Isla Quiros, Panama
It's true that the fax sent wasn't the most crystal clear defying 100% error-free understanding, but if you're at the other end and don't quite understand what's written, you'd pick up the phone n'est-ce pas? The person at the other end was obviously a stagiaire or a thick temp or someone with an IQ of a sick gnat because the stamp came back, not with the name of the new big boss but with the reference number of the stamp!
It read something like : ce95681
instead of :
Name S Person
which is what stamps usually have on them.
How stupid can you get? And yet, we have not yet reached the murkiest depths of stupidity... for although I sent back an extremely clear fax requesting a rectified stamp, it came back reading:
Name S Person
Incredibly they had insisted on keeping the stamp reference even though my fax gave them the exact words to use. How can such depths of idiocy be navigated? I'm not used to dealing with mushy pea brains, I've chosen my environment carefully to avoid as much as possible the stress of the stupid.
I exploded upon reception ("Qu'ils sont cons!!!), grabbed the delivery paper, took a big fat marker and wrote the text of the stamp, framed it in a thick black line and put underneath in very big letters "et c'est tout!!!".
Worryingly, the delivery guy wanted to double check the error and insisted on spelling out that the reference should not be there... or should it? OF COURSE NOT!!! I said, louder, by now practically banging my head on the nearest plasterboard wall. Off he toddled, smug in the knowledge that he would be bringing bad tidings back to HQ and that the client was NOT HAPPY, and especially, that it wasn't his fault.
I called HQ, didn't get the person responsible, but told the person who knew nothing about the situation exactly what had happened, what I thought of it, and that the THIRD time had better be the right one! "Pas de problème" said the guy on the phone. "Ha!" said I, "that's what your colleague said first time around!" That shut him up.
You wouldn't think it would take three goes to get a standard name stamp, would you? An urgent standard name stamp.
The end of this story is as yet unknown, but the person responsible did ring back, apologised profusely (he hadn't checked the stamp) and offered to cut off the offending numbers from the rubber plaque. I accepted and said I wanted another stamp, error free, at practically no cost. He said he'd see what he could do...
I saw in the Times this morning an article on affordable islands from Vladi Private Islands and I must say there's a LOT to be said for living surrounded by a sea of peace and quiet, as far away as possible from morons.