Tuesday 19 June 2012

Laura Jane is Awesome!

Who is Laura Jane? Well I don't actually know but she has a cute photo on twitter and writes tweets that often amuse me. I only got in touch with her originally because she required burrito expertise and I answered the call via Secret London.

Why am I writing this post? Because she asked me to :)

Monday 18 June 2012

Pas encore Pret A Manger

This post is a special announcement.

Pret A Manger, who I must spend about £1000 a year with for my breakfast in the morning, are facing a trade embargo from... Me!

Why? You may ask?

The answer is simple. Until Friday, every morning I would walk in with a smile, ask the lovely staff for my usual Mozzarella & Tomato croissant and coffee and they would happily serve me. We'd enjoy a little banter and every once in a while I'd even get a coffee on the house!

Sadly all this changed last Friday when they decided to implement operation Pasty Tax.

What they did was to move the croissants from the safe, warm cabinet by the tills to the badlands that are the hot food area in the shop.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be that big a deal, but it now means I lose the friendly banter, have to take the croissant to the till myself and also pay 6p more for an extra bit of card that makes it difficult to eat on the move.

So far all the staff I've spoke to have said they think it's a stupid idea and I should complain. So I did. Called head office and asked for an explanation. They were quite helpful and I'm hoping to see some positive action, but I also complained on twitter. Sadly the response from whoever controls the twitter account was something along the lines of "all our branches have a different layout but we've taken your feedback on board" which was rather disappointing.
Anyway, I refuse to eat there until they resolve the problem :)

Update! Day 2 and I received a letter from Pret Customer Services. A rather patronising letter. Contrary to my own investigations and what the twitter account said, the letter told me they ran customer trials and received positive feedback, the placing of the croissants with the other warm food is in line with other bakeries and is in accordance with health and safety regulations. They also blamed the 6p increase in price on the cost of rent. So it tells me that the level of customer service at this company has dropped a lot since I last contacted them.

But I have NEVER seen croissants out in the open on the bottom shelf of an open full height cabinet before. They have no wrapping on them and it's quite nasty thinking about what might land on them, including the dust from people walking in and out of the shop. And so far all the other branches of Pret I've looked inside have the croissants in the correct place by the tills with the original price.

Update. I did finally get the call from the CEO. He completely appreciated my complaint, but the problem is their sales have gone up by 20% since they made the change, and he has a business to run. So I’ve given up. I don’t eat there as often anymore, but when I do I still have mozzarella and tomato croissants. I just pick the one from right at the back. And ask them to remove the box. I hate losing, but nobody wins everything, every time!

Friday 15 June 2012


For some reason I have taken to saying the word 'fiddlesticks' a lot. I kind of like the word, even though it's only supposed to be used when things go wrong.

I guess it means things have been going wrong a lot lately. Mostly at work.


Communication problems for the most part. Email wars, and obscure processes also have a large part to play in things. Letting tension show in written communication is never a good thing. Evidenced by picking up the phone and practically resolving the problem I've been having in an email war for the last week. As BT says, it's good to talk. If the person I am referring to reads this, I thank you for giving me the slap I needed, and for your honesty. I'd let my own standards slip and it was good to be reminded of that by someone.
A lot of the tension comes from obscure, complicated processes in the first place. Many of these can be avoided and I have several ideas on how things could be improved. It seems many people where I work agree with me, so it's only a matter of time before we start making changes in the right direction!

So what else is going on?
I think last time I wrote a post I was talking about how amazing the weather had been. Sadly since then it's mostly been raining. My motorbike probably has a flat battery, I haven't been skating as much as I'd like and I caught a cold from being out in the rain too much the last few weeks. This irritates me immensely, not just because I caught the cold in the first place but because I am attributing it to being outside in the cold. I usually tell people you don't catch a cold from being out in the cold; all that does is weaken your immune system and you catch the cold from people around you. Maybe my immune system got weakened.

I'm going to Dublin next weekend. That should be good. I've never been there before and I'm looking forward to it, but hoping the weather improves.

Following that I have the Le Mans 24 hour inline skating event at the end of the month. That takes lots of planning and I've been busy organising my team and ordering t-shirts and such. I'm slightly worried I've ordered all of them too small, but hopefully they'll be ok.

Not much else going on really, at least nothing to report. I've been thinking of getting another Android phone, because as I expected it's becoming quite the mobile phone platform.

There are also potentially some other career developments happening. I will post if there's anything to report on that front.

Finally I realised when reading back through my blog that I mention how rarely I write posts quite a lot. I am aware of the irony of mentioning it again when talking about it, but I will endeavour not to do it again.


Fiddlesticks! I forgot to rant about Paris or burritos. Oh well!