Saturday, 5 February 2011

Speaking up (aka Time for a Rant)

It's been a fairly quiet week, a time when enthusiasm for the New Year New Me has faded but still too early for real signs of spring. The weather has been horrible, a sprinkling of snow, high winds and torrential rain. Lots of time spent knitting in front of the stove interspersed with a bit of dorissing including my infrequent duty of knocking down the cobwebs in the double height atrium using the step ladder and a feather duster on the end of a long cane, so that's the spring cleaning done.

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.


  1. Well done you! So often we think these things but are afraid to say them. It sounds like you should be feeling very pleased with yourself! x

  2. How satisfying! A good rant does you a power of good. Good job there are plenty of 'listening ears' for you...... at more than arms length away, too! ;-) Ros

  3. My mother who sadly is a very stupid woman has paid over £200 for some kind of warrenty for her Sky box....because the woman who rang her up was ever so nice...
    You are right to question and if necessary I've got older I do question and don't feel embarassed by saying I'm not happy with things...
    One of my pet hates is making people, especially old people think they need to insure their drains when infact some problems can be dealt with free from the council or local water company.

  4. And that telling them lol
    Loved this post - ranting yes.....but honest. There's too many of them thinking they can get away with it
    Going to run for parliament??

  5. You can't beat a good rant, when it's justified. I'm becoming more of a grumpy old woman these days, and don't mind in the slightest pointing out if I'm not happy about something. Mr JK is all for the quiet life, and leaves it all to me!

  6. The Sky box scam is legend in this house. The phone calls started 3 weeks - 3 weeks!! - after we got Sky installed. Nothing seems to stop them, despite being registered with the TPS.

    I made a similar promise to myself about customer service as well. I just need to actually complain about service, rather than just boycott places, though... :-D

  7. Don't get me started on Sky - as soon as we get freeview round here we shall be waving them goodbye. Blooming awful company.

  8. I do love a good rant!! We often get calls offering us massive savings if we get our electricity and gas from the one supplier - I just tell them that perhaps they should check before phoning - we don't have gas, as we live in the middle of nowhere!!
    I agree with the printer thing too - if you have to print out something and you could wring the ink out of the paper, it is so saturated ...... very, very annoying, as ink cartrifges on my printer only seem to last for a few pages!!

  9. I'm taking my complaint straight to the top. I am writing to David Cameron to ask how he can consider throwing my hubby out of the Police Force, just because he has completed 30 years of very front line service, when he considers on the other hand that it is good for us to work until we are 67 years old!!!?? And why, if he was cutting down on the benefits culture, the rented house next door to us has 2 new occupants who are claiming disability allowance/housing benefit etc at the age of 22 years old because their illness is obesity?! Because of this, they each get a free car too!!They have had to move into the back bedroom, because my hubby, and the other neighbour ( a postman) disturb their sleep too much working crazy shifts!! They dont get up till well after noon! And they also need to use everyone elses cardboard bins as they have too many Pizza delivery boxes to fit into their own!
    I'm livid - can you tell?

  10. I had that Sky phone call as well a couple of weeks ago. Gave them short shrift. There are some really very pushy cold callers out there these days. Well done for making a stand.

  11. Rant away, I think you're in good company here! I've been a grumpy old women since my teens, never had a problem with speaking up for myself, or others, and speaking my mind too. It amazes me what people will put up with. My favourite trick with the tel sales people is to just put the phone down (not hang up), and walk away and get on with something else! You won't believe how long some of them will talk for before they realize you're not there!!


  12. My that was a good rant, I bet you felt better once you had written this post.

  13. I love this rant, particularly the Sky part.

    I used to live in a small village 8 miles east of Darlington. I used to get bombarded with telephone calls from Cable television suppliers, offering the best, the brightest and the cheapest television entertainment. They told that for a small fee all these wonders could be piped into my sitting room. I politely declined and said good bye.

    The telephone calls continued until one day I popped. I thanked them for their kind offer and yes I would love their wondrous television and I would be delighted that for the very small fee they would run my very own personal cable television pipe from the nearest exchange of 9 miles away. Funnily enough I didn't hear from them again. I assume that they were working off postal codes rather than substantial research. But they made my blood boil!