The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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12:45pm on Thursday, 29th September, 2011:



In order to park at the university, I have to have two things: a badge for my car window; a smartcard to pay 5p for each hour I think I'm going to be parked. (Note I don't need a parking space — the university doesn't apparently think those are necessary).

A few weeks ago, we got an email telling us to register our vehicles for this coming academic year. I went along bright and early and registered. They didn't give me my badge and smartcard there and then, though — that would have taken, why, seconds! Instead, they said they'd email me when it was ready.

Naturally, the email I received did not say, "Dr Bartle, your badge and card are ready". What it said was, "Permits are now ready for collection fromt he Estate Management Helpdesk for applications which were handed in last week". OK, so I made a special trip to the university to pick up my badge and smartcard, only to discover that they weren't available. I guess the word "Some" was missing from the front of that email.

I waited a couple more weeks, and today went to the university to try again. I had no other reason to go there: I only went so I could get my badge and smartcard before the student hordes mean there's a queue 50 people long trying to get them. I arrived at just gone 9am, only to find there was a note on the door telling the world that the helpdesk was closed while everyone attended an 8:30-9:30 meeting.

Rats! Oh well, I returned to my office and filed some of the papers I have in my pile of papers to file. I returned at 9:30.

Still shut. I went away and came back at 9:40.

Still shut. I went away and had a coffee. I returned at 9:55.

Still shut. More paper filing then!

10:10: still shut.

10:30: still shut.

At this point I was not entirely pleased. I could hang around hoping that sooner or later the staff would return, on the basis that I'd already invested an hour an a half of waiting time. However, I had things I needed to do back home (specifically, preparing the handouts for the Lua lab sessions). I decided to give up and come home to get some work done. The helpdesk probably opened seconds later.

Is it a universal rule that helpdesks are more unhelpful than non-helpdesks?

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).