Friday, January 23, 2009

More prices

Thought we’d go to the pictures recently but as it was school holidays and coming up to Christmas we thought it’d be a good idea to book in advance. So I go to the ‘myvue’ website and follow the links.

Now at the cinema itself they pay someone to take money, so you might assume that they would pay someone to take a card payment on-line (not even a credit card, just a debit card by the way). Or maybe they’ll give you a discount because they can just let the computer take the payment. Or the fatheads can wind you up by trying to charge extra for saving their time and using up yours instead. £1.80 extra to be precise!

So, having decided that I do not give companies extra money simply to save them time (and money - the tickets are expensive enough) I thought I'd phone instead. Luckily they have a telephone number on the website. I’m a bit suspicious that it might be an expensive phone number but I call anyway. I eventually get through to a real person (result!). They ask me if I’ve thought of booking on-line. I say I have but I was put off by the £1.80 charge. I give them all the details of the film and the time its on etc. and they tell me how much it’s going to cost.

It sounds a lot so I say 'that sounds a lot is that right'? They then have some news for me – it’s going to cost £2.70 extra for them to sell me 3 tickets over the phone. I rapidly end the conversation ('I'm afraid I'm going to have to put the phone down now'). I add myvue and their stupid name to my hate list.

Why is it that any businesses connected with ‘entertainment’ think they can simply add money to the bill just for selling you stuff (yes, I am thinking of the infamous 'booking fee'). You wouldn’t take a Mars bar to a shop counter and expect the shop to charge you 50p for the Mars bar and another 10p for selling it to you, so why do myvue do it? To extort more money from you for the already overpriced tickets of course. However, due to ‘free market economics’ (the system that stifles competition) myvue have a virtual monopoly on cinemas in Leeds so its not easy to just go somewhere else.

Could I also just mention their automated phone system which can’t differentiate between their two cinemas in Leeds. They obviously have some sort of voice recognition software. 'Leeds the Light' and 'Leeds Kirkstall' obviously sound the same to it.

So, I suggest avoiding 'myvue' and their stupid name if at all possible.

Even He's at it!

I watched the Barack Obama inauguration speech (in bits) on youtube. The comments people leave. Oh dear - Illiterate weirdness that you’d scarcely believe. Not particularly racist or whatever, just weird. And badly miss-spelled. Like most liberal pinko nancies I actually feel that the world grew up a bit by electing him. In fact someone called it a ‘man on the moon moment’ – when America did something for itself that was probably at least as significant for the world as a whole. So there. Let’s have a moment of positivity or positiveness or whatever the word would be to us illiterates.

Having said that, I then I had an argument about whether he used an autocue (I’m pretty sure he did) and whether the speech was written by a speechwriter (I think it was). Oddly enough I take this as just reality rather than just a cheat. So there - again. Then he ordered the closure of secret ‘interrogation centres’. They can’t have been that secret I suppose. Governments do get away with a staggering amount of hypocrisy though don't they? - lecturing the Chinese or whoever on 'human rights abuses'. What is this thing that governments do that normal people wouldn't dream of doing? Politicians are disfunctional weirdos I suppose - but so are proper rock stars and they're great!

Rapping Wrapping

There are a couple of birthdays coming up. I went into a card shop. I bought 2 cards (folded pieces of thick paper with some printing on. £2.79 each) and thought I’d buy some wrapping paper. So how much does a piece of coloured silvery paper about 2 feet square cost? £1.25! That’s one pound and 25 pence. What is the maximum I would pay I wonder? I reckon 20p would be OK though 30-35p might do. If pushed and it was really important and I’d run out of time then I might pay 60-70p. This would really piss me off though. However, I’ll rather see Clinton Cards and their unfriendly staff burn in rip-off Hell before I’ll give them £1.25 for a small piece of pink shiny paper.

So if you get a package from me covered with Izal medicated you'll know why. Or I might go down the market.

There's a chocolate shop in town 'the Chocolate Dog Hotel' or something - could be 'otel de Chien chocolate' or something. I think they're in league with 'Lush' across the road. Both cater for the same sort of customers I suspect. The sort of people who can be conned into thinking that packaging and / or an 'original name' makes it worth spending a benefit claimant's weekly subsistence money on a few choccies - or more bizarrely some bits of soap made to smell and look like choccies. In fact everything in lush is designed to look like you can eat it - but it's actually for washing the sweat out of your pubes. Or perhaps my use of soap for kind of like, 'keeping clean' is dreadfully old fashioned. Roll on a big recession eh?! Toodle pip...

Note to drivers of the number 88 bus

Dear number 88 bus drivers in Leeds, please note the following:

Those little red window-ey house things at the side of the road with a little pole next to them are bus shelters. This is where buses stop to pick up passengers. The bus is the thing you're paid to drive. If you see a person holding their arm out into the road as you drive past, this is likely to be someone who wants to 'catch' the bus. That means that that person or 'passenger' wants to get on the bus. They are also known as 'the poor sod who pays your fucking wages'.

Please also note that different buses have different 'routes'. That means they drive along different roads in a different order. This in turn means that even if there's a bus already at the stop you're passing, not everyone standing there waving their arms at you will want to get on the bus that's at the stop already. They may wish to get on the bus you're driving. If it looks like they're waving at you they may really be waving at you - yes you! Driving the bus. They may want you to stop the bus you're driving so they can get on it or 'catch' your bus. It may even be that your bus only runs once every half an hour. This means that if you ignore the people at the stop and carry on driving past the stop quite fast they'll think you're a FUCKING MORON BUS DRIVER WHO'S TOO STUPID OR JUST TOO MUCH OF A BASTARD TO STOP AND PICK PEOPLE UP!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I love you, you love me

I saw Barney the big purple gay dinosaur! At Butlins! In a show! For free! (apart from the £400 for the weekend) OK, now you may think it was just some poor sap in a suit dancing around to some horrible corporate trademarked to death tape, but I still say I SAW BARNEY THE DINOSAUR! And he's as shit in real life as he is on the telly. So there.

Mind you, Chico from X Factor was on too. No idea who he is but he said that he's played Wembley and all kinds of places but Bognor was his favourite. Course it is. Panto in Skeggie next year then £200 from Chat magazine in a couple of years for a confessional piece about his boob job and alcoholism. Then back to the panel beating or whatever. Makes me feel quite famous.

And there was a panto too. Oh no there wasn't. No, really there was.

There were also shows involving redcoats. You could catch one while walking past in the morning at 10am and find the same people still on stage at 8pm when you walked past again. I wonder whether being a redcoat helps your CV for your big career as a kids TV presenter on cable having photos taken in your pants for lads mags?

A money making machine

Butlins (in Bognor, though I guess its the same everywhere) has a big top like tent affair that you can see for miles around. In this is a massive money making machine. Every ten paces is an opportunity to spend. So, buy a hot chocolate and marshmallows before paying £4 to have your face painted, another three to have your photo taken in a booth before going on the bandits on the way to the bowling just past Burger King (I fondly hope there's a Muslim dress shop for women called Burkha King but I suspect that's wishful thinking). There's the sweetshop (and 100% of the items on sale are 100% sugar apart from the colouring) and the pool tables and the bar and Costa Coffee (the only one I've been to where they give you milk in those little containers which I found out relatively recently are called 'jiggers's, a piece of information I'm still not sure whether to quite believe). They have a toy shop a 'designer outlet' (another modern euphamism for shop, 'store' being the one I hate most for being the most often used) and even a recording studio - record your own Karaoke nightmare from £35.

Oh, and you can pay £8 to have your photo taken with an animatronic polar bear. But you'd guessed that too I guess.

Velcome to Butlitz

I was upset by several things at Butlins in Bognor as those of you who know me may have guessed. First up was the security tag. Yup, that's right, when you check in you are issued with a wrist band which you are expected to put on and not take off for the duration of your stay. When you do take it off it has to be cut off with scissors. This is, of course, for 'security reasons'. What they actually mean is that they want to spot people sneaking in for free gos on the merry go round that comes with the ironically titled £70 'freedom pass'. Shades of the ID card of course. There is a difference in that no-one is forced to stay at Butlins (except the spineless types like me) and the tag doesn't seem to have any electronics in it. Still a bit weird though, tagging your customers.

I also noticed that they say that Redcoats are specifically chosen for their 'sunny personalities' (or, as I interpret it, 'we only employ halfwits'). Slightly annoyingly by the end of a few days I felt I'd mellowed. The staff actually seemed keen to help and friendly, loathe as I am to admit it. There were also enought staff about and they seemed to have procedures to deal with things. And the hotel was good in lots of ways too. Expensive though - and you wouldn't believe how full the place was.

Bloody Bognor

I'd never been to Bognor Regis before. Turns out it has a shopping street almost identical to Castleford, Scunthorpe and well, you know, almost everywhere else. I thought it might be a bit different. Disappointed. Top model shop though. My growing urge for a train set was done no good at all.

Ghost of Christmas Presents?

Not that I want to be ungrateful or anything but do charity shops take unwanted presents with the wrapping paper still on?

And on the subject of Christmas, if anyone was wondering what international folk acoustic songer - singwriter stars do for Christmas the answer in this case was (you've probably already guessed)...visit to Romford followed by Butlins at Bognor. Always a treat to hear Christmas hits piped through all communal areas (including hotel corridors) at ice cream van fidelity. And great to hear non-original artists too. Much nicer to hear somebody pretending to be Wham than the original obviously...