Friday, 11 December 2009

Tesco training Staff using Little Britain

I felt like I was in a Little Britain sketch last night, the "older" lady on Customer Services at Tesco Extra in Hookwook, Horley must have just completed a Tesco Customer Services training course, hosted by Carol Beer (David Walliams).

Ok, let's start from the beginning, I was sent on a errand to our local Tesco, to get Infancol, Calgel Teething Gel and Carpet Cleaner. The first two were obviously for our 7 month old, the latter was to clean the carpet from a serious case of hairball from one of our cats.

After roaming the cleaning isle a couple of times, I eventually locked onto the one half-a-shelf with carpet cleaners on it, and consulted the Mrs over the phone, which of the vast choice of 3 she preferred.

I then headed for the baby isles, we've been down them a few times in the last 7 - 16 months.
Located the Infancol (to help babies with "wind" troubles) immediately and luckily only one size/choice, ok, good. I looked for the "Calgel" (a Teething Gel made by Calpol people, I remember taking Calpol as a kid myself), no sign, in fact there was only one, Dentinox or something like that, in a plain white package.

Now, I don't want to sound odd, but being only a parent for 7 months, you get used to some things and they're comforting, or give a comforting feel, and that's that on the vast majority of baby products, there's usually a smiling infant or mother & baby duo on the front. I've often suspected this was to aid fathers when tasked to retrieve such items by themselves, so it's my reaction to avoid it, whether that's right or wrong is up to the individual, you may think differently, power to you then.

So, I bring out the trusted phone to contact the all-knowing one... who quickly makes her frustrations aware over the phone to me, I shall just paraphrase "IT'S THERE! IT SHOULD BE THERE!". Me, "Well, it's not, I've run a 600 x600 DPI scan (techy humour there) across the whole aisle and there's no sign of it".

Luckily about this time, a lady behind me pipes up and says it's down "the 1st isle" (area with medicines), I thank her, and set off in that direction.

After another thorough scan of the whole isle or two, or three, or... well actually I lost count, I did spot a Bonjela Teething Gel. "Right... so half here, half in the baby isle.... that's helpful", I think to myself, well actually I probably muttered it out loud.

Then I remembered that a few weeks back, this Tesco had suddenly got a Pharmacy back, in fact, if I may detour for a moment, don't worry you'll enjoy this. The other night both myself and the Mrs (or SWMBO) both visited Tesco to do a big shop, while baby was with her grandparants.

They used to have one... quite a while ago.. in fact... I think the last thing I bought from it was a pack of condoms, I remember hoping to get served by a man, but it was a woman instead, and feeling super-embarrassed.

Anyway, grandma (she doesn't like being called granny) has managed to burn her arm on the kettle and called us to pick up a particular burn cream.. accruflex if my memory is correct (not often), we of course scan all the isles in the medicine area... find nothing, so I suggest the Pharmacy. We head on over there, where we're served by a very "jolly" lady, who seems oddly familiar...

Of course... as the gentler species does... SWMBO manages to start our second social interaction while at Tesco (the first to a somewhat strange man in the sweet isle, who told us he has a full kitchen of appliances, none of which he bought, because he works at a tip or something like that.. *rolls his eyes*), at which point we learn that she is glad to be in the pharmacy, after spending 7 years upstairs in electrical, she did enjoy it and learned a lot, but was nice to be back in the pharmacy... yes because she worked in the original one... oh god...

To anyone who's watched an episode of Scrubs, I was doing a JD inner head scream, along with shouting (in my head still!) "Please don't recognise me, please don't recognise me!" and picturing me running from the pharmacy counter like an olympic runner. Fortunately, either she didn't recognise me (well, I imagine she served a lot of people at the pharmacy, and I hope I look different to then.. though I have a very young looking face, so am often believed to be younger than I am... should come in handy in later years), or did and thankfully didn't mention it. After hearing how Tesco lost it's license or never had one to begin with and so had to close it's Pharmacies in stores, and that they'd now got a license and was reopening Pharmacies in selected stores, etc. etc. we got the cream, and said thank you and bye and finished our shopping for the night.

Anyway, enough humour, back to my rant! Back to tonight, or last night as I write this blog.

I head off in that direction, unfortunately the helpful nice lady was not on duty this night, instead there's two somewhat "lost" looking staff members instead, one looking way more "lost" than the other. I enquire about the Calgel, which I'm told they don't have in the Pharmacy and to look down the aisles, I explained I already had and my results (2, neither of which are in, in two different locations), they point me to customer services... off I trot.

Now, it's not easy getting to customer services, when you're already carrying a couple of items, you have to manoeuvre through the "gates" they have, and hug customer services, with a bouncer-esque security guard eyeing you up. "Well, if you designed this place better, we wouldn't have this problem!" I think to myself.

Standing in the queue for 20 minutes, while the two staff members deal with one customer (one of them faffing with paperwork), then a lady with a trolly full of wine trundles over and gets served before me! Requesting help with loading into her car. The staff member fumbles for a bit, makes a weak attempt at a phone call, before grabbing the senior-looking Security Guard into doing a "favour". "Well at least it stops him looking at me like I'm a criminal" I think to myself.

Finally... the bit you've been waiting for... I'm served. "Hello, I'm trying to find a particular baby Teething Gel. I've been down the aisles, and found one in the baby section, and another in the medicine aisle, but neither of them..." "Pharmacy", she says interrupting, in fact, I'd battled to get even that far. "I've been to Pharmacy already, they told me to come here", I say, and I think "If you'd let me finish you &*%((^$(".

She sighs, grunts or something or other. "Can you look on your system please", I ask politely. Normally I wouldn't be this calm in the face of such obvious unhelpfulness, but I was on a mission for my Daughter, so decided to keep cool.
"What was it?" She asks.
"Calgel Teething Gel" I say.
"Calpol", she says beginning to type.
I sigh. "It's Calgel, it's made by the Calpol people...
"Then it'll be Calpol", she interrupts.
" but it's called Calgel", I finish.
She types in Calpol and searches.
"Nope, no teething gel here", she says, I think, though it could just have easily been "Computer says no" from the tone.
"Is that using a search for Calpol?" I ask.
"Yes", she says flately.
"Can you try Calgel?", I ask politely, doing the best job ever of withholding my frustration, in fact, a picture is forming in my head..
"Well, I could put in Calgel if you like...", she says.
The picture forms, of me leaping over the counter, pushing her aside and searching for it myself.
"If you would please." I maintain my cool.
"How do you spell that?" she asks.
"C.. A...L...G...E", I start.
"GEL", she finishes.
I'm pretty sure I roll my eyes while she looks down at her computer screen.
She types into the computer...
"Oh... 4 results..." she says, genuinely sounding surprised.
I feel my hopes rise, I'm winning, I could have the gel in my hands and be making my way home shortly, hoorah!"
".... but they're not stocked by this store." she says flatly.
"But.. we've been getting it here for months", I say somewhat frustrated.
"Says we don't stock it." She says flatly again.
"We've had the pharmacy reopen, so some things have changed", she says.
"Right... " I say, at this point I've given up trying to do this woman's job for her, and say "Ok", and make my way back to the Pharmacy, in the hopes that now I've confirmed the store has it on their system I might get further (since previously the Pharmacy staff had no idea what Calgel was or if they stocked it, and that Customers would be the ones to know).

I stand there for 30 minutes behind one other customer, and a queue forming behind me, while one member of the Pharmacy staff has gone awol, and the other spends all this time sorting the customer out infront and finishing with a jolly old chat. I look behind me at the queue of 5 people now, and this pharmacy is very small, about the size of photo processing booths they had in the USA in the 90's.

Finally I'm served, explained my adventures in Tesco tonight so far, where I'm told that actually, all the pharmacy stock is just "store stock", so Customer services would know if they had it.

Right now, I would settle for half-hearted attempt at opening a few draws looking...

She informs me that stock control is Head Office's decision, and maybe it wasn't selling well, so was withdrawn to allow room for other items on the shelves.

I said, "Ok then, guess I'll have to enquire at head office, thanks." and I quickly shuffle off, not wanting to hold up the others patiently queuing behind me.

I head over to the medicine aisle and get the Bonjela one instead, praying I've not just wasted my money on it (babies can be picky and once you give them something without problems, you don't rock the boat getting something different).

I shall of course be calling HO to enquire about the teething gel, but also to advise them to stop using "Little Britain" as a training aid to Tesco Staff, as they're obviously getting it the wrong way round ("what to do", instead of "what NOT to do").

Of course, I get home, explain all this to SWMBO, who can't believe it, she looks at the Bonjela, and reads "Bannana Flavour, oh no.." "What?" I say. "Well.. it's not that she doesn't like Bannana flavour, but bannanas do block her up"

I just sigh.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Fake Buyer Emails

A colleague of mine at work put up his old phone for sale (I say old, it's fairly new, but he's moving onto the next one that came out last week), he's given up on the well known auction site, and instead used the seller option on a well known buyer site ("Jungle" as a hint for it's name).

Anyway... he received an email saying it had been sold, and who to, who requested a picture of it (it being second hand) had an extra £40 on the shipping as the buyer was in Nigeria.

My colleague logged in to check it had been sold, and discovered it hadn't, this email, very authentic looking, just like others the site emails, was in fact a fake.

What follows is his reply, obviously he's intelligent enough to know this person more than likely doesn't exist and is all fabricated and his email just went into a big spam system, possible output to the spammers/criminals for a laugh or deleted if not relevant.

WARNING: The follow contains rude language and should therefore not be viewed by anyone needing parental consent!

Thanks for your email.
Unfortunately, I am unable to ship the item through Royal Mail Special Delivery as this has proved too costly in the past, especially to international destinations.
My usual shipping method for such destinations is by way of my brother, who of evening, turns into his alter-ego, Superman. Unfortunately he is currently delivery a Ferrari 360 to friendly gentleman who email me from Mongolia. As soon as he returns, I will ask him to send you the N97 as discussed in the email below. As large items, such as Ferraris, can slow down delivery times, you may have to wait an extra few years for the phone to arrive.
I will of course endeavour to have this item shipped as soon as possible. I appreciate that when ordering items you want them to arrive in a timely manner. The only other option for a quicker delivery is for me to ram the phone up my arse, eat a very hot curry and then fart like fuck. This method usually arrives in Nigeria within a couple of days If you wish to go for this premium delilvery option, please select the "shit hot" method under the delivery options at checkout.
Thanks for your interest in the item.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Be Safe Be Seen - Kids and ADULTS TOO!

"Dress Bright and BE SEEN", a simple enough message, and quite important given now it's pitch black outside and yet when I'm driving home from work, there are still pedestrians and cyclist wearing nothing reflective or bright and walking beside the road, or running across the road, or riding out in front of you. behaviour which is reckless during daylight and angers drivers, but at night is just idiocy.

Go to Tesco, buy an AA pack of 4 (2 adult, 2 child) reflective vests for £10 already! Or pick out some brighter/reflective coats for going out in, so not quite as odd looking.

"Three", not "fwee", and "Think", not "fink"

It's aggravating enough hearing this in person from day to day by some people, but when the presenters are teaching it to our kids, I really draw the line.

I'm not talking about teaching them the Queen's English, although that could be next on their list of kid cartoons, I was very surprised to find "Little Einsteins". Initially struck me as Posh Sesame Street, as every episode is about an item from a country and a piece of classical music. Not bad, I thought, should even out the brain dead presenters.... yes I know it's for kids... but seriously, these days by the time they're 4 they've already got a flick knife and 0% respect for adults, which one could argue is the fault of these quite imbecilic actors.

Unfortunately, like everything else, you have to vet and decide for yourself what to give your kids, some things like food are easy, you simply don't give them anything you feel is bad for them, and ensure they don't get it anywhere else... unfortunately it's not quite so easy to filter the idiot box. Particularly if you find some shows are acceptable, but the one before or after isn't.

Oh well... one more challenge to find a solution to... maybe buying DVDs of cartoon from my day and only letting them watch those.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Check and Fix your Voicemail Message people!

Ah man... ! That's so annoying! Some people.. argh...

You ring their mobile, it answers, you hear the person's voice say "Neil Smith" (fake name btw),

So thinking you've got who you called, you say "Hi Neil, I was wondering if you'd.. yadda yadda" I'm on the phone or doing something else at the moment, please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you"
".. uck sake. .oh ah, yeah Neil, this is AJ, can you.."
Woman's voice "time up, to listen to your message, press 1, to re-record your message, press 2."

Friday, 16 October 2009

Driving me nuts!

Ok, I've been driving since I passed my test first time on my 18th Birthday... that was over 9 years ago.

Ok, I'm not a "vet", but I'm no newbie.

In the last 9 years, driving has gone from freedom and a pleasent experience to sheer frustration and annoyance.

I only live 3.9 miles from where I work, and I've got a Tesco Extra store 1.6 miles from my house. Therefore I can do a awful lot of extremely short journeys, however nowadays you only have to be on the road for 2 minutes before you come across your first idiot.

Now, I am really trying to keep a cool head these days, finding if I let something really make me angry I'll suffer from ulcers, therefore I had to increase my fuse before going nuclear, however it's not easy when faced with the likes of these people (note, not an exhaustive list!):

Older, quite often female drivers who see nothing wrong with driving while just being able to see over the wheel, or in some cases they look THROUGH the wheel. How can they drive with due care and attention at that height? The seats ARE adjustable and you can use a cushion just like you do at home!

Boy/Girl racers, who treat house estates as race tracks, you're the ones driving dangerously and likely to kill someone, you're the ones the Police should be after, not fining someone for doing 35 in a 30 limit, snapped by a camera RIGHT after a roundabout on a mostly deserted industrial estate!

Slowpokes, in Horley (small town right beside Gatwick Airport), there is a particular set of traffic lights right by a bridge over the railway. Many of us turn right and go over the railway to get to the rest of Horley... the traffic light sequence for those turning right is approx. 10 seconds. While I realise there's a good chance some are not local to the area.. however at rush hour you'd expect them to be familiar with the route seeing as it is rush hour, most are travelling a standard route they often take. Surely this would be common knowledge by now to not fart around and get a move on, less only the first 3 vehicles get a go.

This can be said for a number of traffic lights, the "I'm alright Jack" mentality is as soon as you (the car at the front) are past the lights, foot comes off the accelerator and switch to dawdling mode. Oh what I would give to be able to fire a rocket launcher at the one in front at this point, and drive through the blaze left, just like in the movies.

Mandy/Mark no-manners, even if the obstruction in on the other person's side, I prefer to acknowledge them with a thank you, it's just the polite thing to do. Given the number of (mostly) white van men and woman drivers who plough through, regardless of the Highway code (yes there is the " didn't see you, now I'm commited argument, however that doesn't stop you pulling in at the next chance! Unless of course the person coming the other way is the berk and puts their foot down, not giving you the chance to get in, that also happens). We're ALL trying to get somewhere, well maybe not the "Oldies drivers", they do seem to be on the road aimlessly heading for nowhere in particular.

School run, which nowadays is a warzone or rough terrain exercise. Ok, if you have a tribe of offspring, the weekly shop may require something with more room than a Corsa, but really, these huge 4x4's are just rediculous, especially when the driver (typically female), believe it to be a close relative of a Army Tank, which gives them ownership of the road and everyone else must get out of their way. It's undeniably a far nicer journey to work, when the brats are off school, sadly this usually means the streets are far less safer, oh well you can't have it all, can you?

Road-side parking, even those with garages, park on the road... with no consideration if they're parking outside YOUR house, on YOUR side of the road, bad enough they don't keep the othe side clear for your driveway. I pray there's a small fire down the street, nothing serious, just enough to have a Fire Engine belt through and plough all the parked cars our the way, that'll make them think twice about leaving their cars there. Especially with NO consideration for anyone to actually be able to drive past them down the road... it IS a road afterall, not a car park!

Signals... every car has them (well, saying that, it looks like some car manufacturers are trying to phase them out, making them smaller and smaller, or sticking them in weird locations other drivers can't see them!), yet s few people use them... or what really aggrivates me, is the mindset of using the indicator RIGHT AS THEY'RE turning, almost as if for them to be able to turn the wheel fully, they must activate the indicator to be able to do it. That is NOT the reason for indicators, you're to use them BEFORE your manouver to alert other motorists and pedestrians. It's Mirror, Signal, Manouver NOT Signal+Manouver simultaneously!

On a similiar note, unless they're teaching something different, when approaching a roundabout you signal left on the approach if you're taking the first exit, you signal right if you're taking an exit which would cause you to go round the motorway by 90 degrees, i.e. if you're not going straight over/across the roundabout and by that I don't mean literally (though some idiots seem to do it, judging by the tire marks on the smaller roundabouts). Which, by the way, is extremely idiotic if it's a multi-lane roundabout (even just two lanes) and you're in the left lane, and then turn right/take the right-hand exit (whether there is a straight on exit or not). You are in the wrong lane and cutting people up, stop doing it!

There's a mini-ish roundabout near my house, I signal right and take the right-hand exit to go home, but many in front and behind, signal right and go straight across, what idiots! A pedistrian could see your signal, begin to walk across the road and be ploughed down by you!

Worst still, we can't rely on the authorties to be a good example, if it's not Police racing to clock off and smacking into a 4x4, it's the number of ambulances I've seen "sneak up" on motorists, waiting until they're behind you to activate their siren to scare the heck out of you, nearly causing an accident themselves. They should have it on PERMANENTLY when in an emergency situation, Ambulance, Police, Fire Engines, not turning it off and the on at the most stupid time. Yes they have flashing lights, but the roads are getting so glogged up with cars (driving and parked) that's not always enough. It's becoming a game of waldo when you do faintly hear something, and goodness help you if you're about to join a major roundabout, it could be coming from anywhere and going anywhere else!

Worst still are the movie-loving police men/woman with the "hair dryer" speed camera, these should be banned, there's no reason for them with the fixed camera and mobile camera vans, and the officers should certainly be trained, not to pull them out like a weapon. If a kid pulls out a toy gun, they shoot him on the spot, how do they think the public feels when they see an officer pull out and point what looks like a weapon at them, especially if they rest it ontop of their parked vehicle for stability, surely that's not necessary to tag a vehicle, but it is if you want to shoot the driver, that's how it's perceived by the member of the public in the car.

Yes, I am referring to an incident I experienced, no it was not me he was after, but the Ferrari rocketing up beside me in the fast lane, who looked like he was going to fly by, but then didn't, instead staying a little ways behind me.

They don't make the roads safer, they make them more dangerous, people slamming on the brake, warning each other, rubbernecking etc.

We're in Autumn, and Winter will soon be upon us, the season for daily accidents, motorway collisions, back road ditch car upending and icing spinouts/telephone pole wraparounds.... if any proof is needed we as a race are heading for our own extinction by stupidity, it's the quality of driving, especially in the winter.

How do these people past their driving tests?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Sponsored by a company that wants to aggrivate you

Ok, well I finally felt good enough to see the first episode of the new series of Lie to Me (if you don't know what that is, go and google it and come if you must), the episode itself was pretty good, felt the ending pretty sudden, however at each point before and after the advert break, we're told that the show is brought to you/sponsored by "so-en-so".

This gets remarkably annoying at the best of times, even worse if it's been done by some wally in marketing. However, this time, the company (a carpet company of all things) decides the best way to tell viewers it sponsors the program is by showing a spider, tarantula I believe, when going to adverts and a snake on the return. These have to be two of the biggest phobias possible, I personally suffering from the Arachnophobia, not that I fancied seeing the snake either mind.

Did I miss something, or is sponsoring a program another method of advertising your company to possible customers? If so, what idiot though using phobias would turn people on to considering them for getting their new carpet??!!

Worst still, I have to remember to cover my eyes/look away when the show goes to an advert break, which happens, what 4 times per episode, and say about 26 episodes on average per series in America, say 100 chances, great, that doesn't put a dampener on my enjoyment.. no... I shall be emailing their customer support/complaints department.

What were they thinking?!