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How difficult can it be to hire a suit?

How difficult can it be to hire a suit?

So, the time has come to try and hire a posh suit. I can’t be the only male who has to hire a posh suit and yet hates the entire experience of shopping for clothes – so you’d have thought the male tailors would have tried to make it as easy as possible. But oh no.

Thus to Suits You Westfield. Which is a total nightmare of a shop.

  • The first time I popped in, the sales guy kept trying to get me to hire a package for the exorbitant cost of £100. And then when I refused to do so, he put the order on hold so that I could “think about it and come back tomorrow”. He said he wouldn’t be there but he assured me that someone else would be.
  • I popped in the next day. A very disgruntled and pissed-off salesperson eventually deigned to try and recreate my order, but gave up with their insanely slow systems after 20 minutes, and asked me to “come back tomorrow”.
  • The next day, neither of the salespeople I had dealt with were there, and instead there was one guy there – a right geezer of a salesman – who literally said “We can’t help you”. I asked why, and he said the store was closing down in two weeks. Strange I don’t see any sign of a Closing Down sale…

Thus, I went into another department store – and they had the opposite problem in being understaffed – thus, every time I try to pop in, the staff are rushed off their feet dealing with other customers. I’ve tried to pop in at three lunchtimes and not had much success – the one time I actually did manage to get measured, I had to wear something that was 4 sizes too small – just to see how it would look – and then realised they didn’t have the lilac waistcoat I wanted.

Online was no help – despite the website claiming they could supply a suit by the desired date, when I called them it turned out they couldn’t. And I’m still waiting to hear from another website.

That’s not even getting into the outrageous cost of hiring a suit – and everyone seems to charge the same prices. If that isn’t something that deserves a complaint to the Monopoly Commission, I don’t know what does.

As if my mid-life crisis needed confirming…

As if my mid-life crisis needed confirming…

Your ears aren’t what they once were and you have resorted to doing online hearing tests.

The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 12kHz

Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!

Bah. Time to buy a Ferrari. If I can hear it coming.

Cadburys’ made liquorice lozenges. Called Nigroids.

Cadburys’ made liquorice lozenges. Called Nigroids.

Nigroids from Ernest Jackson Madame Laudanum popped down to her local chemist, and found a tin of liquorice lozenges. Called Nigroids. Through a bit of Googling, we discover that the manufacturer of said Nigroid liquorice lozenges – Ernest Jackson & Co. Ltd – are apparently owned by Cadbury’s.

I’m still rather amazed they’re still called that. What possible reason would you have for calling liquorice lozenges Nigroids ?!

2010 Update: They now appear to be called Vigroids. Which is nice.

Where's my Easter holiday?

Where's my Easter holiday?

For the last three years, I’ve been comfortably able to figure out when Easter is, for one simple reason – Doctor Who usually starts on the Easter Saturday. At least it has since its relaunch way back in 2005.

However, it’s only suddenly dawned on me that this year’s Good Friday – and the chance for two days of rest! – is next Friday. And no Doctor Who in sight. And because there hasn’t been any pre-publicity or previews for Doctor Who, I haven’t noticed it’s nearly Easter and consequently, it’s a wee bit late to book a quick getaway holiday somewhere I can mostly sleep and avoid people.

Where is my Doctor Who? Have the production team been beavering away on it all year and decided not to show it? Did they not notice it was Easter? When is it coming ?!

Metrolink and Waterstones, you're on THE LIST

Metrolink and Waterstones, you're on THE LIST

Today, I decided that I really ought to buy a book on accessibility guidelines and web usability. Eschewing the Internet bookshop options, I thought I’d venture into Manchester Central and get the book from Waterstones. I called them, and they had it in stock, so fine. The website said they were open till 7pm, so fine. Unfortunately, the Gods would conspire against me on this.

First of all was the problem of heading into Manchester. I meandered down to the local Metrolink, bought my ticket, and waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually, a tannoy announcement said that the line was closed but there was a railway replacement service instead. Unfortunately, it had just decided to leave when the announcement was made, and thus I had to wait a long time for the long one. Then it started to rain.

The replacement bus eventually arrived, we got on, got off at the station, waited in the rain at the station till the next tram arrived, then I got off that. And walked through the rain at Manchester city centre towards Waterstones.

To find it had been closed early for a stock-take — someone could have told me that. So I had to trudge home again, repeating my journey in the pouring rain. Having not bought anything at all. The whole trip took me three hours, all in all.

Oh I hate 14 Feb

Oh I hate 14 Feb

If only because it’s third (only to birthdays and Christmas) for fake sentimental emails from companies and shops trying to get you to buy lovey-dovey goods and pretending to be your friend by wishing you a happy Valentines Day.

I mean… the whole point of it is that it’s meant to be a heartfelt thing between you and the person that you love. Not an e-shop that you once put your email address down for. Grrrr.

For more anti-Valentine rants, check out the brilliant Charlie Brooker, the anti-Valentine cards or previous semi-rants about Valentines Day.

And I’ll leave you with this entirely unrelated comic that came from the superlative Secret Asian Man:

Eddie Izzard's sold out, maaannn….

Eddie Izzard's sold out, maaannn….

Time was I remember when Eddie Izzard was an up-and-coming name on London’s comedy circuit. Whispers of him and his genius abounded, and if you were lucky you might get to see him in an intimate setting.

Up till now, I’ve watched his meteroic ascension to stardom with a wry smile – who else could get away with offering downloads of him giving satnav directions (for a suitably high fee of course)? It was still so “him”, keeping to the brand, while still managing to feed the Izzard coffers.

But the latest offer sounds so daft, and ridiculously expensive. A flight for two to New York, three nights in a hotel and tickets to see Eddie in concert. And guess how much you’d have to pay for this privilege?

US$3200. Or about £1800.

I’m pretty sure that a flight for two to New York and three nights in a good hotel will cost about £1000. which basically means that people are paying £400 each for the privilege of seeing Eddie in concert in New York.


An average journey on the Metrolink…

An average journey on the Metrolink…

(whisper: What I am about to blog may lead me into trouble with the unsavoury criminal gangs of the underworld. Yet, I feel it is a story that simply must be told…)

On the Metrolink home, another guy comes in. He looks a little out of it, and to be honest, quite green around the gills. Although it could be the flourescent donkey jacket he’s wearing. He catches me looking at him, I smile back and get back to my magazine. He grabs one of those freebie newspapers, the ride goes on.

Two studenty students get on – long frizzled hair, black clothing, definitely the worst for wear for drink. Flourescent guy asks them if they want any drugs, and the conversation starts for the next few stops.

He’s Brian, with an Irish accent. He is also quite drunk. He gives them his phone number — loudly — three times, and phones home in order to arrange the deal for some weed and barbs at the next tram station. Even though the drunk students are lamely protesting that they’re trying to give it all up. He even gives them a potted biography of his life – he’s 27, got three kids by three different women. He works as a security guard at 10 quid per hour in order so the DSS can’t spot his drug dealing earnings.

My stop’s coming up – ironically, at the same stop where the deal is going to go down. But waiting at the door is a slightly dishevelled man, carrying a blue plastic bag. Said plastic bag seems to be full of some kind of liquid. Curious. Oh. It’s urine. and it’s starting to leak.

Thankfully the doors open and we all rush out. Brian and his new best friends are still at the tram stop, waiting for someone to pop round.

I’ve got no particular objection to people selling or buying drugs, but at least pretend it’s slightly illegal.

Analogue 1, Digital 0

Analogue 1, Digital 0

A long time ago, thanks to my ex-workchums at BBC Wales (thanks guys!), I bought myself a Freecom Network Mediaplayer – basically a hard drive which you can connect to your TV. I gleefully set about downloading about 350 Gigabytes of ancient TV programmes from your local friendly non-official sources, looked forward to my digitally converged future, and pretty much left it sat underneath my TV set while I watched endless repeats of Top Gear instead.

Then last night, I rashly invited my neighbours to come and watch the recent Doctor Who 2007 Christmas special (the one with the Titanic) with me.

First problem – my Sky Plus had inconveniently forgotten to record any of the Christmas programmes I’d set it to record. So instead, I set about downloading it off the Internet, transferring it over to my Mediaplayer, and we could all watch it from there. After 20 minutes of frantically trying to get the laptop to see the hard drive (by mostly rebooting endlessly, and sticking the USB cable in and out), the file transferred over and I thought all was fine and dandy for the big show.

So the doorbell was rung, dinner was ready, wine was poured, and we all sat down to re-watch Doctor Who. Except about half an hour in, the hard drive started spluttering and freezing. Despite numerous reboots, the device refused to work, although the file itself was fine. Bah.

Thus it was that after a suitable soujourn into town for drinks, we all stumbled back into another neighbour’s house at 1am, to finish off watching Doctor Who. On her trusty ol’ VHS tape. Analogue 1, Digital 0.

Can you recommend any handy devices that’ll let me watch downloaded videos on my TV? Preferably ones that come with a DVD player that’ll upscale via HDMI, and ones that’ll also record off a digital TV signal on demand. Oh, and if it can connect directly to my sound system, that’d be great too.

Induction versus induction…

Induction versus induction…

When you hear the word induction, what do you think it means?

I thought it meant my work colleague was going through a corporate induction, and thought it was a trifle odd since he’d been working at the company for quite a while. But I made a joke about it anyway.

He thought I knew that it was referring to his forthcoming baby, who may well have to be induced. And he thought it was a trifle odd that I’d make a joke like that, and wondered if I was being wacky for the sake of being wacky, or I’d gotten the wrong end of the stick.

I’m already developing a reputation. Three weeks into the job. Oy vey. But it’s still a good fun place to be at!

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