Tag Archives: cynicism

A Short Note on Difficult Customers

Sometimes on eBay you run up against an immovable object. With over a thousand items listed for sale at any time we are obviously going to make mistakes. In nine months we’ve sent the wrong item twice and had one complaint about quality. That’s less than quarter of a per cent.

We now have another complaint. With hindsight we should have expected it as the buyer asked for a discount before buying. We politely declined but he ordered anyway. We then had a letter of complaint telling us this was the worst lot he’d ever bought and various other things.

We offered him his money back.

He’s just replied that we’ve missed the point. He doesn’t want to send them back for a refund, he wants to struggle selling them and moan that the charity he sells for will lose money. He’s very keen to tell you he sells for charity.

There’s not much you can do to help some people.

Cynicism prompts me to suggest that his next note will contain a threat about negative feedback and another suggestion about discount. After all, he does sell for charity you know…

A Misty Morning and Thoughts of Mortality

It was, as the title suggestd, misty this morning. Due to Julia’s start time it was also dark, so there was no photo-opportunity. I may try again later.

Mist, which can be a nuisance on a long trip, is always welcome at this time of year because it tells me that Spring is coming. There’s a fine line between yearning for Spring and wishing your life away. and this year is probably the first time I’ve felt this quite so sharply. The last twelve months has made me focus on health, age and mortality in a way I’ve never done before.

It’s also the first year where I’ve been so aware that there’s more to winter than crisp mornings and a nip in the air. This year I’ve had to worry about falling and  the fact that I need to keep warm. O;d people die in winter, and I’ve been feeling old. In fact I’ve been feeling Very Old for the last few weeks as all my joints seems to have turned up the pain setting. If I was youmger I’d insert a Spinal Tap reference here about the pain levels being turned up to eleven. But I’m old. So I won’t.

They used to say that one of the signs of old age was that the policemen were looking younger. That happened ages ago, and didn’t really bother me. My personal milestone, is that Life Peers seem to be getting younger. I’ve added a link for readers who aren’t familiar with the UK’s constitution arrangements but, frankly, it doesn’t help.

All you need to know is that in the old days (basically from the dawn of time until 1958) if you worked hard, did your best and tried to be a useful member of society you would be allowed to wear yourself out and die.

If you added a layer of corruption, politics, back-stabbing, lick-spittling and (often) cash to that , you could become a Peer. In fact, let’s face it, if you did enough of this, you could get by without the hard work, doing your best and being a useful member of society. If you look at the current crop of Peers it’s hard to see many that will be of any use until we have Soylent Green on the menu.  Having lied, cheated and bribed your way to the top you could then pass on your title to future generations of inbred offspring.

All this changed in 1958. After 1958 you were generally no longer allowed to pass it on, and there was more politics involved. Because if you want to improve something, adding more input from politicians really is the way to go, isn’t it?

Getting back to the point, Life Peers are looking younger. To add insult to injury, they also remind me of my lack of success as  they all look sleeker, richer and socially superior to me.

 

 

The Cost of Daily Blogging

If you are as disorganised as me, one of the penalties of daily blogging is that you end up with less than an hour to post and keep your streak going. I could, if I had due regard for my readers and quality of my output, miss a day. However, when have you ever known me flinch from writing a cynical lightweight post just to make my stats look good?

That’s right, I’ve never flinched from cynical lightweight posts.

I refer, of course, to the cynicism inherent in writing a piece of fluff just to get a tick for the day. The normal cynicism of my character remains constant regardless of the need to write.

Today I offer the following advice to my fellow bloggers.

Always buy the best quality diamond you can afford. Remember the Four C’s of diamond buying. Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat. Go for quality and do not be dazzled by size. Note that the carat weight of the stone comes last on the list. Better have a smaller sparkling diamond of top quality than a dull diamond of larger size.

Coloured diamonds, whilst expensive are just a novelty and, in my opinion, will be subject to the vagaries of fashion and harder to sell if the need arises.

When I worked out of a jewellers shop I once saw a large diamond that had been bought as an investment. It was large and it was cheap, and it was, to be fair, quite white. However, it didn’t sparkle, it was almost milky, and it had a selection of inclusions (bits of carbon and the like). We had to say that in our opinion it was unsaleable.

It hadn’t cost a fortune so it was a disappointment and a broken dream rather than a crippling financial blow. It was also a lesson about not buying diamonds on ebay.

This is a lesson in life, and can be applied to other areas. My mother always said it is better to have the worst house in a good area than the best house in a bad area. Some friends of our bought a lovely big house in a bad area. By the time they’d fitted security, bought a dog and borrowed a baseball bat it seemed less of a bargain.

It’s nearly midnight now so I’ll leave it here. The photos show the book reviews you can expect over the next few weeks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

One door closes…

…and another door opens.

Warning: This post may contain rancour and traces of bitterness.

Three months ago we were informed that because the farm is not making money, we would have to vacate the Ecocentre (which would be rented out as a commercial property) and use either the kitchen or a barn.

The barn, being badly lit, leaky, windowless, unheated and infested with mice, was deemed unsuitable, despite promises to make it right. We’ve been promised things before.

The kitchen is a bit on the small side for the group, particularly when you get two electric wheelchairs in there, but it is better than the barn. We looked at alternatives, but there really wasn’t anything suitable, so we agreed to go into the kitchen.

We did, however, ask if we could lease it on a three year rolling lease and run it as a social enterprise because we wanted security for the group. We also wanted to be in charge as we are having a lot of trouble with another kitchen user at the moment (the farmer’s sister and her chintzy Saturday cafe).

Meanwhile, these are the pictures I prefer to remember.

 

He needed to think about our request.

Four weeks later, three on holiday in Nepal and one spent avoiding us, he finally gave us the answer.

It was an emphatic no, and in addition he withdrew the offer of the kitchen because two of the people who were interested in renting the centre also want to rent the kitchen.

We have been told to vacate the premises by 31st December.

I would offer him a set of moustachios to twirl as he throws seven vulnerable adults out in the winter snow, but experience suggests that he doesn’t have enough brain cells to count his money and appreciate irony at the same time.

I will now end on a song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could do better…

Sorry, I seem to have lost focus this week.

I have written several thousand words, but none of them were suitable for a blog. It’s interesting to me to indulge in biographical musings and a polemic about the waste of time and trees involved in the typical grant application, but it’s not so interesting for the people who have to read it. (I’m just having to print out a load stuff for a grant application that could easily just be submitted as links to various internet pages).

Similarly, the new outbreak of hostilities between me and the Farmer’s Sister, whilst giving me a great arena in which to indulge my sarcasm and vitriol, is not a fit subject for publication. Quite apart from the possibilities of a suit for defamation, it’s rude to talk about people behind their backs.

So, in the absence of masterly prose, I will bung in a load of photos.

It’s also bad policy from another point of view;  if I ever describe how to make a bomb from agricultural chemicals it won’t seem so funny as it comes up in court and moves from being “a blog” to becoming “the evidence”.

Even my email box fails to inspire me, with the same old ungrammatical notes purporting to be from banks and credit card companies, and one very persistent accountant, all wanting details and money. Come to think of it the accountant could be for real – as he keeps lecturing us and adding more penalties each time he writes. Ah well, he should write a more convincing letter.

Once in a while I did get an imaginative letter from the widow of an African politician, but they seem to have dried up lately.

Instead of agonising over my lack of output, I’m going to promise to do better next week.

I usually manage to get out of trouble by doing that.

Let’s see if it works this time.

(The title, in case you haven’t guessed, is a quote that appeared in many of my school reports over the years. They probably have to be more upbeat these days but in the 1970s teachers were still allowed to be cynical.)

 

 

 

 

Magic of the Media

As I said at the time, if anyone else had touched my wife like that I’d have taken exception. However, as he’s come to do a feature for Notts TV I allowed it.

It’s only 9.44 as I type and we’ve already had the first of the groupies turn up.

Pardon my cynicism, but such is the magic of the media.

I wonder if I should have worn make-up this morning?