Saturday, 28 May 2011


There are a great many things around today that exist specifically to make our lives easier, supposedly. You will hear, read or watch as some mouth piece tries to put forward the notion some change they're making is for your benefit, it'll make your life easier, you'll spend less time doing what ever it was you did before by doing it this new way, supposedly.

I'll say it on behalf of all of us, you're fooling no one.

Although the list is probably endless, just this week a number of situations have conspired (not limited to trying to pay a utility bill on line) where by you have to ask; why is this better? The truth is its got nothing to do with you and everything to do with their profits. It doesn't matter how they dress it up, only the most extreme idiot falls for it, oh look, my bank has a customer's charter and they've signed it, all my banking woes begone! It's just a wee bit patronising (and I can't say anything bank related without making known my loathing for the Halifax adverts, I could on and on but let me just say they're less of an advert for banking than for electric shock treatment, which is to say, I'm not sure if they've all had it already, if they haven't, as Scrappy-Doo used to say: 'lemme at 'em!'.)

Back tracking slightly, the utility bill I couldn't pay on line, I still couldn't pay online because I didn't have my card reader thingy about my person. Is not the whole point of having internet banking for the convenience? Being able to pay stuff anywhere? Not so with my crowd, I have to carry a small calculator type thing around with me, its too big to go in a wallet and if you sit on it goes without saying it would break into a million pieces. So banking on the move is only really so if you're happy to carry the equivalent of a TV remote control around, I suppose you could plan ahead but what happened to convenience? The final irony is, if you're stupid enough to get scammed online you're probably to stupid to work the thing anyway; we're trying to pay a bill not launch a space rocket.

Supermarkets are next on my ever expanding list. I'm going to show my age and recall the days when supermarkets weren't so super, atleast not in terms of size and choice. Back in the day you had the pick of two types of bread, well three actually; brown, white and that heavy leaden stuff that you couldn't chew which had wrought iron crusts on the top and bottom edges; a plain loaf? Now there are a gazillion different types to choose from, I'm not a good shopper, in fact I'm a quandry-shopper; every choice is an excruciating decision; there is a German saying for this: 'die Qual der Wahl' meaning the Torture of Choice. Is having four million different loafs of bread a good thing? Would we miss it if we only had, say, two million to choose from? If I don't nip things in the bud, I start to wander up and down the bread aisle in a fug of indecision, I turn at each end mulling over the choices on levels of consciousness I didn't know I had, what I call Supermarket Autopilot. Eventually my wanderings begin to collapse in on themselves until I'm walking in ever decreasing circles, later I can be seen corkscrewing gently in front of the seeded batch loafs humming gently under my breath. I'm sure people stare but since I vacated my body some time ago (my essence probably gone to the drinks aisle) I don't really notice.

Eventually I walk out the building with a pork pie and some diet coke, its the best I can do.

Mobile phone shops, is there a mobile phone shop that doesn't involve getting into a war of wills as soon as you set foot in the door, two things normally happen, you're either ignored entirely or several overly-made-up, fragrant sales staff surround you and start a war for your soul (and that's just the male staff.) I know I need a new phone so we're half way there, by the end of the experience I want nothing to do with anything approaching a mobile telephone, bullied, cajolled, pressured, blackmailed or bribed. I wouldn't be surprise if they have hidden cameras in the toilets. "Hi, yes you used our toilet? Right, well if you buy this phone (it's the most expensive one we have) then we won't put the video of you peeing and scratching your arse on youtube, deal?" Mark my words because I was right about the iphone.

Iphones. Its a phone, you're using your phone, you need to answer the phone (which is rude if you're already talking with someone,) someone is ringing you on your phone, none of this "uuh, yuh, listen it's Mungo, I need to take this call on my iphone yuh?' It's probably quite a good phone but many of the people who buy them turn in to massive twats, they just do, a bit like Invasion of the Body Snatchers except people are replaced by wanker versions of themselves. I meet friends for drinks or I should say I meet friends and their iphones for drinks, no sooner have you sat down than out it pops, it's technological mastarbation of the worst kind and you should stop it lest you lose the abililty to decide for yourself. There's an app for everything is there? The entire phone is an app for destroying normal social interaction; I hate them passionately.

Computers in general have pervaded normal everyday life, in call centres they're used extensively to piss people off, hold on, I mean deal with our calls, the laptop on which I'm typing this is just as lairy. I turn it on then go and make tea in the knowledge that it will update stuff then restart then update more things then restart again and so on. Occasionally it will pause in this loop for long enough to let me type something like this, lucky you, or not as the case may be.

Convenience? I think not, how can talking to a man in Mumbai be more convenient if you want to know what time a train leaves Edinburgh Waverley (for example) than talking to someone at Edinburgh Waverley? (I once asked an Indian chap on the phone at Virgin TV what time it was where he was, he said '...same time it is where you are sir, I'm in Edinburgh too.')

Turns out it's just a massive collective corporate typo, when a company says its for our convenience they're not lying.

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Thanks for comment as always and I apologise if you have to jump through any hoops to do so. Its just that, I'm still being spammed by organisations who are certain I can't get it up or when it is up its not big enough or that I don't have anyone to get it up for.

Who knew blogging could be so bad for ones self-confidence?