Dear The Tomtom,

Several weeks ago I purchased one of your Satellite Navigation Devices, specifically the Smart 25 M. So far I’ve only used it once as it has caused me nothing but consternation and not a little bit of bodily harm. Please allow me to elucidate.

I get lost a fair amount. Well, all the time would be more accurate. The trip to my workplace is fairly straight forward (just go down the motorway until I reach the toll booths), but that still doesn’t stop me ending up in all manner of places. Just last week I ended up in Devon. I think my internal compass was manufactured in the same factory as the ones you find in crackers.

My boss, fed up of my antics and daily tardiness insisted I buy a Satellite Navigation Device. So I did, hence this letter. I went to Daxons, a knock off electronic store in my town, bought the cheapest Satellite Navigation Device I could find, and installed it.

I think it's owned by a Romanian Oligarch

I think it’s owned by a Romanian Oligarch

First off, why aren’t your Devices’ waterproof? As well as duct taping your product to my pushbikes crossbars, I’ve also had to rig an umbrella next to it. This caused a slight issue with blocking out most of my vision, but logic dictated that I no longer really needed to know where exactly I was going, thanks to your device.

Power was another issue, but luckily I have an old dynamo that I cleverly repurposed into a charger, although it does mean that I had to keep the bike at a steady 50mph. Also, your Satellite Navigation Devices (I wish somebody would invent a shorthand for your product) don’t dictate where hills are. That might not be a problem for somebody driving around in an automobile, but on a pushbike it’s a biggie.

Anyway, after MacGuyvering your Locator I was ready to test drive, or cycle, my Smart 25 M. Jury rigging your product had now made me a couple of hours late for work, so hurriedly I mounted up, unfolded the umbrella and programmed in my destination, the toll booths.

With my head squeezed below the umbrella’s spokes I set off, pedaling harder than a pikey working at a market stall. As my nose was barely an inch away from the touch screen I could see how much power was in my Satellite Navigation Device (screw it, I’m making my own shorthand up). Luckily the ‘Locator’ came half charged, which meant I could get a decent distance before the screen died. I looked up, but all I could see in front of me was the inside of my Disney Princess Leia umbrella.

Luckily the roads were quiet as I didn’t fancy my chances of going head to head with a car, again. Oh, it’s probably worth mentioning that all of this occurred during that wet and windy Christmas period we had in Kent just a couple of weeks ago. I think it was briefly mentioned in the local news.

This one

This one

I had been cycling for thirty minutes, constantly checking the Locator and making sure I was on the correct road, when a flashing symbol in the corner of the screen distracted me. The battery was starting to flag, there didn’t appear to be much time until it died. The battery wasn’t the only thing flagging, trying to keep a pushbike at 50mph/80kph is tiring, especially when you’re cycling through water that’s up to your chest.

Serendipity appeared to be on my side though as the wind suddenly picked up. Specifically it picked me up. In a flash of déjà vu the brisk breeze caught hold of the umbrella, pumping 50mph wind into it. Princess Leia kept her structural integrity despite the beating from the hurried air and I was lifted above the road.

I whooped in joy as my aching thighs were given a break from forcing their way through the river-road. The wind pushed the pedals round and round for me, the dynamo topping up the Locater. As I was sedately airlifted from Terra Firma I looked below to see where exactly I was. Now I don’t know if it was the drizzle rerouting rivers through peoples gardens and houses but what I was seeing from 50 foot up didn’t match what your Locater displayed.

As I continued to traverse through the air I spotted a soggy family having a little lie down on top of their bungalow. They turned and watched me glide by, waving at me with much gusto. Well, apart from one of them, he was busy hugging a brand new computer console, wrapping paper slowly slopping off the damp box.

‘Help?’ The mother cried to me, waving with both hands above her head. I waved back in similar fashion and called out.

‘Nah I’m fine thanks. Have a merry Christmas though.’

As I left the family to enjoy the British weather from their roof I checked my position again. Some of the higher roads were still visible and I started to peace together where exactly I was, I was nearly at work, and in record speed too. I also discovered that I could control the direction of my pushbike by turning the handlebars.

With some trial and error I managed to get the bike in the direction the Locator was instructing me to follow. I soared above the brand new stream that was apparently the M25 and kept above it, following the little blue line on the screen.

I was only a couple of miles now from work and I realised I wasn’t sure how to get back down to the ground. Very, very carefully I reached forward to the clasp inside the umbrella. I detached it and gradually pulled it down, closing the spokes. This appeared to work and gradually I floated back down to the road/stream.

The hard, soviet era concrete structure of the toll booths were coming into view now and I prepared to brake, hoping the water would work like a breaker.

A breaker it certainly was, although the car I collided into probably helped. Just as I was about to dip into the water a very determined driver appeared in front of me, I hadn’t realised I had crossed over into the oncoming lane. The Peugeot 106 was spraying torrents of water into the air as it thundered down the motorway, it’s tiny engine screaming against the liquid friction. Wipers ineffectually twatted at the rain.

In the split second before I impacted with the windscreen I could see his expression, it was one of resigned weariness; as if something like this had happened to him before. He was also festively wearing a santa hat.

I let out a loud, high-pitched masculine squeal and smashed into the glass, the window wiper catching me across the bridge of my nose. I bounced across the top of his already dented roof as the bike spun through the air, with me still attached, and smacked into the stream belly first.

I struggled upwards out of the water, a challenge when Princess Leia has tangled herself around your head (I think Han Solo can attest to that) and broke back through into air, gently buffeted by the bow waves of the departing car.

Wet and wheelie

Wet and wheelie

And that’s what happened. I hope this letter has fully explained all of my problems with your Locator, because I’ve completely forgotten what the original complaint actually was about.

Much Love,
Dear The


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