Ok, this is what I get for being overly concerned about showing up prepared for the language test: The website offers candidates to order sample/specimen materials in order to prepare for the test. After having familiarized myself with the free of charge samples on their website, I figured that this wasn’t to be taken too lightly. And since I need to score a band 7 in order to maintain my advanced level of language skills I want to make sure I’ll accomplish that required score. So I go ahead, download their PDF order form, fill it in immediately, put it onto my fax machine and send it over right away. This is as of Saturday, November 18th, about three weeks prior to the test.
As the deadline is closing in on me fast, I make extra sure and call the British Council on Monday morning. They are the organization who’ll actually send the test materials to me. After having spoken with a nice young Gentleman I’m being assured they’ll check the system and call me back. I leave my number at the office, including my dial through extension. Guess what? No call back? You bet. So I call a second time, this time being informed a) that I need to dial a different number and b) after having called there that my order did indeed not get through and they can’t find it in their electronic system. It is still two weeks until the test date, so I’m not panicking yet. I ask the Gentleman, whether I can cancel the order just in case it should still surface by any miracle. Quite logically, I cannot cancel anything that is not there in the first place. “Duh”, of course, could have thought of that myself! The idea, however, is prophylactic measures here, as Murphy’s Law quite clearly tells us that anything that can go wrong will go wrong beyond belief. So given my luck I would have anticipated the order being taken once and processed twice… But my personal concerns left aside, the young Gentleman assures me that I won’t have to cancel. No order processing, no fees withdrawal from my credit card. So far, so good.
OK, at least this gives me the opportunity to order through the German office, who received and processed my test application anyway. What comes in handy is their confirmation that it won’t take but a working day or two in order to send the book plus CD to my home address. Fine. I’m about to exhale and relax. So I order with the Cologne headquarters. And sure enough – two days later I find the envelope in my mail box. Urgh, this was close!
But – do not underestimate Murphy’s power in this… What? You’ve guessed it again? Geez, you’re outsmarting me by far… EXACTLY! A second envelope surely can be found in my mail box only a few days later! I DARN KNEW IT! (This is probably a shining example of self-fulfilling prophecy: Think mayhem, and you’ll get mayhem). And that again equals twice the amount of expense for the test materials. Great! Not to mention that for the test itsself you’re being charged EUR 170,-. And now what am I gonna do with two identical deliveries? You can’t go huckster that stuff on eBay, can you?
Well, to cut a long story short: After a few more calls and conversations with the British Council a nice Lithuanian lady was very helpful and sorted all that out for me. So I should be reimbursed within the next few days and finally get to concentrate on – the test!