‘Please be aware there is now a Covid surcharge,’ I told the builder boyfriend one morning, as we discussed the bills. ‘I have carried out a risk assessment in accordance with government guidelines and I’m afraid I need to pass on the cost of the personal protection equipment I now need. Please also be aware that, as of this month, you will be required to register to be with me by downloading the app.’
He ignored me, of course. There is no one to whom I can pass on the cost of everyone else passing on the cost of Covid to me.
It started with the dentist. I rang up after getting a reminder that my check-up was due and the receptionist said: ‘Please be aware there is now a £20 Covid surcharge.’
I expressed flabbergastation. ‘It’s nothing to do with us,’ she said, brazen as you like. ‘It’s the law. We have to charge you for the PPE we need.’
‘Hang on a minute,’ I said. ‘You’re saying there is legislation requiring dental practices to impose a £20 charge on patients for the mask the dentist needs to wear, which, let’s face it, she wears anyway?’
‘Well no…’ she said. ‘No,’ I said. ‘You’re using Covid as an excuse for money-making.’ And I told her I would find a dental practice that bought its own face masks.
A few days after that, I realised that the opticians had sent me a three-month supply of the wrong contact lenses — again.
They keep doing this, but the least I can say for them is that each time they mess my prescription up they are quite apologetic and send me the right ones promptly, which is what passes for a fantastic attitude in Britain these days.