Things are not always so black and white……….A blog about food waste!

I don’t really like chips. I tend to opt for the other potato option in pubs and restaurants. When I am forced to have chips I ask for just a few which normally raises suspicious looks from the waiter as if I am asking for a price reduction for having less chips but it is actually because I can’t manage a huge portion of chips and I feel bad leaving them when food poverty exists around the World. If Fish and Chip shops offered as much fish as they do chips then I would definitely exceed my protein intake or whatever benefits fish have! I’m not particularly happy with the amount of food waste in my home. Its usually the kids picking at the veg they don’t really like and we do try to do things with our leftovers but it’s quite a task to eliminate food waste.

It is an even harder job for supermarkets. I always said food poisoning would get my grandma. She wasn’t bothered about sell by dates, reheating meat or the many other food hygiene issues frowned upon today yet she lived to 90 years old and died of old age, spending the first half of her life without a refrigerator. I guess she was part of a more resilient generation before food intolerances and dietary issues became the norm. In this day and age though in the something for nothing compensation culture the food industry have to be careful because if one of you little darlings gets a stomach bug on a less then fresh Tesco yoghurt then they will be hauled through the courts and media and portrayed as a big bad corrupt organisation battling FIFA to be top of the big bad corporation top ten because of its poor yoghurt stock rotation. You created this culture guys! A few weeks ago the same supermarket chain was in court, this time because homeless people were raiding its bins. The media and you guys (the very same ones who invented this culture we live with!) were livid that homeless people were being hounded for trying to get some food that Tesco were just going to destroy. I don’t like Tesco but I felt a tad sorry for them. They were fucked either way. Imagine the headlines if the homeless had been injured or died because of the food or the bins Tesco hadn’t kept secure?

In an idealist world, it is a no brainier, of course waste food should be utilised. Better still the food and agri-business industries could aim to eliminate as much waste as possible in the production stage whilst the retail industry can do more to reduce waste. Equally though you guys can change your ways! All those jumping on Tesco for being big and bad for not donating waste food forget it’s not as simple as shoving it in a van and taking it to a charity. You guys have created this culture where the minute someone is ill as a result of Tesco’s  charity you guys will crucify them! Things are never as black and white as people who blindly comment on Guardian Facebook posts think!

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Just tell me the facts Holiday Autos……

I don’t care if a one way flight to Alicante is £13.99 before tax, without luggage and prior to paying for reserving seats. It’s blatantly obvious I will want to come back from my week in the sun and will need to take some luggage so instead of billboards promoting tiny prices for part of the holiday, why not show the full price of a return trip to Spain! If nobody ever just pays £13.99 it is just a complete piece of misleading and pointless advertising. 

Holiday Autos are just as bad in the great holiday rip off! I searched car hire in Perpignan for two weeks in August. They offered a good price of less then £230. I could pay them there and then online and they would offer me a voucher to download that I simply take into Avis at Gare de Perpignan and exchange for my car.

BUT just before I clicked “buy now” I spotted very tiny small print, not bold and colourful like the price they imply is the complete package but small and hidden informing you there may be local prices and deposits to pay and if you can’t pay them you won’t be allowed to hire the car and Holiday Autos won’t refund what you paid to them. 
I quickly retracted my finger from hitting “buy now” and decided to go direct to Avis website. I’m glad I did because if I had have turned up at Avis office in Perpignan with my Holiday Autos voucher expecting to collect the Opel Corsa I had believed I had paid in full for I would have been in for a shock. I would have been faced with two options. I could have paid another €168 for insurance (that was supposedly included in Holiday Autos price) with a lower excess or would have had to stump up a €800 deposit to drive the car away. This would have been quite a large chunk of my holiday money and is much higher then any deposit I have been required to pay for car hire in the past. I believe Holiday Autos should publicise this. Had I got to Perpignan then I could have coughed up most of my holiday spending money or not hired the car and lost the cash I had already paid to Holiday Autos because as far as they are concerned there part of the deal is done! 

The holiday industry from hotels to car hire are obsessed with sneaky deposits. You don’t arrive at Asda faced with a £100 deposit returned to you a few days later when you have finished your shop! The worst bit is they are often not publicised. The attitude of the industry is that it isn’t a charge because it is refunded back so we don’t need to mention it. I once stayed at a hotel in Surrey who wouldn’t let me pay for my stay on arrival instead taking the money off my credit card as a deposit for the stay. This cash was the money I had earmarked for my stay so when I came to check out and didn’t have the cash to pay because as I pointed out to them “you stole it from my card on arrival” didn’t go down very well. 

How many holidays are ruined because Holiday Autos are not clear with the facts!?!

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The alternative customer service training course for new employees

“hello, I’m your trainer

I could defend my huge salary and come out with lots of bullshit buzzwords created by equally talentless consultants and the HR machine desperately trying to warrant its own pointless existence 

Instead here’s my advice for delivering customer service, use your common sense 

There, training over, have your free lunch on the way out and go and do your job that you can do without a days bullshit training

Thank you” 

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The LibDems must avoid knee jerk reaction and leaving the centre for the left!

I don’t like being put in a box. Especially the left or right box. If I had to sum myself up with a political party I would say something like 40% Lib Dem, 20% Conservative, 10% Greens, 30% none of the above. I swing left or right depending on the issue. I’m a Lib Dem because they hold a majority of my views with a clear 10% lead over none of the above. I’m sad Clegg has gone. I admired how he held together slightly left and slightly right factions of the party grounded in the centre ground. I am proud he acknowledged that in 2010 that he owed it to the people who voted LibDem because they wanted a LibDem Government to go into Government when he had the chance. It was a bold, brave decision and one that has benefited the people of  Britain curbing the worst excesses of the Conservatives over the past five years.

 I’m a mature (another box I don’t like to be put in) student and I forgive Clegg for tuition fees. He is not the first politician to break a promise and nor will he be the last. When you work in a team you have to make difficult concessions and I respect his decisions. On the contrary I don’t have rich parents so I’m thankful for the fair student finance system that means everyone can go to university and indeed the figures of participation from less affluent groups in university are positive. I might have 50 K debt but it’s the best loan I will ever have. I wish my mortgage or car finance was on such favourable terms.

I’m concerned for the future of the party. A leftist approach would alienate members like myself. To be honest, furthermore  this weeks election has hinted the electorate rejecting the left to an extent. Although the left won’t accept this, instead writing Facebook posts verging on trolling, accusing people who voted certain ways of hating the disabled and other equally absurd accusations because they don’t agree ideologically with them! Equally I appreciate if I was party leader I would alienate a great deal of the party to the left of me. That’s why we need another Clegg! And if we do get another bash at being part of the Government we should grasp it with both hands! I don’t vote LibDem because I want them to have a chance to govern and turn it down! The opposition benches (or bench for our 8 MPs) don’t get us to do what we achieved in the last 5 years even if it had detrimental effects!

When you’re very left or very right it’s easy to verge on sounding like a dictator when arguing your stance to someone on the opposite side of the spectrum. I think the left are quite nasty in their arguments with opponents, however feel they believe it is justifiable because of the left bias in most mainstream media and institutions. It is almost an offence to admit to being anything other then hardline left at my university. As a liberal I’m very big on freedom of speech, something the lefties don’t appreciate. David Cameron said yesterday about building a strong economy encouraging people to work. I find this reasonable enough however don’t expect everyone to agree leading to healthy debate but instead Facebook is full of Cameron and the right hate the disabled and poor and are all fascists. On Saturday The Guardian had a dig at the democracy that gave Cameron the keys to number ten accusing people of failing to vote Labour when so many were visiting food banks. Food banks I believe are a very subjective opinion. Oops, cue the trolls again, I had an opinion.

 My Facebook “friends “ had posts ranging from slagging off the Electorate for how they voted to threatening to unfriend anyone voting UKIP. I mean, come on guys, freedom of speech. I detest UKIP policies probably more then I do Labour’s. I argue the immigration and anti-Europe drivel and myths are fuelled by the media and scaremongering and completely unfounded and we should welcome free movement of people but that’s my view. My view, others have fought so hard so that we can be in a position where everyone can have a view and a vote, even if that view and that vote are different from our own. The left have to stop thinking they have some kind of monopoly of moral and social justice and actually that there view on society is simply that, a view!

On the one hand social justice is very important to me. The principals of a welfare state are vital to a progressive state that provides for its population in times of needs.In terms of international support, frankly following our empire building, colonisation and subsequent contemporary neo-colonisation, we owe it to the developing word to provide support. (That’s not to say current models of neo-liberal solutions based on the  relentless power of TNC’s and aid conditional on the West’s way of doing things are the right way of doing things, buts that’s not a debate for here!). On the other hand I’m a huge believer in personal responsibility. Perhaps the “right” swinging in here BUT I had a very modest upbringing in a crappy Labour controlled Northern deprived city. I know what hard times are. I know the deprived face barriers.I know about living in a deprived community because I lived (and indeed still live) in one. I’m not like Russell Brand who attends a protest once or twice for a photo opportunity or the Guardian reading middle class who visit a food bank once then declare they know everything about the oppressed and can speak and come up with solutions for them! Yes, there are people in a bad way in the UK. I’m not denying that and as I said above I’m very proud of our welfare principals but some people are taking the piss, they go through their lives expecting everything on a plate, taking no responsibility for anything. This is not fair! You get out, what you put in. Britain is full of hard working people and Miliband’s swing to the far left and anti-business approach has obviously pissed off those people. The Conservative majority was achieved through real people voting! 

Leftist factions in the LibDems appear to be plotting some leftist revival apparently because not being left enough cost us last Thursday! This is rubbish! We epic failed at the election because the media turned against us. The junior coalition partners  were the laughing stock of satirical media and ridiculed by the left, right and populist media. It became fashionable to hate the LibDems and unintelligently band around the word “tuition fees” without any thought for what we actually stand for and what we have done in coalition. The Conservatives came out of the deal unscathed and stronger! We didn’t stand a chance. A big surge to the left really is not the answer! I joined the party as opposed to just supporting them as I had done for many years prior,  during the height of the media scaremongering because I took the time to actually see what they were about and not just believe everything I read in the newspaper! 

Europe is very important to me. That’s pretty much my only red line. With the Lib Dems the only party who don’t dither over Europe, it’s a key reason for the 40% match between what I stand for and what the LibDems stand for. I would be happy with €Euro and Schengen Removal of borders but appreciate the full works is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think it is a farce we would even consider leaving Europe though. I mean, of course I’m all freedom and democracy so why would I be against a referendum where people decide. To oppose it would make me a hypocrite. I have just chastised  those lefties slagging off those who voted Conservative above and now I’m suggesting a referendum is wrong when so many people have an opinion on Europe. In my defence I can’t help but think that people are too uneducated to make that choice. That sounds quite mean. I’m suggesting half of Britain are uneducated, but I don’t mean it as such. I mean people have visions force fed to them from populist opinion and factions of the media, of myths around immigration and Brussels making all of our decisions but people just don’t understand the many benefits of Europe because nobody ever discusses them. Where would you go to find the truth about European integration? It would be awful for Britain to leave Europe. A complete disaster. For an example of what Europe was like before integration, think about World War 2. Business leaders know it, Labour and the Greens know it. Even Cameron and the less hardline Conservatives know it. Are the people of Britain going to have to wait until their jobs start disappearing on a scale worse then the recession before they know it! We are entering worrying times! I fear for the future of the UK. The Europe issue is far more pressing then the relentless bashing of the right from the left since the election result and will have much worse effects then any of the welfare/spending cuts people were protesting about yesterday, yet ignorance to the plight of our EU membership continues!

Apparently LibDem membership has soared since last Thursday. The haters queuing up to stick the knife in Clegg will argue it is down to his resignation and the end of the coalition. Although I’m suitably informed, the surge started prior to Nick’s resignation. Tony Blair has come out yesterday accusing Labour of losing the election by being too left. The guardian has revealed this morning that Labour had huge success in university seats. What we forget is most university students are rich and middle class, rebelling against Tory mummy and daddy whilst at Uni. Did you see how many students were protesting Saturday in London against the cuts that don’t effect them (and in my view don’t exist)? As soon as they leave uni and get a job they realise the Guardian and the protests were a load of bollocks! Hard working British people do not resonate with paternalistic, middle class generated, leftist elite! The centre is good!

Lurching to the left is not the right road!

LibDems have got a lot of work to do!

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Why the Bullshit Virgin Trains?

I’m a mature student so do a fair bit of casual work to top up my student loan because I don’t have rich middle class parents to support me through universitiy. I’m making the most of the casual work just in case red Ed gets in (RIP Britain) and bans zero hours contracts. I work for some shit employers such as G4S but equally work for a big transport company that provides transport services to other big transport companies. I respect this company but have to admit I lost a tad of this respect at a recent refresher training exercise. My trainer spoke of her disgust for the compensation and something for nothing cultures. As I’m big on personal responsibility, the trainer was my kind of woman! The training was dull. Usual health and safety stuff to ensure everyone covers their arses (because of the aforementioned compensation and Something for nothing cultures). I very much enjoy working for this company so I’m not going to name them as unfortunately their social media policy out trumps my freedom to express a valid argument online. 

It got to 3pm, the end of the long days training was in sight when the trainer announced we would do something a little difference. One of the clients of my company is Virgin Trains and old Richard Branson requested an element of my companies training incorporated an element of Virgin’s. This seems very fair as my company provide services on behalf of Virgin Trains. Also I have a lot of respect for Richard Branson (apart from when he wants to hug a junkie) so I was really disappointed to see he had sold out to the HR bullshit buzz word consultant industry.

The trainer put up pictures of Simon Cowell and Supernanny Jo Frost and asked what our first thoughts were when we saw these people. I suggested “fakes” and “shallow” but apparently I was wrong and so she ignored my answers and said the correct answer was these people were “deciders”. 

Next up was Steve Jobs, One of the Attenborough’s and Victoria Beckham. I mean come on. Victoria Beckham is not in the same league as Apple man Jobs. She might put her name to things others design but she is as shallow as the kids but if the swimming pool. I was wrong again and apparently they are “innovative”, “go-getters” or something or other.

Finally it was Princess Diana, David Beckham and some other twat I can’t remember. I gave in by this point. I don’t think she was interested in what I really thought of these guys, just what the bullshit merchant consultants had decided these guys represented. I think they were “kind” and “caring” but like I said I had shut down by this point otherwise I might have got the sack had I spoke my mind! We then had to stand by the group we thought was closest to our own personalities. I feel old but unlike Diana and Steve Jobs I’m not dead yet. And I haven’t been murdered by the Queen either. I’m honest and direct but unlike Cowell and Supernanny I’m not stage managed. If I’m like David or Victoria Beckham kill me now! The trainer would just not accept I wouldn’t be put in a box and neither should we try to put our customers in a box!

The moral to the bullshit was different staff and customers have different personalities and we need to change the way we approach different customers! Doh! I would have never have thought to treat a little old man with loads of luggage and unsure of his travel plans differently to a middle aged woman who knew exactly what her plans were but just needed to know which platform the train went from. Do the consultant cunts sit in an ivory tower thinking front line customer service staff are just idiots?

How does this make me deliver better service? It is just the brainchild of some talentless twat of a consultant trying to defend his huge salary by coming up with some utter bullshit to inflict on innocent front line staff who have  already the common sense to know how to deliver customer service which is more then the bullshit merchants creating this shit do!
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Grassroots politics? Don’t make me laugh

since the SNP stuck two fingers up at England and Wales last September (and we equally stuck two fingers back up at them come referendum day) words like “localism”, “northern powerhouse” “devolution” and “grassroots” have been banded about. In theory I like the idea of local politcs although I do worry about economies of scale. The amount of red tape and layers of management in a centralised state make me worry how inefficient the public sector would become if devolved to such tiny local levels! 

My main concern however is being somewhere right of centre on most issues positioned somewhere between a Lib Dem and Conservative (albeit with a tad of Greens thrown in the mix – don’t try and put me in a box!) living in the North this would mean for me having a strong Central Conservative Government as now (although subject to change next week -however I have a plan B to move to Netherlands for a couple of years if red Ed manages to get keys to number ten- I can’t see that tosser and the Labour cunts being In powerfor more then one term!) but being ruled in the North at local level by Labour. I can’t think of anything worse! Why would I support localism in practice if it meant being run by Labour? They are ruining my area when they don’t have much power from Westminster so imagine how bad it would be if they could do what they like! The lemmings in the North who don’t see Labour as the reason for the North being so shit because they have controlled it forever instead moan about Thatcher and mines, get over it!

My main problem is on a really local level as evidenced in next weeks elections.  I will vote for the LibDem paper candidate (and Labour stalwart Jon Trickett will win-it’s as sure as eggs are eggs) for the national whilst LibDems can’t be arsed to field a district councillor in my constituency so I will Opt for the Conservative paper candidate who lives 100 miles away in a nice bit of North Yorkshire (and the Labour candidate Jessica something or other will win). This is democracy in action. LibDems are happy to accept my donations but are not too bothered about me as a person because I don’t live in a key seat. I suppose that’s how the power machine works!

The absolute lowest level is the parish elections. The grassroots. The people who can make it happen in my community. There are 5 seats up for grabs. There are ten candidates. A couple align themselves with Labour so I can rule them out to mark my X against. The others are in effect independents. I notice a few of them are related or just happen to have same surname  and same address. The interesting thing is these people who live amongst me and want to represent me and I have absolutely no idea who they are and what they are going to do for my local community. No posters, flyers. No door knocking or harassing me outside Co-Op. No Facebook, Twitter. No links on Parish council webpage. Nothing in local paper. I e-mailed the parish council for information (and to tell them about the dog mess in the village) but they not terribly helpful in response. I expect these perspective parish councillors will get enough votes from friends and family to get a foot in the door in then make a few quid in expenses.

Grassroots politics? Don’t make me laugh!

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Top of the shops!

I don’t subscribe to the whole idea big corporations are responsible for the demise of small independent traders. Most small independent shops are shit from my Perspective. My local village shops can’t compete with the nearby Tesco on price but they have a real chance to deliver fantastic personal customer service that Tesco could only dream of being able to offer. The problem is the little shops don’t take the opportunity. They are as rude and obnoxious as Tesco staff. The owners have little man/little woman syndrome on a par with medical receptionists and public sector staff. If I’m going to be treated bad I might as well get treated bad in Tesco for a couple of quid less.

Like everything in ex mining communities seems to be the fault of Margaret Thatcher and not the fact Labour have controlled these towns since time begun, little shops have to stop blaming Tesco for their demise and start looking a bit closer to home. There are a handful of retail workers whom stand out in my head as providing good customer service and they all work for big chains, not independent stores. And the snobby independents who seem to think they’re edgy when actually they’re just overpriced shit are the worst. Don’t expect my sympathy when you go bust. Give me a high street full of betting shops and poundland any day!

Last Saturday I rang my local takeaway. They answered the phone but couldn’t hear me. I thought it might be my phone so I tried again on my mobile. It turns out it was a problem at their end. I expect they had the secrecy button pressed. Dumb ass! Never mind, it was early. When it dawned on them that nobody was ringing them on a Saturday night but they had a crank call every few minutes then they would press the secrecy button and re-open for business. Two hours later and all I got was “Hello…….hello……hello……hello….” You couldn’t make it up. So I called another takeaway in our village. Ordered my pizza, they were honest and said they were busy and advised delivery in an hour. Two and a half hours later, it arrived. A week later (I don’t live on takeaways……honest) I downloaded the Dominos app, ordered my pizza, picked it up 20 minutes later. The guys at my local takeaway have to do well to survive, it’s their business. The 19 year old at Dominos doesn’t give a fuck about the big worldwide chain as he is working there just to earn some money whilst he doing his A-levels. Why then will I now go to Dominos every time? Who will the local takeaways blame when they go bust? Dominos ?

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