Wednesday, April 12, 2006

get results!

I recently had a short assertive battle with an unnamed organic food manufacturer from Mt Wellington in Auckland... and won. A new jar of Almond butter (louise's new thing) is currently winding its way to my letterbox after I complained that the product was poorly labeled.

"I am a leaf on the wind; watch how I soar!"

I also found, this week, a site that has some practical steps about how to complain and get results. Nice.

right then, that's all for now... except to say that Telecom hasn't given me a reason to trust them yet. Mongrels.

Night night.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Today's rant

Ok, I hate them. Telecom are just plain old-fashioned wrought iron mongrels.

The thing is, we had a dial up account (I know! retro eh?!) with Xtra Telecom [mongrels] that we didn't need anymore. So we stopped using it. In May last year I started spotting 'pre-pay' amounts on our monthly phone bill for $5. I swiftly put a stop to that (I say swiftly, but I was on hold for 20 minutes). It seems that their default dial up account is one which if not used will incur a charge EACH month; a $5 fee until Jesus comes back or until you close your account - at which time they will refund your hard earned money. They will hold these funds ($67.50c per year!)and will continually charge you whilst investing the money in other evil multi national corporations, perhaps in order to be able to plan new and cunning ways to screw the good people of New Zealand.

Anyway, I hopped off their default to another one which is exactly the same in every way except that they won't charge you a pre pay amount. (asking why ANYONE might want to be on this account would be a good use of oxygen; asking why this account even exists would be even better). I was assured on this date that they (the afore mentioned mongrels) would not charge me anything on this account unless I dialed up and then would be post-charged for activity.

Happiness for a few months.

Today upon receiving the bill from the soulless overlords. I noted a monthly charge of $2.81 for 'email maintenance' They had been charging me this sneakily for 4 months!

Check your bill, query your bill, check the plan that you are on by default, but be prepared to wait for 5-20 minutes on hold. When on hold, I have found it calming to darn socks, create 70s style macrame plant hangers or make muffins.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

bug me not

You know sometimes you need to find out some info from a web site or download a free trial of something... You go though the process and then after you've filled out almost everything, stage 7 of the process includes entering you email address? Or worse than that, they try to make you set up an account for something that you just don't need an account for?!

no one wants to become the victim of spam just because they've downloaded Real Player, so this website is the answer!

Simply get a log in from bugmenot; snatch the booty and then head for the sunset.

I love it.

It works.

very cool.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Top of the Pods dot com

Rob and Jon from top of the pods did a show a while back about how to deal with poor customer service. You can download the show as an Mp3 It wasn't the funniest show that they have done, but it was actually quite informative - particularly if you live in the UK. Some useful tips there for the young player - and some that I hadn't thought of!

topofthepods is one pod cast that I make sure that I tune into as often as possible. These guys are really funny and pump out the shows - usually at least 3 a week! It's well worth a listen. The best way to hear them is to subscribe through iTunes. In my humble... the best show that they have done so far was the one of the top ten tips for blokes on the pull - hilarious!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The apology list

So after writing my last post about the complexity that is bananas, I got to thinking about people who break the banana rules and how they should be made to apologise. Then it dawned on me that there are many more people who are in the same boat. So I started compiling the following list:

People who should be made to apologise:

1. Alanis Morissette - For tricking us all by writing and singing great songs and then relentlessly and painfully playing that awful harmonica again and again and again...

2. George Bush. For many, many different reasons that are too many in number and complicated to list here.

3. People and companies who sell gift vouchers that expire in 3 or 6 months. It's is business without conscience and that's unacceptable.

4. The person or people who invented liquid soap for the shower. Apparently most women like this sort of thing, but I hear from bar stool banter that about 60% of what men (myself included) squeeze into their hands in the shower is washed down the drain without actually making contact with any other part of the body.

5. Any New Zealand Company that advertises on television or radio using an American voiceover. Shame on you.

well, that will do for now... but be warned because it's 2006 and I am on the prowl.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I have just spend a few minutes explaining the rules about bananas to my wife. I feel that transparency is vital and so I will share the rules with you now. There are only two rules:

1.0 There is a time frame that is acceptable in terms of ripeness, in which bananas can be eaten and enjoyed - depending on the climate in which you live and if you choose to refrigerate your bananas (which I think is just weird). Too early [green] and the bananas are hard to peel, unpleasant to eat (the texture is like eating half dried PVA glue), and the flavour is not yet developed enough to enjoy beyond the aforementioned gluey taste. Too late and you've got brown spots which make eating the banana an altogether unforgivable event. In my experience as a banana eater in Auckland, for the most part, you're looking at about a 36 hour time frame in Summer and 72 in Winter with the windows open and no heating in the home.

2.0 If, and only if all rules in 1.0 apply, then the banana may be consumed. It is to be peeled and eaten fresh. It may under no circumstances be mashed, blended or whipped. It may not be baked, cooked, fried, grilled, or served on panakes after being cooked with bacon (God forbid!), boiled or bar-b-q'd. They may never be made into cakes, bread of muffins (what's wrong with people?!) it must not be made into a sauce or dessert (except where variances in 2.1 apply). Bananas must never be put into a drink, served with something creepy wrapped around it or skewered through it (I have seen people eat cooked bananas with prunes or bacon 'attached' in a completely unacceptable way and was forced to terminate all contact with them for the duration of the event).

2.1 Where rules in 1.0 are strictly adhered to, bananas may be sliced and put into a fresh fruit salad and served with yogurt or ice cream. The fruit salad must be eaten on the day it was made. There are to be no "leftovers".

People who do not adhere to these rules should be made to apologise.

Friday, December 02, 2005

"the messages on the t-shirts are supposed to be fun"

I received this email in response from the buying manager of Men's Brands at Farmers:

Dear Blair,

Thankyou for your feedback regarding the slogan T-Shirts in our Substation Youth Menswear area. I apologise for not responding to you sooner, but I have been overseas on business and only returned today.

I appreciate that as a regular Farmers customer you are disappointed to see these messages appearing in our stores, and we do take your comments very seriously, and will endeavour to take this feedback into account in the future.

The messages on these T-Shirts are supposed to be fun and are not meant tooffend anyone. We are trying to target a younger male customer, something that we have not done in the past, and this type of Printed Slogan T-Shirt has proven to be very successful. The Prints in question are our top selling items in this youth area, and will be sold out within the next
couple of weeks.

Going forward, we will continue to range these Slogan T-Shirts, however taking yours, and others feedback into consideration, we will be toning back the messages to fit in more with the Farmers image. Bearing in mind though, the success we have had, they will still have a humorous boundary pushing undertone.

If you wish to call me to discuss this further my contact details are below, and I would welcome any further feedback.

Thanks and Regards



Basically, I find this letter to be unacceptable. The slogans have not been toned down. To say that the t-shirts have a 'boundary pushing undertone' is a ridiculous euphemism! I wrote another letter back to Paul highlighting the fact that Marijuana is also a top seller in New Zealand but that doesn't mean that the shops should all be selling it.

He never responded to me...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December 1 - world aids day

If you haven't heard about the makepovertyhistory campaign, their website is well worth a look. You can click on this link to send an email to Dr Michael Cullen the Minister of Finance. It is important that the New Zealand government uphold their promise to fully committing to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas aid.

Making poverty history is a possibility in our lifetime.

C'mon you crazy enthusiastic letter writers - it will take about 5 minutes - you can even use the copy from the page to beef up your email.

(24 sleeps to go) eeeeeep!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Your Store (yeah right)

The advertisements for Farmers [A New Zealand Department store] on television are full of beautiful slim white families laughing and eating fruit on lilos in the sun. None of the attractive and socially adjusted, politically correct teenagers in the ads are wearing shirts with X-rated or offensive slogans on them...

This is part of a letter that I wrote to Farmers recently:

"To Whom it may concern,

I would very much like to ask a question to the buying manager for farmers trading company, if it is possible please could you forward this letter to them and have them respond.

I was in Farmers this weekend just gone, and was more than a little disappointed to see some of the t-shirts and messages printed on clothing that was for sale. Two examples from the selection were:

"Amateur porn star"
"I am not a gynecologist; but I would like to take a look"
I believe that this is smut. It is unacceptable, insensitive and degrading to women. My personal opinion of this is not the issue here. But I do find it extremely surprising that this sort of material would be for sale in a Farmers store.

My Questions for you are:
1. Do you believe that these sorts of messages are acceptable?
2. Is this the sort of stock in line with the philosophy of the store; the place where a family could shop?

I look forward to a response at your earliest convenience,

Yours sincerely,


and I was only warming up! Just wait for part two of this story where you'll hear Mumbleboy say :"What the?!"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Christmas list

My wife's family has this wonderful, practical and very fun tradition whereby each person emails out everyone else with a Christmas list about what they want to get for Christmas. You send your email out and never hear anything back as the rest of the family is emailing everyone else either bagsing what they will get each person, or bagging their list and choosing something else anyway. It works out well as people don't tend to spend money for the sake of spending money at Christmas time, and you don't tend to get something that you hate and have to be polite about.

The expectation is that the list will be submitted by the end of Nov.

I found this book today and wondered if I am brave enough to add it to my list.... if the benefits of the book itself will outweigh the hassling that will inevitably ensue when my family see it on my list...

Maybe I'll see how I am feeling closer to the time - one doesn't want to appear obsessed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Telecom New Zealand

Right then, let's start with the big boys.

I am tired of Telecom. I am tired of them putting me on hold; I am tired of them responding to my emails in an impersonal manner - leaving me to believe that the responses perhaps may have been written by either a computer, a 7 year old (much cheaper than paying an adult) or a monkey (cheaper still!); I am tired of them expecting me to remember my account number and having then sigh at me when I tell them that I don't know it, thus making them have to enter my telephone number as a poor alternative to find out who it is that is calling.

The average wait time, after dialing 123 for residential assistance, after being made to listen to the automated "push 4 for your account, push 5 for..." voice is about 10 minutes. Today I baked a small batch of cookies and listened to 3 (quite good) tracks by Split Ends and one that I don't care to remember from some obscure glam pop genre circa 1981.

Telecom has New Zealand by the short and curleys. We pay our dial up Internet $5 in advance - even if we don't use any and it’s not refunded the following month. We are charged too much for ringing a cell phone form a land line and don't even try to organise cross billing for your home line. This resulted for me in having a $200 bill on a particular month and being made to wait for up to forty minutes on two separate occasions only to be transferred to a very hard working and no doubt, kind person who I actually couldn't understand. I am sure that people arrive off the plane from wheretheheckistan, not a word of Maori (or any other useful language) and Telecom is there with a large glossy sign offering them employment and cheap toll calls.

So..... For all of you in the same boat as me:

Telecom New Zealand Limited
Freepost 10053
Private Bag 4742

Please be grateful for this information, as I had to listen to Celine Dion for 13 minutes to get it.

Good luck.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The (not very) humble beginning

Today I received an email from a friend containing this attachment. It made me smile and rekindled, deep within me, a love of the assertive.

Face to face I will usually end up apologising to the owner of the dog that has just bitten my ear off… on my own property upon confronting him from my hospital bed. But in front of my keyboard, or with a pen in my hand and a 45c stamp lying in wait - let the multi-national empires quiver!

Let the corporate giants lie awake, sleepless and restless in fear and guilt from what they have subjected us to.... knowing, fearing the letters that we will write – demanding justice (or maybe just some free stuff). Oh yes, I shall write! Let the small boy with the newly purchased and uncrunchy Twisties have faith! Let the single mum from Taranaki rejoice when none of the matches in the box will light! May the Communications Student sniff the sweet smell of freedom and retribution when their jelly tip has not been double coated in delicious chocolate; the Jelly Tip that they have spent a small proportion of their student loan on!

This blog is about what we pay for, and what we get.

Any day is a good day to be a day of reckoning!

I demand quality (especially if I have paid more than about a dollar).