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Random irritations and other 'winterval' cheer

7th Dec 2006
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Random irritations and observations from a week in which that beautifully wrapped big present beneath the Christmas tree of life turned out to contain a pair of M&S socks - in the wrong size!

Southern Water sending a threatening letter about a bill that their own system is then unable to find, despite apparently having been sent 4 times. How do we know it was sent four time? All together now: "Because the computer wouldn't have sent the threatening letter othewise!" Where are they now? "'ll be the computer." Letter to Santa from Southern Water: please may we have a better computer.

The use of the term Chindia. It's China. It's India. It's Chindia, folks! For goodness sake, are we so desperate for another acronym in this acronym-polluted world that we need to come up with Chindia? It sounds like some new form of sexually transmitted disease - a bad dose of Chindia! The idea that somehow two inherently tense nations are going to overlook little things like the 60's war and Tibet just to become an economic powerhouse and steal all our jobs over here is patently ludicrous. Still, good for a few book sales among economists and management consultants.

Southern Water sending out letters with contact telephone numbers that they urge you to call immediately lest they unleash the direst of consequences on you...and which then prove to be dead numbers when you call them. Even after the seventh attempt. Still, when you call the main contact number the call centre agent will be helpful and connect you to the correct number, won't he? Pardon me while I stop typing for second... I think I have a stitch in my side from laughing too much!

Attempts by CRM vendors to superglue themselves by association to some spurious Christmas press release about shop assistants or dodgy wrapping paper or the poor quality of tinsel this year. These are particularly amusing when it's a politically correct firm that can't bring itself to use 'The C-Word' and talks about 'the holidays' or - and please, please, please make it stop! - winterval!

Southern Water's automated customer call back system which promises that I don't have to hang on the line waiting for someone to answer my call about the never-sent bill that has resulted in their charming winterval greeting of threats and intimidation. I'm still waiting for that call...maybe it's a holiday treat, do not open until winterval eve!

Vendors waking up to the SaaS revolution and deciding that the easy way to get editorial coverage is to come out with some vacuous pronouncement on on demand computing models. Since these are typically as profound as "we think it's a good idea actually", it hardly represents a revolution in thinking! And stop saying 'on demand' when you haven't got a clue what it really means!

And Southern Water. Just... Southern Water!

Bah humbug!

Happy Holidays!

Stuart Lauchlan
News & Analysis Editor
[email protected]


Replies (3)

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By iannorthmore
08th Dec 2006 01:10

Somebody buy Stuart some Southern Water gift vouchers, for holidays' sake! He's approaching deep depression!

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By John Ozimek
08th Dec 2006 09:40

Interesting. I have had a very similar run-in with my Gas/Electric supplier.

Because I pay my bills after 14 days or so, I usually get a red letter before the payment goes through. Recently, one such letter was highly threatening (I think they've changed copywriters) and pointed out that if they had to write again and send someone out, I would get extra charges.

On the phone, however, their Call Centre supervisor stated that the next letter would incur charges.

Wasn't this a bit mis-leading?

er, no - according to the Call Centre. It was just their procedure.


John Ozimek

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Dr. Graham Hill
By Dr. Graham Hill
20th Dec 2006 09:42


Just to reassure you. I and my family will be enjoying Christmas to the full this year. We will be sending Christmas cards to all and sundry. We have bought Christmas presents for loved ones. We will be enjoying Christmas dinner in the evening on the 24th (I live in Germany) followed by Christmas lunch on the 25th (I am English). And then we will sit down to watch James Bond on the Christmas special on television.

I remember political correctness from the mid-80s. And from the mid-90s. And here we are again.

Whilst it is entirely appropriate that we consider the impact of our actions on others in general, it is entirely inappropriate that we stop ourselves from enjoying something as traditional as Christmas in case we should offend someone, somewhere, somehow!

To misquote the old saying, "All that is required for politically-correct evil to flourish is that good men stand idly by".

Gruß aus Köln
Graham Hill

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