Archive for December, 2006

Christmas tree 2, the sequal

December 28th, 2006

This Christmas we put up a tree in early December that we picked up form a local garden centre (for local people). It was a lovely tree and I cared for it greatly. Unfortunately I left the tree and the heating thermostat unattended and Gillian melted it. ;-)

So now on this Christmas eve we went out to look for a replacement. Most places had sold out and the one we did find was malformed and still at full price. Rather than keep driving in circles I hit the telephone and called Homebase who had a few trees left. When we arrived they were still priced at full price and the girl slouched at customer services confirmed that they were not reduced. Gillian was not to be defeated and asked someone else on the way to the car if they were going to reduce the trees at all, and to cut a long story short the chap was then carrying our new free Christmas tree to the car for us.

In summary a big thank you to Homebase for the tree, and if you need a tree on Christmas eve then ask for a discount as the shops would rather be shot of them than hold on to them.

How to get great service in a restaurant

December 15th, 2006

First of all you need a crazy girl friend who thinks the water looks young and cute and asks if she can adopt him. He then goes off and tells his colleagues who all want to come and see this crazy girl friend. Now instead of getting two plates of food and a platter of vegetables you will get the plates, a platter vegetables, a platter of potatoes and a gravy boat along every waiter in the building.

Shock News, PC World not so crap after all

December 14th, 2006

No seriously. After posting my earlier blog entry regarding me experience with PC World I sent an email to them. To my surprise I did quickly get a response asking to speak to me, and asking for more technical details. I had a very fruitful discussion with the quality assurance manager who confirmed that what happened should not have happened, and filled in a few blanks as to why this was so unusual.

This is what appears to have happened… The product that I was trying to purchase at the offer price had been reduced since the prior Thursday, and was due to return to full price on the Tuesday gone. The problem was that a TV advertisement accidentally was broadcast nationally advertising the offer on Tuesday evening. PC World decided to honour the offer in stores if a customer asked about it. The problem with the web store is that you can not ask a web page for the price you have seen on the telly, so the offer was extended for a short time online. Although the price changes normally happen overnight when least users are shopping, on this rare occasion it looks like the price was changed back in the middle of the afternoon.

Apparently the person in the shop was correct and the price should have been honoured when I called up, but we are presuming that because I did not mention the TV advert this did not happen.

So although the call centre still scores a big fat zero, it is a good score for the store and top marks to the quality assurance team.

The Yorkshire Hotel, Harrogate

December 11th, 2006

This weekend Gillian and I stayed in the Yorkshire Hotel, Harrogate for a Christmas shopping weekend break.

A few months ago I joined a gym (stop laughing) and got a free weekend stay in a Swallow hotel as part of the deal. I chose Harrogate (yes I was allowed to make the decision) as it was far enough away from home to make it a holiday, but close enough not to be a long journey.

The hotel building was nothing great special. It was refurbished a couple of years ago but is still an old hotel at heart. The thing that made the stay special was the staff.

Form the moment we arrived they were friendly and jovial. If you need a spare glass for the bedroom it was not a problem. We were worried about noise from a Christmas party on the floor above and were moved no problem to the quietest room they had, that was a full suite, as no extra cost. Instead of having to wait in a queue for a table at breakfast someone personally came out to the lounge and let you know when a table was available. The thing that really impressed me, and it might sound strange, was the staff were even concerned about the position if the handle of the tea pot so as to make it easer for you to pick up.

The behaviours of some of the other guests was a little upsetting with lots of drunken noise in the night, and a fire alarm being set off on the Friday night, but I can not really blame that on the hotel.

In total it was a great time we had in Harrogate and a great place to go Christmas shopping.

PC World are crap…

December 7th, 2006

…but we already knew that. I am on the phone at the moment to PC world as I have been for about 45 minutes.

What happened was when purchasing some equipment on-line for work, and when it came to payment, the price went up. The price had gone up on the web site while I was placing the order, and this had also affected what I had already placed in the basket.

I called a local store and they said that they had been told that the offer on the item had been withdrawn a couple of days ago in the shops but the web site will continue to sell at that price until stocks are exhausted. He reckoned the last reduced product had been sold while I was placing the order, but gave me a number to call to try and get the original price.

Unfortunately this is where PC World stopped being friendly and helpful. To cut a long story short the first person I talked to said that the offer had not been available for a couple of days and kept on quoting “PC World” terminology as the reason why there was nothing they should be doing. He said that he would report the situation to the web team, but there was no way to get someone to get back to me, and as he refused to read his email to the team I am not confident any was sent.

I then wanted the whole situation looked at because as a customer I do not want to be made out to be a fibber or delusional. Eventually he passed me on to someone else, but although they were not as condescending, were just as unable to help. I was told that if I written response if I wrote to PC World, Customer Services, PO BOX 1687, Sheffield, S2 5YA, but it would be the equivalent of what he was saying on the phone.

This is probably not there fault, there is just not way to pass feedback to the decision makers in a way that you know it has been looked at. Anyway, at least I have had time to send a few email and write this blog while on the phone, and I shall not make the mistake of shopping at PC World again.

Update: I am pleased to say that this has now been resolved. Full details are in this blog entry.

RAC Membership

December 3rd, 2006

I have just renewed my RAC membership. Originally I took out the RAC membership because it was a lot cheaper than the others (when bought on-line for a new customer), but essentially has the same cover.

The renewal notice came through but did not have the original web discount. I checked the AA were offering a cheaper service, but I called up the RAC to ask ” if they could do anything with the price”. The good news is that they could and not only did I get the web discount again, I also got the joining discount as well.

I gave up with Green Flag when they could not give me a price in under 5 minutes and without asking many personal questions.

The moral of this story….. It’s always worth asking, well, sometimes worth asking, anyway.

Realistic 3D Puzzle

December 1st, 2006

I do not often repost images from other blogs, but I found this hilarious. Check out more images of this special 3D puzzle on