Food, Society

Fresh Thinking?

Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of th...

Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like to cook but rarely have time to make a meal from scratch, it’s usually a case of assembling something from frozen or chilled components.  I do also sometimes indulge in fast food – usually chips, fish and chips, battered sausage and chips or a hot dog from a van in the market square on a Saturday morning.  It’s too far to go to McDonalds and I’ve never even ventured into Subway – in fact whenever I think “I must try Subway some time” I then remember that ours closed down sometime last year.

The fast food industry has been trying to reinvent itself recently, as the public called for more healthy, nutritious, “authentic” food, highlighting the quality of ingredients, how they’re reducing fat and sugar, introducing “healthy options” like salads, and most of all the “freshness” of everything.  In this country the claims by McDonalds and the like that the ingredients are sourced from local farmers and butchers are believable because of the size of our island, you could conceivably turn an Aberdeen Angus in the borders into a burger in Bristol in a couple of days but as an interesting article on Slate Magazine shows much of the use of the word fresh, particularly in America, is really just marketing – harnessing associations with openness, truth, wholesomeness and morality, while its true meaning quite often differs from the dictionary definition.

[slate.com]

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Music, Psychology, Random, Tech, Work

Hold On, And On, And On

Típica cabina roja de Londres - Red telephone ...

Típica cabina roja de Londres – Red telephone box – London (Photo credit: Arabarra)

In my work I’m regularly put on hold as suppliers find out whether they’ve got something, when I can have something or why I haven’t received something.  Most of the time the hold music is cheesy, generic and bland but mostly irritating which I suspect is to encourage you to hang up and go get a coffee instead.  Some companies have even started replacing the music with constant ads for their products, one of my suppliers never really changes the product range and I’ve found myself saying, without thinking, “I know about that, we buy it already”.

Which reminds me; always bear in mind that when you’re on hold the person on the other end can often hear you even if you can’t hear them so don’t be impolite unless you want them to know you’re pissed off.

New research by TalkTo and ResearchNow has found that people spend on average 10-20 minutes per week on hold, which equates to 43 hours in a lifetime.

Only twice in twelve years have I been impressed by being on hold.  Once was with a company which used “I Need a Little Time” by The Beautiful South.  The other was a firm who always had a good variety of good, modern, well-known songs to listen to while you waited, you felt slightly disappointed when it ended.  There was one song they played I hadn’t heard since I was clubbing years before and, I’m not embarrassed to say, I did dance to it behind my counter.  Which is one way to spend those 43 hours of your life you’ll never get back.

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Business, Society, Tech

Christmas Shopping

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can buy your Christmas decorations in August, mince pies in October (with Best Before dates of November) and now what used to be January sales begin before Christmas day.

Research and data from online and bricks-and-mortar stores has revealed that the rush for online sales bargains began in the evening of Christmas day and peaked on Boxing Day – well, there’s not much on TV these days.  Luxury items seemed popular apparently.

Analysts say that there is beginning to be more confidence in spending, as this 71% increase in Christmas day spending shows, which is a good sign.

[BBC]

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Business, Society, Tech

Book Exchange

English: A woman cuddling a pile of digital de...

English: A woman cuddling a pile of digital devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets, ebook readers etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With new rules saying that book publishers should basically price ebooks fairly in relation to the fact that there is no physical object to manufacture I’ve had an idea.

Maybe someone has already had it but anyway let’s say, like me, you have a large bookshelf, some of the books you want to keep because of their aesthetic appeal, or sentimental value, maybe they’re signed. Others you keep for reference and would be happy to have as searchable ebooks.

You’ve already paid for the paper version so you’re reluctant to pay the same price again for the ebook version.  What if you could send your good condition paper version to either a charity or a company like Amazon and they’d exchange it for the digital version and then sell the paper book second-hand to cover the cost of your ebook.  You could save space and the charity/company could still make money.  Even if they charged you a pound to do it it would still be worth it surely?

[Gizmodo UK]

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Business, Random, Society, Transport, Uncategorized

Parcel Farce

PACKAGES

PACKAGES (Photo credit: marc falardeau)

This week has been one of problems with parcels.  Firstly a delivery driver who couldn’t grasp why I was asking how big and what type of parcel he was delivering – he hadn’t brought it into the building – and after asking what company we were every time I said, “yes, that’s us, what type of delivery is it?”  he said it was a sheet of plastic so I sent him to the back door of the factory where sheet plastic goes.  It turned out to be a small package that he could have carried in the front door in the first place.

Then I get home on Tuesday and find a parcel outside my front door (but inside the enclosed hallway, not in public view).  Trouble was there should have been two.  Worse still when I checked on Amazon both parcels were shown as being delivered at exactly the same time.  I have no way of proving that they weren’t both there at some point before I got home.  Thankfully the parcel I did get contained the Christmas presents I’d ordered for family.

I contacted the carrier by email, they mailed back saying they’d investigate at the depot.  Today (Saturday) I received the missing parcel through the letterbox where it could have been put on Monday when they’d first tried to deliver it.  Lucky I didn’t need it in a hurry.

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