Category Archives: Advertising

Environmental

On my post about mileage and so on, BW commented “No environmental conscience chez toi, then, eh? 😉”   And I can’t deny, that annoyed me a fair bit.

So…

    • That weekend, I hired a car that was supposed to have a better Eco-profile than my current car. Sadly, that turned out to not be the case – it got a lot less MpG than mine, and generally wasn’t very good.  But the intentions were there, at least.  Even though I should’ve stuck to my usual car.
    • Where possible – in this case, the run to and from Oxford – I carried friends, rather than everyone driving individually
    • Taking public transport was simply not a realistic option, for a range of reasons, including
      • I’d still have to drive to my nearest station, and (as I understand it) shorter journeys like that are the worst environmentally, as most of the nastys happen on start-up/warm-up, rather than on longer runs
      • The runs to Oxford and Chichester would both have been over three hours each way, and cost more than the fuel for the entire weekend
      • The journey to Kent wouldn’t have been possible at all
    • Also, knowing the mileage etc., I make use of a carbon offset programme – it’s not perfect, but (I hope) it helps
    • The Big Cat Experience in Kent use most of the money from the experience days and so on to go towards ecological and animal protection/preservation projects overseas.

Outside of those things, there’s also the following other little bits

  • I’m still using a car that’s now ten years old (and passes the MoT emissions test with flying colours) rather than using up a load of resources with a new vehicle
  • My domestic waste/rubbish is absolutely minimal – indeed, if I didn’t have cats, I’d be easily able to get away with one domestic waste collection per month – and I recycle far more than most people.
  • I rarely fly anywhere – the last time was two years ago
  • Most of my electric/electronic devices are recharged via a battery bank that charges off a solar panel, rather than via the mains.

There’s probably other stuff as well, but anyway, it’s a pretty good start.

I fully accept that my environmental profile isn’t perfect – my main downsides are electricity and driving. And I balance as much of that as possible. However, I’m also pretty sure that it’s a lot better than that of most people.

Even more importantly, no matter what I do to improve my profile, it’s utterly irrelevant in comparison to other environmental things. For example, if the new phase of advertising on video screens (particularly the stand-alone street-furniture versions) were deactivated/turned off overnight it would save more in a week than I could contribute in a lifetime.

So – do I have an environmental conscience?  I’ll let you decide – although I think the answer is generally yes.

Reinsuring

The world of Car Insurance is very, very strange.  I truly don’t understand how it all works.

My car insurance is due for renewal in October, so I recently received the renewal gubbins from my current insurer.  They’ve put my insurance up by £60 for the year.  Bear in mind, I’ve not even spoken to them all year, let alone made a claim, and I’ve now got another year’s no claims discount as well.  And yet it’s gone up.

So I shopped around, doing the usual comparison website thing (Meerkats rather than opera singers) and got one that’s actually £120 cheaper than what I was being offered by the current insurer – and with slightly better cover.

Brilliant, I’ll sign up and do that.  Job done. And this is where it all gets weird(er)

My new insurer is actually one I used a couple of years ago. So when I log in to their ‘self-service portal’ to see my new policy, all I can see is the details of the old one. Fuck sake.  (It looks like the policy is actually tied to a combination of my username and password – so I can change password, and now view the new details instead – but I didn’t know that at the time)

So first things first, I call my current insurer to tell them I won’t be renewing with them. It’s the usual automatic phone gubbins, and gives the name of the insurance provider – let’s call them ABC Insurers, for the sake of argument.   I give the correct information, go through, tell them I won’t be renewing, explain why, and it’s as easy as that.

Then I call the new insurers. Who are also using ABC Insurers.  So I go through the correct information for the new insurance, get things sorted, get the documents emailed to me, and it’s as easy as that.

But it’s weird – I’ve used two different companies (well, two different front-ends) and given them the same information (obviously) but one faction is offering me a significantly better deal than both the one I’m on, and the renewal quote from the one I’m on.  But they’re both the same company underneath!

How the fuck does that make sense? Offering the same person two completely different prices (and slightly different packages/benefits)  Why not allow my current insurer to offer the same price as my new one?  It’s all just a bit bizarre.

Wallets

Back in October, based on a recommendation (and a liking of the style) I bought a new wallet from Rains. Not the cheapest of things, but also not world-shatteringly expensive, I liked the (slightly weird) sort-of-rubberised material it’s made from, and that it wasn’t leather.

Over the last three or four years I’ve swapped wallets a few times, trying out new things and designs, most of which haven’t really worked out for how I do things.So far though, the Rains one has suited me pretty well.

However, last week I realised that the rubber holding strap was breaking – along the line of the cut-in company name, which wasn’t really a surprise.  But for a not-cheap wallet, I would still have expected it to last better than that.  So I emailed Rains to say about this problem, and attached a photo of the problem.  I could’ve lived with it – once it finally snaps I could cut the strap off completely, and it wouldn’t affect the actual functionality at all – but still, might as well let them know.

Within the day they’d come back to me, offering a replacement or refund – and either way, to not worry about returning the faulty one.  I chose a replacement, which was sent out the same day, and arrived (from the Netherlands) a couple of days later.

I’ve again offered to return the faulty one (I figure they could at least see what’d gone wrong – but maybe it’s more of a common thing, I don’t know) but they’ve insisted on me keeping that as well, so fair enough.

All told though, I’ve been really impressed with Rains and how they’ve done things. There’ve been no questions or quibbles at all, just a simple smooth process that really stands out from most places. It shouldn’t stand out just for that (ideally this should be just how things are done) but it definitely does.

Scheduled

At the moment, there’s an advert on TV for Just Eat, and it freaks me out a little bit.

There’s one part of it where they talk about people “ordering their usual”, and doing so at a specific time – implying that it’s the same thing every week.  And that just weirds me out, that there are people out there who do the same thing every week, who eat the same meals with little to no variety.

At the same time though, it’s odd in other ways.  I’m just as bad at being uninspired when it comes to meals and so on – but that’s when I’m just cooking for myself.  If I’m paying for it (i.e. a takeaway, a restaurant meal or whatever) then I’m going to go for random stuff that I fancy eating.

So I think it’s the combination – that there are people who are paying for their meal and still only having the same thing at the same time – rather than *just* that it’s the same thing every time.

Anyway, it weirds me out – even though in some ways I’m also a massive hypocrite about it, as I’m semi-guilty of the same thing, but only in the privacy of my own home…

Incompetents (Part One)

There’ve been a couple of times in the last week where I’ve been surprised by how little some people understand things – which is kind of surprising, considering what low expectations I have of people in general.

The first of these surprises was with Tom Watson (MP) blithering on about how McDonalds should cancel their Monopoly promotion this year.  In and of itself, it’s not a bad idea – I’m no fan of McDonalds, and their Monopoly thing definitely encourages people to buy/eat more than they usually would.

However, Watson’s announcement was made the day before the promotion launched. By that time all the necessary materials have been prepared, printed, distributed, all the ads have been made and booked, and it would be almost impossible to cancel the promotion.   And there seemed to be no real understanding of that.

If the press release had been a couple of weeks later, and was aimed at getting McDonalds to stop using it after the current promotion then that would’ve made more sense. (Not a lot more sense admittedly, since even a rudimentary Wikipedia search will tell you it’s been an annual promotion since 1987, but there’s always a chance that they might do something else, if a new idea could come up that would work equally well as a promotional tool)

All told, it just showed (in my opinion) that it was all just a “This is bad, OK?” press-release, with no real thought or understanding of the business (and marketing) processes underneath it.

 

Upgraded

Last week, I upgraded my internet connection to an “Ultrafast” one – known by BT / Openreach as G.Fast.  Apparently they’re slowing down the roll-out of this in favour of full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) roll-out, but for now it’s the best speed I can get.

G.Fast offers a guaranteed 100Mbps download – and I’ll get compensation if it dips below that – which is amusingly ridiculous. When I moved here six-and-a-bit years ago, I was only just able to get ADSL and a 2Mbps connection. It was painfully slow, although it did enough for the necessary at the time.  When FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) came here, I got it, and went from 2Mbps to 75 overnight.  At that point I could do streaming TV and so on with no problem at all.  And now I’ve doubled even that. Truly insane.

I wasn’t actually aware that this tech had been installed in my area, but BT sent me a promotional mail about it at the start of November, and I’d dragged my feet on it a bit.  But then I got a “Black Friday” promotional letter about it as well, where I could also get it installed for free, for an extra £1 a month on what I pay already.  Well OK then.

(As an aside, it’s the only “Black Friday” deal I bothered with at all – and only because it saved me money on a product I was actually interested in)

The engineer came round on Friday to do the installation – it needs some changes at the cabinet, and as it’s still new stuff, they’re doing it with engineers rather than self-install.  This had a happy side-effect, in that he also appears to have finally fixed the line problem that’s been plaguing me for more years than I care to mention.  (And has cost me the price of an engineer visit on one visit out of the five, because they worded the ‘fix’ badly, but that’s a dead issue now)

Ever since I moved in, the line has been dodgy on occasion, and it’s just got worse over time. The broadband connection has been fine in general – unless I have to make or receive a phone call. At that point the crackles on the line were enough to knock out the broadband connection. BT insisted this wasn’t possible, and that all the options I suggested were Just Wrong. (Because obviously I don’t work for them, so what could I possibly know?)  In that time, I’ve had five master sockets, and swapped from ADSL to FTTC for broadband, so I knew it was nothing in the house. It was always either going to be a fault in the line (“Oh no, sir, that’s not possible, more people would be complaining if that were the case”) or in the cabinet itself (also apparently “impossible”)

Anyway, this time the engineer could hear the problem, and tested to find where the problem was. Surprise surprise, it was in the cabinet.  So while he was redoing connections for my new broadband, he had a look round the cab, and the terminators on my line (I dunno) in the cab were “worryingly loose, I could just pull them off, didn’t even need pliers“. When he came back to the house, oooh look, what a surprise, no crackle on the line.

So, I’m now working with a 150Mbps download connection, and a lovely crackle-free phone line. All told, bit of a win.

Shakespeare Park

Last week, I noticed signs around Milton Keynes pointing to a new development of homes, called Shakespeare Park.

I’d really hoped that they would make a big thing of puns/content based on Shakespeare stuff, but no, it’s all very dull.

OK, they’ve named most of the house types after Shakespearean characters – but still, there’s so much more they could’ve done

“Shakespeare Park – ”

  • it’s no ordinary hamlet
  • Your home, as you like it
  • Your midsummer night’s dream

And that’s just off the top of my head.  I could probably come up with a bundle more.

I just think it’s a bit sad that Taylor Wimpey don’t seem to have tried…