Don't get mad - get a shotgun.

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Missing Letters

Way back in early December, I posted a couple of letters, both by Royal Mail Special Delivery – a service that tracks the letter, requires a signature on delivery, and is guaranteed to be delivered the next working day by 1pm.

In my case, one letter arrived, and the other didn’t.

After a week, I raised this with Royal Mail through Twitter, and they were… pretty slack, to be fair. The letter had disappeared into the system, they needed to investigate, blah blah. At no point did the words “sorry” pass their (online) lips.

Another week or so passed, and they came back with “we can’t find it, can’t you check with the recipients whether they’ve received it or not“. Which is taking the piss, as that was the entire reason for sending the sodding thing by Special Delivery in the first place.  And still, no sorry.

I ended up having to file a compensation claim with Royal Mail – again, the person who paid for the service has to jump through all the hoops, fill in the forms and so on – and wait even more. Still no “sorry”.

I finally got the response today to that compensation claim. They’ve taken six weeks to acknowledge that this “guaranteed service” isn’t, has failed, and I’ve finally got my money back.

The kicker, in my opinion, is that in that letter they say…

“If you need to cover yourself against this in future, I suggest you send items by Special Delivery “Guaranteed”

So the fucking clowns recommend I use the service that lost this letter in the first place – because it’s better. What the fuck?

All told, the customer-service experience of this process has been abysmal.

  • It’s taken nearly two months to get this sorted
  • Once we were past that ‘guaranteed delivery’ timeline, it should’ve been an automatic process to say “Yep, we fucked up, here’s your money back”
  • If you can’t guarantee delivery, don’t guarantee delivery.
  • If you don’t trust your own tracking systems and still require ‘proof’ that the item was posted into the system, you’re doing it wrong

Car Health – Hopefully Sorted

Another day, another visit to the garage.

Having been repaired last week during the MOT, the same issue (or at least what appeared to be the same issue) recurred on Friday. Annoying, to say the least.

With everything else that was going on, the car didn’t get to revisit the garage again ’til yesterday (Tuesday) for them to find out what the problem was this time.

It turns out to have been *another* pipe to the turbo inlets that had perished and snapped. So – a similar issue, but not the same one, even though it presented in precisely the same way. (And bizarrely, occurred at precisely the same place)

Thankfully, both issues have been resolved quickly, easily and fairly cheaply. All the same, I’m hoping that there won’t be any more for a while.

In a ‘tempting fate’ moment, I took the hire car back today, and I’ll use the Saab for tomorrow Manchester run. If it fails me on that run, then I think I’ll be starting to look for a new vehicle before very long at all.

Desperate and Gullible

It was interesting yesterday to see the BBC’s piece about the growing prevalence of ‘online rental fraud’ – basically, where a fraudster/criminal advertises a rental property for a great price, and people then pay a deposit for it without ever seeing the property – because it’s a great price in a sought-after area.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Yep – the fraudster doesn’t own the property, doesn’t represent the agents, and has no real connection to it at all. They’ve just grabbed photos, submitted the ad, and then people pay the ‘deposit’ into an account named by the fraudster.

Now, while I think it’s pretty scummy, I can’t help but also see it as more of an idiot tax. You’ve got to be pretty desperate – and pretty fucking dim – to put down money without seeing the place you’re renting, particularly without ever meeting an agent/agency/landlord etc.  I know that these people are good at getting people to believe they’re valid, and that there’s this urgency – but really, it’s still taking advantage of people too dumb to look at a deal and think “what’s wrong with this picture?”

Maybe that’s harsh. Maybe not.  For me, it’s hard to feel real sympathy for someone who just leaves themselves open to this sort of shit. Take a look at what one victim says in the article…

[He] said: “I was willing to take the flat without a viewing based on the location, just on the price of it.

[I felt] anger, disgust, I was really disappointed. I was thinking, ‘Wow I’ve spent money I couldn’t afford and what’s happening to me right now? I’m in a nightmare and I can’t wake up’.'”

I think the worst part, probably, is that now it’s been mentioned by BBC and on TV, it’s something that other scammers will look at and thing “Oooh, that’s a good idea”, so it’ll become even more prevalent…

Low Steppage

Because of the issues with the car last week, it meant I actually got out a lot less than usual.

I’ve written before about my general aims to get out more, walk more and so on – although I do a lot of walking anyway, in comparison to most people.   As part of that, a couple of years ago now I started using the FitBit activity trackers and so on, which allowed me to keep an eye on things.

I have a 5,000-step-per-day ‘target’, which I normally blast through (although some days are closer than others) and average around 50,000 steps per week. Last week, for the first time since getting the FitBit,  I did about half that, and didn’t reach my daily target on most days.

A lot of that was simply that I was working from home, rather than in my office in Milton Keynes. That meant I didn’t go out for a walk in the morning, nor to get lunch and then take the ‘long’ way back to the office – all of which contribute to those totals.

Additionally, I wasn’t feeling great – just a bit burned out, and with this nagging cough (nothing serious, it just keeps tickling and being a twat) it meant I didn’t want to go out as much as I usually do.  And then not doing my usual weekend stuff of going to the cinema, walking round Milton Keynes etc. – it all conspired to make it my worst week in two years.

Of course, my worst week’s activity is still a lot better than that of a lot of people, but it’s annoyed me anyway.

Car Health – All OK

The car, it turns out, was fine.  The problem was that the hose(s) to the turbo had perished, and were leaking, which was roughly what I’d thought was happening.

So, that’s been fixed, and the MOT has been passed with flying colours. A couple of advisories that I’ll address in the next month, but really, all good.

This has made me much happier than I’ve been the rest of the week – while I may have been ‘pretty sure’ of what the issue was, I don’t have the confidence in my own technical knowledge to be 100% certain. Knowing that it actually was a minor thing is a weight off my mind.

All good – onwards and upwards, mes amis!

A Remembrance of Shitbags Past

Yesterday, I got a call from an agency about a new job role – ‘Lead Developer’, great salary and good upcoming projects. It sounds like a fantastic role, and the company in question certainly know the value of buzzwords and marketing when it comes to this kind of thing.

Sadly – well, amusingly – it was for the same job/company as I worked for in Summer 2014.  I didn’t write much about it at the time, because it ended up going down the route of taking legal advice etc., so wasn’t worth causing extra hassles by writing here and naming/shaming.  (Not least because the owner of the company, known around here as ShitCo, wouldn’t feel any shame whatsoever)

It was not a good job – and was probably one of my worst jobs in the last decade. Not least among the issues was having taken the job on a salary offer of £x (and that was the salary on the contract , when it eventually appeared) but then the company deciding to pay me £10,000 less.

Coupled with working idiot hours and so on, yeah, it wasn’t a good role or time at all.

I ended up leaving after three months, with no notice (although my contract did say that was OK within the initial trial period) and nothing lined up to go to. Not that that’s ever stressed me out, as regular readers will know – and indeed, I was working two weeks later, at the contract I’m still working on now.

So yes, speaking to another agency about why I wouldn’t be interested in that role was entertaining – the agency couldn’t understand why they were looking for a fourth ‘lead developer’ in less than a year, but our conversation made things somewhat clearer for them, it’s fair to say.  And the words “lying” , “scheming”, “disorganised”, “manipulative” and “unholy motherfucker of the first order” never even passed my lips.

Bath, Bristol, and Mileage

Yesterday was, as expected, very long, and had a hefty mileage total. But it was also bloody good.

I left home by 9am, and drove over to Bath to meet up with M, a friend of mine. We then spent the majority of the next 11 hours talking (well, except for the gig itself) and having a decent day.

We went for a late lunch at the Pony and Trap in Chew Magna, a Michelin-starred pub – and it was brilliant. Their Sunday menu is just epic, and we had a fantastic meal. Heartily recommended.

From there, we went into Bristol (via a very convoluted, dark and windy route – my satnav still wants to kill me, it appears) to find parking, have a drink, and then head to St Georges for the gig itself.

The gig was excellent – Rollins was on stage and talking for a good two-and-a-half hours, and as funny and smart as usual, although with a bit more melancholy than usual because of the recent death of Lemmy, who turns out to have been one of Henry’s real friends. All told, we thoroughly enjoyed it (as did everyone else, from the look of it) and had a great evening.

Having dropped M off at her house, I was still wide awake, and opted for Plan A, driving home. A three-hour drive, starting at gone 11pm.  I’m a bloody lunatic, it’s fair to say.

Actually, the drive went really well too – despite forgetting that SatNav wants to kill me, so it kept sending me on b-road ‘short cuts’ on pitch-black roads when it had been raining heavily.  But that’s par for the course, so not too much of a concern.

I got home just after 2am, wide-awake still – and didn’t really slow down for a couple of hours, so I think I ended up going to sleep at around 4am, then up at 8am and in to work. It’s been odd, because my brain thinks I should be a whole lot more tired than I actually am – I’m sure I’ll reap that whirlwind at some point this week, though.

But yes, a good day, having covered about 400 miles…

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