First-world problems really grind my gears

Peter Griffin, from Fox's "Family Guy"

What, you thought you’d seen the last of this image?  You might as well expect me to stop watching “Family Guy” and “American Dad!” on BBC3 every damn night…

As I approach the anniversary of that dark day, “Twelve-Twelve” in 2011, I find that my spirits are, well, not soaring, but certainly on a higher plateau than they were a year ago, even though I’m noticing the dark nights and the COLD more this year than last.  So to show how little I have to complain about now, here’s some utterly tedious and insignificant things that have vexed me today:

  1. The Northern Line.  The Olympic legacy for London Underground seems to be their desperate attempts to pretend that there’s a good service even when there isn’t, and trains for the Charing Cross branch are suddenly eight minutes apart at Finchley Central during the morning rush hour.  Why does the driver need to keep “updating” us that there’s a “good service” several times during the journey?  Aren’t updates supposed to mean something’s changed?  Is it some kind of mantra, and if they say it enough times it’ll come true?  Or is this what qualifies as a “good service” now?  Maybe they should focus more on improving the accuracy of information to customers and less on changing their wording to be more positive (so “severe delays due to a signal failure at X” becomes “minor delays while we fix a signal failure at X”), and actually admit to delays on their website so I know when I need to set off a bit earlier… but yes, I know, at least it’s not Tokyo — they may regard eight minutes as a severe delay (Transport for London would genuinely consider that a “good service”), but they also employ people to squash you into the overcrowded carriages, an experience I would definitely want to avoid if I ever Tokyo-to ni iku!
  2. My job still features the aforementioned annoyingly loud woman.  But hey, I have a job during a recession… if I repeat that enough times, will it become a positive thing?  (Okay, now I’ll stop going on about her!)
  3. Dell Latitude laptops — I have to log into our ones at work every couple of months to ensure they don’t drop off the domain (I know enough from MCSE classes to understand the science behind this), but updates from the Windows Updates server seem to take ages, especially as 5pm approaches (and that’s if they even start — ipconfig /flushdns, open Configuration Manager…).  And the touchpads, ugh!  Why is it I drag my finger along and the cursor suddenly jumps half a screen to the right?  It can’t be another finger brushing against it, I can never make it happen if I do it deliberately!  Oh well, at least I’m doing some vaguely IT stuff at work: imagine if I had to do audio typing again, something I only escaped recently when they decided they were too cheap to upgrade the ancient copy of WinScribe to run under Windows 7!  And if I still had to do audio typing, you guys would have to hear about it, so you’re lucky too…
  4. Jarlsberg cheese recently ran a promotion whereby you get four codes from packets of their cheese slices (why was it in a little booklet on the front of the packet, though?  Surely someone could go into Tesco and peel them open… oh, sorry!) and input them on their website, and they send you a code to get a free sandwich toaster at Argos.  Now, I had to wait weeks for them to “validate” my codes and provide me with the code for Argos; I wonder if they were overwhelmed by the response, and it was the Hoover free flights fiasco all over again… yes, I said first world problems, keep up.  Anyway, yesterday they finally validated my codes and gave me what I needed; today I went to Argos to get my free bread-burner, but they couldn’t get the code to work — not because I’d done anything wrong, but because they’d been having problems with this promotion throughout, which hadn’t been fixed.  Eventually they gave up and let me have the thing anyway (and will sort out the code themselves), so Argos definitely came out of this looking rather better than the cheesemakers, who certainly aren’t blesséd in my book!
  5. Nando’s at Euston were out of veggie burgers.  Oh well, big deal, I don’t have any more C++ classes after tonight and so don’t need their services any more (at least until next year), but it reminded me of when I’d just moved to Caledonian Road in 2006 with my best (female) friend and the guy I refer to as “good housemate”, and we celebrated my 29th with a visit to Nando’s in Upper Street.  Unfortunately “good housemate”, a staunch carnitarian, had already ordered and paid for his chicken by the time I discovered they’d run out of veggie burgers and weren’t offering the same cheap deal on a bean burger and one side, so instead of being able to walk out and take my friends elsewhere, I had to pay more for something I didn’t particularly want!  That was undoubtedly a “first world problem” I shouldn’t have been so angry about, and I felt bad for complaining to their head office and getting a letter for a free meal, but since I never claimed said free meal, it all worked out karmically in the end…
  6. More Tube problems on the way home this evening, and for some reason the Northern Line platform at Angel, on what is supposedly a deep level Tube line (where it usually gets too hot), is almost as breath-steamingly cold as it is outdoors!  Have they turned on the air conditioning, or even started piping cold air down from the surface to stop us getting too warm (as if)?  It’s like when people open their windows in winter — why?  How can you possibly want to cool down in this weather?!

I know, I know, what a pathetic tissue of complaints — it’s like Barry Manilow has blown his nose on it and then handed it to Barbra Streisand… and my second Life of Brian reference of the night: where are you from, Nose City?

But none of it matters: I’m home safely, I’m in the (relative) warm, I’m listening to a collection of blaxploitation themes that I bought at my old Japanese teacher’s house-clearance sale, the annoying woman from work isn’t here (let’s just give thanks to any gods listening for this enormous mercy), and tomorrow morning I’m going to have a toasted cheese sandwich for breakfast.  Maybe I’ll put Marmite in it too… “Low Rider” by War, that’s the blaxploitation song they use in the Marmite adverts!  Oh no, it’s track twelve… and tomorrow is 12/12/12… and since my lucky number is thirteen (hey, it has to be someone’s), it stands to reason that my unlucky number is… NOOOO!!!!!!


2 thoughts on “First-world problems really grind my gears

  1. Mumsy

    It’s all very well saying nice things about Argos, but don’t you know they are the second devil incarnate (after my former employers) for the way they treat their staff? I have not shopped in there for a long time now, and will not shop in there again, as a matter of principal. Free gift or not, it gives aid to a monstrous organisation that should be pilloried and humiliated.Grind MY gears, why doncha!

    1. daveros13 Post author

      Well, let’s say I was bigging up the staff, not the organisation — after all, if I don’t shop there, they don’t get paid, and at least me being understanding when they have a problem is better than me becoming an “entitled custy” or similar RHU terminology, and bullying them around!


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