Fuck you, Debenhams Mastercard

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It’s a new day, and I’m pissed off with NewDay today…

FYI NewDay is the company that administers the Debenhams Mastercard and they’re a right bunch of incompetent, intransigent money grubbing twats. There. I think that covers it?

So why do I feel like this? Because I have a direct debit with them that pays off the full balance on the card every month – only last month, it didn’t work. No idea why. It just didn’t. So I contacted them when I noticed that the money had not gone out of the bank account and I checked the card on line. Seems the DD bounced – except when I rang my bank, they said it had never been presented. Never mind, they just slapped on a £12 fee for late payment, another £12 for a ‘returned’ direct debit, and £5 in interest because the balance hadn’t cleared. Like I said, money grubbing bastards – especially when I complained to them that they’d not taken the money in the first place!

Then on Monday I got a reply to my email. A standard letter saying ring them to discuss it. I thought “5p a minute for me to ring them to sort their balls up? Fuck ’em” – then on Tuesday I got a snotty letter informing me that my account was in arrears and that I should ring them to discuss payment! FFS!

I caved in and rang them. I had a 38 minute circular conversation with them – cost me £1.90 to try to sort out their cock up. Eventually, they refunded one of the £12 charges as a ‘gesture of good will’ ignoring the fact that by now any good will had flown the coop. The irk on the phone (a bloke called Zebi – I resisted asking if his second name was Dee…) kept telling me that it was down to my bank. That’s the bank I’d already spoken to on Friday who said NewDay had never asked for the money!!!

So I asked the irk who had the authority to refund these charges as he’d already told me he couldn’t. His reply? “I don’t know. I’ve only been here four weeks.” “Bloody well go and find out then!” No. Not interested. Not bothered. Couldn’t care less. They’ve got my money. They don’t care.

I got nowhere. Continuing circular conversation. More Magic Roundabout connotations sprung to mind. “You messed up” said Florence. “Fuck you” said Dougal. Boooiiinnng!!! “Hello Dougal and Florence” said Zebedee. “Fuck off, Zebedee” said Dougal and Florence…

Anyhow, a complaint has been registered. They will write to me. No doubt they’ll asked me to ring them to discuss it. At 5p a minute. Down to me. First ten minutes holding on in their queuing system.

The Debenhams Mastercard is now in pieces. I will never use it again. I will never shop in Debenhams again.

Fuck you, Debenhams. Fuck you, NewDay. Fuck you, Zebedee. You know where you can insert your credit card – and in ain’t in an ATM…

Get yer Yahya out!

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I’m having a bad week. People are pissing me off right, left and centre. The latest is Yahya Jammeh. Now I know what you’re thinking – “who the fuck is Yahya Jammeh?” Well, he’s the President of the Gambia and he’s just fucked up a very nice holiday I was about to take next week.

Seems El Presidente of the Gambia Jammeh doesn’t like the result of the election that was held in December, despite the fact that he’d initially conceded defeat. Then he changed his mind. He was put into power by the army in 1994 and has been there ever since, likely salting away a couple of bob along the way? There’s currently a state of emergency in the Gambia, it has two presidents as the President elect, Adama Barrow, has been sworn in in Senegal. But Jammeh is still hanging on backed by the best regiments of the army.

His cabinet is disolving around him and buggering off to Senegal where, understandably, it’s a tad safer for them. The Nigerian army has moved tanks, warplanes and a ship to the area and is massed on the border waiting for a UN resolution to legalise armed intervention.

Meanwhile, the UK operators are repatriating their clients in the Gambia as fast as planes can be got there before the airport is seized and they’re stuck there. The FCO is telling people not to go unless it’s essential, and my tour operator has cancelled my very nice two weeks in the best hotel in the country.

I feel sorry for the Gambians whose jobs in the hotels and shops have just gone down the toilet as the tourists leave. They’ve got bugger all to fall back on so the prospect of a civil uprising looks inevitable unless they fancy starving. On the other hand, there could be an invasion by a West African coalition army. Either way, if you were a Gambian, I suspect you’d be on the ferry across the river to Senegal tout suite.

As for me, I’m just glad I wasn’t flying out last week instead of next week.

Fuck you, Asda!

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I used to like Asda for wine. They sold my favourite white at an excellent price and I’d go down there regularly for 6 or more bottles. But not any more because they’ve blown it…

I went down there and bought 6 bottles for £6.00 each. No bother. I went to the till and paid. Then before I left the store I thought “That doesn’t sound right?” and it wasn’t. They charged me £6.98 a bottle instead – so I went to the cashier and queried it. A girl went to the shelf with me and there it was : £6 a bottle so I said I’d been overcharged so gimme my six odd quids back.

“Can’t do that” she says. “Not able to do that on the tills. You either accept the £7 or we’ll give you your money back.” I’m a reasonable bloke. Not her fault. “Manager” says I. “Now please” and out comes some spotty faced kid who is apparently the manager of the wine department. “I’ll check the price” says he and buggers off. Five minutes later, back he comes and declares that the price I’ve been charged is correct and the price shown on the shelf is wrong. Again I’m told accept it or take a full refund. FFS!

“Store manager” says I. “Now please.” “Not available” I’m told. How convenient. “Here’s a solution” I suggest. “Just give me a gratis bottle so I have 7 at effectively £6 instead of 6 at £7.” Seems reasonable. It’s called customer service.

“Can’t do that” says he. “Messes up me stock control.” FFS again! “So” says I holding out a bottle at arms length, “what happens if I drop this and it smashes. How does your stock control handle that?” “That’s shrinkage” says he. “These things happen!” “So let’s pretend it happened this time and we can all go away happy?”

“Can’t do that” says he. FFS! FFS! I’m starting to lose it now! “So” I continues, “do you never have any wine stolen from your store that makes your figure wrong?” “That’s shrinkage” says he. I’m getting bloody nowhere and beginning to think that the major shrinkage is in this idiot’s brain cavity?…

“But it’s £6 on your website” says I, “and it’s click and collect. So if I put these 6 bottles back on the shelf and then go on line and order 6 bottles off your website, I get the same physical bottles from the same shelf in the same store for £6! What’s the problem.”

“That’s OK” says the moron. “The prices on the website aren’t necessarily the prices in the store.” “But it’s the self same actual physical bottles FFS!” “Yes, but you bought them on line not in the store – you just collected them from the store.”

So I’m marched down to the customer services desk where I’m ignored for around 15 minutes due to the queue of similarly pissed off customers, they refund my money and I piss off home without any wine.

What a bunch of fucking idiots…

The Day of the Donald

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So, Friday is the big day – the Day of the Donald – when the man who they said would never make the ballot paper is inaugurated as the chief bullshitter in the nation of the greatest bullshitters on the planet…

Will it be all bad? I don’t think so because after 8 years of a totally lame duck President Obama, Trump might actually be just the bloke to get things moving again. There’s this stupid idea that only politicians should be national leaders, but they haven’t impressed me that they’ve done that great a job. So why not a successful businessman? Why not a wheeler dealer? Could be just what’s needed, couldn’t it?

Trump wants to meet Putin, get a new SALT treaty rolling and gang up on IS. Works for me. Less nukes in the world and enough combined military force to wipe the extremists off the face of the earth. Wouldn’t that make things just a little bit safer for us all?

And Obama wanted to put the UK at the back of the queue for a trade deal. Trump wants to put us at the front. Got to be good for the UK especially with May playing hardball on Brexit.

No, I’m with Trump. He seems to me to have got his priorities right where I personally want them to be. Let’s just hope the CIA don’t bump him off before he can deliver…

Maximum wages and punitive taxation

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I admire Jeremy Corbyn. No, really. I do! He’s such great entertainment value. A bit like Donald Trump only considerably less consistent and without the logic or practical aspects. Our Jezza is just priceless…

His latest idea is a cap on wages. This is, of course, not a new idea. It’s been done before by the Wilson government. In those days there was a 98% top rate of tax comprising 83% income tax plus 15% investment income surcharge. My memory of the time is a bit hazy so I looked it up. I was a teenager at the time but remember my father complaining that Labour were taking 105% of his top slice income. As it turns out that was a bit inaccurate but nevertheless 98% is bad enough.

So what happened? Well, high earners fled the country in droves. Reportedly 750,000 British taxpayers were liable for a 98 percent tax rate in 1974. Take, for example, the Rolling Stones. Reflecting on the time, Bill Wyman said in the band’s DVD “Stones in Exile” that if a band member made a “million quid,” he would be taking home only £70,000. “It was impossible to make enough to pay Inland Revenue. I had to get out of the country to pay the tax that was incurred on me,” Keith Richards remembered.

The Stones weren’t the only ones. Actors left in drove too. And top business people. The rich have the power and the means to just go off to places where the tax is less punitive. The problem is that they takes jobs and investment with them. No wealth, no job creation or entrepreneurship. It’s all gone abroad – and at the end of the day, it’s a global marketplace we’re living in.

So how about the so-called ‘John Lewis model’ where the top man’s pay is pegged to a multiple of the lowest paid worker? Better, but still bad for business. Top companies will just move their headquarters to other countries, killing the UK jobs in their offices and factories. There they can still pay high salaries to attract top people.

There is only one country in the western world that has a maximum wage in place, and that’s Cuba – but before my old friend Longrider starts kicking off about Cuba again, I’m forced to point out that Cuba has a rather curious dual currency system. It’s been said that the maximum Cuban wage equates to about US$30 a month but there is a an external currency and an internal currency, so the equivalence is meaningless. Locals are paid in local currency and they buy stuff in local currency. It’s worthless outside Cuba. As I said, a curious system…

Also, the wages paid to top executives in private companies is a matter for the shareholders, not the government. Corbyn reckons he wouldn’t give government contracts to companies who pay excessive executive salaries. He won’t put a figure on it and it’s unworkable because there’d be nobody left to give the work too!

So, maximum wages pegged by punitive taxation doesn’t work. Government interference in executive pay doesn’t work. In fact, the entire premise of 1970’s socialism on which Corbyn bases Labour policy doesn’t work.