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I had the misfortune of needing to get a spare mobile phone a few months back. The one that I had needed to be repaired (under warrantee thankfully) and I needed something to run while that happened. I was aware of an offer to have a replacement while mine was repaired, but wouldn’t have taken it anyway.

I did a load of research for a decent replacement. I wanted to make sure that if I had a spare, it was one that would last just in case there was a repeating issue with the phone or that the repair was denied for one reason or another. (I have heard stories of phones reputedly have water damage indication when none had occurred and as I’d used a pressurised air blower to blow dirt out of the microphone section of the phone where the fault was, I wasn’t sure if it would face a similar fate).

I settled on the phone I wanted and on the company’s website looked at the two delivery options. One was for next day delivery, the other for click and collect from the store. As there was a branch more or less on the way home, I decide that would be a good option. I regretted it almost as soon as I ‘checked out’ online. Up came the details for the click and collect and I was genuinely stunned to read that click and collect would take 3 days to get to the store. Given it was only a day to deliver to my door, for the store to take 3 times as long was baffling.

The problem then because worse when I received the confirmation email for my order. The earliest collection time was now 4 days rather than 3. I was starting to think that I had ordered a very special edition of the phone (I hadn’t).

Friends I mentioned this to stood, or sat there in amazement and then gave suitably jokey comments about the wonders of modern technology and how it was clearly being used here. Thoughts that the click and collect system was being run by a ZX81 (my first computer and now a useful door wedge) while the delivery to the door system was run by a state of the art 2015 system were flying round my head.

I did get the phone in the end and it worked well during the others repair (though that is a tale of woe itself that I won’t bore you with). I’m now back to the original phone and am cautious about click and collect offers. If there’s a run of ZX81s or they go missing from the computer museums that have them on display, then I’ll know to be expecting a longer wait from a lot more companies.