I was supposed to be writing a “happy alone time” post tonight about how I’ve been relaxing this weekend, and indeed will be doing so tomorrow as well (I’ve got to stay in to let in the gas man), but in fact I’ve got a number of things to moan about, and a number of famous companies to name and shame for their awful service.
(Obviously I should include a disclaimer that this is all my personal opinion and experience, and thus protected by freedom of speech!)
As if it wasn’t bad enough that I hurt my toes recently, and so have been hobbling around everywhere (hence doing nothing this weekend), and that I’ve had to cut down on my personal trainer sessions, so I feel bad (and still short of money!), and that it’s constantly cold, despite beingalmost March (I really hope the weather doesn’t copy 2013 and stay cold until April!), I’ve been let down this week. For one thing, the “catchall” address at my personal e-mail domain at Fasthosts, which receives all e-mails sent to any address at surname.org.uk that isn’t in a pre-defined mailbox, turned out to be full on Wednesday, and I only found this out when I checked it in webmail format after noting I’d had no e-mails from Meetup.com (who haven’t upset me, hence their name isn’t in bold) since Tuesday evening arriving in Outlook.
It turned out that although I’d only used up 15% of the allocated space, I’d also used up the maximum number of e-mails (yes, you can have “too many” e-mails in there without them taking up too much space), and they hadn’t notified me! I dread to think what I might have lost if I hadn’t realised — and this is on top of how I couldn’t connect to their servers properly in late 2014, when I was trying desperately to apply for jobs and suffering from bad mobile signal as well (but don’t worry, 3 have been adequate recently, so they’re not getting a mention here). I’ve just recently paid them for another year of e-mail hosting, so what can I do?
But now let’s focus on this weekend, and two particular foodstuffs I won’t be buying again: Linda McCartney pies and Hovis sliced bread. Now, normally I’d endorse anything vegetarian, but the pie in question was soggy and undercooked even after 40 minutes in a pre-heated oven, something which never happened before they changed their packaging, so clearly they’re doing something wrong now (and I’ll be getting the Quorn ones instead). As for the bread, well, it was so weak and insubstantial that the mere act of trying to spread butter with a knife tore it apart — what’s the point of bread you can’t spread butter upon? Is it only suitable for toast?! I used to get Warburtons, which had served me well almost since I moved to Finchley and started making my own lunches, but Tesco stopped selling it in half-loaf size (I can’t buy a whole loaf because too much of it would go off before I could eat it), and so I have to buy whatever’s available… maybe I’ll stick to rolls from now on?
Most of my ire, however, is reserved for the Co-op Bank, who I joined in 2013 and now want to ditch entirely. I’ve hardly used my account with them since joining Halifax in 2014 (they give me better terms), and foolishly I thus stopped checking it. I managed to get overdrawn in late 2015 (partly because they still let you take money out at cashpoints even when you’re overdrawn, and partly because PayPal, who I’m also angry at, have made it so hard to set my Halifax account as the default). Even though I paid back what I owed in early January and had my account at zero, they still charged me £40 in January, and didn’t notify me (they thought a letter before Christmas sufficed), and since I didn’t realise I was overdrawn again until today, in addition to being charged £10 unauthorised overdraft fees in January and February, I’ll have to pay another £10 in March in full and final settlement, plus interest (fortunately less than a pound). All because they don’t apply fees right away, they make you WAIT before you know how much you owe! I only kept this account open for emergencies anyway, and now I’m going to cut up my Co-op debit card and be done with them forever, because I really don’t need to lose £70 right now. But hey, their former chairman has to pay for his coke somehow, right?
I suppose the one good thing about this incident is the lesson I’ve received in taking responsibility for my finances, instead of just leaving things. Not only will I continue to check my Co-op account until I can close it and do away with them forever, and make sure I pay through PayPal only if they use the right bank account, but the financial hit has inspired me to finally put my old Gatchaman DVDs on eBay (these are the ones I was slowly buying in 2005, and which were replaced on my birthday by a single box set of the entire series, which takes up considerably less space). If I can get
suckers customers to pay the prices I’m after, it’ll make up for my losses… and maybe then I’ll be tempted to sell my copy of Stephen King’s The Bachman Books that includes “Rage” (which he allowed to fall out of print due to real life school shootings), for rather more than the £1 I paid for it in a charity shop.
(Don’t worry, I’d split the money with the shop in question — unlike the Co-op bank, I’m ethical!)
As for the other things, well, I’ve wanted to leave Fasthosts for a long time (I doubt anyone in the IT industry would even try to persuade me to stay!), so I’ll make sure to leave them before 2017, no matter what they do to convince me otherwise. I’ll also avoid the two products named above like the plague: it sucks when I try to save money by making my own food only for it to blow up in my face, but I’m not going to let it get me downhearted, and will avoid eating out, or even getting lunch at the supermarket, for as much of March as I can muster…