The IronMan Cometh


Phillips had to book parcelforce to come and collect my iron. They were going to look at it and evaluate why it was spitting boiling water at me through the ‘soleplate’ (worst 90s club name ever) then they were either going to fix the problem or give me a new iron. 

This is a £300 iron that I was “gifted” by work. I have never been able to use it as it has only ever spat at me. Unbelievably, Phillips will happily fix or replace your iron even if you do not have a receipt or know when you or where you bought it, as long as you complain about the spitting within 2 years. 

I could happily have kissed the Spanish lady in the Phillips call centre. She arranged for it to be collected by Parcelforce on Tuesday between 8-5:30pm. That did not happen. I called again. A man this time arranged for it to be collected on Thursday between 8-5:30pm. I cancelled plans and spent the day “working at home.” Parcelforce did not come. Phillips rescheduled the Parcelforce man to come on Saturday. 4 members of the family were at home. The IronMan (as he had now come to be known) elected to not ring the bell, but instead to leave a note saying ‘unfortunately you were out’ in our letterbox and fucked off. 

I called Phillips again. A lovely man in Spain said, “I do not know why this company Parcelforce are so terrible. They are not our company. Perhaps they will do their jobs properly tomorrow. Between 8-5:30pm” 

I put a sign on the front of the house, saying “PLEASE! PARCELFORCE MAN! I AM HERE, call my phone number to check” and waited inside listening to the pneumatic drill next door and failing at all my work tasks.  I was trying to be quiet, straining to hear in case the IronMan was silently scratching on the window with a long fingernail before galloping off into the afternoon cackling, his steed laden with other people’s collected irons. Nothing happened. I left at 5:40 defeated and went home to complain bitterly and at length to my sister about the IronMan and his mission to cause me irreparable brain damage. 

At 6:33 I received a call from the IronMan. 


-what do you mean you are here? You were supposed to be here between 8-5:30pm. I have given up. You are SO LATE


-yes YOU DO! You do speak English you are speaking it now. You are too late! I need you come back again tomorrow. And I need you to tell me EXACTLY when you will be here because I cannot waste any more of my life like this.

“SORRY NO….[rustling]”

[a new voice]

“what would be a convenient time for us to come back at? What time is good for you?”

– 9 am.

“9am? Oh. really?”

– well if it can’t be that just tell me exactly what time you will be coming.


They do not call back. After listening to what now feels like several months of IronMan related anguish Mum takes matters into her experienced-at-professional-complaining hands and researches a useful number for me to call at Parcelforce. ‘Go straight to the top of the tree’ she says. ‘Show them you will not be made a fool of’ 

I call the number. 

“chlllandinechkccgg hgliugl skgjgogogogogoch” says the phone. Welcome to the Welsh-speaking Parcelforce advice line.”

I throw the phone against a wall.

I call the IronMan’s mobile number that he contacted me on from yesterday.

hello Parcelforce?


yes Parcelforce? You called me yesterday?

“NO” [hangs up]

I call another, less Welsh number and after another few setbacks get transferred to CHELSEA who is having the worst day of her life. I explain in excruciating detail what has happened to me and my tragedy iron. “so PLEASE, Chelsea, can you just tell me what to do? PLEASE can you send the IronMan to me and tell me which time of the day he will come? I am beginning to feel frustrated” I ask in calm and measured tones.

Chelsea does not give a shit. “WE DON’T DO TIMES. WE DON’T ORGANISE TIMES. WE DON’T DO TIMES”

I start to weep into an old sock that I have found on Mum’s desk.  ‘Please Chelsea, I need to know when the IronMan will come” she is so bored by my misery she puts me on hold and a rousing chorus of  ‘Ode to Joy’ pierces through my heart. Eventually she comes back. I imagine her shuffling into the room and readying her gritted teeth, like she was instructed to do when dealing with the chronically dumb during training week. 

“I will ask if he can come back and he might but I am not promising anything”

– but what does that MEAN???? Shall I just sit around hoping?


“Ok he will come back today between 2-4” ……….”Are you happy?”

-yes thank you Chelsea that is incredibly helpful. Thank you. May your medal for customer service shine bright with the light of a thousand suns.

So. Here I am waiting. It is 15:31. He has not yet come.

In 29 minutes I will be forced to go down to the Parcelforce headquarters and look for the nametag ‘CHELSEA’ and projectile vomit all over her windows. And as my mum’s menopausal friend said before mowing down a policeman with her BMW, “my therapist says I cannot be held accountable for my actions”