Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Brexit example: Democracy is our obligation

With a voter turnout of only 72% surely the message around Brexit is "turn up to vote, doofus!". Those who didn't vote helped secure the result while at the same time losing any credibility in complaining about it.

I have always been amazed at people who say politics has nothing to do with me yet complain about petrol prices, tax, health services, treatment of refugees, same sex marriage etc.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The "Friends Matrix" - perhaps this is how I engage with people

I've had reason and opportunity recently to reflect on the sorts of people I would like to engage with. It's an old story now about how introverts do not have a bottomless pool of emotional energy and need to make clearheaded decisions about where they spend it.

That statement is common sense to some people and entirely foreign to others. However one thing I learned is that the greatest gift I can give the people around me is for me to understand myself first before I try to understand them.

I have a working hypothesis of how my brain works over this. The "friends matrix" is the best model I can think of. On the vertical axis there is simply how much I like you. You might be a rock star, you may be a student or a member of the family but I have the choice as to whether or not I really like you.

Horizontal axis is about your willingness, but importantly also your ability to engage with me. Sure it's self-centered to think about how well you can engage with me but this is of course a model about all about how I see the world. Here is where the introvert/extrovert divide becomes apparent again.

If you are invading my personal space, offering advice that I didn't ask for, forcing your opinions on me, smothering me with hospitality or not respecting my freedom in other ways then you are probably low on this scale - by accident. Some people just don't give a crap about me, and that's fine too.

Overly simplistic I know but this gives me four types of people in my life. I have the true friend, of which my sister is one, and the superstar that I can only but admire from a distance. The rest - well you just have to work out for yourself, if you bother to. But I'll probably be engaging with you in a manner consistent with where you sit on this grid of mine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When bad business deals go three for three

At times I have been drawn into business arrangements that cost me some money - more as opportunity cost than anything else. But the real sting is in the bad faith of the negotiation.

I'll never say the words directly, but they would be:

"There are three things I dislike in business:
  • When my loyalty is taken for granted
  • When promises arent honoured
  • When other people's dithering costs me money

And with this deal you have gone 3 for 3."

But everybody knows how I hate confrontation (cough) so I never say those things.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The insult of a late payment fee. BankSA fumbled the ball.

How unfortunate for you BankSA. I've been banking with you for about 25 years now there have been times where I have had very low balances and other times where I have run an average balance of $40,000. I've never been a particularily bad customer at least . At this moment I have no particular need for credit card facilities and have a range of financial institutions offering me pre approved credit cards.

Almost out of charity but more from convenience I agreed a few years ago to take a little $500 credit card with you. It has worked ok and I normally just pay the balance off before the end of the month. This time when it slipped my mind and you chose to apply a $9 late payment fee.

Sure you have the right to do anything you like as a supplier and I have the right to do anything I like as a consumer. As a consumer I decided to close the account.

When I called your helpline I was run around for about a half an hour before I was with the right person to close my account who did it as a matter of straightforward bureaucratic paperwork. When I quizzed them about whether or not this seems strange that a 25 year customer is calling to close an account because of a paltry fee, they were surprised.

By comparison a similar situation 6 months ago with Woolworths Everyday Money (HSBC) saw the customer service person reverse the charge immediately and keep me as a customer.

It's strange that the one side of the bank is trying to get customers to open new accounts and more deeply discuss their banking needs while the other side of the bank is losing customers.

Giving the bank the opportunity I had already driven out to the branch (St Peters) so that I could talk with somebody about this situation. The teller seemed confused that I would want to talk to somebody about my banking needs and asked if I would like to make an appointment. By then I'd lost interest and left.

I think BankSA dropped the ball today. Perhaps in the new-ish (St George) owners, perhaps it's the Tuesday after a long weekend and perhaps it's just me being an entitled turd. But I'm not an 18 year old begging for my first credit card, I'm not scratching for a living and surviving thanks to the largesse of the banks.

As I make my customer service complaint to Bank sa I will direct them to this blog. If I remain unsatisfied I will close my major account. Or something might grab my attention and I will forget to. Customer inertia is the friend of bad service providers. Often those bad service providers mistake that inertia for loyalty.

UPDATE 7/7/2016

After that confusing and disappointing attempt to close the credit card, it appears to still be sitting there on my internet banking. I will pay it off now and send them an email closing the account, direct them to this blog entry and see what happens. If I don't get a satisfactory "service recovery" I will withdraw all my money, say goodby to our relationship of about 26 years and walk into some other financial institution.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dodgy fake invoices

Dear scammer. Thankyou for your attention to my recent trademark search. However at this time I must reject your generous offer to spend $2,000 for registration on your "database", regardless of how much you make your form look like a trademark registration invoice.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Saying the words "you people" just sounds wrong

Here is my challenge to people who think they are good with words. Tell me a casual gender non-specific term I can use to refer to a bunch of friends.

I have always been fond of saying "you guys are doing really well" or "I can't believe how much I miss you guys".

I totally respect the point of view that using the word "guys" possibly reinforces is a stereotype that this is a man's world. But I would really appreciate somebody to come up with a solution rather than simply identifying a problem.

I tried something just then and ended up saying "I hope you people are doing really well". And that just sounded a little weird.

So I won't be using the term "you guys" any more but that does leave an opportunity for some really friendly easygoing term that nobody has invented yet. One for the solution providers rather than the whiny problem identifiers perhaps.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Reachtel really persisted

I give kudos to Reachtel. In the lead up to the election clearly this company is responsible for collecting some pre election polls.

I have been ignoring calls from unknown numbers for a week and a half. Everytime I call back at 8 p.m. I find that it was Reachtel.

They are adhering to a great tenet of sampling whereby it's understood that there is probably important information locked away in the subset of people who have not responded. Hence Reachtel 's persistence in contacting me.

Very professional.