Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What a year!

Well its been a long long time since I blogged anything simple and down to earth, let alone just about me, and not moaning about companies and organisations. So I thought it was about time I did, so here goes.

First off, apologies for any typos I might make and miss, but I am trying this blog entry out on my new ACER Chromebook. I shall come back to that in a bit.

So..... What a year. Without a doubt the main factor has to be the passing of my dear Aunt Joan Hughes. This time last year, this exact time and day in fact, I was in Colwyn Bay making a surprise visit to her. Spending a little too long over at the carers house getting up to speed on how Joan had been, I finally went over to a rather frosty reception, and quite a telling off. Something I have grown used to in the years of visiting.

Slightly taken aback by the changes which had happened since I had see her last, but the time spent there together was as special as ever. Little did I know at the time that this would be the last time I would really see Joan at home, and the last bit of quality time we would spend together. As chatty and argumentative as ever, we spent hours talking about all sorts of things, before it was time for me to head home.

I remember the day well, as on my journey to and from Wales there were a series of nasty accidents resulting in fatalities and major road closures. Leaving me getting home at about midnight, and popping my M&S turkey ready meal in the oven for  very late dinner. No repeat of that this year, with the creation of my own roast dinner, which was delightful.

It seemed only a few weeks later that I returned to Wales, around my birthday, on hearing the news that Joan had taken a turn, and was now in a home. It was only just over a week later, on what would have been mums birthday, that the last of the 3 Lunt sisters from Old Colwyn would pass away, leaving a huge hole in the fabric of my life as I knew it at that time. The end of a generation, the end of the blood connection to a place which has always been dear in my heart.

A sad time was quickly surpassed by a strange time for me. A time spent in Wales, with Chris, Noel, and Chantal to name but a few. A time spent organising what can only be described as the disposal of Joan's estate, and what felt like a deletion of a connection to a special place. Reading the eulogy at Joan's funeral, looking out at all the faces of the people who had come to share that last moment, and pay their respects, I realised that THIS was what really meant something to me. Not the reading, not the attention, but the love respect and connections of friendship.

Since this time I have really started to appreciate my true friendships, and respect those people  deem 'friends'. Knowing that I would move a mountain to help them at a moments notice, and to know that however infrequent the meetings and conversations, that respect is mutual. It gives me great comfort to know, just like my aunt, I too have people like this in my life. So to you, I say thank you.

The rest of the year has been full of stress and distractions. Dealing with solicitors, estate agents (some great, some rubbish), executors, car rental companies, the list is endless. But over this time two things have kept me afloat, material objects, and food. Both things that I actually despise to an extend. But seeing as I am typing on one of those material objects to write this blog, I guess some good comes from them.
Food however is my enemy right now, and I intend on doing something about that starting in a few weeks time. Until then, I shall indulge myself and make the most of it.

Just watching the Queen's Speech after my home made lunch, for the first time I might add. I was surprised to see quite a basic speech, not highlighting the years events, but focusing on the inner person. Something I like to do quite a lot. Time for reflection is something we all need, apparently even the Queen does from time to time. So it turns out im normal after all.

Throughout this year many people I know have suffered in one way or another. From losing a loved one, to suffering from ill health of some sort. Again, it is at times like this you realise who your friends are. Having been through most of the above quite frequently over the past few years, I can appreciate what they are going through. To you all, I wish you all the best in overcoming these times, and striving to be stronger, for yourself and those around you.

So as the end of another year comes into sight, and all the memories of 2013 go into storage, regardless of what has happened, the highs, the lows... Lift your head high, and strive to fight on for another year, with each day of life being a gift in itself, everyday is Xmas, so don't waste the gift you have.

My final thought is a strange one, certainly for me, and might be a bit weird for others, including one certain person. But here goes...
2013 saw my daughter (the one I rarely speak of anymore) turn 18, an age of maturity, an age of independence. With this coinciding with my 40th year, my aunts passing, and many other milestones, something has changed in my life, and for the better (in a nice way).
I am the oldest generation of a family now, the highest tier, I have no legal responsibilities to anyone, I am soon to be debt free for the first time in years, so can catagorically say that I am borderline stress free, string free, chain free etc.
Seeing peoples pictures of their Xmas trees surrounded with gifts, having people reach out to me to ask me not to spend Xmas Day alone this year, and realising that the Xmas spirit I remember from a child is still within me somewhere, well its kinda made me quite sad. But at the same time determined too.
No longer am I in limbo between being a son, but also an absent parent. I no longer have the calling to travel to ensure relatives are ok on this day. But from this point on, I can enjoy Xmas again, and give it the respect it deserves.

So I say this now, and will keep my word. I have NO idea what I will do for Xmas 2014 yet, but I promise you one thing... I WILL celebrate it!

Thank you to everyone for reaching out, and helping reignite the flicker of Xmas within me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear Yodel..... (again)

OK, so im calling to speak to someone, but can only get as far as the automated service. The parcel ID only gives me an update then hangs up, and the courier didn't actually come here so I don't have a card....So there is no option to speak to a human?

Yodel... the final curtain

So after much messing about with Yodel over the past couple of days, and many stories exchanged on Twitter and Facebook about the amazing behaviour of what seems to be the biggest useless company in the UK...... I finally got my package!! Woohoo!

How you may ask. Well here goes. The DELIVERY company were meant to deliver Tuesday, pretended they had, put a false scan on the package, stating they could not get into an open, functioning business during our business hours... while I was sitting outside and saw no one show up.

On Wednesday after lots of complaining to @YodelOnline and @SpirtsDirect_CS I was told the package would go out.... Then by 2pm with no scans on it, and no movement I was told it was staying at the depot and could go and collect, from the DELIVERY company. By this time SportsDirect had refunded my postage costs much to my delight, so it wasn't too bad. But as I was at work, it wasn't practical.
At just after 4 the package suddenly showed it was out for delivery. With business commitment of 5.30 it was never getting to my work on time. Yet faithfully I waited til 6.45 (past my finish time) As expected, nothing showed. And as expected, a short while later it was coded as no one in again.

Today I had reached the end of my tether and told SportsDirect to just cancel it, but didn't hear back. Frustrated I tweeted again at both companies, only to get another reply from Yodel inviting me to collect it. This would mean heading in the opposite direction to work, and being late for work!

Fed up of the whole thing, I gave Yodel my eta as 30 mins, and left home. Exactly 30 mins later I arrived there, told them who I was, gave ID and began the wait.
The guy at the counter thought the package might actually be out for delivery, so it took longer to find out where it was. Turned out it was in the warehouse anyway, where it had probably been since Tues. While I waited another lady came in, she had been waiting 5-6 days for her parcel, and like me had seen lots of activity on the tracking website, suggestions that it had been out for delivery, that no one had been home and other comments.

When the guy finally found her package he pointed to the address, telling her this was the problem and it was wrong. She said no its not, that's exactly where I live, he didn't accept it was right. When she said she would never use Yodel again, he replied 'please don't madam, please don't ' 

Finally my package arrived at the counter, and as it was put down, it was quite clear there was a slash across the front of it. Quite purposeful, and carefully done so not to damage the contents. I would go so far to say done to check what was in the package and if it was worth stealing. Done with a sharp object, cutting right through, but not touching the contents. As you can see I took a picture in situ on the counter.

Asking them to record the damage, the first guy didn't have a clue, the second said 'yeah mate, I'll put something on the system' and asked if the good were damaged. I pointed out they were dirty, he said 'ok'.

With that I took my package and left. Needless to day I tweeted my dis-satisfaction to Yodel, and after a response asking if anything was damaged, I have not heard back since.

With that, I have now vowed I will NEVER buy from a company who uses Yodel again. Along with a growing number of people I believe. Working in the parcel logistics business I am fully aware that problems happen. But I am yet to have a simple transaction with Yodel, and have never know SO many other people have such a foul taste in their mouth about a company also.

Given the volumes that Yodel deal with, I imagine even a huge number of complaints still leave a high satisfaction rating. God only knows they tweet all the positive responses they get. But you only have to search twitter for Yodel + shit / useless / crap / rubbish / bad etc and you will see just how many people complain about them daily.

In fact they are SO reactive to negative comments, that even when a friend tweeted to me, mentioning I should not be surprised how shit Yodel were, they asked him to DM them with his tracking number. 

So, I now have a dirty orange jacket, collected myself from the delivery company it was assigned to. I do wonder if to save money during a peak period, they are simply bullshitting delivery attempts and getting customers to collect. Thus keeping the shipping fee, but saving the delivery cost.

Food for thought! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Kinda missing the point of home delivery don't you thing?

OK Yodel.... seriously now....

Where the hell is this package?
After speaking with SportsDirect earlier they kindly refunded the delivery charge for the parcel that Yodel don't seem to be able to deliver.
Yodel then tell me this morning that the package will go out for delivery today.... Shock horror, 3.45pm and the tracking still shows the package sitting at the station, well I never.

So here we go again, another day without the package arriving I wonder?

Time to call Yodel again and see if I can get through this time..

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yodel you f**kin liars!

Fed up of this bullshit now, I lose track of the number of times I have dealt with Yodel, but they are yet to deliver a package without problems. From saying it was the wrong address, to tonight's 'unable to gain access' to a reception desk of a courier company that is open beyond 7pm? Seriously? 
Or was it the courier could not be bothered to deal with the traffic on Southwark Park Road, so just waited til past regular business hours, bullshitted and just coded it as business closed.

So once again I pay for faster delivery, only for the company delivering it to let the supplier down. Why people still use Yodel I don't know, I sure as hell wouldn't out of choice!

So I await some twitshit about how sorry they are, and some pointless apology which neither gets me my jacket for tonight when I wanted it for, nor the money back for paying for a delivery service that failed to deliver.

If there is one thing Yodel does do well, it's continue to survive in an environment where SO MANY people think you are utterly useless.

Thanks for nothing Yodel, the only guarantee you keep is the guarantee to fail and disappoint every time!

Yodelayheehoo... Parcel for you ..

After getting an email from SportsDirect to say my package was out with non other than Yodel, I panicked and Tweeted asking if I would ever see it. They replied and offered assistance, so I asked roughly what time the package would be delivered, as its coming to my work address.

Knowing its a 9pm commitment I was aware that it might be after I left, but then I got this reply from @YodelOnline
Hi Michael. The driver will know to deliver before 5 and I can safely say your parcel is out to you and will be attempted today :-)

Needless to say I was delighted to hear the news. However with the clock fast approaching 6pm, there is no sign of the said package, nor any replies from the @YodelOnline team. Shocker I know.

So as the clock ticks on, and the courier has still not shown, the excitement of the day moves onto another game. Away from 'look out the window' and on to 'which excuse will it be'

So here are the options.

Will the courier...

A/ Attempt the delivery just before 9pm, when the building is finally all locked up. There is someone on reception til gone 7pm.

B/ Scan the package and say the address was closed (before 7)

C/ Scan the package as 'wrong address' minutes before returning to the depot and scanning it back in. As has happened in the past.

If it is C I wont be too impressed.

Working for a courier company I understand how much pressure couriers are under, but as someone who works between the courier and customer, I know how important correct and clear communication with the customer is. Rule #1 DON'T promise things that won't or may not happen.

My faith in Yodel wavers from day to day.  My last experience with the online guys was great, faith restored. But then having a package delivered to my address the other day, the courier hurriedly confirmed it was the right address, and left it with me upon me signing. Only to return 20 mins later as he had left the wrong one.
YES, I know I signed for it, but I was taking the dogs out, and he told me who it was for and what address. Just gave me the wrong one.

Either way, its 5.55 now, and the tracking website says....
Current status: With courier
Your parcel requires a signature.

Monday, December 2, 2013

All in the name of a 'sensational' story

Just watching Sky News coverage of the removal of the helicopter from the crash site in Glasgow, along with interviews with fire officers, and families of missing people who believe their families are in the building.
First thing that pissed me off was the way the reporter was probing the fire officer. I understand that sometimes awkward questions need asking, and people need putting on the spot. But to stand there and insinuate that the fire service are not doing enough.... This coming from a person who works for a multi billion pound corporation, who has paid people to fly helicopters over the scene, and put camera crews and reporters on the ground for days who do nothing but repeat all the same info for hours on end, film the grieving families, and the emergency services trying to do their job.

HOW DARE YOU stand there and accuse them of standing by.

Then there are the families, who are struggling enough as it is, being interviewed about their loss or possible loss. Only to be baited with questions like "do you think the fire service could have done more". Pushing, provoking and hoping for an emergency service beating reply, damning their actions etc.

WTF is the matter with you people?

There is reporting fact, then there is twisting and turning stories to make it a bit more interesting. A helicopter crashing through the roof of a pub in the middle of a live gig wasn't 'exciting' enough. So you thought you would stir some shit up with the grieving and angry families to turn it into a police and fire service showdown.
Let me guess, next up it will turn into a 'because of government cuts' or 'had Scotland been allowed independence' story.

The story is the crash, the victims, and most of all, what caused it. If there is nothing else about the story to report, pack up, move on and fuck off home you idiots. 

The media..... making a mountain out of a molehill for the past decade.... And if they can't find one, they will just make one.