The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘credit cards’

If You Want To Be Safe, Don’t Mention My Birthday…

Posted by BigWords on January 9, 2010

I stomped around all morning, grumbling under my breath and trying – not entirely successfully – to work out the easiest way to clear the snowdrift from my back doorstep without the benefit of salt. The past week has been spent trying to conserve the little remaining reserves of the stuff, despite the fact that I need to have clear paths – really, I do, it isn’t just OCD. I’ve been brushing away the loose snow with a hard brush and scraping away the ice beneath with a spade, but that just makes the path dangerously slippy once I finish. The spreading of salt over the paths is the only way to keep me from breaking my neck, but I’m down to half a tub and none of the shops withing five miles has any more. The snow, unfortunately, has fallen quite heavily since last Sunday, rendering all my hard work pointless.

I really can’t stand not being able to walk around the house.

Oh, while I’m bitching about the weather, I should add a major inconvenience and cost into my rant – on Thursday I got a plumber in to fix a valve (or something) which had dripped water down the side of the house. In other weather I might not have noticed it, but in the current climate it presented me with more visible effects… A trail of ice, roughly a foot wide at the base and protruding eight or so inches from the wall at its’ deepest part, had appeared in the space of a couple of weeks. The cost of getting the (minor) repair done? Only a mere £210 thankyouverymuch. If I knew how to fix it myself I could have saved myself a bundle of cash… So much for blue-collar jobs paying less, right?

Up until Friday my mood has been fine (if not bright and cheery, I was at least restraining myself from verbal assaults on anyone who crossed me), but a three-hour journey ended any pretense I had of enjoying the bone-aching cold. It should have been twenty-five or so minutes, but with the weather trying to kill of anyone stupid enough to travel – moi – there was a reasonable enough excuse for the journey descending into farce. I hate winter, I hate Christmas, I detest (beyond any normal levels of bile and spite) the damned and uncontrollable snow and ice, and I really, really, really want to throttle anyone who deigns so much as smile at me in the morning. What is wrong with people? There’s nothing to smile about. Smiling simply makes me believe you are mentally challenged. Seriously, this is not the weather for cheery people…

If you read that and think, obviously, that my week has been bad, then this morning – as per bloody usual – managed to trump any problems thus far. The bank, in their infinite wisdom, has lowered my credit. This wouldn’t be a problem, but the fools have managed to lower it below the sum which is on my credit card, necessitating four letters dropping through my letterbox this morning – one to tell me I’m not allowed to spend over a certain amount, one telling me I am overdrawn (thanks to the bank) and warning me that I have incurred a fee for doing so, one with the standard thinly veiled threats of repossession, bankruptcy and (possibly) jail, plus a fourth which has the sum I am due to pay this month, handily including all of the information from the other three letters in case I didn’t get the message the first time I read through their crap.

I swear, sometimes it feels like the universe is playing an extensive and coordinated game at my expense, probing the edges of my patience until I explode into a frothing rage.

So it’s my birthday… I’m really not sure if I feel older, but I certainly feel more cynical, more irritable, definitely more aches and pains… Some of the benefits of birthdays (the presents, f’rinstance) are out of the question with the abysmal postal service here, so I’m stuck inside the house listening to Jefferson Airplane on a loop and drinking Jack Daniels. Hey, it ain’t as bad as it sounds… At least I don’t have to worry about my brother moving in until the end of the month – which is a problem I’m ignoring until he actually turns up on my doorstep with the rugrat in tow. Jeez, if only things could turn out as planned, rather than the unexpected little problems kicking me in the face at ever opportunity.

Seeing as how I’m venting, I may as well expend a bit of energy complaining about the idiot tax in the UK, otherwise known as the television licence fee, which currently sits at £142.50 per annum. I’ll pay the money, but I do so grudgingly, and with the complicit agreement that I am under no obligation to be anything but disrespectful to the overpaid, under achieving idiots who staff the BBC – one of the worst run companies in the UK at present, which is really saying something. The latest brain-dead decision (to let their lisper in residence, Jonathan Ross, walk from the corporation) is one which confounds me. Are they trying to drive people away from their channels, or is there some secret master plan at work?

My guess is plain, old-fashioned incompetence.

What, precisely, am I paying for? A bunch of radio stations I don’t listen to? The Gaelic channel with twenty-eight regular viewers? The web presence they keep needlessly promoting? The parliament channel that runs twenty-four hours a day, even when nothing is actually happening? Can someone please pull the Director General to one side and explain to him how crap the service is in comparison to the money they get? There is no need to have such a large fee when they seem determined to pack the schedules with endless repeats. I wouldn’t be so annoyed if they were the shows worth watching, but they seem to be under the impression that their bargain basement crap needs viewing at least a dozen or so times… Make it stop, pleeeease… I don’t want to see Heir’s Hunt For Cash For Antiques In The Attic Roadshow bullshit on the schedules any longer.

Oh, while I remember to include it here – I finally got a doctor’s appointment set. It’s for the 28th, so a bit sooner than I expected for the NHS.

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Is It Really That Big? Damn. Yes, It Is.

Posted by BigWords on December 18, 2009

I’m a moron. There, I said it… I got discouraged after a positively horrible shopping experience, so I turned to the internet. The internet, as everyone knows, never lies or misrepresents things, so you have a much better chance of getting to the truth than if you trust television, newspapers, friends, relatives or shopping catalogues – all of which routinely screw with the truth in ways that a politician would be proud of. The internet is a dear old friend, who advises and consoles, who encourages and assists – and, just to make the universe just a little bit more interesting, sometimes makes things appear larger or smaller than they really are.

There’s a problem with images online – nobody thinks to take photographs of items in context, so pictures of a 19″ television and a 48″ television, side by side, can appear to be the same size. This, if you hadn’t guessed, is where my brain puts one and one together to make five. And before I know what is happening, I’m sitting in front of largest television I’ve ever owned, wondering how the fuck I managed to spend so much money, and…

Aw, hell. Just take a look for yourselves. This is the box it came in:

Jeez. It’s massive. It’s also gonna keep me making repayments for another decade or so, but what the fuck… It’s big, and that is all that matters, right? Chicks might tell ya that size doesn’t matter, but I know different. Now all I have to do is make some space for it.

So, for those of you who like the technical definitions:

32″ / 82cm pixel plus HD-ready 1366 x 768p LCD screen
3 HDMI inputs, USB connection, and DVB-T/C for digital

I have to admit this right now, because I don’t think it’s fair keeping the whole truth back – I didn’t realize how big 32″ was. Seriously, I had no idea the size of this thing until it arrived. Which, in a weird kinda way, made opening the box all the more exciting. I had expected something a bit smaller, but the credit card payment had already gone through, and I don’t want to send it back just because I can’t tell the difference between a medium television and a gigantic one.

Shoot me now…

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‘Tis The Season For…

Posted by BigWords on December 15, 2009

Selling, right? That is basically what Christmas exists for. It’s the financial equivalent of lions rounding on antelopes in the wild, only the slick and shallow bastards throwing Santa Clause at us don’t want to kill us, they want to fuck us. They want our credit card details, our e-mail addresses, our ‘phone numbers and our continued (and, apparently, ‘valued’) custom. They want to shill us for everything we have, then get us so hooked on their products that we run up credit card debts which would shame third world nations. C’mon, lets face it – Shops are no better than crack dealers at this time of year, and it is all legal.

But… Here’s the thing. They don’t realize that in between the sales and the hype and the never-ending jingle music – which, one of these days, is gonna be the cause of a shooting spree – there is little actual assistance on offer. Since I’ve been looking for a new television, I’ve been subject to an endless parade of seventeen year-old’s, all equally indifferent to the customers and determined the chew their way through ever single word they speak. And not a single one of them seems to know the difference between plasma and LCD, or the different functions available on the products they are meant to be advising on.

It’s almost as if they don’t want to take my money. It did occur to me that my insistence on paying cash was probably hindering the speed at which things are going. Then another though hit me – when did money lose its value? It isn’t as if I’m offering to pay them in Monopoly money, but they look at the spending of cold, hard cash as the actions of a fucking madman. It’s completely insane. The shops were always going to be hard to deal with at this time of year, but the electrical retailers in the UK seem to be going out of their way to make things as difficult as possible. Doesn’t anyone know “the customer is always right” any more?

In order to minimize my aggravation at dealing with idiots, I’ve been looking through the pages of online retailers as well, but they have an even bigger agenda at the moment, and dealing with customers who want smaller end items is beyond their comprehension. If you want to lay down five grand on a television you’ll be in your element, but looking for a set which has a more modest outlay is next to impossible. A lot of electrical companies also has an insistence on horrendous videos playing on their websites, and that slows the process of browsing through their wares even more annoying than the process would otherwise be.

Having said – on numerous occasions – that Christmas isn’t a particularly festive season, and that I don’t think much of cold weather, faux-merriness, terrible music and bullshit promotions (that crap “on sale” was the same price in the summer) I have come to regard this as punishment for my disbelief in the holiday.

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