Month: January 2016

5 Things I’ll be doing on my ‘staycation’

I have a week off work. Woo hoo! I decided I was in much need of my own company, so I have treated myself to a staycation. As in, I intend to stay at home for the most part, and not have to see people or go outside. Maybe I’ll go on an adventure and see family and what not. Here’s my itinerary so far:

  1. Get my car MOT’d. This will be done on Monday, as this is a suitable day for doing something potentially unpleasant.
  2. Play Fallout 4, and make lots of videos about my settlement building addiction. (Stop judging me).
  3. Catch up on my ‘to read’ pile. This is always big. For every book I finish, I stumble across two more I want to read. I enjoy having this ‘problem’.
  4. Binge watch Castle on Amazon Video. I still have yet to watch this in all its awesomeness.
  5. Eat many many cheese based products. Because – cheese.

An annual telling off

I have AA breakdown cover. I’ve had it for around 15 years now.

Sadly, in this day and age, being a loyal customer does not have much reward.

Every year, I have to phone them up for 2 things:

  1. They consistently have my address set to my previous address. Regardless of where I am living, or when I moved, they always send my mail to my previous address.
  2. They consistently attempt to charge me almost double of what they charged me the previous year.

So, basic breakdown cover is advertised at £35 this year. They charged me £68.55. Their competition, the RAC, are charging £27.99 for basic cover. At this point, I probably should have just ditched and switched, but the AA have been good in the times I’ve needed to call them out, so I know at this point I’m happy with staying – for the right price.

Their reasoning for this price increase is, in my mind, somewhat spurious. A while back, they upgraded my membership to Gold “at no extra cost!”. Last year when I phoned, I had to point out to the guy on the phone that the perk of discounted Costa Coffee at service stations was not actually worth an additional £35 in my mind. Especially since I had never had any intention of actually using it. Or any of the other ‘benefits’ of Gold membership, for that matter.

This year, when I phoned, I simply stated what the RAC are advertising, and didn’t have the usual debate and 3 price decreases that are usually offered until I get them back down to the basic membership fee. Which was a refreshing change.

Really, at this point, they should have hefty notes on their records that I *will* phone up every year to get my subscription reduced back down to the basic membership price. They could save us both a lot of hassle if they’d just charge the basic membership I actually want every year. Especially given that I’ve looked after my car well enough recently that I haven’t had to call them out for going on 4 years now.

It would also be really nice if they could sort out their systems to actually retain my current address, to. I’ve been at my current address for 3 years now. Initially, they send any mail to the right address. Come renewal time though, my renewal letter that states the much increased price always goes to a previous address. More paranoid people at this point would be incredibly suspicious of this practice. Since I’m going to be phoning them up every year anyway though, it’s merely a mild inconvenience.

The only reason I haven’t switched to the RAC is that I know I’d have the same song and dance with them every year as well. It’s frustrating, and kind of insulting. I do not appreciate these companies attempting to take me for a mug. But since I know breakdown cover is an important thing to have, I’m just going to have to continue with the annual telling off. Regardless of who I have breakdown cover with.

Food Envy

We have a pretty nice canteen at work. The costs are subsidised, so the food is cheap.

This morning, while getting my daily latte, a guy in the queue behind me had a sausage and hash brown bap*.

This is a combination that I had never previously thought to have in a bap, and it’s so so awesome. Of course, I had to get one of my very own, even though I had already had breakfast. This is fine, since everyone knows that calories don’t actually count on Fridays, and a lady at my exercise class last night observed that I have lost weight.

Food envy makes the most disciplined of us greedy. And I regret nothing! You should try it.

* Other names for this: Bread roll, barm, bun, so that everyone can have an idea of what I’m on abut here.

The belated Christmas present

For Christmas, my Dad wasn’t really too sure what he wanted. So, we decided that I would get him some computer game in the new year, once he was sure which one he wanted to play when he’s done with Fallout 4.

Some time at the beginning of January, he mentioned that Farcry 4 was the game he would like.

So, every week since then, I’ve been in Tesco looking for a copy of this game. Every single week they have been out of stock. 3 weeks out of stock! I appreciate it didn’t get amazing reviews across the board, but it’s still in their games chart.

The shiny out of stock label was also on a few other titles, and has been for the last few weeks as well. It’s getting to the point where I’m wondering why Tesco even list games that aren’t in the top 5, since anything charting below this seems to be permanently out of stock.

Looks like I’ll be buying this online and getting it sent to his work. Sorry Dad – I’ll get you your Christmas present *some* time before December, promise!

Recruiters behaving badly

Recently, I blogged about an issue I had with the telephone system at work – which turned out to be a recruiter phoning me.

Well, I had another phone call at work today, from another recruiter.

I’m not sure why this is a thing. It’s not a problem I’ve had before. These recruiters are not getting my direct work number from my LinkedIn profile. I deliberately don’t publish any of my contact numbers on there. What is actually happening is that they are seeing where I am currently employed from my LinkedIn profile, and phoning the reception where I currently work to get put through to my work number.

I’m getting more annoyed by this behaviour. I specifically mention in my profile that any contact should be done either via email or through a LinkedIn message. I am open to being contacted. Not because I’m on the market for new work, but because I can occasionally forward on a recruiters details to my connections who are looking for work, or just because a once in a lifetime opportunity may show up.

So. I publish no contact numbers, and ask specifically to be contacted via other means. Now, while the majority of recruiters respect this, it’s apparent that a small minority see no issue with trampling this rather simple boundary. I feel that contacting me at my current work place to try and poach me for another position when I’ve barely been here five minutes, is kind of rude to me and my current employer.

This isn’t the only time I have encountered recruiters behaving badly. I’ve experienced my CV being doctored to attribute skills to myself that I have no claim to. More insultingly, they introduced some typos when they did this. This led to an experience where at the interview stage, myself and the interviewer realised that they had been missold my skills, just as I had been missold the role itself. My jaw dropped when I looked at the copy of my CV that they had received. That interview was terminated early, with apologies all around, upon us both realising that I would not have applied if I had not been lied to – and that they would not have interviewed me had me skills been correctly represented. The end result was that time was wasted on all sides. Also, embarrassment for me.

Then there was the recruiter who told the place where I was interviewing that I was a contractor. I’m not sure why she did this – I’ve never been a contractor, so I don’t know what she hoped to achieve with this. In fact, I spoke with her in the initial conversation and explicitly stated that I have never been a contractor. The role for which I was interviewing was a permanent role, so there was really no reason to misrepresent me like that. Strangely enough, I didn’t get that job.

That said – I have dealt with many recruiters, and usually have a positive experience from it. Out of all of them, this is only 4 that have behaved badly. This is definitely only a minority. The main result of their shenanigans is they get removed from my connection list, and possibly from their clients, so ultimately they shoot themselves in the foot. I still find the behaviour mystifying though.

Surely it would be better for all parties if they attempted to recruit in a more honorable fashion? Misrepresenting candidates and clients in this way can only lose them business.

My conclusion – people are strange.

Of Marriage and Commitment

The blokes kids took me by surprise this weekend.

Are you getting married?

After I’d stopped spluttering, I replied with ‘Nope, no plans to!’. Somehow, the little ones have this idea that I’d be around all the time if their father and I were to tie the knot. Not sure where they got this idea from, and the bloke was as mystified as I was. I pointed out to them that it would make little difference, and that they’d get annoyed with me if they saw me all the time anyway. Hell, I get annoyed with me, because I’m around me all the time.

Now, it’s not that I’m against marriage. It works for many, many people all over the world. That said – it’s not for me. I’ve never felt that I needed a bit of paper or a ring to know that I’m committed to someone. Also, being very honest with myself, I have a poor track record for relationships. Sometimes because of me, sometimes because of the other person. Usually a mixture of both. Maybe that’s part of my aversion to the idea.

Of course, that’s not to say that I’d flat out refuse to consider it ever. But I’d need some pretty compelling reasons to do so. It’s not a deal breaker issue for me, mainly because I don’t have any really strong feelings on the issue. I guess my view on it is more along the lines of I can be in a partnership with someone without the need for a ceremony and legal trappings. And I’m ok with that.

Frustration!

Until this weekend, it had been *years* since I played this board game. The version I played was a Minions version of the game, which had a small extra mechanic – there are two dice in the dome, one of which has a little red minion on one side. If you get the little red minion on your dice roll, you get Bob on your team, and none of your ‘minions’ can be sent back home.

It was an entertaining mechanic, as you can suddenly ‘block’ people in their home if you happen  to have Bob. New tactics ahoy!

It was quite sweet how the blokes girls would opt to *not* send one of my minions home when the opportunity arrived. Of course, I wasn’t so nice in return, as board games are a perfect avenue to display  that life is unfair, and that I’m actually mean. Soon, I found that I was being ganged up on by everyone, which was hilarious. That didn’t stop me winning on three occasions, happily. A lucky run of rolling sixes saw to that!

As far as board games go, Frustration probably isn’t one of the best. Still, I have a lot of nostalgia associated with it, so I still find it thoroughly enjoyable. Though in all fairness, any game that lets me mess up the opposition somehow generally ends up being more fun for me. I’m sure that says all sorts of things about my character. Oops!