Wednesday 31 July 2013

Call Centres.....don't you love them!

Ofcom, the regulating authority over here in dear old Blighty for communications, are planning a crackdown on nuisance cold calling and text messaging. They have decided that they can/will investigate ‘annoying’ calls as well as ‘distressing ’ ones.

Now, I may be mistaken in this, but as far as I know, any bloody call which drags me out of the shower, in from the garden, or even one that makes me get off my chair, only to pick up the phone and have a few seconds of silence followed by a voice calling itself Nigel along with an accent which I can hardly understand, and who then struggles to pronounce my name correctly before giving the impression that we are old friends and that he knows that I’ve been sitting around all day just waiting for his particular call to send me into raptures of delight, and that I would then enthusiastically agree to buy whatever it is that he thinks that he might be able to sell me, can only be described as annoying and distressing.

A television programme was recently on in the UK following a call centre, a fly on the wall type of thing which had the media singing to its tune. Hang on a minute, this was a call centre, cold calling people who didn’t want them to call in the first place....and the media think that it was great television and that the manager was a star in the making who then proceeded to be invited on to other television programmes to have ‘chats’ as though he was a z-list celebrity. What is that all about!!! He was/is not a celebrity; he was/is an annoying person who cold calls people to get them to drop their hard earned cash into what amounts to his pocket. He is/was a ............... (please feel free to fill in the blank).

What Ofcom and the authorities should be doing is banning the whole bloody practise, making it illegal to cold call anyone....ever!

That is the only way to get these parasites off our backs.
Would I feel sorry for the staff made redundant from this simple little exercise? Actually no, because they could be redeployed to the various customer service departments who would then actually have enough people to answer the sodding calls that the customers who are having troubles with their various bits of equipment/bank/broadband etc  make, and not sit and wait eons on the phone waiting for someone to answer, which normally means waiting for forty minutes only to have the connection break and having to start over again and spending all their hard earned cash on bloody phone calls to premium rate numbers to all these different businesses/organisations who once they have your money spend it on getting bloody call centres to phone you up instead, these same businesses/organisations who really couldn’t give a toss about all the problems you are in reality having!

Today’s rant over, I will now go and lie down with a cold towel over my head!

Monday 22 July 2013


One of the words which will always strike fear into me, like a finely crafted stiletto, is the word ‘Shopping’.

It’s not like, ‘need to pick something up from the shops’, which means there is an actual purpose to the proceedings, but the word ‘Shopping’, especially when accompanied by the word ‘Sale’, conjures up an entirely different prospective experience. It means that I will be dragged around the mall as a walking talking coat hanger hangerer, my only purpose in life being to stick out an arm with the fingers extending whilst all manner of stuff is hooked on in case some other woman comes along and grabs the only remain size whatever. I walk around the shop aimlessly following in her stead and feeling the weight of yet another article as it is placed along with the masses already drooping off my arm. I get sympathetic glances from my fellow man, maybe a look of horror from some man who has just entered the shop, trailing in the wake of his nearest and dearest and knowing full well that the plight that I am currently suffering will surely soon be his. I clatter into things and people for the simple reason that I can’t bloody well see! I hear the tut-tut’s and see the withering glances from the unaccompanied women who have to make do with their own arms to carry the stuff around, while the pile draped around me only gets bigger. What happens then? Well, I then have to retrace my steps, because in her wisdom she has decided that everything that she has hung off my fingers is either “too long” “too pink” “too short” “too thin” etc, etc, etc. A few minutes later I can then rest my weary and aching arms as the last item is hung back on the rack and she makes an exit, deciding that nothing has come up to her high expectation. Me? I’m ignored as she has that look on her face which means that she is already thinking of the shop next door and what delights that it might have to offer. It’s a look of steely resolve, one of fierce determination as she flexes her elbows (shadow jabbing) in readiness for the next assault. I receive a twitch of the head as she leaves the shop, an indication that I’m too slow and that I’m lagging behind and if I know what’s good for me that perhaps I should hurry up because the particular thing that she is maybe looking for is waiting next door and there is no time to waste in the pursuit of whatever it is that she is after, even though she hasn’t a bloody clue what it is!

Then there’s the other shop, the one that sells absolutely nothing of any use whatsoever, the one that people go in purely because it’s there and that it has a sticker on the window which says, yes, you guessed it, ‘Sale’.

“What are we going in here for?” I ask, a bewildered look on my face.

“Because I want to,” she replies, confused.

“But we don’t need anything here,” I counter.

“I don’t know that yet, I might find something that I want.”

I shake my head to clear the fugginess. “But you already know that you don’t want anything here otherwise you would have said that we had to come in here, so if you know that you don’t want anything, then there is no reason to go in and have a look.”

The look I receive is one that would turn anyone else to stone; I’ve had the inoculations so I am relatively safe, for the moment at least. I sigh, and then follow her in.

Which brings me to my point.

Shopping malls have crèches for children; surely they should also have crèches for men too? You know the sort of place, nice comfy chairs, a telly with the football on, tea and coffee on tap, a few in-date magazines; the sort of place where we can go and sit quietly out of the way while she goes out into mall to do her worst to the bank account. That way there will be no arguing, no accusing looks, no angst, no boredom! The men will high-five each other on entering and sit down with a nice cuppa and a biscuit, we could also have a little remote device connected to a tag that the missus has to take with her so that she can come and claim us when she’s finished. But this device will have a cctv attached so we can see what she’s up to, and then there could be a switch that we can flick that gives her an electric shock (only mild mind you, he,he he!) whenever she looks at something too expensive, as we all know women never ever look at the price tag!

A gentleman’s crèche.....what a boon to shopping that would be! 

Monday 15 July 2013

Coming home

The last few days have been a nice relaxing time, away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, chilling out in the beautiful Wye Valley.

The cottage was near the pub, always a plus and always one of my priorities when searching for somewhere to stay. This one was a good one with the stagger back along a wide meandering river through wild meadows and wooded glades lit only by the moon and stars.

The walking was good too, with paths going through shaded wooded hillsides with panoramic views glimpsed through the trees. They undulated, sometimes steeply, which left me gasping for breath and thinking that perhaps I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was.

However it was a break away and it recharged the batteries. The car was hardly used, shanks’s pony being the main form of getting about. It was a holiday, it was nice.....but then I came home.

Parking the car I was looking forward to the cup of tea and the collapse into the chair.

Emptying the car of the luggage I staggered to the door, the missus standing behind me giving me instruction on how best to place the stuff so that everything was properly balanced, (nice touch dear) and then whilst balancing three cases, a back pack, a cool bag and assorted other bits and pieces fiddled with the key to get into the house. The door seemed stiff so I leant into it thinking perhaps that the heat had perhaps swollen the wood. But no, the frame was fine, what was causing the problem was a week’s supply of junk mail.

There was a mountain of it, piled up beneath the letter box higher than half the hills I’d been walking up only a few short hours ago. It was massive, and as I stepped in it cascaded across the floor. Cursing and swearing at the pile of unsolicited, unwanted and certainly unnecessary communication from people and companies that I have never heard of, never want to hear of, and never think that even in the future would want to hear from, I found that stepping on the pile of leaflets was rather like stepping on ice. I skidded across the hall, or I should say one foot skidded across the hall, as the other one had miraculously found a bare bit and stayed put. Now bear in mind that I was knackered, I was hot and I was laden down with bits of luggage, so you can imagine my language as my foot went from under me and decided to get into the front room well ahead of the other. My groin also complained, because though thirty years ago my joints and muscles were reasonably flexible, age, beer, ciggies etc had taken their toll. I heard the sinews stretch, felt them complain and with a degree of horror realised that the next few micro-seconds were not going to be one of the best.

You girlies haven’t got them, but us blokes have, and I’m referring to the two round hairy objects which dangle between the legs and give a sense of masculinity. Yes, I’m talking bollocks here!

Now, I’m getting on in life, I’ll admit to that, but that makes it even harder to take as I did something which the body is not designed to do even under normal circumstances. I did the splits, and the floor came up at a rate of knots not conducive to the good wellbeing of the soul. My bollocks hit the floor with a half ton of me on top. They scrunched and twisted and screamed out their displeasure at the unwarranted attention of a bit of parquet flooring. I was not happy and my bad language increased accordingly. The wife looked on and smiled.

I dumped the luggage and somehow managed to get to my feet, and then casting a furious glance at the pile of crap adorning the floor staggered bandy-legged through to the front room holding my two precious objects gently in my hand, thanking the Gods that they were still there whole and intact.

I rested awhile and then when the reverberations had slowed down enough I began to go through the pile of junk mail, now there must be a truss manufacturer here somewhere.....or at least some bastard that I can bloody well sue!    

Thursday 4 July 2013

Bloody mobile phones!

So, a checkout girl gets her knuckles rapped for refusing to serve a woman who was talking on a mobile phone. Not only that, but the offender even gets a £10 voucher and an apology from the store!

Now, I may be getting on, but wasn’t it manners once-upon-a-time to actually engage with the person who is dealing with you? You know, please, thank you, busy day?

 Instead society seems to have gone to the wall; rudeness is perhaps the new politeness.

It drives me made when I stand in a queue in a shop and someone is standing in front of me with that little bit of plastic glued to their ears and screaming into it.

In the first place I don’t want to know that the girl down the road is getting it on with your nearest and dearest, or that the big plan to go out for the night has been ruined by the baby-sitter crying off at the last moment, or that you just booked an all over waxing session that will stop you and your man from being velcroed together later that night.............I just don’t want to know!

If it was up to me, anyone found guilty of talking on a mobile phone whilst standing at the checkout should be subject to the maximum penalty available, either surgical removal of the offending article by means of an eight foot long axe descending at a rapid rate of knots towards the neck of the offender,(sorry, you have been disconnected) or at least the removal of the fingernails by way of a pair of pliers. (At least should stop them pressing the sodding buttons on the bloody keypad!)

There should be no mercy to these rude, unsocial, annoying individuals. They should be arrested on sight by the politeness police and carted off in the little black van to some dingy, dirty, dank little black hole and never see daylight again.

Can’t these bloody people just wait until they have paid and gone outside? The world ain’t going to end because you don’t answer the bloody thing!

And lastly, I hope the wax is so bloody hot that you need stick your arse in the freezer for the next two months!

The checkout girl getting her knuckles rapped? She should be applauded, promoted and given an award.......good for you girl, you go get ‘em!