It's all go around here. Except for my computer. Last Saturday, everything was fine. Since Sunday, nothing. No power, no juice, no oooooomph.
So... normal service will be resumed soon.
Today, I called my bank at 9.30. I got through to my branch after about 2 minutes on hold.
The woman I spoke to wasn't able to help me. There was nobody around who was able to help me, because they were doing their weekly training. But she took my account number, a note of what I wanted to do, and my contact number.
A couple of hours later, someone called me back to confirm what I wanted to do, and said that she'd do it that day.
At no point did I have to give out digits four and six of my password - which I can't remember, and at no point did I have to tell them my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My request was simple, didn't need a huge amount of security and both people I dealt with were friendly and helpful. How good it that?
I know I had a bit of a rant about call centres earlier. And they do serve a purpose. They keep costs down, and mean that if your question could be answered by a teenager with a computer, it will be answered by a teenager with a computer. As a result, the people who are running your front office can get on with dealing with the people in front of them without that dilemma of whether or not to answer the ringing telephone.
It turns out, once you're at the desk, talking to a real person, Alamo's customer service can be excellent, in some cases going beyond what you'd expect. This includes a healthy disrespect for computers and a genuine desire to put the customer first. I was pleasantly surprised. How good is that?
Your face is breathing, you are old but still alive. Your curves are spreading, thinking back in time slowly. The ever-changing shorelines, changing times, situation sprouts the most beautiful but sad daffodils. And there is some very beautiful but ill-fated woman climbing over your face.
I understand the recent changes to Trust taxation legislation in the United Kingdom.
Why would I want to do that?
"Hello," I said. No reply. I wasn't really surprised.
For a variety of reasons I've spent most of today dealing with Customer Service. The quality of the service that I have received has been a big bunch of wanky fuck piss.
To change a pick-up time for a car hire, I tried contacting the office where the car was supposed to be picked up from. I was put through to a call centre. I went through a couple of menus before I got to a person who couldn't understand my accent and eventually told me that he couldn't help me and I'd have to go to the agency that I booked through.
Annoying for me, because I couldn't cut out the middle man, annoying for them because they'd have to waste twice as much time on a call. So hurrah for them.
So I went through the agent. I found my local number for the agent, and was put through to a call centre. I went through a couple of menus before I got to a person who couldn't understand my accent and eventually told me that he would pass my details on to someone else and they would call me back.
They didn't. So hurrah for them.
Finally, I was trying to trace a lost bag, lost on a plane. I wanted to get through to someone in the building where I reckon the bag might be, someone who could go and have a look on a shelf and see if it's there. I hunted on their web site for a contact number.
Hurrah for them. Not only do they not appear to have telephones, the advice on their site is to contact someone else.
Now, I may be old fashioned. Indeed, I know I'm old fashioned. But somewhere along the line, the meaning of the words Customer and Service - used together - have changed. It's like when "Staff Services", which was run by friendly helpful people, became "Human Resources", which is run by dragons and mainly consists of sacking people and denying them pay reviews. It's about keeping costs down. That's the way of the future. Yes.
Wanky. Fuck. Piss.
Miller time is the point in the evening when the women come around the pub and tell you about the special deal they've got on Miller. Last night it was very hard to hear, because of the loud music, but they said something about headphones, and winning a prize if you got an answer right, and still getting a prize if you got it wrong and so on and so forth.
So I thought.... why not? And it turned out that part of the deal was that I got a free pint of Miller too. As a result, I learned three things.
Mad Mick reckons that he's just not cut out to live here in foreign. He's lived and worked in what he describes as two main types of foreign, and it's interesting to compare and contrast the two.
Mainly he's been in countries that used to be pink in the Atlas. These were generally countries that used to be British colonies or dependencies or what have you. And here's Mick, a British guy, going in and accepting these countries for what they are, with their own identities and history, albeit a history that Britain has played a great and significant part in.
So to classify. Country A was a British territory up until some point in the last 100 years. The current environment recognises that a lot of the country's problems over the last 100 years are down to the local mismanagement of the infrastructure left in place by the British. There's an acceptance that the way forward is to redefine, rebuild and take ownership and responsibility for their own future. They're going to be huge, Mick reckons.
Country B was a British territory up until some point in the last 100 years. The current environment is actually a lot better than country A, and there aren't that many problems. However, many of the country's citizens believe that things should be better, and that the reason that they are not better is down to the x-hundred years of oppression under the thumb of the British overlords who systematically raped country B of its culture and natural resources. This completely undermines the silent majority who take responsibility for their own problems. This country is not going to be huge. Mick reckons that this country is going to shoot itself in the foot and marginalise itself.
These countries achieved independence within 25 years of each other - B before A. Since then, Mick says that one has grown up, and the other has become a petulant teenager.
My interpretation? The thing about being an underdog is that it gives you something to rail against. Yes, there were x-hundred years of oppression, and yes, there were atrocities in there. And isn't it great to blame the woes of today on them - get in to an argument with a B-citizen, and if they mention oppression you may as well walk away because they've already won. You can't win against that argument, because it's not an argument. It's an incontestible fact, and a security blanket. It's not going to go away, ever. But there comes a point when you have to stop hiding behind it and accept that the way forward is not to forget it, but not to give it power to mis-shape society. Again, and I can't say this enough, it is not an argument, it's something to hide behind.
Country B worries me sometimes.