Friday 25 March 2011

Growing old(er)

The tendency to grumble is a sign of growing old. Have you ever noticed how some elderly folk seem to take a fiendish delight in complaining? Get three or four together and it’s like a tennis match, albeit played at the speed of dead slow and stop, as each trumps the others’ moans. I’ve mixed my metaphors there – another indication of an ageing brain – but I’m sure you take the point.

Now I know I am no longer in the first flush of youth – or even the second, third, or fourth – and I don’t normally whinge but the other day I was increasingly irritated by advisors or salespeople or whatever is the correct nomenclature for someone asking questions of a person seeking information on motor insurance.

My car’s insurance renewal is due in April and the quote we had from our customary insurers at Direct Line was very high so we started to investigate other companies. We started with SAGA – insurance of all sorts for those aged 50 and over. Their quote was half Direct Line's offer but we needed to compare prices. 

We consulted Which? the Consumers’ Association publication. We phoned their ‘best buy’ company, which shall remain nameless, and were answering questions for about 45 minutes. The advisor was charming, loquacious because her script required her to be so and when we reached the meaty bit of the exchange – the quote – we were shocked to learn that it was £200 more than our original quote. We were exasperated at the length of time it had taken to reach this point and were now almost convinced that SAGA was the company to change to.

We needed another comparison so phoned 50plus – yes, it’s actually called that! - off-putting to say the least – and that’s when my hackles started to rise. I’m sure the fellow on the end was only following his given text and he was very cheerful and upbeat if rather too familiar. Asked our ages he repeated them with harrumphety years YOUNG. I cannot stand that condescending expression. Presumably if someone is 97 years YOUNG they won’t be born until next century!!

When Barry phoned Direct Line to inform them that we wouldn’t be taking up their offer he was asked why. He duly told them and reminded them that my car is kept in a locked garage attached to our house and added that it does very little mileage annually. He thought that should make a difference – and it does. Unbelievably, the low annual mileage makes the insurance higher, not lower!

So we ranted to each other for a couple of minutes and then changed the subject. We are growing old(er) and we’re fighting it every step of the way but it is satisfying to have a really good grouse now and again;-) 


  1. After putting up with a lifetime of crap from others, older folks have a right to the occasional grumble!

  2. Hah! I can relate to engaging in a good grouse now and then... and to fighting getting older! Yet while I can be grateful for having a sunny disposition, I have only a smidgen of patience for banks and insurance companies. Thy are masters at pissing off their customers. Fortunately my sweetie doesn't mind dealing with them. [I miss my love, and thank heavens for Skype, but otherwise am quite comfortable here in Bucharest. :-) ]

  3. Really? Moaning is a sign of growing old? I must be in my dotage then.

    Apart from that, you sound just like my Beloved, He never stops comparing, but absolutely swears by Which? I must tell him of your experience.

  4. I hate answering lots of questions on the phone. I'm glad you found a much cheaper car insurance company. I get the impression from reading blogs that young people complain the same amount as older people.

  5. I noticed when out with friend the other night we all were talking about our ailments and I was thinking, oh boy, we're getting old!

  6. Moan away! I never get insurance quotes by phone for this very reason. I wonder if they could come up with a logical reason as to why it's more expensive to insure a car that does low mileage? I had a rant after I'd been to the Doctor's - the receptionist was SO rude!

  7. That's crazy ! In Belgium young people under 25 pay a fortune for a car insurance because they cause the most of accidents. Age doesn't matter milage yes. I pay 300 € per year everything included even law defense for my little Opel Corsa (I think it's Vauxhall in England) and that is cheap, but I had never an accident either. If you only do 10.000 km per year than the insurance is even cheaper which seems logical to me and not the other way around !

  8. i think it is more to do with call centres having no idea of the industry they are accepting calls for. I get so frustrated at times.

  9. I really don't like dealing with people on the telephone, especially anyone reading a script. I'll fight growing old(er) with you.

  10. Aggh...I hate dealing with people on the phone. But what can you do?

    I wouldn't say I complain more as I get older; I just don't put up with so much 'crap' as I used to!


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