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16th August 2011: Don't Call Me A Liar
Those who know me, know I have a short temper.  Sometimes.  I can take a lot of crap from a lot of people - I have to, I work in retail.  But there are some things that push my buttons, and those things only need a slight nudge and I blow up.  Being Autistic, if someone calls me stupid, or an idiot, I blow.  I was called an idiot and stupid all through school, from the first day right up until the GCSE retakes in my 2nd year od college.  One of my lecturers in my A-Levels also called an idea of mine idiotic - a Visual Basic overlay for Windows to turn it into something else - ala what most checkouts these days have.  Not idiotic, ahead of it's time.

But I digress.  The other thing I hate being called is a liar.  I don't lie often, and if I do I have a really good reason for it.  So, a couple of days ago I phoned in sick to work.  I spent the night at a friend's house on Friday because we were going to OggCamp on Saturday then I was coming back Saturday evening, working, and then going back to OggCamp on Sunday.  In the end, none of that happened because in the early hours of Saturday morning, I was in residence in his toilet being sick.  And I had the chronic runs.  So around half 8 in the morning I phone up work, told them the deal, and in not so many words got called a liar by The Boss.

I mean seriously?  What the fuck is wrong with the world?  The Boss said my story was inconsistent because a) I was sick and I am never sick, b) I was staying at a friend's house and c) I was calling really early.  On the first point, he is right.  I am never sick.  This is the first time in 4 years I've had a day off sick.  But like I said to him, when I get sick, it's bad.  My rule is if I can't get up, I'm not going in.  Insane amounts of vomit, runs and stomach cramps pretty much cover that.  Then there is the second point - staying at a friend's house.  Ugh.  I am not the most social person in the world.  I have 2 friends.  One lives in Andover and one lives in my town.  The friend in Andover is the one I stayed with and crashed on his sofa.  Because me having a friend, let alone one who would let me sleep on his sofa is implausable, right?  As for the calling early, I did that out of courtesy.  I wanted to give them the most time possible to make calls and find someone to cover my shift.  But instead, I got told I should have called at 2pm or 8pm because I might have felt better.  Oh, and FYI Boss - I wouldn't call in sick just for a day off, I'm too much of a "company man" for that, or at least I was until Saturday.

Well, on the off chance that The Boss or someone from The Company is reading this; I have two words for you.  Fuck.  That.  I sent my friend to OggCamp.  He went, he made notes, he brought notes back which I read on my Kindle.  And I am now FAR more aware of what I need to do.
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10th August 2011: What Bugs Me About Bloggers
So, I have been blogging for a long time now.  In this time I've had blogs which have made me money, and I've had blogs which have existed for just 1 or 2 posts.  But there is one thing I've never, ever done.  Nor will I.  And that is require someone to register to leave a comment.  Bloggers who do this really piss me off.  The thing is, it hurts the blog ecosystem. 

You see, if you let people leave comments as they wish, especially if you let them add their URL to their name, then it helps the blog ecosystem.  That blogger then gets a link back to their blog from potentially a really good blog.  That then helps them get bigger and more recognised.  Visitors who liked their comment can go and look at that persons blog.  Few blogs that require registration for comments allow this. 

Here is what gets me about it though.  It's a two fold thing.  I get people who say "But I get lots of spam!"  Uh huh.  Deal with it.  Moderate comments.  Install Akismet.  Or do what I do - do it by hand.  Actually, on my Linux blog, I allow free commenting, but moderate every comment.  It works for me.  Now.  On this blog things work differently.  I let anyone comment and then weed out any problem comments. 

But the thing that bugs me more than the "But I get spam" argument is that a lot of big bloggers do this.  That to me comes across as kicking the little guys in the mouth.  "We've made it big now, and this is ours.  OURS!  You get nothing!"  Bloggers should help bloggers.  I mean, take me for example.  Anyone who wants to write a guest post, anyone who wants to write a comment, contact me and let's talk.  Yes I want to make money from this blog, but you know what?  I don't want trillions.  I want enough to quit my job (now I've figured out where to go from there and keep the blog going!). 

So yeah, somewhat off topic, but that sums up a lot of my posts lately...
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9th August 2011: Undercover Boss
So, tonight Undercover Boss was on Channel 4, and they were looking at PoundWorld.  One of the directors went into the stores and was amazed to find staff who didn't want to be there, tiny canteens, people getting penalised for clocking in late, people getting penalised for their till being down, people having to heft stock in dangerous conditions, and their big boss dropping in unexpectedly.

Now, I am going to drop a hint.  I work at a place that's good with stuff.  If you were to Google the phrase good with and just left it there without pressing enter, you'd see who I worked for as the top result. 

So bosses, listen up!  That is not isolated.  It's not just at PoundWorld.  That is how retail staff feel!  We feel undervalued and that we're always replaceable.  I've actually been told that.  And the guy with glasses but no goatee in the first store is just like me.  I recognise myself in him.  And when he was interviewed at the end by the undercover boss, he still spoke down to him and crushed his individuality.  That's how it is in retail.

So, for a while you can watch it 4OD.  I'd suggest if you can and if you're someone in retail, especially management, watch it.
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9th August 2011: The London Riots
Ok, I am going to be controversial in this post.  I predicted the London Riots way back in the beginning of the year when the uprisings began in Turkey and Egypt.  And yes, I am linking these events.  Here is the thing, people are saying these are mindless, nothing to do with protests, nothing to do with the economy, blah blah blah.  Happy, contented, satisfied people do not throw petrol bombs.  Happy people do not burn cars. 

We've been taxed to the hilt.  Energy prices have been raised.  Gas prices have been raised.  Petrol prices are just going up and up and food is at an all time high.  And whilst all these prices are going up, unemployment is rising and there are no significant rises in pay for anyone on the horizon.

The thing is, people aren't happy.  They have no money, no prospects, and nothing seems like it's going to get better any time soon.  What we're seeing on the streets isn't just violence and criminality (yes, I admit that is an element of it) but it's a population kicking out at how frustrated they are. 

Oh, and for the government saying it's not good enough - well, the Police would have stopped this, but you made deep cuts to the Police Force.  You can't have it both ways Cameron.

I know this is deeply off topic, but I had to throw my 2 cents in.
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6th August 2011: The End Of The Affair
For the last seven weeks I've been seeing someone every Saturday night.  Even when I was in Honduras, I went to go see them after a drunken night out with my fiancee.  And just in the nick of time.  Another 15 minutes and it would have been too late - and that would have led to catastrophic consequences potentially. 

But now it's over.  This Saturday evening we met for the last time.  Or at least the last time for a few months at least.  She's bitter, metallic, doesn't get along with a lot of people and to be frank, she makes a lot of people sick.  Hell, she's even killed some people.  I don't like hooking up with her, I actually really hate hooking up with her.  But I have to.  It's inevitable.

And now to come clean about it.  After seven weeks, I finished my course of anti Malaria tablets.  They are disgusting, vile, horrible things.  If you're dumb, you take them with white tea or milk.  If you're equally dumb you take them with coffee or lemonade.  But the smart thing to do - take them with Coca Cola.  Honestly.  Completely masks the bitter metallic taste.  Even flat Coke like I had in Honduras works.  Little travel tip there if you're going somewhere which needs Malaria tablets. 

Although honestly - unless you really, REALLY need to get them, don't take them.  I've had Psoriasis for a year because of it, and it's more or less clearing up now, although I am still treating it.  But hey, at least the lack of balance and light headedness will vanish soon!
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6th August 2011: Not Retail Related
Ok, so, I do try and keep this blog on topic.  And I'm sorry if I offend people in this post (especially my fiancee!) but I really don't understand football fans.  When I watch sports, when something big or exciting happens I often yell "Ohhhhh!"  It's going to happen a lot tomorrow when I watch Hardcore Justice and probably during the next Formula 1 race.  But extended yelling?  My neighbour watches a LOT of football, and always does so with all his windows open so we can all hear his delightful insights into the "beautiful game".  He actually becomes a lot like this guy (embedding was disabled).  And I just don't get it.  About the furthest I will go when watching sports on TV is "Yes it is" or "Not really" when fans chant "This is awesome" at TNA events or discussing calmly with my mother about Formula 1 when someone makes a comment on the commentary.  I just don't get why football fans yell and scream and swear so much during a game, because it's not just my neighbour I've seen doing it.  I hear it from the pub (30 seconds walk from my front door) and I hear it when I walk past bars. 
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4th August 2011: Awesome Customer Service
Note: This isn't a paid post.
So, I use Nootropics and since the ones I use are natural, I buy them from Holland And Barratt.  We used to have a Julian Graves, which was fine for health food, and we have a Sweet Joe Pye which is really expensive (as much as I like supporting independents, I can't afford to).  So when I went to Holland And Barratt, they first of all had a buy one, get another for 1p, which is great for me.  Then they had a great bit of customer service which is so simple and yet so brilliant.  They told me my savings.  That might sound odd, but think about it - global recession.  Global economic crisis.  Savings are important. 

So, nice one Holland And Barratt.  Maybe it's not your policy, maybe it's just one very smart cashier, but if that's the case, you should make it policy. 
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2nd August 2011: And Then People Ask Why I Am Against Mainstream Education...
I have four examples of how downright pig thick people are at the moment.  You are exempt if you're reading this blog, because you're obviously educated and with good taste, but I digress.

First up, I know my spelling is sometimes off kilter, but honestly - "Experienced Nail Tecnition Required".  Lord.  Where to begin.  So you can spell experienced, but not technician?  Also, if you can't spell part of your job title, why would I let you anywhere near my hands?  And what message are you sending to prospective employees/clients?  This said, someone in The Store, someone high up, thinks that people who spend money in The Store are called Costomors.

Then we had girls in last night who...just ugh.  First of all I heard them say "30p.  I only have enough for one.  Because I've got 60p, and two 30ps are 80p".  ARGH!  My maths sucks, massively.  I admit that.  But numbers between 1 and 10, I can add.  Really!  And sticking a 0 on the end of that gives me minimal problems. 

They then followed by buying something for 39p, handed me 40p, and told me to keep the 5p change.  To which one girl commented "Charlotte, you moron!  It's 4p change!"  Yes.  Charlotte is the moron of the piece...

Then whilst driving past a bar in The New Forest, I saw a sign.  "Cream Tea's available inside!"  I'm not going to go all Eats, Shoots, And Leaves" on you.  Really.  Apostrophes can be hard.  I get it.  But when it comes to plurals?  Not so much.  My dad even tried to correct with "It's normally Cream Tea".  But I pointed out that "Cream Tea available inside!" is bad grammar.  Unless they only have one.

So, yeah, if this is what mainstream English Language education is producing...I'm still in favour of home education.  And please, rant at me with your silly "But mainstream education provides x" or "Home education doesn't provide x".  I will swat you away, because I am experienced in this art and argument.
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2nd August 2011: Bad Customer Service AGAIN
It seems like all I write about at the moment is shitty customer service.  I have no idea if anyone has noticed this in places that serve customers, but...ummm...there's a global financial meltdown.  Happy customers=you keep your job. 

I want to make a graphic example of this.  I was at KFC today, getting lunch before I went off to do my other job.  Now, I am going to name names and name places.  This was at KFC in West Quay, Southampton.  It looks pretty.  They have a video wall of snapshots.  They got just a refurbishment.  Except, both times I've been there recently (once for work) there were staff hanging around seemingly doing nothing.  That I can deal with.  Sometimes hanging around doing nothing isn't what you're doing, it just looks that way.  But I cannot forgive Santosh at KFC West Quay.  He was the guy who served me today.  He literally threw my order onto the tray.  Man.  He was damned lucky I wasn't there working.  But ho hum, like I said, graphic example - I'll be filing a complaint.  Also, I don't really think "What is you waitin' for?" is a good way to speak to a customer.  Especially as "What I is waitin' for" is the rest of my order!  Buck up people!

Oh, and if you're Santosh and you're pissed that I blogged about you - I work in retail, both sides of the fence, so don't get bitchy at me for your shit customer service.  I actually know what constitutes good customer service because I don't just deliver it, I judge it too.
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