Tuesday, April 18

Going crazy - fast

D is busy being her normal helpful, strong and dizzy self. I’m putting on kilo’s too fast because she insists on feeding me twice a day whilst my body, for most of my too long a life, was used to only one major meal daily. I like food – if its there, I eat it. For me, the solution is to cut out one of the meals. For her, the solution is too still eat twice a day but just a little less. Impossible most of the time, and only my cats benefit from the bonus left overs they get thrown daily.

What is it with kids these days? Where is personal responsibility? Is it the fault of the parents (and I include myself in this category) or today’s culture and expectations; Or, both?
My son, living with me here now, is 25. He can drive me crazy. I support him in all I can and in board and lodgings, an office and internet access, and more. Will he help me run the rental business from which we both get our income? No. So will he take care minimising my expenses such as his mobile? No. When finished his (successful but part time and largely unpaid) work will he do anything more than eat the food I provide, lie on the sofa and watch satellite TV? No. Will he lock a door at night? No. Will he leave all lights blazing at bedtime? Yes. Will he insist on having his ‘personal space’ within the living room and on and by the coffee table, where he can keep his shoes, his coat, his work folders, his fags, his drinks, his papers, his life? Of course he will. His bedroom and bathroom could embarrass a Brazilian slum dweller, with his clothes in a bundled heap on floors or in cupboards, the bathroom basin (rarely in the cupboard above) often contain my toothpaste tube, toothbrush, my brush, my used soap, my hair gel, my after shave lotion, sometimes even odd socks and more. I know many young men today are like this, my friends tell me.
Does it make me old, to talk and think like this?
Am I odd?
At his age I was working, starting a family, looking after my Mother financially, and more. Am I a boring old fart who missed out on youth or just an adult wondering what’s changed?

Name and Shame

A certain Swedish furniture Co. operating out of Athens and Thessaloniki, and who have twice previously fleeced me rotten on extra delivery charges, is one of my subjects this week. Although it’s not their direct fault, and I like their service and products, it is their appointed delivery company who are a problem and who repeatedly perpetrate a ‘con’ on the Swedish Co.’s customers.

It happens like this: You buy your products, you need delivery, and so are pointed to their delivery subcontractor within the same store. These people take the goods, weigh them, and price the delivery by the address you give them. As I live in a small village (about midway between Athens and Thessaloniki) the village name often needs looking up in their mapbook, and they also write the nearest big town name – first - on the delivery vouchers. Then the delivery occurs; But only to that nearest town. There, they stop and call asking for the village address, then ask for more money for the ‘extra’ mileage: Then, they arrive at your door and ask for more money again to offload into your drive.

The 1st time this happened to me was even more bizarre, as I purchased specific goods, that I needed by a certain date, in their Thessaloniki store. This date passed without delivery, and after several chase calls and some more broken promises, eventually a call came through from a delivery driver en-route from the Thessaloniki store asking for exact instructions to get to my front gate. I met the driver on the street as he arrived. He had the goods on the lorry. But he wouldn’t unload them. He had to take them to Athens first, from where they would be delivered to me.
But you have them on the lorry already’ I argued, and he agreed. But he wouldn’t offload. 4 days later the same driver in the same lorry with the same goods called from the nearest town – this time from the Athens direction. He was coming to deliver but first I needed more money for the final journey to the village.
But I bought the goods in Thessaloniki – this village is nearer to Thess than Athens; It’s only now because you’re delivering from Athens it’s further’ I protested. All to no avail, as I eventually had to agree to pay an extra charge. And, when he arrived at the village, another further charge as it was difficult to ‘get into the house’ - and unless I paid he would only offload in the street.

The 2nd time was a repeat of the extra charge process, but this time the goods bought from, and delivered direct from, Athens. Again, extra charges from the nearest town, despite assurances at the time I paid the delivery in the store that it wouldn’t happen.
You may be wondering why I allowed myself to buy a 3rd time; So did I, but I needed the very same matching products so had little choice, buying again from Athens, again with promises the delivery would be fine and without hidden extras.
But I’m at last learning the ropes of living here.
On delivery day, when the inevitable call about extra charges from the nearest town came, I agreed he should continue to my house; He arrived to a welcoming party of me, a local friendly policeman, and a friend of mine who happens to be reporter from the local TV station and just happened to be with me, with microphone and camera in his hand. Not only were all claims about extra distances and charges dropped as a misunderstanding, they even offloaded the goods from the lorry and up the drive and into the house and into the appropriate rooms and refused a tip. So helpful!

Seriously: The Swedish furniture Co should take more responsibility than merely lay the blame at their subcontracted delivery Co. and cease copping out with this excuse. Service is all elements of the experience, and as long as I don’t need further matching products, I for one will not be buying from them again. Not for a mistake they made. For them washing their hands of their responsibility.