benandjerrygirl

Rupture – Simon Lelic

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Rupture, or A Thousand Cuts in the US, is a first novel by Simon Lelic. Set in the sweltering heat of the city in summer what should be an open and shut case bears closer examination by a female inspector. Lucia is interested in why a fairly new History teacher at a secondary school which is about to be  a flagship Government success story has fired a gun at assembly killing several children and a teacher before turning the gun on himself.

The chapters alternate between Lucia’s experiences in the course of the investigation and the people she interviews giving their versions of events. As Lucia digs deeper she finds, that of course, there was more to it than meets the eye. Lucia continues to dig even when it means that she will be in trouble herself and she descends into old habits while acting like a dog with an old smelly bone. There’s little to be gained by holding on, but she can’t quite give up.

No doubt for artistic reasons Lelic doesn’t use quotation marks and his characters say “would of” and have other annoying tics. The English teacher in me wanted to bring out a big red pen – something I don’t even own – just to make a few changes here and there to aid understanding but of course it was done to add an air of authenticity to the chapters meant to be recordings of interviews. It is difficult for an author to successfully write in a number of character voices and to try and carry off about thirteen was ambitious. Was it over-ambitious? I’m not sure. 

The main thrust of the story is how institutions toss some people to the wolves in order for the institution to survive. 

Sadly, the miscreants rang all too true and I could have changed the central pupil’s character with a name – or two – of my own. There are of course stereotypes – like the unreconstructed PE teacher who wants to be one of the lads, or the police officer who is a disgrace to the badge – but stereotypes exist for a reason. They are out there in real life and easily identifiable to everyone who will read this book.

Sale of Goods Act – returning goods not fit for purpose

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

You think the law is there to protect you, the consumer. You are incorrect. The law has been carefully worded to disempower the customer so that they end up feeling grateful that their non-working product is taken away to be repaired.

I bought a laptop on the 8th of December in 2013. At the end of March this year, around 3 and a half months of infrequent usage, the hard disk went. To me that seemed a clear cut case of something being unfit for purpose.

Not so, according to Tesco. “Every little helps” ironically is meaningless as they do everything they can to avoid giving a replacement.

The upshot is I have not only lost all documents saved to the laptop – academic research, professional enquiry papers etc – but I will have the same machine back allegedly fixed at some point this month with no guarantee that it won’t all happen again. This has already proven to be a major inconvenience. Not fit for purpose isn’t the half of it. I’ve spent money on 5p per minute “helplines” and tried dealing directly with the store. Tesco policy leaves employees and customers with no wiggle room.

Do you remember when the customer was right? Do you remember when customer care meant caring for the customer because you knew that was why you got repeat business?

Those days are gone.

Living off the grid

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Having had no working laptop for a couple of weeks, despite it being only 3 months old I’m now back online on more than just a smartphone. It was an odd experience.

Tesco have handled the problem very badly I feel and it will be a long time before I buy anything from them again. Those protections you think you have in law are meaningless when you are trying to argue your point with faceless smoke-laden “managers” who have no leeway to help out a customer. It was like a skit from Chewin’ the Fat.

I have bought  a new laptop from another supermarket and the quality of the staff in the other store was terrific and the sales return policy looks a whole lot better. Hopefully this new laptop will not need repaired but I feel more confident that Sainsbury’s will handle it better than Tesco did.

However, one plus point was that I rediscovered watching tv without feeling the need to comment on it other than to those in the room. RL caught up with me and maybe it was a lesson I needed to learn.

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