Archive for the ‘Rant’ category

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I called a local store and they said that they had been told that the offer on the item had been withdrawn a couple of days ago in the shops but the web site will continue to sell at that price until stocks are exhausted.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.

I am starting to hate my Egg Card

November 21st, 2006

I have had an Egg credit card for a long time now. It was recommended to me by a colleague and I got one to use for on-line transactions. Things went well, after the three attempts to set up a direct debit, and eventually I started using it for most things.

Over the last few months things have gone less well. The big problem is that the Egg automated services keeps thinking that my card has been stolen and keeps cancelling it. My card has been turned down three times in under two months. What is happening is my spending pattern has changed over the last three months and the card company is using my old shopping patterns to work out what I am not likely to be buying. This I don’t actually have a problem with as it is stopping fraud. My problem is that there is no way to reset the outdated information that is being treated as a guide to what I will be buying.

I have spent a while on the phone over this, with varying successes. Because of Egg’s operating conditions and procedures they could not reset everything. I did suggest issuing a whole new card on a new account, but they could not do this, and could not do so until 18 months after I had cancelled my current one. At one point there was a note placed on the system asking a supervisor to call me back. Sadly I did not get a call back, but he supervisor did update the system saying that there was nothing they could do so did not bother calling.

Finally I did get through to someone who did actually go and see what he could do. He spent most of the time speaking to colleagues and getting nowhere. Eventually he did come up with what we hope is a solution by cancelling the “first alert”. What this truly means is a misery, to me at least, and I get the impression most people at Egg, but we hope it will allow the suspect (or normal but unexpected) transaction and alert me rather than blocking the card leave me standing in the supermarket wondering how to pay for my shopping.

Finder crossed this will be the problem solved, but if not can you recommend a good credit card? Prefrebly one with no charges and cacheback.

Bannatyne’s Casino Closes

September 21st, 2006

Normally this would not bother me, but a friend was employed by the casino who, like many other employees, has not been told about the closure. Currently the staff are uncertain that they will be payed for the last month or the month’s notice period.

After not being able to call the casino all day my friend presumed there was no one on reception (because of staff shortages) and went to work a few hours early to help out. To there surprise the casino was locked with a notice in the window saying that the casino was closed and hoped to relocate soon.

Later on in the evening we checked the Internet and found this article on icNewcaslte (NCJ Media Limited). Remembering that my friend had not been informed about the closure and is not in consultation with the HR department so I would take many of the facts stated with a pinch of salt. Actually the article stated me on my “piss pour lazy reporting” rants normally reserved for select television news reports, but I will spare you that now. I am pleased to say that the Evening Chronicle (also NCJ Media Limited) did brief but more accurate story here.

Apparently the casino has been running on a skeleton staff for a while now and many could not figure out why more croupiers and inspectors were not being employed. It was presumed by me that trained staff were not forthcoming and Bannatyne’s were not going to pay for training, but I guess I was wrong.

Currently there is no answer on the casino’s direct line, but according to the British Casino Association, Bannatyne’s head office is on 01325 356677.

Update: My friend has now been contacted by phone and has been told that they will get paid and is on indefinite leave. They are still waiting for written conformation.

Update2: Aspers are offering a free meal for two with a bottle of wine for anyone who will let Aspers cut up there Bannatyne’s membership card.

Update3: The new casino will not be opening for 6 months and the staff have been given notice and are being made redundant.

Bakers Oven no more

August 7th, 2006

The office is in turmoil today after the realisation that the Bakers Oven may no longer be able to supply us with the Cornish pasties and ham and chicken sandwiches that we require to get through the day.

We first herd about the closure on the BBC local news, but it was not until today that we realised that our favorite store may be converted to a Greggs store.

Sorry, but it's all Blogger's fault

July 28th, 2006

You may have noticed that many images disappeared from my blog. This was because I have moved my blog from Blogspot to my web site and new (or reimplemented) security restrictions blocked the old images. The old images have been moved to my web site and all is well. Some reader may have noted this as a change a flogged up my old postings as new that I am sorry about, but this should not happen again.

We are getting there, allegedly

June 30th, 2006

This following post is a moan about my most recent rail journey and why the ticket pictured above has been stamped and punched so many times. Best stop reading now if such things depress you.

I was down in Cheltenham on business and traveled back on the Friday. There are normally two options here, one being to take the direct train to Newcastle and the other being to change at Birmingham New Street. In the end I decided to opt for the latter and have a break for lunch. This was a mistake.

I need not have rushed back to the station after my lunch as the train was delayed for around 45 minutes. I asked why the delay and apparently it was a technical problem.

After prompting I found that the breaks were stuck on, a common problem because of some fail-safe systems and nothing to be ashamed of once in a while IMHO. Finding this out was a bit of a shock though as it appears Virgin Trains staff have been told never to tell a customer what the problem with a train is. On one occasions I spent months trying to find why a full Virgin train was shut down (with the doors locked and no safety lights illuminated) while the computers were rebooted.

The following is the bit that I and most of the other passengers were most narked about. At Leeds it was decided to join the train I was on and the following train “to alleviate the overcrowding problem”. Rather than give the customers the choice of standing on the first train or sitting on the second the decision was made to join the train together and make everyone arrive later, and no guarantee of a seat on either train for anyone. Naturally everyone needed to get off the trains to allow them to be combined.

With all the chaos going on and the fact that there were apparently “signaling problems” ahead according to an announcement I decided to have a break in Leeds. When I arrived back at the station around an hour later I decided not to wait for the next direct train but to get the next train to York as this would most likely be faster. This went well with only a short delay because of a “Power Cut” around York, that I guess may have caused the “signaling problems”.

At York I could either get on the Virgin train on one side of the platform or a GNER train on the other side. The Virgin train was going to go first and it was full, so I decided to get on the GNER train that would follow a couple of minutes later. On this train they kept apologising about the delay that was because of a “bridge strike” down the line. At times this changed to because we were behind a late running train but we kept on coming back to the reason of a “bridge strike”.

So in summary on this journey took twice as long as it should of done while using four train from three different companies with delays because of the breaks being stuck on, signaling problems, a power cut, a bridge strike and being behind late running train.

B&Q Rant

May 18th, 2006

Sorry but I need to have a quick moan about my local B&Q (again). I needed a new lock for the office as the old one was playing up. I took the old lock to B&Q to obtain a replacement of the same size but could not match it up with a new one because of the display case. I explained at the tills that I needed a matching lock but they said that they could not let me see the locks for security reasons, but if I gave them the number from the display case they would go and get one.

Now perhaps it is just me, but I don’t think they were looking at the problem from the customers point of view and common sense was not clicking in. My solution was to ask to see number 1, 2 and 3, number 4, 5… At this point I was told that there were 60 sizes lock under the false impression that I would not ask to see them all.

In the end some B&Q bod in a suet was waiting to see the duty manager (or what ever his title) so I grabbed the manager as he approached (not literally though) who did used a bit of common sense and took the old lock to the store to find a match for me.

I am now pleased to report I have a new lock that is identical in size to the old one, and amusingly was not actually on display in the cabinet.

0870 Call Costs

April 19th, 2006

The theory of the 0870 numbers was that they were non-geographic and would cost no more the a national call. Many companies use then because they wan to be non-geographic, because of branding or because they make a little money off each call they receive.

The big problem is that now most national calls starting 01 and 02 are normally discounted or free as part of the telecommunications company package, while calling an 0870 number is a comparatively expensive to call. The difference in price is often so great that the useful site was created to list 01 and 02 numbers that could be used instead of 0870.

Today the telecommunications regulator Ofcom confirmed that it was going to force all telecoms companies to charge no more that they charge for an 01 or 02 number, or to play a prerecorded message highlighting the extra cost.

It is unlikely 0870 numbers will be free but it is thought likely the calling cost will fall. I will speculate that we may see an 06 code in years to come that is like an 01 or 02 but non geographic and that so called lo-call 0845 numbers (intended to be charged at local rate) will cost the same or more than the national rate numbers.