Queues and Disappointments 

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Luke Sheldrick.
Categories: Mutterings.
Tags: , , , , , .

4 08 2014

The week before last the UK saw a a rather hot heat wave. My bedroom fan fell to bits, and the only other I had in the apartment was a rather big industrial type thing that is rather loud… especially when using in the bedroom. I’d heard good things about the Dyson fans, and decided I needed one that day. Argos, John Lewis, Currys, everywhere that had a click and collect type service, sold out. I called John Lewis who said the local waitrose may have some in store. They didn’t.

I’d taken Mother shopping a few days later, and Tesco had the ‘Hot and Cold’ variety on the shelves, at a slight premium as they have a heating function too, at this point the hot nights were getting worse.. Did the shop and when going through the till a big warning came up on the till, saying it could not be sold. ARGH. Upon checking online, that model had been recalled, months before. Asking Mother (who works for the group), it’s a rather rediculious system they have in place for recalls. These only seem to be tracked at the tills. So it basically goes:

Customer tries to buy > Gets to till, and held back > Goes in the pile of other unwanted items at the till > Either goes straight back on the shelf or goes into the store at the back shop > Night shelf stackers see the item, go place back on shelf > Repeat.

Was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few weeks back, and finding the substitutes pretty grim, bread being one of them. However a lot of reading later, I had a few what good home made bread recipes. So this weekend I decided to brave Westfield, and go to one of the bigger John Lewis’ locally, as they stock a well rated bread machine for making Gluten Free bread. Check online and then head down to the store. I thought I’d call ahead, and make sure ‘Yep one in stock’. Perfect.

Get to store, find the isle, and the item. Get one of the PFYs to look it up ‘oh we only have the display model left’… Yup that counts as the one apparently, and they don’t sell the display models? Awesome. However I am told I could go to Oxford Street if I wanted, as they have some in stock, or order it in for click and collect and pick it up tomorrow. No no no. The idea of me going to a shop, is I want it there and then… If I want it tomorrow, why wouldn’t I just order online and get it sent straight home? Ergh, if you have an item in a massive department store, why would you not stock at least one item you can sell. What is the deal with getting someone to come back tomorrow? Surely retail is all about the impulse? If people need to order online to pick up, surely they’ll just order online and get it delivered?

Then decide to do some browsing, and popped into Game, again not something I would generally do, but I do enjoy some impulse shopping. Find a game I’d wanted to play… £37.99, bit steep compared to how much it is online, but oh well, I guess I’ll get it anyways. Oh… a big queue, but I’ll assume it will go down soon. 10 minutes later still not moved. It’s seems the two cashiers were explaining every single combination of how you could buy the latest console. Argh. Then in a very un-british way, someone in the queue asked one of the PFYs, who seemed to be just standing around picking his acne, if he could or get someone to open another till. There must have been 15 people in the queue. I then check Amazon, oh, I can get it for £29 and have it delivered for free on Sunday (note: I do have a Prime account). You know what happens next, I had planned to play it on Sunday anyway.

As I was walking out of the store, the original PFY and his fellow soap dodger was laughing that someone had asked for him to open another till.. I guess he didn’t have enough stars on his badge.

They wonder why Retail is f*cked…

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[UN]Postmen

Posted on December 10th, 2011 by Luke Sheldrick.
Categories: Rant.
Tags: , , .

10 12 2011

I started a new job a few weeks back, which means, I am now home based. Which is working out pretty well so far. When I worked in an office all day, I’d always get things delivered to the office, and never really had any issues with the post. I’d occasionally get a ‘we tried to call’ redslip at home, but just assumed these were all genuine.

However, now I work at home, I’m in during the day. However now I get my post delivered home, I’ve noticed something, which well, really isn’t on – I’m still getting those slips. Not once, but every delivery this week, has failed, with “We tried to call, but no one was in” “The item was too big for the letterbox” type excuse.

This has happened with RoyalFail, DPD, HDNL, all of them pretty much. Most of the things I’ve ordered from Amazon, with Amazon Prime (which gives next day delivery). However when I’ve picked this up with them, they say the next day isn’t guaranteed if there are any issues with their courier.

I really don’t get that, I have a contract with Amazon, for them to deliver the next day. They then outsource the delivery to a courier company, yet if there is an issue with that contract, then it’s me, that paid for the Prime service – yet don’t get the item.

My theory here, is that most delivery drivers/postmen who deliver to home addresses, know that 99% of the people won’t be in during day, so rather than carrying around a big postbag, just pre-fill out the redslips.

Grrr.

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The Kindle and I

Posted on July 6th, 2011 by Luke Sheldrick.
Categories: IT / Tech, Personal.
Tags: , , , .

6 07 2011

I’m well late for this party, but having recently got an Amazon Kindle, and I have to say, I am very, very impressed with it.

Sure, it doesn’t play movies, it has a laughable web browser, and the audio play back is awful. However for what it was designed for, reading books, it is simply the best device I have used.

I’d previously tried to read paper books, using iBooks no the iPad, Android Tables, Phones, and my iPhone, nothing really felt right. I went on a long weekend to Tenerife a few weeks back, and wanted to try out a few books I’d been recommended. Previously I hand’t really been a ‘bookworm’, sure I read tons every day, but usually they’re technical books, RSS, Blogs… that kind of thing, but not novels or that kind of thing; even rarer to read it from cover to cover.

So I picked up a wifi Kindle, for £90, ordered a few books on the store, charged the thing up, and shoved it in my bag. Whilst sitting by the pool, I started to read ‘A Million Little Pieces’ a book a good friend had recommended. The first thing I noted was the eInk screen, and how easy it was to read in the bright sunlight – something no other device I have can be said about. The second was how comfortable it was to read with it. The buttons are exactly where they need to be on both sides, and the Kinda is very light, lighter than most books, so holding it for any length of time isn’t an issue.

The things that are clearly awesome about it:

  • The price – It’s really rather cheap in comparison to my normal gadgets.
  • Ease of use – It’s so simple, even Mother can get on with it.
  • Ease of buying – The system Amazon has built around buying eBooks is so simple. I can request a sample of a book, read the first chapter, and if I like it, at the end of the first chapter, I have a buy button; that’s it, I then have the book.
  • Screen – The eInk display is really rather impressive. The only downfall to it is the lack of backlight, so as soon as it’s not overly light where you are, you can’t see the thing. They do have a case with integrated night light. This also works quite well, as it uses the power from the device for power.
  • Weight/Shape/Controls – They are all very well designed.
  • Battery – Two weeks of use, and I still haven’t charged it.

The things that aren’t so awesome:

  • Screensavers – They’re awful. I had to jailbreak the device, to get rid of them.
  • Cases – To get a backlight, I bought the official case – they’re not cheap.
  • VAT – not an Amazon or a Kindle issue – but in the UK, you still get charged VAT (20%) for eBooks. So eBooks are more expensive than paper books – CRAZY!

One thing I really wish I had done now in reflection is to buy the 3G model. The only reason I’d want that is the page sync. I’ve found that the Kindle app for Android is surprisingly very good. I use it on my ZTE Blade, which has an AMOLED screen. Putting the background to black and text to white, doesn’t use a lot of battery at all on the Blade, and being able to turn page by using the volume switch, makes it quite a good device to use when I don’t have my kindle on me. The only issue with this is, I need to remember to turn the kindle wi-fi on and sync the pages back to Amazon – if I’d bought the 3G model, this would just do it for me.

I’ve tried the Kindle app on the iPad, and whilst it’s all there, I just don’t find the iPad that great for reading for any length of time, the lack of a ‘turn page button’ and it’s slightly too heavy. It is however neat to have a synced copy of all my books on all the devices… just in case.

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