All entries for October 2006

October 31, 2006

Too Flash For My Cash

To my friends’ amusement I’m normally one of those super-organised people who never has an empty fridge, doesn’t forget to send a birthday card and starts Christmas shopping in July. Yes, July … you can great some great bargains on big brands in the summer sales. Trust me.

That’s why last weekend, on a dull afternoon before I got ready to go out in the evening to meet friends, I wrote a list of what I’d already bought and for whom. Then I composed a ‘to do’ list of what else I needed to buy and promptly browsed the internet to take advantage of some earlybird discounts and special offers.

It’s six years’ since the height of the internet boom and you’d think that by now the big name retailers would have learned what customers want from a website. I want to buy Christmas presents quickly, easily, have them delivered to my work address and have a few discounts and ‘3 for 2’ offers thrown in to make me feel all warm and festive. So why do some websites in 2006 still do the following?

1. Have a smiling director on the homepage telling you how eco-friendly and nice to their employees they all are, but not how to buy anything from them
2. Offer a two minute self-congratulory movie on the index page, which you’re told you can’t see (even if you wanted to) until you download Macromedia Flash
3. Lose all the contents of your basket if you press the back button in your browser
4. Not accept your registration details because your address isn’t in the out of date Royal Mail database
5. Have the most popular items out of stock. Sorry mates, you’re not getting a chocolate fountain this year

Happily an hour later I scored gold with some websites that it actually was a pleasure to do online business with – they weren’t too Macromedia Flash to take my cash. And they offered free delivery to boot.

Thanks to Amazon, HMV, Christian Aid Present Aid, Boots and Cancer Research Campaign I will have happy friends and family at Christmas and I can spend my weekends in December making merry rather than barging people out of the way in Woolworths. I can hear my friends taking the mickey out of me right now …

October 05, 2006

Holiday Cold Turkey

It’s two weeks and four days since I came back from holiday. Not that I’m counting …

I spent a week in very sunny Montenegro, apart from the last day when it rained like it was going out of fashion, with nothing to do but eat, sleep, swim and sunbathe. With a spot of toddling along a cliff path in a shallow attempt at athleticism, and some exercise of the right arm when raising wine glass to lips, thrown in.

The strange thing was that for a couple of days I couldn’t get used to the fact that, for once in my busy life, there was NOTHING that I had to do. No timetable where I had to be anywhere (apart from at the airport to catch the plane home), be responsible for anyone or, praise the Lord, do any cleaning. Just one big great fat nothing.

Once I’d got this into my head and stopped looking at my watch to see what time it was, and quit feeling guilty that I was flicking through a tacky gossip mag on the beach instead of doing something productive with my time, it was heaven.

Now I’m back in the real world I guess that this quick five minute time out to write a blog entry is my anarchic (!!) way of reclaiming a tiny bit of that holiday spirit. There are lots of things I should be doing, and I will do them. But here’s to my next short break – New York in November. I’m getting withdrawal symptoms for holidays already!

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