Archives for October 2005

Got a Secret To Share

Got a Secret To Share

ATM Charges

One of these days I am going to take the time to compose a 1,237,675 word rant about things that irritate me. And when I do I’ll include my irritation with companies that have replaced customer service with voicemail, cable/satellite television, cell phones, stupid people, road rage, elevator rage, people who wear too much cologne/perfume, spandex on the morbidly obese, middle age clubbers who haven’t figured out that they cannot dress like they are 23 anymore and why most of the midwest is wasted space.

In the interim I am most interested in screaming at the banks who have arbitrarily and unnecessarily attached a fee to use their ATMs. Greed has gotten the best of them and so they have applied a fee to something that was introduced to help them save money.

Those of you who are old enough to remember gas lines in the ’70s probably recall that when you needed cash you had a couple of choices, cashing a check at a local store or visiting the bank. The emergence of ATMs was provided as a cost saving and convenience gesture by the banks.

In theory they cut down on the length of the lines in the bank and assisted in increasing the productivity of the tellers by reducing the number of people that they had to deal with. But the ATMs showed up and some of the tellers disappeared.

And then to add insult to injury the greedy bastards added a fee to use their machines because everyone knows that it costs an exponential amount of money to provide an ATM.

For those of you keeping score you can see that the banks saved money by cutting personnel (no salary or benefits) and then padded their savings with the fee. Lovely people.

Another Reason Why I am Done With the French

I blogged earlier about Iran and the problems they are causing. Today the BBC had a report about the reaction around the world. The lack of moral clarity is very disturbing.

“”If these comments are true, they are unacceptable. I condemn them with the greatest firmness,” French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said.”

What the hell is wrong with him. His suggestion that they may not be factual is reprehensible.

British Sensibilities or Lack Thereof

First it was Ken Livingstone and now these two events have me shaking my head.

A poem which praises the murder of Jews by the Nazis has been included in a book of children’s poetry to be distributed amongst schools in the UK.

The publication, entitled Great Minds, features the work of school children aged 11 to 18 who won a nationwide literary competition.

But one poem has generated outrage amongst Jewish groups, politicians and Holocaust charities for its anti-Semitic content.

The entry by the 14-year-old Gideon Taylor is apparently written from the viewpoint of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

It includes the lines “Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces.”

Another part reads: “Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I’ll be happy Jews have died.”

Publisher defends poem

The book was produced by Forward Press who ran the Great Minds competition through its youngwriters.co.uk website.

Wining entries were rewarded with cash prizes of up to 20ukp for pupils and 1,000ukp for schools.

According to the Jewish Telegraph newspaper, the poem was the only entry in the entire book not to include the writer’s school or location.

Young Writers editor Steve Twelvetree, who also edited the book, said the poem was included as it illustrated how the writer was able to empathise with the infamous Nazi Fuehrer.

Twelvetree told the Telegraph: “From Gideon’s poem and my knowledge of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3 his poem shows a good use of technical writing and he has written his poem from the perspective of Adolf Hitler.” “

And then there is this little gem:

Piggy banks ‘offend UK Muslims

British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

“This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers,” he said.

However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

“The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity,” the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

“We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them.”

Am I the only one shaking my head over this. Something is not right.

Cell Phone Hell

I need a new cellphone. I used to have one that I was very happy with. It was a Motorola V300 and it took care of most of my needs quite ably and capably. Unfortunately along with my car it was a casualty of the auto accident that took place a couple of weeks ago.

Even though the auto accident was not my fault my insurance company has said that they will not cover the replacement cost of the cellphone. I contacted the other party’s insurance carrier and have asked them to cover the cost of the replacement, but I have yet to hear back from them.

The adjuster who is handling things for them hasn’t returned a telephone call in three days. She has until noon today and if I have not heard from her I will go over her head and make life less comfortable for her. I hate having to do things like that, a simple telephone call would have satisfied me but now all she has done is aggravate me unnecessarily.

In case you are wondering my cellphone provider will not provide a replacement phone unless I chose to pay for it. At the time that I acquired my last phone they offered me a monthly insurance plan of $5.99. In ten years of cellphone ownership I had never lost or broken a phone so I thought that it was silly to pay $72 more each year for that service.

All this brings me back to the topic of the post, cell phone hell. I say hell because it feels like I am one of the damned. I have grown so accustomed or should I say addicted to having a phone I cannot help but notice that I really miss it.

And all around me I see all of the various cell phone service providers offering free phones, but there is a catch. Those phones are only available to new customers. The existing customers don’t get a free phone or any sort of free upgrade. They get the privilege of being able to purchase the phone at a discount and the discount is almost always tied into extending your contract for another year or more.

Somewhere I hear Satan laughing. I feel the heat of his breath and I know that he is taunting me because those new phones are better than what I had. They offer new features and bells and whistles that amaze and delight.

I cannot help but be irritated that T-Mobile wants me to pay $250 for a phone that they will give away as part of activation of a new line of service. Something in this relationship smells, it stinks. It is a rotten way of doing business and I have to admit that because of my frustration with it all I am tempted to pay the early termination fee and then just sign up with a new provider who will give me one of those free phones I see all around me.

Halloween is coming and instead of the thump thump of the tell-tale heart I hear the electronic ring of a phone. It haunts me yet.