Correspondence #2: Scary Solicitor People
It shouldn’t go unnoticed to the three people who cast their eye over this blog while they have a spare half hour to sit on the toilet that I’ve had a few issues in the past when it comes to employment. For reasons completely unknown to science, I simply cannot settle on one job for more than a year before I resort to name-calling and back-scratching in order to contrive an escape.
Once, I took a job at Northern Rock bank and embarked on an ‘extensive training programme’ which consisted of sitting in a room for eight hours a day listening to a newly-divorced lady talk about mathematics while shoe-horning brief but eye-opening anecdotes about her failed marriage into the seminars. After a month of being trained on how to click the mouse fifty different times on various parts of a computer screen, the trainees were put into a ‘live’ setting on a busy department at the bank. All trainees were shadowed by an experienced member of the team as we learnt the ropes and took calls from enraged members of the public about why their shares were tumbling into oblivion. After receiving about four hundred calls over the course of two hours relating to how much of a bastard I was simply because I was an employee, I politely asked my supervisor if I could use the bathroom then went to get the next bus home. Not long after that Northern Rock went under so, needless to say, I had the last laugh.
Anyway, in the early part of this year I was still very much in a state of flux. That is to say I was in a state of constant change and instability within my working life, and not, as I presume one would expect, part of a rectangular-shaped compartment with three flashing Geissler-style tubes arranged in a “Y” configuration, the unit of which makes time travel possible and is the core component of the DeLorean time machine. I’m not that but I was still, at age 34, struggling to make sense of my professional life.
At the time I was working at a place in the Northumberland wilderness where I’d took on a role as ‘assistant to the assistant in charge of assisting with cleaning pint glasses’. With such stressful responsibility it was only matter of time before I viciously imploded like when the Ghostbusters crossed the streams and all life as they knew it stopped instantaneously and every molecule in their bodies exploded at the speed of light.
Not long after I’d walked the plank, I received my final pay and P45 then followed a rather aggressive-sounding letter in the post from my former employer’s solicitor which stated I’d been overpaid. I was impressed at how quickly they caved at my response. Maybe my correspondence gave them a headache they just couldn’t be bothered to deal with. To be fair, my girlfriend quite often expresses exasperation at my conversations with her so I can understand it.
Your ref: D/HS/T******
Dear Scary Solicitor People…
Many thanks for your threatening letter which was lying in wait for me when I returned from my annual trip to Mordor.
I understand you are acting on behalf of F****** P*** Ltd who have instructed you in relation to the recovery of the sum of £417.66 which was apparently paid in error into my bank account. I must confess that I was surprised that my former employers were terminating a contract of employment that didn’t actually physically exist as a contract of employment. It appeared the general terms of this make-believe contract amounted to ‘we’ll make this up as we go along’ so to receive a phone call to confirm that this imaginary agreement was to be terminated was something of a relief. Despite it not existing. I was informed during this phone call that I’d be receiving all due monies including any accrued holiday entitlement as well as my P45 and final payslip. Standard.
A few days later I returned home to find a recorded delivery note from Postman Pat on my doorstep so I sprinted as fast as I could to the post office thinking it was the lightsaber I had ordered online at 3am after drinking two litres of Buckfast. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was simply a letter confirming that I was not wanted at F****** P*** anymore, and that I’d be receiving all due monies including any accrued holiday entitlement as well as my P45 and final payslip. This jarring black and white realisation of my abandonment caused me to re-establish my relationship with Buckfast.
Three days later I awoke to a loud knock at the door. It was Postman Pat again but during my wild Buckfasting I had accidentally locked myself in the bathroom with only a rubber duck for company. I named him Ben and we became firm friends. (He is assisting me with this letter). Having escaped my water closet prison, I discovered that Postman Pat had left me another recorded delivery note so once again I hightailed it to the post office – my trusty sidekick Ben accompanying me – so I could finally get my hands on my lightsaber. Unfortunately it was simply my P45. Another damning finality of unemployment. Strangely, however, there was no payslip included. This didn’t bother me one iota as everything is run by the machines these days and I simply decided to check Skynet to find out what my final pay off would be. Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 informed me that there were in fact two payments into my account. Not having a payslip to refer to, I simply concluded that one payment was hours worked and the other was holidays accrued including all of the Bank Holidays that I worked during my fleeting time there.
Unfortunately, and despite my former employer’s mandate of sending everything recorded delivery to ensure they’re personally hand delivered by the aforementioned Postman Pat, I received no correspondence – not even a phone call – about an overpayment and simply used my final pay to order two more lightsabers and pay off most of my rent thinking nothing of it. So, as you can imagine, this has come as something of a shock. It’s lucky I was sitting on the toilet when I opened your letter.
However, because of the machines being in charge of everything, I have on demand mathematical skills and used a “calculator” to “calculate” what my holiday pay should have been. According to the Gov.uk website holiday entitlement calculator, I accrued 42.20 hours of leave which comes to just over 5 days which, on an 8 hour day and minus 2 days that I took, amounts to £360. This includes the three Bank Holidays I worked which I was promised I’d get back as leave. And you can’t break promises can you? Again, I have no payslip for comparative purposes so I expect you to correct me if I’m wrong. And will look forward to a hearty debate. So as you can see there has been an overpayment of £57.66, which I acknowledge.
Unfortunately, as I am now unemployed because of the termination of my imaginary contract, I have no income. I will, however, compromise, and can offer you a repayment plan of a pound a year for the next 58 years. (I am generously rounding up). I will deliver this pound coin personally to my former employers on the anniversary of my make believe contract termination.
I trust this settles the matter.
Dear Mr Peet,
We have referred this to our client and having discussed this further we will not be pursuing our claim for repayment in this instance.
H******** & Co.