I’ve mentioned this in passing a couple of times before, but I think it warrants its own post. THE SYSTEM FOR BOOKING SWIMMING LESSONS ROUND HERE IS RIDICULOUS.
My family has been having swimming lessons since my eldest was 4. Yes, he’s 12 now. That’s a long time to be battling the world’s most ridiculous swimming booking system. Thankfully the boys finished their lessons a year ago and the end is in sight for my daughter. But for many years we had to deal with this
crap nonsense for all three kids.
You know there’s this great invention called the internet where you can Do Things? They don’t use that. There’s another useful invention. It’s called The Telephone. They don’t use that either.
Towards the end of the term, you get a sheet of ticks to tell you whether your child is moving up or staying put. And this is where you feel conflicted. Because you really, really want your child to do well and succeed (as well as save money on swimming lessons), but the downside of them passing is – YOU HAVE TO BOOK NEW SWIMMING LESSONS.
If they’re staying put, it’s easy. You just go along to the cash desk at the end of their lesson and book them on for next term. But if they’re moving up…
They used to do it at the crack of dawn. Now, being an early bird, I didn’t mind that. They used to say booking opened at 7.30am, but I used to get there at 6.45 and join a long queue (seriously!) and they’d already be serving people. I would usually be out and on my way to work by 7.30. Not exactly ideal, but not terrible.
But I suppose people must have complained – I can see the system is unfair on single parents, for example – or maybe it was difficult to staff. Either way, they concluded that Sunday afternoon was a much better time to do the bookings. Why just mess up a bit of early morning, when you could mess up a whole chunk of valuable weekends for a lot of people?
Last time my daughter moved up, booking started at 2pm. I got there at 1.45 and queued in the car park in the cold all the way to the back of the next building. I waited two hours and I couldn’t get the lessons we wanted. I don’t mind telling you, I was close to tears. The new lessons meant my daughter had to have an early tea, then my mum took her to the swimming pool and I picked her up after work. Not great, but we managed to make it work because we had no choice.
This time booking started at 3. On the day of my half marathon. This is only marginally better than mucking up my 40th birthday, which fell on the following Sunday. Could I just leave it and not go, I hear you ask? Well, no. Because if we don’t go, my daughter becomes a new student and it’s EVEN HARDER to get her in.
I told my husband we would get there at 1. ‘Well if you’re going to wait two hours anyway, why not just go at 3?’ Because, actually, I really, really want to get the lessons at the right time. The course she needed ran at 9.30 on a Saturday morning or 6.30 on a Monday or Tuesday. Monday or Tuesday would have come straight after dance class, making eating impossible. Not exactly ideal for a 7 year old girl. We had to get the Saturday lessons, even though it will create some difficulties with my son’s football (why does EVERYTHING create some difficulties?).
Being half marathon day, my mum took pity on us. We decided to do the queuing in shifts. She planned to arrive at 1pm. Booking starts at 3pm, remember. She arrived at 12.35pm. She was SIXTEENTH in the queue.
This time they’d improved the system slightly, but it’s still out of the ark. They gave out numbers when you arrived – rather like the shoe shop or the deli in the supermarket – so you could at least go inside and sit down rather than stand in the car park for two hours.
At 3pm they started serving. I was 16th in the queue. I got my Saturday morning lessons. It was such a relief.
But why the blinking flip can’t they just do it online like the rest of the world?!