Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Why do retailers charge us for paying by credit card?

I have been organising my summer holiday.

The accommodation has been booked directly with the hotel - I got a great deal - and I have paid €459 with no credit card fee.  I do have to pay a exchange fee as I paid in Euros but that is minimal compared to the savings I have made on the hotel.

I have now booked the flight, again paying on my Visa credit card, and have been charged £5.85 on a booking of £200.79, this is charge of 2.9%.

I have also booked my transfer from airport to resort, again paid on my card and again been charged a fee by the retailer, this time £3 on a £20.98 booking (I didn't get my promised 12% discount, but that is a separate issue), this is more than 14%!

According to Visa, the charge to the retailer's bank for using a credit card is 1.10%, which works out at £2.21 and 23p, so I have been overcharged by £6.41 which, ok, in the scheme of things, is not horrendous but it is the principal.

Why are we even paying the charges in the first place?  I can understand small independent stores charging if a customer is paying under a certain amount, but for major retailers surely this should be accepted as their responsibility to pay, and they certainly should not be making an additional profit from it.

Have you been charged over the odds for paying by card?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Showering after school sports.

Recently a study was carried out by a group from the University of Essex suggesting that pupils who do not shower after PE or sports are less active than those that do.

A BBC report on the study can be found here.

Now I know it is more than a few years since I left school (come April it will be 28 years) and things have changed in those (almost) three decades, but we didn't have a choice about showering.  We HAD to shower regardless of how active we were, or weren't.

We had a communal shower with pegs outside to hang your towel on.  Once you were out of the shower and had your towel wrapped around you, you had to walk past whichever sports teacher was on shower duty so that she could see that your shoulders, face and hair were wet.

The only time you got away without showering was if you were on your period, this was noted on a register so that you couldn't get away with it too often.

And of course, as we were all told in the first year, we were all expected to be using 'internal protection', as it was called by the teachers, by the start of the third year (which I think is year 10 or 11 in today's terms) thereby allowing us to shower.  This edict actually offended me more than the communal showers!  

We had one period of PE and one of swimming each week, and an afternoon (3 periods) of sport per week, this was tennis and athletics in the summer and hockey (up at the school playing fields) in winter.

Not once were we allowed to leave without showering, nor were we allowed to leave in anything other than full uniform.

It wasn't a pleasant experience, but it wasn't horrific either, it was just something that had to be done and so we did it.  

Did you have communal showers at school?  And did you have to use them?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Returning unwanted items.

Unless an item is faulty, there is no legal requirement for a store to give you a refund or replacement.  If you have bought, or been gifted, the wrong size item or even just changed your mind you should not expect a refund or exchange.

Most stores will give a refund, or at least a credit note, but this is done to maintain goodwill with the customer.

Wrapping items in birthday or Christmas paper will not increase your chance of a refund, when I worked in a shop, there was a woman who came in at least twice a month with this ruse, she had so many birthdays each year.

Also if a store does have a policy of accepting returns, if the item has been reduced form the original purchase price and you do not have a receipt, you will only be given the reduced price back.  But remembver, this is more than the £zero they are obliged to give.

So if you are trying to return something, and you are refused, please do not take it out on the shop assistant, they are only following the rules.  

Friday, 2 January 2015

I've been invited to a Medieval themed birthday party.

And costumes are expensive!

It's a 40th so I want to make an effort.  I have looked into buying a costume and also hiring one, the cost to buy is roughly the same as hiring one for 4 days - the party is not local.

I don't know if I want to pay £100+ for an outfit I will probably only wear once, but I know that if I hire one I will be on tenterhooks all weekend in case I damage it.  Or spill something down it as there will be a hog roast and a flagon, or two, of mead, plus other assorted alcoholic beverages.

I don't even know what costume I want to go for - a busty, pox ridden wench; a cone-headed noble woman; a fool (some would say this would be most apt) or a Knight's Templar?

The Birthday Girl also wants us to perform this in the square outside her house as a flash mob type event.

And it is pretty difficult to practice by yourself.

Does anyone have any more suggestions as to a costume?

I am really looking forward to it, the hotel is already booked and paid for, I just don't know where to start!

And are there any costumiers between Coventry and Norwich that could accommodate me the last weekend in May - I can collect - for a less than extortionate rate?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Why Idris Elba should not be the next James Bond

And it is nothing to do with his colour.

Idris Elba is a sparkly eyed, scruffy bugger, and that is his appeal.

Look at him in Luther, not sure he shaved, showered or even changed his clothes and yet he had millions of women, and probably a fair few men, in useless heaps on the floor at the end of each episode.

Look at him in Prometheus, again scruffy.

Now imagine him shaved, showered and in a Saville Row suit.  Not the same is it?

We all know that Daniel Craig is rugged and certainly rocks a pair of blue trunks, but he also suits the clean shaven look.

Pierce Brosnan was just reprising his Remington Steele days, we all knew whilst watching that, that he would end up as Bond one day.

The previous Bonds have all looked like they have fallen out of Anderson & Sheppard's windows, and Idris just does not fill that role.

Who do you think should be the next Bond?