Currys Dixons W****house Does It Again …

Open email to the CEO, Currys Group Limited –

Dear Mr James*

I really should have learned from the experience of trying and failing to buy a mobile phone from your company in April that you could not be relied upon.

We visited your Crawley store on Thursday to look at cookers as we are refurbishing our kitchen. While there we found and bought an American style fridge freezer at a very good price. Nicola, the assistant, was very helpful and efficient. Such a shame that your delivery agents are crass, rude and ignorant.

After defrosting and cleaning the current fridge freezer yesterday we waited in for four hours today. About one o’clock two persons arrived in a white lorry. These creatures were clearly uninterested in what they were doing and just point blank told me that the appliance would not go through the front door. (I have tested this with a floor plan and they are wrong – it would.) The other option would have been to bring it through the back garden. They stood thirty feet away from the gate and told be that it wouldn’t fit through. (I’ve measured the gate – it would.) They claimed that it weighed 150kg – they were wrong, it’s 95kg. Their attitude stank!
After I had been back to the store to complain about all this they then claimed that there was no safe path into the house. Odd, then, that I managed to have two three-seater sofas and an armchair delivered that way two days ago! We were not even given the option of a kerbside delivery as they refused to offload it from the lorry.

I tell you this not because I want or expect you to do anything about it, but only because a man in your position should know how craply his organisations is behaving. If the delivery grunts you choose to employ are indicative of your company’s approach to customer service then I can only conclude that you remain in business through sheer weight of numbers.

We will go elsewhere.

* Sebastian Richard Edward Cuthbert James, scion of Baron Northbourne, Eton, Magdalen College, Oxford, Bullingdon Club – you know, just your average normal bloke …

Carphone W****house

An open letter to the MD of Dixons/Carphone Warehouse –

Dear Mr Fennell

Forgive me for writing to you directly, but I think everyone at the top should be reminded every now and then of how well or how badly their staff are doing. The reason for the congratulations? The fact that your company failed three times today to sell me a phone.

I’m not after much – all I want is a sim fee Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) in black – so I went looking for one, but failed to get one, despite your website showing it as available at all three of the stores I went to.

First stop – N* E*, C******. The sole assistant there was chatting to her friend and leaning against the counter with an expression that can, genuinely, be described as a bulldog chewing a wasp. Didn’t go in there!

Next stop – W* C*, C******. And here your staff’s customer service “skills” are shown off at their glorious worst. (I’ll overlook being addressed as “Alright, Mate.”.) I explained what I wanted and was referred to a “sales person” who was seated at the desk at the end of the shop. I don’t expect to greeted with obsequious glee, but some form of courteous greeting would be nice. I do not expect to be addressed virtually in mono-syllables by someone who cannot even be bothered to sit up straight, much less actually smile. I also expect to have the sales person’s undivided attention and not for him to go mucking around with the printer. As he seemed so disinclined to any form of reasonable politeness I got up and left.

Final stop – R******. Here things were only marginally better. A fair wait while your two staff dealt with other customers, one of them doing a pretty good job of unselling your merchandise, but I persevered. I explained what I wanted and he went out the back to check. Now, remember that I said your web site stated that the phone I wanted was in stock at all three stores? Well, after about five minute wait under a heater unit set to “saharan” he came back and announced that he didn’t have any at all. Either he was telling me a porky-pie or your website was. I checked again when I got home. Yep! Still in stock. Now, in my days in customer facing sales roles the correct approach would have been “I’m terribly sorry, sir, but we don’t seem to have one in stock. I can order one in for you and it will take blah-blah days to arrive.” Not to shrug and say “We haven’t got any. I can order one in.”

I know it’s only a hundred and eighty quid, which to Dixons must be peanuts, but you’ll forgive me if I take my money elsewhere.

Regards

Wicked Wickes

When we moved into this house nearly thirteen years ago we wanted to redo the bathroom. We found a nice suite at Wickes in Dorking and bought it in plenty of time to fit in to our timetable to work on the house before moving in. We were given a “guarantee” that it would be delivered at the agreed time. Anyway, fast forward a month and the day before the agreed day I get a phone call apologising, but they wouldn’t be able to deliver for another fortnight. I cancelled the order and went and got a suite off the shelf at B&Q. It wasn’t as nice, but we didn’t have time to piddle about.

NOW, fast forward again to today. We need a new shed. Nothing fancy, just a common, or garden, shed. (See what I did there??) But it has to be a sideways on one, you know, with the door on the long side because of where it has to go in the garden.

Wickes advertise just the thing, and about the right price, and it just so happens that they have it in stock at their Dorking store for collection. So we ordered it – even arranged for my bro-in-law to go and collect it in his lovely new van. Plan in place to swap the old and new sheds over the long weekend.

And then the curse of Wickes struck. Twenty minutes after placing the order I get a phone call from the chap at Dorking. They didn’t have our shed, they never had had our shed and they had no plans to get us our shed.  All they were prepared to do was cancel the order – no offer of an alternative (read upgrade), nothing.

I call that piss-poor customer “service”.

Well, Wickes, if you don’t want to sell me a shed we’re happy to go somewhere else – as we will for the major kitchen upgrade later this year.

What a Platt!

Well, thanks very much to John Platt from the Isle of Wight for taking up so much public money over his little tantrum. In case you missed it, he’s the loving daddy who pulled his daughter out of school for an incredibly important and crucial visit – to Disney World.

OK – I get it! Holidays are more expensive when the schools are off, but that’s just basic supply and demand. It does not give every parent the right to regard their child’s schooling as if it’s a bargain bucket from KFC, to be provided on demand and according to their whim. Schools do not and cannot work that way. At least the Supreme Court saw sense and realised that to rule otherwise than against Le Platt would be grossly unfair to the overwhelming majority of parents who stick to the rules and that it would create absolute wretched anarchy in our already rather chaotic schools.

Most parents faced with a fine would have just coughed up. We’re only talking 120 quid, which equates to about one day’s lunch at Disney, but there seems to be some streak of melodramatic masochism in Platt by which he wants to be seen as the victim. The drivel he came out with as he bad-temperedly commented on the Court’s determination was intellectually offensive.

He claimed that this judgement was about taking away the rights of parents to make decisions about their own children. He claimed that even being a minute late for school would be a criminal offence. What a load of bollocks! It’s neither of those things. It’s about safeguarding the rights of children to education – the single most important thing we can give them – as enshrined in Rab Butler’s Act.

Headteacher’s must always have discretion to allow children time away from school where it is merited, but the circumstances should always be exceptional. Meeting Mickey Bloody Mouse at low season prices does not meet that threshold.

Have some pride, man! Admit you screwed up, pay the fine and don’t be so bloody stupid in future.

Chump’s Major Misfire

I apologise if this blog is becoming something of a Trump-baiting exercise, but it is major-league scary that this highly ignorant and bigoted man is President. It should concern the whole world.

The Chump’s latest executive order is causing mayhem at ports across the USA and the rest of the world as people already identified as suitable to be landed there are refused boarding to aircraft or worse, they are refused entry and detained. The Governor of Washington has today issued a damning statement accusing the Chump administration of gross incompetence. Personally I think he was quite restrained and should have said “crass, blinkered, pig-ignorant and bigoted gross incompetence”.

The fact is that, popular or not, the Chump’s policy just will not work. Clearly it is a crowd-pleaser to show that he is being tough on terrorism, but it’s nett effect in that direction will amount to two fifths of five eighths of fuck all. Blanket banning muslims will only catch the people who are prepared to play by the rules. As with his wall, the policy is completely misconceived and wrongly aimed, and its detrimental effects outweigh by a country mile any limited benefits. The ones who will do you real harm won’t be travelling through JFK on a properly stamped Iranian passport!

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Rather these days “I turn the light off outside the orange door”.

A pointless vote …

Later this year we and our fellow residents of Surrey are going to be asked a rather foolish question by Surrey County Council – namely whether we want our council tax bills to rise by about 15%.

Personally, I took all of 20 nano-seconds to make my decision – and that’s before I’ve heard any of the “arguments” in favour of this absolutely mahoosive tax hike. My wages haven’t gone up by 15% so why am I being expected to cough up more? Besides which this is a Tory council, backed by a Tory MP with a Tory government. Whatever happened to the mantra that Tory candidates have spouted for generations – that the Tories are fiscally responsible and can be trusted to provide ever better public services for ever lower costs? Bilge then as it is still bilge, as way back when in the days of the unlamented poll tax they just fiddled the grant system to make places like Wandsworth and Westminster look like they were efficient. But I am getting rather a lot of schadenfreude from watching local Tories squirm about having to do the very thing of which they have been so critical for so long.

For all that, what exactly would we get for another £200 a year? Well, there’s access to the fire service, which I haven’t needed in the last 58 years, but I concede should be a publicly funded service. We don’t have any kids, so haven’t had call on the education service for several decades. We both have several computers and e-readers, so we haven’t used a library in nearly twenty years. There’s roads, I suppose, but given the pothole-ridden, dilapidated state that many of our roads are in you’d be forgiven for wondering where all the money went.

The proposed hike needs to go to a referendum following a change in the law in 2011. Judging by the online poll launched by the Sorry Error it’s not likely to succeed – to date 671 responses with 87% against the rise. Can we just take it as read and save the money?

President Chump

This might annoy some of my American friends, but it’s been a very sad week over the pond.

Much has been, and will continue to be, said about the permatanned oompa loompa now ensconced in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps we’ve been spoilt over the last eight years. Whatever you might think of Obama’s policy, you have to concede that he’s done it with style and class. I dread to think what the glossies are going to make of things if the Donald decides to impose his own distinct, and decidedly tacky, style on the White House. Of all the advice he might have been given over the years, “less is more” is definitely not something he ever understood.

More worrying than Chump having all the decorating taste of Liberace on smack is that he also has the emotional range of a hormonal teenager. Never more than about fifty feet away from him from now on will be the military aide carrying what is called the Presidential Emergency Satchel. Now, contrary to mischievous opinion, this doesn’t contain a tin of self-bronzer and a syringe of botox for Melania, but the wherewithal to blow half the planet to buggery and back. This is now in the hands of a man so immature that he acts like a playground bully.

Probably part of this emotional instability is just the inevitable result of having surrounded himself for years with yes-persons and an inability to adjust to interaction with people he can’t fire. Clearly, and worrying, the good ole USofA now has a President who would cheerfully tear up the First Amendment if he could get away with it. Alec Baldwin has had his meal ticket stamped for the next four years, or until Chump gets bored, has a heart attack or is impeached, but listen carefully for the sound of teddy bears being thrown around the Oval Office.

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.

Katie Ghose

News report today saying that the Electoral Reform Society has done some analysis of what people think of the referendum campaign. Katie Ghose, who is to opinion polling what Katie Hopkins is to diplomacy, has said that people think they weren’t given enough information.

Darling Heart, they always trot out that platitude!

Katie has called for the next referendum campaign to be six months long. Just pause for a moment and imagine that – HALF A FRIGGING YEAR!

Will someone please neuter this witch and sew her gob shut.

Middle Aged Middle Class Ranting

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