Monday, October 15, 2012

Vodafone: What price customer service?

Hello.  Once again, I’m having to blow some cobwebs away from this Corner of the Blogosphere, but none of us has time for excuses. This time, Vodafone can take the credit for my triumphant return.  It’s about all they deserve credit for, but I nonetheless feel that the wider world should enjoy this email from their customer service team, explaining why they are increasing the price of their contracts mid-term.


Thank you for Contacting Vodafone Customer Services with regard to price increase.

I understand that you are concerned about the price increase. I apologies for the inconvenience caused to you as it effected the line rental.

I would like to inform you that the price increase is not in our hands. This is to be decided by the telecom companies. We have to increase the price to adjust with the competitors. The other telecom companies have already increased their prices due to inflation. The present inflation has affected many telecom companies and therefore to increase the price.

Please be assure that we are the last one to increase the prices in line rental. This inflation has affected the whole economy.

Furthermore, In order to resolve any customer issues we follow an internal escalation procedure. Once you have emailed us we endeavour to resolve your query in the first instance. If you’re not happy with our reply, the query would then be escalated to a Manager in the Email Contact Centre.

I trust the above information helps.

Kind regards,

Parth Mehta
Vodafone Customer Services

We hope you have found our Email Customer Service helpful and convenient.  To contact us please click  'here'.

Thank you for being a Vodafone customer and I hope you enjoy all that Vodafone has to offer.

Vodafone has logged your email address in case it needs to contact you about other matters relating to your account.  It may also be used for marketing purposes - you will soon receive an email explaining this and how you can opt out.


I am reminded of the infinite monkey theorem.  Hopefully the monkeys will get around to sending the email telling me how I can opt out of unsolicited marketing sooner rather than later…

Thursday, July 26, 2012

American French

One of my jobs for the next couple of days is to convert a paper I hope to submit for a conference in to U.S. English.  I have to begrudgingly admit that because the conference is in the U.S. I don’t have much grounds for complaint, but it seems like a bit of a tedious process for very little benefit (after all, are we really to assume that the international readership won’t understand use of the word “colour” in lieu of “color”?).  Hopefully it won’t waste a tonne* of my time.
Anyway, I saw a headline about the fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A yesterday and it has got me thinking about American English – or perhaps more accurately, American French – which is not as consistent in terms of pronunciation as one might expect.
For example, if I was from Maine, I might conceivably drive to Calais (pronounced “Callous”) in a coupe (pronounced “coop”).  I might then stop for some food – possibly some chicken fillets (“fil-ay,” apparently).  At some point I might also drink some herbal (“erbal”) tea – perhaps in the comfort of my hotel room.
C’est ridiculous, non?
I’m going to get back to weeding out the apparently unnecessary u’s in my paper.**   Meanwhile, if you’ve still got time on your hands, and have further questions about the important issues I have just raised, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of David Mitchell.

*for the purposes of this post, I am working in metric tonnes, where 1 tonne is 1000 kilograms (2200 pounds).
**more accurately, I should probably say “supervising Word as it corrects my apparent spelling mistakes”

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

British Broadcasting Corporation vs British Airways and British Midland

The BBC News Page is currently displaying this headline:

British Airways and BMI deal puts 1,200 jobs at risk.

Anyone reading this could be forgiven for assuming that any job losses will purely be as a result of the BA deal.  They could also be forgiven for having sympathy with the unions, who are showing signs of squaring up to BA.

But let’s stop and think about this, shall we?  Lufthansa is selling BMI, which is losing money.  Anyone buying it is likely to have to restructure it to keep it afloat, and if the BA sale were to have been impeded Lufthansa may have had no option but to cut its losses and close BMI down completely.

I would accuse the BBC of being biased again, although I struggle to think of a good motive for such bias.  One wonders if it comes down to giving the unions (and by association their bankrolling of the Labour Party) some credibility.  Am I really that cynical?

Here endeth the latest rant.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

On Jesus’ Virgin Birth

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have been following the on-going dialogue I have been having with some atheists, since I picked up on the statement that the Bible is “the biggest fictional tale ever told.”  If not, you might be able to look back past my recent bout of Twitterrrhoea about easyJet and see something of what was said.

I have to say that it was difficult to engage in a reasoned discussion, but there have been some interesting questions and issues raised and I thought I would share some thoughts here.

It was suggested that I begin with answering the question “why do [I] think Jesus was in fact born of a virgin?” 

I’m not sure that I ever said anything about my belief in the virgin birth; however it was a correct assumption to make and I shall answer the question without further ado.

The bottom line is that I trust what has been written in the Bible.  I am not aware of any extra-Biblical references to the virgin birth (but I am happy to stand corrected), but in any case this is not something which can be proven scientifically.

However, the lack of scientific proof does not mean that it isn’t true.  Similarly, the fact that the Bible records extra-ordinary events does not mean that it cannot be trusted.  That said, I do not blindly trust the Bible.  I think that the books of the New Testament hold weight as historic documents, for example, and my worldview as a whole is coherent.

Of course, the more important questions to ask concern  the notion of the existence of God, and the claim that Jesus was God in human form.  Discussing whether or not he really was born of a virgin is potentially interesting but of no relevance to the bigger picture.  If theism is true and there is a god capable of creating the whole Universe then the notion that Jesus may have been born of a virgin is not hugely shocking. 

On the other hand, if you believe that there is no god, would finding out that Jesus was born of a virgin do anything to convince you otherwise?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

On blaming the government for this blog

I read on the BBC News Page today that “John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, and Labour Lord Toby Harris are among those who have called for Mr Maude to resign if it turns out his comments contributed to the burns accident suffered by 46-year-old Diane Hill.”

Let’s get this straight.  Mr Maude – rightly or wrongly – told people to consider keeping a jerry-can of petrol in the garage.  He did not say anything about decanting it in the kitchen, with the cooker on. 

Furthermore, this was not a command, it was a suggestion.  Mr Maude did not say “citizens found guilty of not buying and storing extra quantities of petrol shall be fined or banged up in jail.”  We can argue to the cows come home about whether his advice was necessary, but if you went out and bought petrol in a panic it was entirely your decision.  If you were following the news enough to listen to the government’s advice you would also have known that no strike had been set.

I despair at the fact that people blame the government rather than taking responsibility for things themselves.  If you’re going to whinge and demand rights, which people often do, then you can accept that you have responsibilities as well.  Personally, I think that John Mann, Karl Turner, and Toby Harris should resign for encouraging people not to have their own sense of responsibility.

Mind you, I wouldn’t complain if in the face of the next crisis Mr Maude suggested jumping off a cliff.  Think of how much better things would be if we lost a few of those who are really too irresponsible to vote.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On lighting the blue touch paper

As you probably know, I can sometimes be quite provocative.  My recent tweet linked to my last post certainly seemed to have that effect.  On the positive side, I have really enjoyed seeing people engaging well with the dialogue, both here and on Facebook, and I have to admit that my ego has taken a small boost from the record numbers who landed in this corner of the Blogosphere.

However, on reflection, I realise that some of you may have thought that I was being unnecessarily antagonistic – for which I apologise.  Hopefully if you read the post you realised that there was a context to it and that I am not casting sweeping aspersions on my atheist friends.

I was also reminded that to make bold statements about atheists needing to practise what they preach leaves me open to accusations that as Christians we don’t always practise what we preach.  Which – sadly – can be quite true.  So, whereas I stand by the statement I made, I should be the first to admit that as a Christian I don’t always get it right either.

I have really enjoyed the discussions which have been sparked, and will probably blog about some of the issues raised before long.  In the meantime, there is a whole community of people on Facebook talking about Jesus and if you enjoyed the discussions as well then you might want to take a wander in that direction.