Category: Life Lessons

Argos update the Third.

Yup, two blog posts in one day!

So, I just received this from the wonderful folks at Argos.

reimbursementletter

So, in a nutshell – they offered to reimburse me for my day of  annual leave, after they rescheduled my order. And they are now retracting that offer because their rescheduling my delivery means that I should have anticipated taking a day of annual leave.

I guess they realised that an hour of my time is in fact quite expensive.

So, I’ve emailed them. I’ll also be calling.

Dear Argos,

Please see the attached letter I have just received through the post.

This is unacceptable – I arranged for delivery on Saturday the 19th through your website. I originally arranged this for a Saturday because I didn’t want to have to use annual leave for this. It was then *you* who called and rescheduled for the 21st. Me, just wanting the bed to arrive in time for family to visit, reluctantly accepted that I would have to book annual leave for this.

I strongly suggest you review this. You are attempting to claim that that I would have had to anticipate taking a day off for this? That is completely incorrect. Thankfully, I have all previous automated emails, receipts, etc that will back this.

It’s bad enough that I have had such a terrible experience with your company – for you to then offer reimbursement earlier in this email chain, then attempt to tell me that I should have anticipated taking a day off after you rescheduled the delivery day is quite frankly unacceptable.

Sort it out.

Just for extra fun, I’m organised enough that I have kept all prior emails to this. Here’s a screen shot of the email I received on the 5th (when I actually made this order):
receipt
But no. I should have anticipated having to take a day of annual leave when I deliberately arranged delivery for a weekend when I don’t have to work.
Quite.
EDIT – UPDATE
One angry phone call and call back later, apparently it is not in their policy to reimburse for the first day off taken, and the person who told me this in the first place is apparently in trouble!
I find this pretty unacceptable. I’ve already sent details of this shenanigans to BBC Watchdog. Trading Standards next.
EDIT The Second
I’ve sent another email.

Hello again Argos.

Your below email is incorrect. After receiving it, I briefly panicked, thinking that I would be unavailable to hand over the items for collection. Thankfully, my manager is understanding and allowed me to work the rest of the day from home.

I did have cause to phone you today though, after you decided that my time is apparently worth too much for you to give the reimbursement for loss of earnings that you initially offered. I was told that the bed was indeed booked in for collection today, but you were unable to give me any times. So, I was transferred to your collections department, who let me know that the collection was not in fact booked in for today.

Thanks for wasting more of my time.

I have now been told it is booked in for collection on Monday 5th December between 12 and 6.

At this point, I am not holding my breath. Your service is absolutely shambolic. This is now a second day when I have been told to expect some kind of service, and I have had to chase things up with you when said service fails to transpire.

If I have to arrange delivery to your warehouse myself, I’ll be sending you the bill. I want this bed out of my house, and I want my refund.

I have already submitted this whole farce to BBC Watchdog and Trading Standards.

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Frustration! The House Edition.

Once upon a time, I had an idea in my head that buying a house would be a somewhat long, but overall easy enough process.

At this point in the house buying process, I’m still good to buy my house. Yeay! However, it’s not going to be quite as quick as I anticipated.

Turns out I’m in a chain. *Someone* in this chain (not the people selling to me, thankfully) has been playing silly buggers. Now, the people selling to me are a young family, with another small one due in October. They need to upsize. The house they are buying is in a street where a similar property sold for a lot more than what they are trying to buy their own future home for. Turns out the person selling to *them* realised this after agreeing a price. Cue shenanigans. From what I’ve heard from the estate agents, he proceeded to try and ask for more money, had various inquiries that further stalled the whole process, and was generally being a pain in the backside to the people selling their house to me.

From being told only a few days ago that I should be able to exchange contracts on Friday, I had a call this week to let me know that there was a delay – the dude playing silly buggers has now pulled out entirely, stating an unspecified ‘family issue’.

The people selling to me are back to square one – house hunting. They are understandably gutted. They’ve been hoping to get everything signed and sealed before the end of this month, as their anticipated October arrival may hinder a smooth move. They still want to sell to me. Thankfully, I have yet to give notice on my flat, so they’ll get no pressure from me to hurry things up. I’ve waited years to get to the point of buying a house – a few more months won’t kill me.

Still, it is incredibly frustrating. I suspect that I’ll soon see the house they were hoping to buy back on the market soon at a much inflated price. I can only imagine that the seller thought he had a young family over the barrel, and got greedy. I’m half tempted to turn up at any potential viewings and be an arse. Which I wouldn’t, of course, because that would be petty and beneath me. But still – one can dream.

One thing that this whole process has just taught me though – they have a way better system for this in Scotland that prevents this kind of shenanigans. I really wish we had it in England.

Sods Law

Sods law states that the worst thing possible will happen at the worst possible time.

Or something like that.

I’m in the process of buying a house. I’m about to be throwing the largest amount of money at something that I ever have in my life.

I should have realised this would be the harbinger of a huge car bill.

Ah well. Almost £400 later, and my car has a new exhaust and is running pretty amazing.

Gah.

An anniversary, of sorts.

This post deviates from the usual light-hearted tone I try to keep with this blog. It does have a happy ending, though!

Some facebook ‘memories’ photos have been showing up in my feed for me to share, and that made me realise a rather relevant anniversary for me.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of when I’d acknowledged that depression was completely kicking my arse, and I’d tucked my tail between my legs and run back to my dads house. The photo that prompted this post was taken on my first night back, when I went out for a meal with my mum, sisters, brother in law, aunt and cousin. I was attempting to present an image to the world that I was fine. I have a rather fixed grin on my face that does little to hint at how unwell I was inside. I spent the next 3 weeks as a sobbing wreck on dad’s settee, whilst trying to figure out how to fix myself.

I won’t dwell too much on the circumstances that had led me to that point. In essence, it was a perfect storm of circumstances – I am prone to seasonal depression over the winter months due to longer nights. I hadn’t managed to pull myself out of that when I started on some medication that was supposed to be able to help me quit smoking – but one of the side effects of that medication is depression. To add to all this, I was embroiled in a rather awful situation in my own life.

Sometimes, I look back and feel ashamed that I didn’t cope better. Because I’m supposed to be better than that. Then I total up everything that was going on, and realise that I shouldn’t have ever expected myself to be superwoman in the first place. I doubt there are many people out there who have the mental and emotional fortitude to deal with such circumstances without there being some kind of effect.

It sounds pretty rough, and it was – it was the lowest point of my life so far. I was really ill. But in my mind it marks the beginning of when I really started to take responsibility for my own mental health, and started making positive changes in my own life. I stopped taking those bloody quit smoking tablets, and switched to anti depressants. I worked towards letting go of the anger and bitterness over the situation I was in. I also became a bit more selfish – I realised that I do actually matter, and I owed it to myself to live a good life and to look after myself better.

I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come in the space of a year. I realised I have a network of solid and amazing people who I can approach for support when I need it. More to the point, I’ve let go of any shame in actually approaching those people when I do need a bit of a help. I have an amazing boyfriend in my life. I’ve moved forward in my career. I’ve adopted some of the principles touted by cognitive behaviour therapy to let go of my tendency towards warped thinking – in essence, let go of dwelling on the negative, and instead take a positive step forward. It wasn’t always easy. In fact, at times it was downright torture in my own head – but it has paid off. My life feels pretty amazing right now as a result – and it was me that got me there (with a little lot of help from my friends).

Now, that may not seem like much, but it’s pretty huge for me. I’m not 100% back to my old self – but that is not surprising. I have changed as a person (hopefully) for the better as a result of my experiences, so my old self is not someone I need or even want to be any more. I’ve lost nothing, and gained so much.

To sum up this post – depression is an absolute beast. Not only does it drag you down, it keeps you down by taking away the motivation to do anything to help yourself. I can only encourage anyone else going through this to please get help. Reach out to family and friends. See a doctor. Get therapy. Try anything and everything. It won’t be easy, but you’re worth it, even if your brain is currently telling you that you deserve all the shit that life is currently throwing at you. Your brain on depression is your worst enemy. Life can and will get better, and there is nothing shaming about accepting that you can’t always do it alone.

I am no longer depressed – I haven’t been for a good while now. I do still have my anxious moments. I know that I can’t allow myself to fall down that pit again, and I try to be very aware of the signs my own body and mind give me that I could be headed that way. I’m terrified of getting that ill again – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But that anxiety is merely the very last remnant of a time that is now in the past, and I am very eager for it to stay there. It’s the final thing to let go of – and I will throw it away, because I know it’s not worthy of being a part of me, and has no place in the life I want to have.

There you have it – I’m better, and I’m always working to get even more better. I am a work in progress, and I always will be. And the same goes for everyone else. So here’s the deal for me and everyone who is reading this – decide to be awesome, and keep being awesome. It’s worth it.

* One resource that helped me greatly is the MoodGYM training program. It’s free to use, and is accessed online: MoodGYM.

The Politeness Trap

Many of us are conditioned to be polite from an early age. This could just take the form of minding our P’s and Q’s, or taking advice from an etiquette book.

This post has been prompted by another wander down memory lane. A parcel arrived for my birthday (which is tomorrow) over the Easter weekend, from my Aunt, which made me remember a previous birthday.

Anyways, a while ago, my Aunt had sent me a parcel for my birthday. It never actually arrived. This led to a fun chain of events and assumptions.

So, etiquette dictates that I send a ‘thanks for the present’ via some medium. However, it also dictates that while gifts are given, they are not to be expected.

I received no present, but felt it would be rude to chase it up. I certainly didn’t feel entitled to a present, so I wrote it off in my mind. I figured she had been busy with life, and forgot.

On the flip side, my Aunt received no message from me to thank her for the present, or event to let her know it had arrived. She wrote it off in her mind, thinking that I probably got busy and forgot.

Both of us were so hung up on being polite. I never thought to get in touch and say ‘Hey, where’s my present?’, whilst Aunt never thought to prod me with a ‘Hey, you never thanked me for your present!’.

It was months later when my father mentioned to me that Aunt had told him I never thanked her for the gift. Prompting me to say ‘I thought she hadn’t sent one!’. So we eventually had a conversation about it, which was summed up by ‘You know I wouldn’t not get you a present for your birthday!’ and ‘You know I wouldn’t forget to let you know I had received and was thankful for the present!’. Long story short, Aunt sent me another present, and this one arrived. Which was awesome.

The story has a happy ending. Though if we’d both been less polite, there would probably be less of a story here. I guess I just found it interesting that one of the social constructs in place to prevent hurt feelings – simple politeness – could have in this case caused hurt feelings on both sides.

I guess the message here is that whilst I do place a high value on politeness, sometimes we should let it slide a bit with people who are close to us to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings. In essence – politeness can trap you into the wrong assumption.

The first step into adulting.

I’m not sure what prompted my little trip down memory lane. That said, I do occasionally think back to various points in my life that I can acknowledge are crossroads.

We all get to a point in our lives where we know it’s time to finally cut the apron strings, and take that step – moving out from a parents house, and having to be responsible for ourselves.

It’s scary.

In my situation, I was living with my Dad. I’d recently graduated from university with a decent degree, so I was all set to begin my career in software development. Here’s the crunch part though – I was painfully aware that to follow my dream, and to continue following the path I had set myself upon, I wouldn’t be able to stay comfortably close to my family and friends. The jobs in my chosen profession were all down south. The closest thing to what I wanted to do that was located close to where I had grown up was a very poorly paid data entry job.

I guess this is why it took over 3 months for me to even begin a job search – and even for my Dad to mention that I should probably start job hunting. We both knew that me getting a job would mean that I would be moving over 100 miles away. I think it’s why we both avoided the subject for a bit. That said, my Dad was always very good about pointing me in the right direction of being a responsible adult, even when it was painful.

So, my Dad gently suggested that it was time to start job hunting. I got myself into adult mode, signed up for job seekers allowance, and started the hunt in earnest.

I had a job landed within 2 weeks. It felt too soon, but by this point, I was committed. I’m not sure if my Dad was surprised at how short a time it took. That said, I think that even if it had taken a month longer, it still would have felt too soon.

I remember my last night as a resident at Dad’s house, feeling incredibly melancholy as I sat outside just looking at the garden. I was less than 24 hours away from starting a new life in my dream career, but all in a place where I had no family and no friends. Maybe it seems dramatic – I was moving 120 miles away, but I have a car. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive. Phone calls are a thing. Somehow though, it’s not the same. I cried a bit, but I was still excited about finally starting to adult.

The first few years were tough. I think it took me 3 years to finally feel like my new city was home. I missed my family desperately. I still do, occasionally. I often wish I could live closer to them all. Moving out isn’t hard. Moving so far away is. I think if I’d known how hard I’d find it, I would have chickened out.

That said, I have no regrets. I feel that this was my first step into ‘adulting’, and I think I did ok. I’m also grateful that my Dad allowed me that small breathing space after gradutation to carry on being his little girl for just a bit longer before making it clear that I did have to start being fully responsible for myself. Thankfully, he brought me up to have the resilience and knowledge that he knew I would need to make it on my own. Which I guess is another thing to be grateful for.

That said, he’s not rid of me yet. Parenting is a 24/7 job for the rest of your life, and I phone him most evenings just to make sure he remembers this. When visiting, I am seen off with a carrier bag full of food and necessities. His house is still a place of refuge when life throws a curveball my way. It’s comforting to know that he still has my back, and should I need it, I can always run back there with my tail between my legs. I know that I’m lucky to have this. Even though my Dad has made sure I can adult with little assistance, knowing that he still wants to look after me has been a huge comfort over the years when life wasn’t treating me well. Just because I *can* do it all on my own, doesn’t actually mean that I have to – and I’m incredibly lucky to have that kind of situation.

I had my ears lowered.

I got my hair cut last week. I had a good 4 inches chopped off, so my hair is back above my chin. Given that my hair was previously past my shoulders, this could be seen as a drastic change.

I much prefer having short hair. Not because I necessarily think it suits me better, but more because I am kind of lazy. Having my hair cut so much shorter means that it no longer takes me 15 minutes to dry and straighten my hair. It’s now more like 3. Which amounts to 12 minutes of my life I can claim back every day. It may not seem much, but it soon adds up!

So there you have it. My fashion choices are dictated by my desire to not have to spend any longer than 5 minutes getting my hair under control.

I was asked ‘What if your boyfriend doesn’t like it?’

At the time, I responded with ‘tough’, but I decided to expand on this here.

If the bloke is with me only for past shoulder length hair, then I would have made a pretty poor choice in boyfriend. I’d like to think that he’s going out with me, and not my hair.

Well, I decided on a small reality check, and asked him what he thought of it. In typical bloke fashion, he just replied with a noncommittal ‘It’s different’. Then mentioned that it’s my hair to do what I want with when I asked him to explain.

Which in my mind settles it. I suspect that most blokes out there probably don’t even notice a hair cut one way or another, and certainly have little opinion on it. This is supported by my turning up for work today, and the only person who has commented on the change is the lady who served my latte this morning. All other encounters today have been with male colleagues.

To sum up: Odds are the blokes I work with haven’t actually noticed. Either that, or hair isn’t really on their list of things to mention. So really, all this panic over a hair cut is probably a lot of wasted energy. It’s certainly food for thought if next time you go to get your haircut you start worrying over what your other half will think. I’m betting it’s not high on his list of priorities.