Category Archives: General

Yodelling Crap

We suffer, in the UK, from some of the worst customer service in the western world.

I leave aside the running sore of the Southern rail shitstorm to tell you the tale of two companies.

Firstly, there’s Virgin Media – a largely well run organisation which has been providing me with telephones and internet very efficiently for many years. So much so that I recently decided to get an upgrade of our mobile phones.  At this point I should have reminded myself that part of the judgement on a company should be based on the contractors they employ.

Why the hell does Virgin use Yodel?

The process of upgrading was relatively painless and we were assured that the phones would be delivered the following day. Waited in ALL day, watching the tracking links on Yodel’s website. Got to 9.17pm and the status suddenly changed from “Out for delivery” to “Sorry we missed you. We left a card”.

Now, I don’t mind so much that they didn’t deliver yesterday, although it is disappointing and somewhat of an insult when you don’t get what’s been promised. No, what really pisses me off is that Yodel lied about what had happened.

They first claimed that the driver tried to deliver, but we were out so they left a card. This is not true. I was at home waiting for them at the time. No-one called and no card was left, which means that I can’t even arrange to go and collect it!

I challenged Yodel on this through their online chat facility only to be told that the driver had reported that he had not been able to find my house – in 2016, with a satnav built into every mobile phone?. If I lived at the end of a dirt track on Exmoor they should still be able to find me. But I live on a well-known, well-lit road, so I don’t accept that pathetic excuse for an excuse for one moment.

Utter codswallop! And it confirmed that Yodel were telling porkies – if they couldn’t find the place how could they leave a card! Clearly the driver had got to the end of his shift and had four deliveries that weren’t  done.

Now, if Yodel had admitted all this, apologised and arranged for us to be the first deliveries today I would not have a problem with them. As it is, they lied and we are again today at the end of another long queue of deliveries with no guarantee that they won’t do the same damned thing again.

Bring Back BR

I admit that today I gave up!

I don’t exactly live out in the sticks, but then again, my local station isn’t the Clapham Junction of Surrey. It does, however, have the complete misfortune to be “served” by Southern Railway.

During the peak rush hour between 7.30 and 8.30am there are supposed to be five trains heading into London. I arrived for my usual one at 7.45 only to find that it had been cancelled, as had the 7.30 and the 8.15. The 7.54 was still on the board, but then that got cancelled as well. That left the 8.26 – all five coaches of it!

I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep. I’m getting over a cold and that, coupled with the emphysema, kept me up coughing for quite a bit of it. I also don’t breath very well when under stress or in humid conditions, so I decided to call in and take the day off.

Now, I wish that I could say that Southern’s piss-poor performance Continue reading Bring Back BR

That Kids Company Thingy

I watched the BBC documentary which followed Camilla Batman’sdoodah through the collapse of the charity that she founded and “ran” for nearly twenty years.

That prompted me to watch her appearance alongside Botney of the Beeb before The House Of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee – a singularly ill-natured event from which she emerged looking like a teenager who has been caught running up a massive bill on Netflix.

The Committee, quite correctly, turned most of its firepower on Botney. The collapse, although sparked by allegations of sexual abuse, really happened because the charity ran out of money as it had nothing approaching proper reserves – a responsibility that the charity rules places on the trustees.  This was a £23 million a year organisation employing 650 staff, and they were existing from day to day even before the final allegations that brought it all tumbling down.

I started watching the documentary feeling quite well disposed to Camilla. I’ve always thought she was a bit odd, but there’s nothing wrong with that. But, in common with the film maker, I started to lose sympathy as some of the more, shall we say, eccentric things that Kids Company were doing began to come to light. You can watch the film yourself, but there’s something distinctly odd about a charity for Kids footing all the living expenses for a 34 Jamaican failed asylum seeker. Saying that she was “special” doesn’t really mean much, and I suspect that there is more to this than we have been told.

Obviously, there were mistakes in the running of Kids Company, but to listen to Camilla it’s clear that she is unable to even contemplate the possibility of some of those errors being hers. Every time she was challenged about something she became aggressively defensive, displaying a rather unpleasant mixture alternating between petulance and pomposity.  She had been at the helm for such a long time that she now believes in her own infallibility. Too late were Botney and the Board taking steps to get her to stand down.

Nobody could dispute that Kids Company did some admirable things, but there were problems and until such time as Camilla admits her own part in its downfall the poor woman will be unable to move on.

A hoo-ha in Halfords

I don’t want much out of life these days, but a bit of good old fashioned customer service would not go amiss now and then.

We have just bought a car, nothing fancy, but it suits us. Unfortunately, the built in stereo doesn’t do what we want, so we wanted to change it. Last Saturday morning we visited Halfords in Crawley, West Sussex.  (Yes, I know! We should really have known better.)

We found a unit that we quite liked the look of, despite there being no one there to assist. After about ten minutes of waiting we went looking for someone to help. We were told that someone would be with us shortly. After another ten minutes we went looking again. Alex mentioned that we were looking to buy a car stereo and have it fitted, to be met by the first response of “It won’t be today”. Well, that wasn’t actually the question. The “assistant” who finally came over gave the distinct impression that we were a nuisance.

Anyway, we showed him the unit we were interested in and he went to the desk to log on to the computer. We just seemed to be getting somewhere when another member of the public came in and, rather rudely, demanded information about MoT tests. Even more rudely the “assistant” then proceeded to deal with his question. When I worked briefly in retail the response would have been “I will be with you in a moment, sir, when I have dealt with this customer”.

At this point I had rather had enough of Halfords, so we went and got a coffee instead. If Halfords doesn’t want my money that’s fine by me, we’ll go somewhere else.

We did! Alex phoned a local company that specialises in car audio. They were helpful from the start and installed the new unit on Thursday.

The payoff is that when I mentioned that I had tried and failed to buy one from Halfords the installer said I was their third customer this week to say that! I’ve now written to their CEO politely advising her that I’m unlikely to use her shops in future for anything more complicated than an air freshener. Doing a bit of simple extrapolation I’d say that customers just walking away could be costing them a quarter of a million a week in lost sales.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind!

Martin Shkreli

News from the other side of the pond that Martin Shkreli has pleaded the Fifth Amendment in a hearing before Congress. This is the man who bought the rights to a drug used to treat Toxoplasmosis in HIV patients and then jacked the price through the roof.

Yesterday he was called to account for what he’d done, but sat there and giggled and smirked his way through the hearing and then lambasted Congress on Twitter afterwards.

Those who know me personally able to attest to my very wide and extremely colourful vocabulary, but even I do not have enough swear words to provide an accurate description of this arrogant little c**t.

What’s in it for me?

That seems to be the level to which we have now sunk as a society.

David Bellis has just won a £2,000 holiday from Thomson Holidays in their “Made Me Smile” photo competition. His winning entry was him and his three year old son out for a walk in the country. His selfie was photobombed by a horse called Betty, “smiling” from behind a barbed wire fence.

Rather than be happy for David and his family, Betty’s owner, Nicola Mitchell from Prestatyn, contacted Thomson Holidays to complain. She reckons that David should have asked her consent and that she should be entitled to part of the prize.

How shitty and mean-spirited can anyone get?

The Tricolore Still Flies Proudly

This afternoon I sat down at my computer and scrolled through the news feed on Facebook. I was met with a stream of blue, white and red. So many of my friends showing horror at what has happened in Paris and solidarity for a city once again in mourning.

It is just a little over 40 years since I first saw at close quarters the effects of terrorism. I was privileged to meet several of the survivors of the IRA’s cowardly attack on the Caterham Arms.  On this side of the channel we had decades to get used to indiscriminate and cowardly attacks by extremists. We refused to allow it to change our lives. We still went to work, we still went out to the cinema or down the pub. In the end the “armed struggle” achieved nothing beyond robbing thousands of families of their loved ones and entrenching hatred.

Sadly, yet another bunch of the crazed and the self-obsessed fails to learn and understand an important lesson of history – terrorism doesn’t work – it cannot work if the target refuses to be terrorised.

To those who support or harbour these evil people – you will fail. No matter how many times you attack us we will not scurry away and hide. We will not give in to you.

To the people of Paris, once again nursing their wounded and burying their dead – we feel your pain. We weep with you. We stand by you.

Vive La France.

Dear Tossers …

My poor old website has been off air for a while.

Turns out that some scrote had down what’s called a code injection, which puts a load of shit into the files to redirect people to sites selling porn, or viagra, or mail order pigs for the discerning prime minister.

Well, well done, arsehole. You failed. Now stop wasting everyone’s time and get a proper job.

An Old Queen Writes to One’s Loyal Subjects

One is pleased that, today, one becomes the longest serving queen on this website. I am aware that my long years of being driven around in posh cars from one palace to another has been an honour and a privilege for you. I put my extreme longevity down to never having had to do a hard days work and lots of nice dinners.

To celebrate this auspicious occasion I have formally opened the new coffee tuk-tuk at Salfords Station, the Third South Park Sea Scouts sailed their inflatable all the way across Earlswood Lower Lake and the Parish Council held a special session to do loads of sycophantic bum-kissing.

May Gord Bliss You Awl.

Scottish Power

We’ve had an account with Scottish Power since we moved here. It was one of those tariffs where you spread the cost over the year so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.

In March they dropped my payments by thirty quid a month. Naively, I trusted that they knew what they were doing. Clearly they didn’t, because three months later they whacked them back up by sixty quid a month. Exactly the sort of crap I wanted to avoid.

I was given a change over date of 13 July, so when I saw that they’d taken a slab of money at the beginning of July and then at the end I sort of reasonably assumed that they had taken their final payment and closed the direct debit. I was wrong to trust them there as well. Turns out that they had got the meter reading from my new supplier on 12 July and took 16 days to apply only the gas reading to the account and take the money. The electricity reading apparently takes an excruciating 25 days for them to process.

So then the phone calls chasing payment start. First thing on Wednesday morning when I’m at work. I politely tell them that I can’t deal with things when I’m at work and follow this up with an email to the same effect. Doesn’t stop them calling me twice more that day. That night I fired off another email, this time to their chief executive. Thursday is a doozy – no less than five calls, on my mobile, during working hours, despite them having been expressly told that this was not acceptable.

It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that they finally stopped calling me.

And the response from the CEO’s office? A rather half-hearted apology which fails to answer a LOT of the questions and a “goodwill” gesture of a measly thirty quid.

Do NOT deal with these people.