggests that in order to do get the lid off this manhole/inspection opening, you will need to first demolish my house and uproot the entire garden. I will need to check my calendar, but somehow I suspect that I don’t have a time next week when that will be convenient. Perhaps you could come back in January.

Your letter then goes on to say:

Oh dear. Since you’ve asked so nicely, I would love nothing more than to call and quote the reference number as you’ve requested. Unfortunately, it appears that you must have been in a rush to make it to the bank before it closed at 4pm and forgot to fill out the reference number.

Version 2: Plan diagram showing the manhole/inspection opening to be exactly the same dimensions as the property. Result for resident: new home required.

Ah, but there’s still hope. Below this, there is a list of names and corresponding mobile phone numbers. This is because the letter is clearly a template, and all the sender of the letter needs to do is highlight the person who’s been allocated this case. This is presumably because different operators are allocated to different areas, or perhaps to different sizes of manhole/inspection openings. Hopefully I can phone my designated contact and he/she will work out which case I’m calling about, despite the fact that I won’t be able to supply him/her with a reference number.

Well, I was allocated the final person on the list, “Other”, who was handwritten in and highlighted for me:

…and the contact phone number:????

– BUT NO PHONE NUMBER IS SUPPLIED!  Oh dear. It appears that you must have had to run from the office to your rental tribunal hearing at midday, and forgot to add in the relevant phone number for me to call Mitchell on.

So basically, dear ACME Drainage and Civil Services, you’ve sent me a letter asking me to phone someone called Mitchell Sheridan, whose phone number you have not supplied, so that I can quote a reference number that you also did not supply, which should refer to a manhole/inspection opening at a location that you have not disclosed on a Plan diagram that you did not fill in.

It seems that your letter, which initially raised such hopes, has failed to communicate anything useful to me. I hate to say it, but you don’t seem to be on top of the “Drainage” part of your operations. I’m wondering how you’re going with the “Civil Services” part – whatever that means. Failing to fill in the three blank sections in one of your own template letters, before posting to a customer, suggests you may be struggling.

*Believe it or not, ACME is not the company’s real name.

Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. Caddie

     /  December 5, 2012

    LMAO 😀 I like your style 😀



Blather away!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: