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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 9/7/08 - 9/14/08

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sat Nav - A real story

I took a call from my good friends Alan and Jayne last night to go and practice with a small brass music group. Not knowing the address, they suggested I go to their house first so that we all go together in one car. Alan decided it was a good idea to use their Sat Nav to find out way. It was a friends house that none of us had been to although we do know our way to Deal.
Setting off, the female Sat Nav voice gave all the usual instructions until we got quite close to Deal, when we were given an unexpected direction towards Dover instead. Alan, being a little concerned, asked Jayne if she had entered the post code correctly (bad move). This resulted in a light hearted argument with Jayne threatening to switch the Sat Nav off! I just sat on the back seat laughing. It seems to me that Sat Navs have a habit of suggesting some strange routes and this one was no exception, taking us up all sorts of country lanes. Alan and Jayne were still arguing. It was certainly a long way round to the destination and made us a little late. Just before we arrived, Jayne said to Alan,
"If you don't stop moaning about the Sat Nav, I'll shove it up your arse!"
There was a brief moment of silence followed by Alan's quip back,
"Turn left, at the colon!"
It took me about 5 mintues to stop laughing, wiping the tears from my eyes.


Well...... I'm disappointed. There I was this morning waiting to be raptured, and it didn't happen! Seems like life will continue for a while yet. All the excitement of this new scientific experiment and all we got to see was 2 blobs on a computer screen. Well, I guess we have to give 'em the benefit of doubt.


I ventured up in to our loft space today to get some clothes down to give away to a friend who is expecting a baby soon. It's a bit like archeology really, finding stuff that I've hoarded over years. Discoveries this time included: -
  • A brochure for The Bungalow Hotel, Birchington (knocked down years ago and replaced with flats).
  • A programme for the 1978 twinning ceremony between Margate, Le Mureaux in France and Idar Oberstein in Germany.
  • My school certificate from 1980 detailing CSE results of grades "D" and "E"
  • A list of companies that I wrote to on spec searching for work during 1981 to 1983 along with around 40 odd replies.
  • A letter from an old girlfriend 1983 along with a batch of letters from friends around the same time, some of which were from Jayne, mentioned at the start of this blog. We are old friends.
I am due to run a classroom session at work tomorrow involving job searching. I did this a couple of weeks ago, but will need to do it again, so finding those of letters on my teenage job search has inspired me to share it all with my clients. Despite leaving school with poor exam results, I managed to survive adult life by finding work. Just goes to prove that exam results are not the be all and end all, despite what schools (with targets to hit) drum into our children.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Less than satisfactory service

As you can see, the radiator on my old jalopy certainly is past its usefulness. I used a trick of cracking an egg in it on Saturday to temporarily seal up the leak. That didn't appear to work initially, but it seems to have possibly done the trick today. Yesterday, when I started the car having topped up the rad yet again, there was a spurt of water reminiscent of that statue in Brussels "Manneken Pis".
I'm not happy!
After pondering my options last week, I decided to go down to my local garage in the village and ask for a quote to supply and fit a new radiator. The mechanic promised me a call back that day, but the call never came.
Now I'm one of those people that doesn't like being messed around when it comes to spending money on repairs. As my good friend Alan always says;
"Time is money and I haven't got a lot of either!"

I didn't waste time following up on the garage option. Instead, I continued looking for quotes to supply on via the internet with the intention of finding someone to fit afterwards. I registered with a site called ....... Seemed like a reasonable option. Very quickly I received a few quotes from various merchants at different prices. One pushy place phoned me trying to secure an immediate sale. I chose to tell them I'd wait for a few more quotes before making a decision. Eventually I made a decision on Wednesday last week after phoning "Japanese Auto Salvage". Needless to say, it was a premium rate number, but the guy was helpful with advice and the website showed positive feedback from previous customers. The Salvage yard was not the cheapest quote, but I chose them because feedback stated mostly next day delivery. I waited in all day Thursday for the part to be delivered having secured a friend from the pub who offered to fit the radiator for a very reasonable price.
Said car radiator didn't turn up!!!!!
On Friday, I grudgingly made another call on the premium rate number and was told the part was in transit. The guy promised me a tracking number and said he would call back with it because his computer was down.
No phone call
No delivery

Saturday arrives........ No delivery

I looked up customer service for to discover phone lines were...... surprise surprise not open at the weekend (although an email address promised a reply within the hour) ..... and Gordon Brown is going to cut all taxes to 0% - yeah right

Finally, I call today and they provided the national rate phone number for Japanese Auto wotsits. I phoned then at 9am and 10am. No answer so I send yet another email to and still failed to get a reply.
Finally, at midday, I get through to the merchant who supplies me with the tracking number and the courier responsible for delivering my radiator.
Here is what I found: -
08/09/200806:05:00Canterbury South Home DeliveryOut for delivery
06/09/200806:19:00Canterbury South Service CentreReleased to other delivery agent
06/09/200806:02:00Canterbury South Service CentreArrived At Depot
06/09/200800:51:18Hatfield TerminalDeparted Depot
06/09/200800:50:00Hatfield TerminalIn Transit
06/09/200800:48:01Hatfield TerminalArrived At Depot
05/09/200816:46:00Borehamwood Service CentreParcel Picked Up
05/09/200816:38:00Borehamwood Service CentreDeparted Depot
05/09/200800:00:00Borehamwood Service CentreShipment Data Received

Despite placing the order on Wednesday afternoon about 4pm, a request for "shipment" did not occur until midnight Thursday and the part was not collected until almost 5pm on Friday. For some strange reason, despite a journey of less than 100 miles, the package is transferred to a depot at Canterbury (some 15 miles from me) where it remains for the weekend.
The next entry on this tracking system appears at 12:22 hrs with some criptic message that I subsequently discovered meant the parcel hard been "scanned" for dispatch. That was yet another phone call I had to make.
It appeared there was also a transfer of courier to deliver. Well, I'll state I'm less than impressed with "Interparcel".

Finally, my car radiator arrived at 3:20 this afternoon, 5 days after I ordered it. If I didn't know better I'd have wondered if it had been shipped direct from Japan. It would have cost me a fraction more (probably around £10) to have driven up to Herts and collected the thing myself.

I now can't get hold of my friend who said he will fit the part for me. Oh well..... maybe tomorrow. I'd have a go myself, but I don't have the tools.

Here ends yet another cautionary tale poor customer service in our so called lightning speed, modern technilogical world.