New forum

I often look through Youtube and some time ago I was looking through Richard Dawkins video clips I came across one called “What if you’re wrong?”.
I read all the text comments from the very first one and sent a few replies myself.
One thing I noticed, as did many other people, was that apart from the fact that the threading left a lot to be desired, there was also a 500 character limit on replies.
On several occasions I found that I wanted to have my say and this limit was not enough. The only option that left was to start another comment and that just wasn’t good enough.

After a while I noticed other people starting to post that the limit was too low to have a proper debate/discussion and someone even suggested that we could do with a forum for it all.
So I decided to create one. I set it up today and while it is very minimal at the moment I hope to add categories/subjects as I think of them.

So far there is just the religion topic that I mentioned, created so that anyone who wanted to carry the discussions on without the 500 character limit could do so.

I have created a suggestions topic too which I hope will provoke people to suggest ideas for the themed subjects.

It’s all very new, but given time I hope it will become quite busy.

If you are interested click here to have a look and register if you wish to post. It’s free, of course and I welcome anyone with any sensible ideas or opinions.

If religion isn’t ‘your thing’, don’t worry, it won’t always just be about religion. As I say, I hope to expand the subjects soon. The religion topic is what started it all off, but don’t think it is going to be a heavily religious site full of only serious discussion on that subject.


Shelf snatching – The new terror

This actually happened about a week and a half ago, but I forgot to mention it. It’s not really important when it happened anyway.

Driving around a small town close to where I live, looking for a parking space so that I could park and pay some money into the bank, I spotted some shelf units outside Coopers hardware store. It turns out they were the units that Coopers used to display some of their stock and they no longer needed them.

They were just simple, plain shelf units, nothing fancy, just good enough to do their intended job. They would be ideal in my own stock room.

I decided I would go round the block after I had been to the bank and park outside Coopers so it would be easy to load the shelf units into my car.
I found a parking space, went to the bank & paid in the money and set off round the block.

When I got back to Coopers there were no parking spaces available directly outside so i parked just across the road on double yellows. Naughty I know, but I didn’t intend to be there long, besides, I was loading.

As I was getting out of the car I saw a woman standing by the units, quite close to the units in fact, almost like she was guarding them. My first thought was that she had probably already bought them and was stopping anyone else from grabbing them or whatever.
I decided to go into Coopers anyway and see if they had any more.
As I walked across the road I decided I would just check with the woman first, so I asked her “Excuse me, I noticed you guarding these units, have you bought them”?
She replied “Yes, I am about to”.

I didn’t think much of that at first, more or less assuming that her husband or someone would be inside paying for them while she stood as sentinel.

Once inside the store I walked to the counter and stood behind the only other person at the counter, an elderly gentleman, and waited my turn to be served.
I guessed this elderly bloke was either the husband or something to do with the woman outside guarding the units.
The bloke paid for whatever he had bought, received his invoice and walked out of the store, right past the sentinel woman.

My turn to be served..

I said to the woman behind the counter “Did that bloke just pay for the shelf units outside? It’s just that there is a woman out there guarding them who says she is about to buy them and I assumed he was paying for them”.

The store woman replied “No, he just had some paint brushes and a few bits & pieces. Nobody has paid for the units and nobody has been in to reserve them. If you want them and wish to pay for them now then they’re yours. First come first served.”

Great, so I said I would have two of the three they had left. Perfect for my requirements.

I paid the woman and got my receipt. She wrote out some sold tickets to put on the units and called a bloke over to get two of them and put the sold tickets on them and take them out the back for me to collect later. I was told to go round to the loading area at the back of the store when I collect them so I didn’t have to worry about parking.

As I got into my car I glanced across at the bloke putting the sold tickets on the units and the woman was speaking to him, but I thought nothing of it.

I went away and did whatever else I had to do that day and when I returned later I drove straight to the back as instructed.

I rang the bell for attention and the same bloke who had put the tickets on and brought the units in for me answered the door.
A huge grin spread across his face and he said “I was expecting you to have black eyes when you got here”.

I asked why and he replied “You remember that woman who was guarding the units? Well when I went out and put the sold tickets on she went ballistic, ranting & raving about how she’d told me she was about to buy them and she wouldn’t expect that sort of thing of this area, maybe London, but not here.. etc etc”

Apparently she had gone off at some considerable pace down the road to look for me. She obviously didn’t realise that I was in a car for one thing, but more interestingly (to me at least) is the wonder at what she might have done had she actually found me. Did she intend to tell me off like some naughty little boy? Maybe she would try and reason with me and get me to apologise and maybe let her have the units after all. Who knows, but it’s a crazy thing to come running after someone (particularly someone who looks like I do) to start ranting and raving about something when they clearly have no grounds for it.
Had she found me I would most likely (depending on her attitude, but from what I can make out by what the bloke said, she was none too happy) have calmly and politely told her to piss off.

The bloke in the store mentioned that she had even asked him where I work, to which he replied “How the hell should I know”?

Quite right too!

So anyway, I loaded the units into my car and thanked the bloke for his help. He said that he should thank me on behalf of the staff and other customers for making their day.

I said to him that I wish now I’d bought all three units. He said he wished I had too.

Well, that was just a little bit of excitement in a relatively standard small town.

The whole thing about it to me is (and I still don’t know for sure what she was doing) that I assume she had spotted these units and decided she wanted them, but didn’t have enough cash on her so had stood guard over them while her husband or somebody went either home or to an ATM.
Whatever the situation though, she was in the wrong. Maybe not in the wrong exactly, but had no right to be ranting & raving about how bad I was and running down the road after me.

What she should have done was go into the shop, explain that she wanted them but didn’t have enough money on her, maybe put a small deposit on them, but I doubt they would have even been bothered about that and get them to reserve them for her. The sold tickets would have had her name on them instead of mine and she would now have the units instead of me.

I mean it’s like me being in Tesco with someone and realising I need bread, but there is only one loaf left. I know, I’ll stand and guard that loaf and tell people I’m about to buy it while my friend goes off to draw some cash for me.

Anyway, the units are great, perfect for my needs and I’m glad I got them. I do not feel guilty, nor sorry for the woman. It was her own fault for not following a correct and recognised procedure.

I just have to keep an eye out now whenever I’m in the town. I imagine she will be keeping her out for me now. She’ll no doubt want to give me a thorough ticking off. 🙂

Nightmare on ISP Street

I wasn’t sure what to call this entry. I toyed with ‘What a bunch of idiots who half of which don’t know what the other half is doing and in this day and age of technology have to make customers wait about a month to get reconnected because of crazy MAC codes and ridiculous wait times when it should be a simple case of pressing a button’.. but that is just way too long for a blog title.

So here’s the deal..

I had a phone call from another ISP (competitor) offering me the deal of the century. They claimed they could offer me the same service as I was already getting for nearly half the price.. WOW. How could I say no? I wish I had.

So I decided to take them up on their incredible offer.

I was informed that I would need to get a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) code from my current service provider and once I had this to ring them (the new service providers) and give them the code.
I rang my provider and asked for the code, and after several minutes of having to explain why I wanted to leave them, they finally confirmed that they would get the code sent to me in the mail (snail mail). They said this could take between 7 and 10 days to arrive. *Gasp* 7 – 10 days without internet access, how would I survive?

After about 5 days I received the code and quickly (very quickly) rang the new providers to give them the code.
When I eventually got through to the right department I gave them the code and asked them to confirm that I had done all that was necessary to swap to their service. I also asked them to confirm what I would be getting for the money. I was originally told that I would get the same service as I was already getting from my current ISP.

That is unlimited free phone calls (24/7), unlimited/unrestricted broadband (up to 8Mb speed) and line rental. The voice on the other end of the line said “No, that’s not what I have here”. They informed me that I would get a restricted broadband service (something like 40Gb, but even so, still not unrestricted). They said I would need to get onto BT (British Telecom – which incidentally is based in India, very British eh?) and become their customer and remain so for a minimum of 7 days before they could request control of my line. They also informed me that there is a broadband setup fee of £40 (which I was also not told about).
When I finally caught my breath I asked them what the cost would be for unrestricted broadband and it turned out to be the same as I was already paying my current provider. It did mean that I would also have to pay BT separately for the line rental.
So it turns out I was lied to about the deal initially, not told of the broadband setup fee, would ultimately be paying the same as I already was and would have to be paying two separate companies for the same service I currently received from one.

I decided to change my mind. You’d think that would be easy enough right? Surely it’s my right to do so? I changed my mind there & then on the phone. I did not wait & have to ring them back or anything, so what was the problem?
The problem was that despite saying I had changed my mind the new company decided to initiate my MAC code anyway. Maybe they thought I wouldn’t notice or something, so desperate were they to have my custom.

I rang my original provider back and told them the whole tale. They told me that as long as the other company had cancelled the MAC code and everything then my service should remain as normal. Great. 🙂

No, not great at all.

Next day my internet service stops and nothing I do will make it work. I even reset the router and entered all my details again. I rang tech support at 0.50 per minute (or whatever the ripoff charge is these days) and clocked up a good £10 call I’m sure, all to no avail. They had no idea why I had no service. they said that as far as they could see all was well their end and I should have service.
But I didn’t, and no amount of screaming down the phone or sobbing silently into my cold coffee could change that.

I rang the new company back and asked them to confirm that they had cancelled the service, to which they assured me they had.

Hmm.. something strange going on I thought.

Anyway, to cut a long and frustrating story short[er], it turns out that the new company had in fact cancelled my service, but not the MAC code that they shouldn’t have initiated in the first place.

I was a little annoyed to say the least.

I rang the new company again so I could rant & rave down the phone at them and eventually they told me I would need a new MAC code from them to give back to my original provider. OMG.
They said they would create the code (which would take up to 48 hours) and get it in the mail (snail mail again) to me, which could, of course, take up to 7 – 10 days. *Gasp* That’s like over 2 weeks now. Withdrawal symptoms setting firmly in I muttered something like “Hmm, OK, but hurry up”.

Around a week later the code arives and I get back onto my original supplier (once again, very quickly) and ask them how long before I would be connected.
They said that it could be anything up to 14 days. WHAT? ANOTHER 2 WEEKS? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
What could I do but wait? So I waited.

Finally I get a letter telling me my ‘Go live’ date, which happened to be almost another week from the day I received the letter.

The day finally arrived.

One thing I forgot to mention was that when I rang BT to swear.. I mean talk to them about it all they offered me their own package deal. They said they could re-acquire my line that day. I was so excited, I thought why not? They can get me online today.

But guess what? yep, it was another lie. They could re-acquire the line for sure, but they still couldn’t connect me for 2 weeks because of this stupid MAC code business. Also their deal was less for more. Less service for more money. I didn’t want to complicate things further so I politely declined. Yeah right.

Well I’m back. It’s so nice to be back. I felt like I’d had a limb or two removed.
I should have known better, I went against all my instincts (something I very rarely do) in the hope of a cheaper deal. All that to save a few pounds.

It has taught me, or more accurately reinforced something that I already knew but chose to ignore. Two things in fact..

Better the Devil you know, and, If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Just for the record, and because they lied to me, I have decided to name the new company I almost changed to so others can be aware of some of the tactics these companies employ to gain customers.
I don’t feel bad about naming them and neither am I scared of legal proceedings against me, for I believe that if they wish to take me to court for this naming here then they will have to produce recordings of the phone conversations between me and them and that alone will prove that I am telling the truth and not just out to discredit their good name *Choke* for no reason.
I have been without a connection for around a month thanks to them and their deceit and dragging their heels as far as releasing my line again (which they should not have taken over in the first place) goes.

The company that I would not personally recommend is Sky.

Thanks for reading.