The Storyteller Heading

Just Knock on the Tree

The Odyssey of the Coddiwompling Tortoise – Rozinante – and The Storyteller

(Coddiwomple: to travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination.)

Bureaucracy Reigns Supreme

Talk about delays … those who love administration were determined that I wasn’t leaving anytime soon. My departure date dragged on. Chomping at the bit did not begin to describe how I felt. Action was needed and I intended taking it.

I was yearning to get on the road.

As the old saying goes: ‘Into each life, a little rain must fall’.

The delay with my licence turned out to only be the start of my dramas. Just when I thought I was almost on my way, my cell phone was stolen in PicknPay at Fourways Crossing. Beware! This is a widespread occurrence I discovered from the security personnel. The good news is that many of these miscreants are caught because they leave the store, feeling they’ve escaped detection, so they try again in the same store. There was one apprehended thief sitting in the office while I was there. She’d stolen R600 from a purse and thrown the purse away – the cameras had detected it though. So be extra vigilant out there. I was obviously inattentive for a split second and that’s all they needed but I felt two women had invaded my space a few times and I felt they were responsible. That phone is gone but hopefully they will be caught.

This sent another drama in motion: claiming for the cellphone from my insurance company. I had just changed companies too, which made it worse as I know so many people make false claims. I felt as though I was under interrogation. The following might amuse you. It has been a series of exhausting events.

– I reported it to PicknPay Security and viewed footage but it must have happened well before I thought it had, so I left them to it. At the same time, spying a criminal in the office who was waiting to be arrested after stealing R600 from a purse and discarding the purse – but the cameras caught her actions. I was told there aren’t cameras in every part of the store – duh, er why?

Rang the broker.

Heard from the claims department guy as broker tied up till the next day. Endless questions followed.

Where did the theft occur?

When did you buy the phone?

Where did you buy the phone?

What is the name of the shop? – An ordinary old Samsung shop. (I discovered later in this whole saga that the shop had closed down two years earlier.) Did you report it to the police? (I didn’t think I had to, seeing as I reported it to Security.) Well, of course, I did have to.

Who is your service provider? (I must have told him this six times as he asked it in various guises – I’m sure to fob off the miscreants who pretend to have had a phone stolen – fair enough.
How much did it cost? Was any amount unpaid by insurer? (I‘d no idea what this question meant.) It may have related to a claim I had years ago but it wasn’t even the same company.

Unless I can prove it’s MY phone – I should have kept the box. I informed him that I had moved and I wasn’t able to keep anything. Note to self … next phone, keep the box, or at least photograph EVERYTHING and keep all that information.

Did I have the IMEI number?

Did I have the ITC number? (What the heck were they?) No claim number could be given unless those numbers were relayed to them.

I opened the computer and thanks, I think, to the intervention of my broker, I suddenly had a claim number — go figure. He recalled me sending through the IMEI numbers, as I had two cards for the phone, not just one.

I now had to go to the police for a case number. When arriving at Douglasdale Police Station, I discovered a PR lady on the doorstep – brilliant! She told me that my service provider was ‘bloody lazy’ and should have given me the ITC number. I cannot obtain a case number without an ITC number (whatever that is). She kindly told me exactly where to go to the nearest shop of my service provider. I found it easily.

During this saga, I meet Didier, the car guard there, who was obviously from Nigeria. We chatted – things very bad in his country and not so good here for me either. We said ‘au revoir’.

My service provider gave me the ITC number. So it was back to the ‘cop shop’ and even though it was in an upmarket suburb, the parking area was yawning broken bricks all over the place in the non-existent paving. Carefully, park the car once more.

The PR lady, Madeleine, probably only works morning or was on lunch and was absent. Now there was a queue and I’m standing in the sun. Finally, we move inside and wait some more. However, the cop I dealt with is brilliant in personality and attitude. He asks my business. “My cell phone has been stolen.”

“Ah. Now, did you actually SEE it being stolen?”

“I didn’t need to. I KNOW these two women stole it. They were crowding me all the time.”

“Ah but unless you SAW them steal it, we need to fill in the form that says, ‘lost cell phone’.”

“Right.” (Whatever floated this chap’s boat.) He disappeared but I saw there was a form for just that purpose and so I start filling it in. He returns.

“Oh no. That is not the form … Oh wait – yes, it is!” (So, I continued.) When completed, I gave it to him when I was the next person free.

“Good” … as he peruses it and sees it’s OK. “Now, please take down this phone number.” I had no idea why but as I don’t move without my diary – that had all these numbers in it – I dutifully did so. “Now, please ring that number – it is of this police station – after 6pm.”

“Why must I do that?”

“So we can give you your case number.”
I thought it prudent to not ask why they couldn’t give it to me then and there but he was so nice that I just smiled and thanked him.
So, after 6pm, I started calling. Of course, no answer, no answer, no answer, at 7pm or 8pm etc. An answering machine once, politely, told me to please call again later, so I left it till just before I went to bed at 10:30pm. Success! I had my case no’ and told the broker next morning.

I still don’t have my box and I still can’t prove it’s mine. What must I do to prove it?

However, this insurance company, that shall remain anonymous, even asked me if there was a photo of me using the phone. If that was not inane, I really didn’t know what was. I could have held any cell phone on the planet to my ear and with my hair covering it, how on earth would they know it was MY cell phone?!

Another painting to while away the hours.

Another sticky wicket was Samsung did not keep records of all purchases, even though the broker or the insurer thought they would/should have done so.

I waited in gleeful anticipation to see what transpired. If they refute the claim I’ll scream, Then I’ll go right through to Pretoria to inform them that I was a Senior Consultant with Old Mutual and Mutual and Federal for 17 years and do they think I’m lying because I don’t have a bloody box? (No apologies for the mild Australian swearing.)

Word to the wise – photograph everything – absolutely everything and file away EVERYTHING ELSE! Exhausting and all because there are criminals who make false claims and push the premiums up and give everyone headaches.

The latest upshot was that my broker said they’re likely to ask me for a copy of the report I submitted to the police when needing a claim number. I ask you! No wonder people have heart attacks from the stress involved in South Africa. We’re all tarred with the same brush and while this insurance company is wonderful at marketing their brand, their claims’ experience seems abysmal. Two and a half weeks had already passed and without a phone today, believe you me, it’s difficult to exist.

I have no idea where my map book is as I’ve become so used to operating with the GPS. It was in my car but seems to have walked off – probably in disgust at being ignored. (Note to my friend, Deshnee – you see what can happen – no phone, no GPS and a lost map book.) Let’s not even go there. Suffice to say, she’s very young (well, compared to me, most people are very young) and thought me so quaint to have a map book in the car. We live and learn. Not everything from yesteryear is useless.

I wondered what else could possibly go awry.

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Hi, I’m Judy

My maiden name was Hawkins and perhaps that explains why I love travelling. Sir John Hawkins, who sailed for Queen Elizabeth I, was supposed to be related to me. Possibly, that may only be a fanciful notion on the part of my late father and in any case, I can’t be overly proud of the fact. Hawkins was responsible for discovering the use of tobacco by the Native Americans, returning to England with it and the process of smoking in 1565. Not to mention the dreadful fact that he was also a slave trader.

Perhaps none of us knows a lot about our ancestors. I grew up in the days when a person’s personal business was just that – personal. I like it that way but in this Blog you can peek around the edges of my life. I am a non-smoker and only raise a glass of champagne on special occasions. Otherwise … well, I’d like to think you’ll find me interesting.

1 Comment

  1. frank

    you are really having a nightmare of retirement; I wonder if you are enjoying. your adventures


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