Mr FF and I have both agreed that this year we are not taking any nonsense (except from each other of course), that we won't support unfairness, bad practice or business that doesn't provide good service and that we will give credit where it is deserved. For example
We are still without central heating, or indeed a boiler, and coping really well. When our 20 year old, usually reliable and fuel efficient boiler started to leak water just before Christmas. Mr FF in something of a panic because of all the problems caused by the very cold weather ordered a new condensing boiler that we put into the store until our plumber could connect it up. However because of the condensing function our existing flue arrangement won't work and Mr FF received such appalling customer service from the manufacturers, basically they didn't have a clue what we should do in our slightly more complex than usual situation, that after 4 weeks he sent the bloomin thing back and got a full refund. We had such bad reports about this new and enforced type of boiler (apparently you need permission to use a non-condensing one) that we are looking at alternatives, including the possibility of an air source heat pump that would be so eco friendly but not necessarily suitable for our current system. It would mean that we could no longer operate the back boiler on our stove that provides so much hot water and runs the radiator in the hall. It's either an expensive environmental system or an infrequently used conventional boiler and stick with our lovely stove and back boiler. Apart from in really cold weather, we never use the central heating, we have the stove burning 24 hours a day, Mr FF has a small thermostatically controlled electric oil filled radiator in his office and we have one in our bedroom if required. Otherwise we are using our own calories and wool jumpers each to keep us toasty.
This week Mr FF received by email a ticket for a business event he is attending in a few weeks. The ticket was an A4 sheet, black background with a white image of some structure, venue details and the ticket number. Mr FF replied saying it would probably use all the ink in his printer, to which the company running the event responded that they would happily print it out for him and post it. At this stage I suggested that he needed to get his message across a bit stronger, that the whole ethos was wrong and so he did, not only suggesting that the expectation of each delegate producing an ink heavy paper ticket was wrong, but that emailing such a thing in large scale format was wasteful. The ticket was a 2 Mb file, sent to a minimum 200 delegates and stored on sender and recipients systems and possibly also backed up, this could amount to 1600 Mb (equivalent to 50,000 average size letters), half of which may be stored in specially built data warehousing that uses energy to build and maintain. He received a reply thanking him for pointing all this out, the company had not previously considered the impact on the environment and they would be taking it on board. They also agreed that since delegates had already enrolled for the event there was no need at all for tickets and that they could simply provide identification at the registration.
I walked out of TK Maxx sticking my intended purchase on the nearest rail because there was a queue of about 10 people and only one till open, such a place doesn't deserve my money.
I've written to thank a mail order firm that provided me with a (1/3rd) more expensive item at the same price when the sale article I ordered was out of stock, despatching it by special delivery again at no extra cost so that I received it next day. The lovely cardigan is back to full price now, I paid £69 for my grey one.
I had a call from a guy saying our Sky box warranty had run out and he could renew it over the phone for us taking either the full amount or setting up installments. I asked him what we usually did, he said last year we paid the full amount. I then explained that we'd never had a Sky warranty, that we consider warranties a complete rip off and that he wasn't telling the truth, he was soon off the phone. I know call centre people have to make a living but blatant dishonesty surely isn't the way, his friendly confident tone could easily mislead people.
A friend once told me that sometimes getting your message across can be like throwing mud at a wall, you throw an awful lot and not much sticks, but a little bit of it does. I intend to throw lots this year.