Considering Vodafone? Consider Yourself About to be Ripped Off

Ah, Vodafone. They do love to provide me with blog fodder don’t they?

You may recall back in May I posted that, should you be cold called by Vodafone, it was wise to hang up or face being signed into a contract they would then deny all knowledge of.

At that stage, poor Elder, who is the man least likely to own a smartphone and use it for anything other than actual old fashioned phone calls, had had a right old costly nightmare with them.

He’d always had pay and go, owing to the fact he doesn’t really use mobiles in the same way as us younger people do. He is the pipe and slippers of modern tech. However, our house phone bill was flying ever higher and he was finding it a nuisance to keep getting top up vouchers (so was pinching my far simpler, pay monthly tariff, mobile instead).

When Vodafone- who we are both customers of, and who Elder had used for his mobile for well over 10 years (in fact it may even be 15, its been so long since he had another number I don’t recall) phoned him and offered a good deal, he decided he may consider it.

At first they offered a fancy bundle. But Elder wasn’t interested, and said that, should they offer a deal with a good level of minutes, he would accept as he didn’t need a text and data bundle included.

That was what was offered. 600 minutes, £9.50 a month. With a very important cap should he be about to talk the arse end off a donkey and go over his minutes allowance. After all, having had nothing but a pay and go chip for years, he was used to the phone just cutting out when it died.

He was promised this wasn’t a problem, they often put caps on for customers for the same reason, and so, with his new chip he carried on chatting to his mate Ted for ages about any crap that two old mates talk about. Safe in the knowledge that rather than topping up continuously or having to take my phone, he was free to yak for 600 minutes and it would handily switch off when those minutes ceased.

Or so he thought.

It turned out that no, not only had Vodafone not put the cap on, they had lied about how many minutes he was getting, and, as a result, he was overcharged to the tune of £120 over a couple of months. The only reason he realised this was when he got a notification from our bank saying his account was overdrawn.

It turned out he had not been given 600 minutes, but half that, plus data and texts- all things he told the cold caller he didn’t want and was assured had been swapped out for minutes instead.

That is fraud. It is against the law. It also meant that Elder was entitled to a refund, and could have ditched this contract with no further tariff to pay.

They did increase his allowance but stated that, whilst the cold caller had fraudulently offered him a deal which didn’t exist, he would have to pay extra for his 600 minutes- he was offered a rate of £12.50 instead.

Now, I get a phone and unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB of data for £26 a month so thought that a bit steep, but knowing that was all they offered and remembering the horrors of opening £150 phone bills from Sky, thought it would do.

He did though ask for reassurance that the allowance cap and cut off did exist and would this time be actioned, and was promised that the lady on the phone (their online help on live chat is awful) was doing it as they spoke.

Cut to this week and Elder has been back, chatting away to his mates, and happy to have his phone at £12.50 a month. He was so pleased with it after the initial balls up that, as we’ve been discussing Mini having a mobile now she is starting to go to parties and school trips, but don’t want her to join her Dad in stupid bills for chatting crap (in her case about boy bands and Little Mix) to her mates, we were in the process of looking at getting her the same deal from Vodafone.

Until he opened this month’s paper bill.

We asked for paper bills as we didn’t fully trust them not to overcharge him again, and, this time, had the option of cancelling the Direct Debit before they took a stupid amount of money from our account.

It looks like, once again, Vodafone have signed him into a contract and made promises they cannot be arsed to keep.

This month’s bill? Nearly £65.

That’s nearly £52 over his agreed amount.

Did he go mad and start calling abroad?

No. He made 4 calls, only 3 of which went fully over his, supposedly capped, allowance. One partially went over.

One call, the longest over the allowance, was to a local home number, not a mobile, but they charged him £35 for this call. £35!!!!!

Another cost his £15. They charge for calls that go over your monthly allowance by the second rather than the minute, so that was why these calls have been so grossly overcharged.

But what, I hear you ask, happened to the, now twice promised, cap? Surely the phone should have just stopped allowing outgoing calls until the next month rolled round?

See, that is what we were assured, several times, by several Vodafone staff members. Especially when Elder quoted that under UK law, if a mobile provider breaks any aspect of the promised contract terms or level of service, he was in his right to close the contract no matter how long it was meant to continue for with no penalty fee.

My view now is that Vodafone have not one intention of actually sticking to their promises or the cap on the allowance, not when they see fit to charge by the second at an extortionate amount.

I can safely say that I will not be trusting them to provide Mini with a call package, or elsewise I’d be bankrupt in a month.

At a time when parents are looking at mobile packages to keep their kids in contact as they go to Secondary School, and when Vodafone make promises to see they don’t exceed the amount set by the parent, I feel consumers need to be fully aware that it could end up costing you a hell of a lot more than you first thought.

As for Elder?

He has stopped the Direct Debit for this month and has, yet again, had to email their customer complaints team, and no doubt will be offered more false promises and assurances of caps.

If this is what it’s like having this service for 6 months, then they clearly need to get their act in gear.

Vodafone- you are useless. You’ve just lost a family of customers.

 

Is It Just Me: Wondering Why We Bother Supporting the NHS When Half the Time You’re Treated Like Shit?

Now, first up, I want to say I have nothing against the majority of NHS staff who work hard and treat patients with the courtesy.

Sadly, the one’s who do show courtesy seem to be a dying breed.

Back in February, I went to my local Opticians, and, as is the norm, the first thing the Optometrist asked was whether I’d had any issues with my eyes.

I had, to be fair. I just put it down to another offshoot of my migraines, which affect my vision anyway and always have. I can sometimes be doing something as mundane as making a cuppa, and my eyes will go double or my vision will slide like a telly that is on the blink. I am bad though, if I can avoid a trip to the GP, I will as I have had such a bad experience with them time and again that I just try and sort myself out these days to avoid being spoken to like an idiot and ending up upset again.

She was actually quite concerned by this, and, on making me look up and down, noticed my vision go double when I go from looking up to looking ahead.

She quite worried me really, which I sure wasn’t her intention, as she said she wanted me to go to A&E the next time I had the double vision (I haven’t, as it’s not painful and it rights itself in around a minute anyway. That and the “avoid the NHS like the plague” thing).

She asked me to take a letter to my GP, marked Urgent, asking for a referral onwards. She couldn’t emphasise enough that I needed to take this to the GP, and I needed to chase it up. She said I shouldn’t have to wait longer than a month for an appointment.

I was a little scared. As I say, I’m sure she didn’t intend to leave me worried, but you only get one set of eyes and once they’re buggered you’re buggered. So I handed the letter in the next day.

Then I waited.

And waited.

In March, I got a letter from the next place the GP had sent it onto, saying they felt that as the Optician was so concerned, I should go straight to the Hospital Optometry department instead, as they could order MRI scans and such like that they didn’t have. They had already sent this on to them with the original letter, and I should hear back soon.

Fair enough, I thought, at least this is being taken seriously, and a slight delay won’t hurt if it means not wasting time going to people who then have to send me to the local hospital anyway.

By June though, what with moving and having other stuff going on, I’d forgotten about it until I found the letter and thought “Oh, wonder why I’ve heard nothing”? So I phoned the people who sent my referral onwards to ask them had they actually sent it.

The lady there was lovely, and she had a record of what department it was sent to, when it was sent, and how it was sent. She gave me the telephone number of the hospital at Royal Berks to speak to, and with all the info written down, I phoned them.

Well, this is where the usual “arsehole attitude” of NHS hospital staff reared it ugly unwarranted head. I was really polite, just explaining that I was just calling to inquire when I may hear something, as it was sent on March 19th, and marked as Urgent by both the Specsavers Optician and the people my GP had originally sent me onto to.

The guy I spoke to was incredibly rude, he said they’d never heard of me, asked me who had sent me, wanted her name and experience level (which of course I didn’t know) then denied anything had been sent, although he refused to look on the system.

He then hung up.

Lovely.

I contacted the other people again who had sent me to them asking if they couldn’t just see me, after how I’d been treated already, and sadly the best they could do was send it again.

I have since contacted the hospital twice more to chase it, to be told it’s “in the system” or they are “re-inquiring with the other people who didn’t want to see me due to having a lack of equipment.

Today, I finally got a letter back.

Considering this referral was first made, in February, and marked Urgent, and then sent again at least twice, again marked Urgent by two different experts, when do you think I have an appointment for?

You’d think for a few weeks right? Especially after all the messing around I’ve had.

Nope.

4TH NOVEMBER!

10 MONTHS since the “Urgent” referral was made.

Of course, I felt this must be incorrect. Marked as urgent, the optician at Specsavers said I shouldn’t need to wait more than a month.

So, I phoned and explained calmly.

It seems it doesn’t matter how you speak to Hospital Secretaries, they are universally rude to patients for daring call in and disturbing them from, well, god knows what as manning the phone is clearly in their job description.

She looked me up and said the Consultant had marked me as non-urgent and to see a Triage Nurse.

Non-Urgent.

Despite TWO other experts- one of whom has actually examined me and seen the issue happen- saying they felt it was urgent, this person who has never seen me has read these referral letters and ignored them, deciding I am full of shit, the Specsavers woman is full of shit, and I am clearly wasting their time.

I challenged this to the woman I spoke to, and she said- her exact words people- ” He has decided, and he doesn’t care what Specsavers said, or a Doctor has said, it’s up to him and if he decides you are non-urgent you will wait”.

Charming.

I was unaware hospital Consultants at Royal Berks could see patients issues and sum them via, I imagine, crystal ball? It’s not like I go to my GP or hospital every five minutes, I barely go when I need to let alone when I don’t, so it’s not like I’m a bloody hyperchondriac they’re sick of seeing.

She refused to ask him to treat it as urgent, and she refused to give me any other, nearer, appointment.

It is hardly a surprise, the Hospital is known for being utterly shite, they treated- if you can call it that- Littlest in the summer and have now caused him more issues than they solved, causing him leg pain when he walks via a Lumbar Puncture I found out from several sources was completely unnecessary and seldom used of at all to diagnose what they were only “ruling out”. They gave him food he is allergic to, forgot to tell us he was quarantined then had a go at me for taking him to get some water, and left us for four hours in a dirty room with no air conditioning and dirty sheets. To make matters worse, as I dared ask after 4 hours where his results were after being told they’d take no more than an hour, I was abused by a Nurse in front of other parent’s and then, and I kid you not people, she slammed a door hard into my wrist- narrowly avoiding my face as I put my arm up to stop it slamming into me.

I don’t know what to do next. I told her that, if he was going to overrule two others who were concerned and treat me like a liar and timewaster, I won’t bother, there is little point. I’ve seen Consultants with Littlest before who clearly saw us to shut me up and who had no intention in actually treating him and we got precisely nowhere but upset all round.

I’m sorry, but I find it increasingly hard to back an NHS who treats us Patients like scum, who takes their anger and disillusionment with Government cuts  out on the wrong people.

No one chooses to go to a hospital, it’s not somewhere you think to yourself would be fun for a daytrip, so treating us like a chore is not helpful at time when a patient is probably worried, scared and wishing they could be anywhere other than the waiting room.

It also reinforces my “why do I bother, I’ll stay as I am until I genuinely collapse and have to go to hospital” feeling.

I won’t bother now. I really wont. I told her to cancel it. I’m not seeing someone who feels they can diagnose me without even seeing me, I have no faith in people like that. I will now have to go back to my GP, if I can get an appointment, or can be bothered, and ask them to send me elsewhere.

The first thing I would do if I won the lottery wouldn’t be buying a house, a car or a holiday. It would be going Private, as it seems that is the only way to actually get anything dealt with now- you really do get what you pay for it seems, and the NHS couldn’t make that more obvious.

I sometimes wonder if, because in the past I have registered complaints when Littlest’s care has been atrocious, I am now blacklisted by the NHS and that is why I continuously just get treated as a nuisance and shown no respect.If I was in the NHS, that would make me want to try again and show they can treat all patients with a good level of care and respect.

I won’t be going to Royal Berks if you paid me.

*I am giving them right to reply here, via tweeting this link, so feel free to write your horror stories in the comments.*

When Will School’s Learn, the PARENTS Are Ultimately in Charge?

The title may suggest that I think school’s don’t have any say on our cherubs, and that they shouldn’t discipline the kids when needed.

No, that’s not the case, in fact, it’s the opposite and obviously, if you read this post you’ll see why that’s not the case.

It’s two fold, that title.

Parent’s like myself give every care to our kids. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live through my kids, they are very much individuals in their own right, anyone who has read for years will know that.

I’m not alone, in fact I’m glad to say I’m in the majority, who feel that our job as a parent is to make sure they behave, have manners, and respect and grow up to be the same in adulthood with their own children.

I’ve taught mine that they do have the right to an opinion, but they also know that others do too, and at no point should you ever bully or belittle anyone- much less use violence against someone- for having a different way of life or opinion or attitude to themselves.

That’s the difference.

Sadly, there is a minority, for whatever reason, of feckless parents who take no responsibility and who don’t discipline their kids. By their attitude towards ignoring the school, ignoring what is the right way to bring up kids or by refusing to instill a healthy, polite attitude in their offspring, they basically give their child the impression that they can do no wrong, no matter how extreme their behavior towards others becomes.

In that respect, I feel the school needs to do more- not with the child, but with the parent.

School’s have the power to intervene, they can report situations to government bodies or the Police.

In the case of our school, the bullying from one child is actually so bad that one thing he has regularly told Mini is something that current DofE guidelines say should immediately be reported to the Police under current laws protecting our country.

Sadly, they have dropped the ball, using the excuse most of last year that his parent’s aren’t “visible” in school and they have language issues, so their hands are tied on what action they can take.

I actually felt for the Head in that back in my school days if a kid was being an arse, the Head could give the parent a call with no issue.

So, it was upsetting that I felt nothing was  really being done, and, as a result, my confident, bubbly girl of the year before who was coming on leaps and bounds, started to do worse at school again and had an entire year where she fell behind.

It can be infuriating. You are meant to feel confident that they are there to learn and their needs will be met. But I started to feel the same towards this school with regards their response to a serious, violent bully as I did in our last school.

When she went back after the summer, this child immediately started to be nasty again. He is in a different class, but with this child, it’s lunchtime when he is at his worse. No wonder when the dinner lady in their playground does not one thing to discourage his violence, even if he has punched a child (as it’s not just Mini he attacks and other parents have contacted the school saying the same) in front of her, she blames the child who has been attacked. It’s a blatant case of discrimination and frankly, the fact that myself and others have brought it to the school’s attention means it should have been dealt with via the handing out of a P45.

What makes it worse is that our school has worked very bloody hard to improve from a Poor rating from OFSTED. We had them visit at the closing of last year, and we rated Good. What makes it disappointing is that one reason we didn’t get Outstanding was due to the OFSTED team raising concerns on the Lunchtime provision. They witnessed bullying happening and they also witnessed the “can’t be bothered” attitude of the lunchtime team. That alone made me feel that perhaps they’d all get the boot, but no.

So, why this post?

It seems that, if you’re a good parent, who turns up for school on time, with kids tidy and in their uniform and who engage with staff, they will do everything in their power to drive you bloody nuts and undermine you.

It’s like because the feckless lot dump their kids on the side of a busy road, illegally parking on pavements every morning before zooming off, they need to get their fill of patronisation on those of us who do actually give a shit for our kids and their future selves.

As a result of my worrying about Mini’s safety, I decided that I didn’t want her to go on the two day school trip in October. Yet twice now, the Head and other’s have undermined me, going behind my back to get Mini to wangle her way on it.

I was under the impression that it is up to ME and her Dad if she goes away for two days, to decide if she is ready for that (this is a child that down to bullying sleeps with her bedroom light on all night, has nightmares and doesn’t like sleeping in her own bed if she can sneak in with me, and who ultimately would lie through her teeth that she is ill to get out of school).

Now though, if I don’t allow her to go, down to the staff filling her head with “everyone makes friends on the trip and you’ll be left out if you don’t go when they come back”, Mini worries that she- who lets remember already lacks confidence- won’t have any friends ever again.

I wouldn’t be pissed off if they practised the same interference in those who need it. But they seem content to not bother, which means these kids carry on into adulthood with the same nasty attitude and behavioral issues and no doubt produce the next generation of little terrors.

My sympathy certainly disappeared when, the Mother who apparently could not speak one word of English managed quite well in the playground to come up behind me telling me to fuck off and how her son has the “right” to be nasty to my child and others as he “doesn’t like them”. That is her excuse. It both amazed me that she suddenly managed to have such a good range of English that she could get quite a few impressive colloquialisms in too, and that she feels this is a fine and dandy excuse for her son being a git to the kids every day. I almost think she expected me to say “oh, that’s fine then, let him punch crap out my kids and others than, poor little cherub doesn’t like them after all!”.

What is wrong with these people?

Well, they’re clearly reprehensible wankers who should never been given the opportunity to give birth in the first place as they are that thick that that is an excuse. They clearly don’t know any better due to a basic lack of intelligence.

The real people who should be ashamed, because they do have the intelligence, they do know better, is the school, who seem far happier to make excuses rather than actually using the powers at their disposal.

And who suffers?

Yes, my kids, suffer. The other kids who are being bullied, they suffer too. The kids who are trying to learn in class who are unlucky enough to be in a room with the disruptive ones, they suffer as well.

But, more importantly, the school could actually try and right the wrongs at home and teach these kids what is seriously lacking from their parents. Basic discipline. They need to be shown at school that their actions have consequences, because in the longterm, these kids will suffer too.

Yes, the school is there to teach maths and English and all those educational studies. But, they can also foster a better behavior level on these kids, they can teach them that behaving in the way they do is going to cause them to be in trouble- actual real trouble- and make them responsible for their behavior with more than just a move on a traffic light behavior chart.

The school need to learn to leave those of us who can parent our kids to get on with it, and actually, for the good of all the kids, the bully included, deal heavily with those who can’t.

In other words, butt out unless it’s needed, and when I make decisions for my kids, know I’ve done it with much thought and discussion and parent those who can’t be bothered to.

 

Is It Just Me: Wondering Why It’s Still Socially Acceptable to be Derogatory Towards Travellers?

OK, I am cross guys.

Like most folk, I’m a member of a local “Residents Discussion” group on Facebook.

For those of you who haven’t discovered one locally to you yet, it’s a place where locals will ask about local events, or bus timetables, or request the details of a good plumber. You get all sorts of topics on there, our local one seems to have a running joke regards squirrels. No idea.

It can be really handy when you are new to an area, and it can be just as helpful when you’re checking whether it’s just your bins the local dustman haven’t collected.

However, I can’t speak for all groups on this topic, mine seems to be quite happy to allow, encourage even, derogatory and frankly racist commentary on Travellers.

Every time, every sodding time, someone sees a caravan between April and October, some utter tool will come in the group to give, and I hate this term but it’s what is used commonly, a “Pikey warning”.

Fuck sake.

It just winds me up that in a world where we are all so much more socially aware, and where we are supposed to be kind to our fellow man no matter what colour or creed they are, it’s still OK though to forget all that and go back to the dark ages of racism as long as we’re discussing travellers.

Just recently, one member of the group- herself a person of Ethnic Minority- posted that she had come home from her holiday to find she’d been burgled.

Now, that is not something anyone wants to happen, of course. It means that there are toads in town on the rob, and obviously alerting the neighbourhood to this fact means we all lock our doors and windows and don’t just leave the house unlocked whilst we run to the shop.

That’s fine people. Public service right there and what makes these groups so handy. In fact, when our old house was nearly broken into at school pick up time, and Elder managed to see the van with the would be thieves, I put the details on and lo and behold, two similar burglaries were avoided as locals saw the van hanging round outside other people’s homes and rang the Police.

I had lots of sympathy for this lady until she posted that, as no electrical items were stolen, and an Irish Claddagh Ring was one of the items pinched, it must be Travellers.

Yes, you read that right.

I was quick to ask how on earth she’d managed to add two and two and make Travellers responsible, and this modern day Nancy Drew- with backing from other tits on this group who moaned at me for questioning her on this- suggested that Irish people wear Claddaghs, and Travellers are Irish and don’t need electricals in a caravan, so hence that was why it was definitely them.

OK then.

I was swift to point out that, whilst Irish people do indeed wear these rings (and, once she posted images she had of said stolen jewellery, it turned out not to be a Claddagh anyway), so do Chavs. So do other people who frequent the Elizabeth Duke section of Argos cheap shit jewellery.

Another tech guy backed me up, and said no one nicks electricals like iPads and phones anymore as they can be traced and locked so are quickly worthless.

It didn’t stop the majority though suggesting it was definitely travellers, end of.

They get really into it too.

There has been a funeral for a local Traveller, a rather prominent one too, and Travellers love and respect their fellow person and will, quite rightly, give them a very good send off.

Even though a lady who knows the Pub they have been in, even though she has said a number of times there was no trouble, they were respectful, they bought everyone who happened to be in the pub regardless of whether they were there for the wake a pint or two, there are those calling them filthy, scum, and other disgusting terms.

I questioned these unintelligent racist arseholes.

Would they be so happy to join in with this “Pikey Warning” if the warning was changed to a “Pakki Warning”?

You know, someone comes on the group to bemoan a group of ethnic minority folk coming into town, say for a two day wedding instead of a wake, if they were from any other origin other than Traveller?

Course, they would be up in arms, they would be up for reporting to the Police. It would be dealt with under the Malicious Communications act and racism laws.

Yet, it’s fine to do whatever you like, slag off Travellers, call them thieves, say they are dirty, and no one bats an eyelid.

The Police don’t care either, in fact, they join in by behaving disgustingly the minute a NIMBY moans about Travellers using land none of use or give two shits about usually.

They have as much right to live how they like as any other social group in this country. I would rather a bunch of Travellers moved in near me than a bunch of Junkies.

I got told what for by the same sort of people who usually come across as the most normal person in the land, who would usually offer advice on local issues with good grace.

Chuck someone in the mix actually making them question why it’s fine to slate Travellers and ask whether they’d do the same to other ethnicities and they suddenly get very cross indeed, suggesting it’s a different matter.

Racism is racism.

The fact is, like any other group, you get good and bad, yet we don’t all suggest that every Muslim is a terrorist and every white, lower class teenager is a teen Mum waiting to happen. It would be laughable to.

Yes, there are some Traveller groups who don’t show respect, but there are just as many non Travellers who are criminals, who treat people without respect and who deserve as much finger pointing as all Travellers seem to get.

Enough already.

Don’t sit there and judge one group based on half arsed bullshit.

Travellers are people too, and they generally keep themselves to themselves.

Yes, they live a little differently to you, but so what?

In a world where we are expected to live and let live, let them be part of that too.

And stop this outdated Racism now.

 

*************UPDATE*****************

Is it any wonder that the casual racism of Travellers continues, when FACEBOOK allows it too?

As I mentioned above in this post, I commented to the racist moronic tool who wrote about Pikey Alert, suggesting that, should he write “Pakki” instead of “Pikey”, everyone would- quite rightly- be up in arms, reporting him and getting him banned from our Community page.

However, I said, it’s a bit two faced to allow him to write Pikey and all join in like kids in a playground.

I have often reported uses of words like Pikey and Gyppo on Facebook groups, and have been told it doesn’t break their Terms of Community Guidance.

I reported the words used in the thread I mentioned from today, and am yet to receive word from Facebook that these are going and those who have written them will be given a warning.

Yet, they’ve managed to threaten ME with removal, for saying that using Pikey is as bad as using Pakki, and neither has a place in the vocabulary of modern society. All because someone- probably one of the unintelligent moron racists I called out- reported ME for breaking community guidelines. I didn’t get right of reply, I just had to agree that I won’t break their shoddy, one sided, pick and choose rules or face removal.

Why is it that even a company like Facebook picks and chooses what is and isn’t racist, and decides that derogatory, disgusting and outdated terms towards Travellers is OK?

You cannot pick and choose what is and isn’t racist. If it’s directed towards a minority group, hell, any group, sex, creed, colour or religion, whether it’s an outdated term or not ITS NOT FUCKING ACCEPTABLE FACEBOOK!

I am going to give them the right to reply that they declined to give me over on Twitter so feel free to Retweet my tweet guys.

Is It Just Me: Who Wishes Women Would Love Themselves More?

Another day, another article published that has woman slating themselves.

Take this article published in the Mail where a handful of 50 year olds extol the virtues of cosmetic procedures and decree that all of us should fight back from nature and stick as much shite in our faces as we can afford.

For goodness sake. Shut the feck up ladies.

Now, I could see things about my face, at 34 (near 35), which I think would be nice to improve. I have a few lines on my forehead, I’m not a massive fan of the nose I inherited, and I’ve always thought one of my eyes is lopsided compared to the other (another inheritance from family).

However, am I selling everything I own, not buying clothes for myself and the kids, or taking out a loan to have it all plumped, pulled and tightened?

Nope.

This is my face. All its little crags and things are part of who I am, I can look at my face in the mirror and can see elements of my Gran, I have the same face as she did you see, it served her well for 87 years, and I can safely say that even if I won the Lottery, the most I would do is have a brace fitted on my teeth.

I wear make up- cheap stuff, I don’t know the difference between the Macs and Bobby Browns and really cannot be arsed to bother to, I put it on once a day and may occasionally touch up my tinted lip balm.

I did go through a stage of dying my hair, but it went all dry, and started falling out so I felt it was better to have a few grey hairs than no hair at all due to vanity.

One woman even states in the article how she doesn’t let her skin get in the sun, she doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke either. This, she believes, is why she looks young at 50. These are all things we should or shouldn’t do for our health, of course.

However, this same “health conscious” lady has been pumping her face full of Botox and zapping her jowls with lasers since she was 37! So, it’s not OK to drink and smoke as these are “bad” chemicals, yet injecting poison into one’s face is OK?

Ironic or what?

According to this same lady, her cosmetologist (presumably whilst cashing her next cheque for botulism inserted into said womans face) suggests there are- and I quote- “no ugly women, just poor ones” in the world. She continues to add that we no longer have the face, as Coco Chanel famously said, we deserve in middle age, but the one we can afford.

When I had finished choking on my coffee, I just felt sad that a female could be so nasty and callous about her fellow female folk.

We already have to face daily adverts for lifting this and firming that.We get paid less. We have contracts written for Junior Doctors that are sexist against us ladies, and don’t get me started on rights once you go off and have a baby. As a couple who is unmarried, I have very few rights compared to a married women, despite us having children and having been together for 16 years.

Its only recently that companies like Nivea have started to target the “Beckham Generation” of metrosexual men with moisturisers for the opposite sex. It is fine for guys to be grey, and to have wrinkles, but women? No. We should slather ourselves in so many creams, so much make up, so many tightener pairs of pants and corset waists.

Fuck it.

That’s what I say.

If we all just said, look, men, this is our face now, take it or leave it, what would be the worst that could happen?

I’m not suggesting we all stop shaving our legs or brushing our hair. I’m in awe of those who can be arsed to work out how to do proper flicky eyeliner and fake lashes (I can just about do eyeliner, but lashes, not a chance).

What I do think has gone too far is sticking goodness knows what in our face to stop lines, as young as in our 30s.

Let’s all remember that once upon a time, smoking was seen as a health benefit, and pregnant and new Mums were told we should drink Guinness for the iron it contained!

We all know now that this was all wrong and both drinking and smoking is not a healthy pursuit at all. How do we know that these fillers and botox aren’t our generation’s nicotine?

Implants were said to be safe, yet these started to age and burst- we all remember the scandal over PIP implants after all.

Something that seems safe now could end up haunting us as we age further.

We should all embrace our own- and our mates- aging faces. Its life after all, and we are hardly the first generation who hope for good genes and then feel slightly shortchanged (as I said, my nose is hardly cute and button like).

Lets all tell each other what we love about each other’s faces, and stop this critical, nasty, “I have botox so my face looks better” bullshit.

We need to realise that all freezing Mother Nature does is make us look like plastic dolls.

And we all know we are better than simply objects of sex, after all….

 

 

 

 

#BlogSchool- Originality Or Damned

Or how NOT to piss off other bloggers.

Now, this BlogSchool is a biggie.

If there is one thing, one major thing, that will get a hell of a lot of bloggers pissed off with you, whether you are a brand, an SEO or a blogger, its pinching stuff from their blogs or feeds.

Last year, just as the kids were all going back to school, a blogger, like many of us, took a “First Day Back” photo of her children. She posted it online and thought nothing of it.

Until a company- I forget which- suddenly used her photo, without permission along with other parent’s images. It was titled, in a condescending manner “Happy Stand In Front of the Front Door Day”.

Did they ask to use the images in their mockery of the practise?

Nope.

So, it’s bad enough that they nicked her photo- amongst others- but to then use it to take the pee out of something many of us do now, well, that really did take the utter mickey.

Now, it’s sometimes more simple than that, you’re a newer blogger looking for ideas, and you wake up at 3am having a light bulb moment, a grand linky, or series, or conference that will make you the best known thing in blogging ever!

That’s all well and good, and we’ve all had flashes of genius at 3am that we think will make us the best thing since sliced bread. However, there are flipping loads of blogs around, here, and abroad, all of which, at some point, are someone’s pride and joy, or even their main source of income.

With that in mind, it’s best to check your wonder idea wasn’t already someone else’s idea before.

How do we do that?

Well, it’s easy, you can either google the idea name you’ve had, or, if that’s going to take you ages or you want to double check, then it’s always a good option to ask on Facebook blogging groups or on twitter. Search the hashtags on Twitter too, as some bloggers, myself included, often use these to maximise the reach of linkies or series type posts.

Recently, a blogger posted on one such Facebook group about a Link up she’d thought up. It sounded brill, I’m not going to lie (or nick it, I’m a nice blogger), it was based on music you like and in all honesty would work well.

Yes, in fact, I knew it would work marvellously, as it’s been done, and is still being carried, by another blogger. Now, that little slip up was dealt with before it went on the blogger’s site, but it shows how good it is to ask around of us old bloggers who remember these ideas the first time around and avoid a disaster!

As someone who has had their work pinched, it’s really infuriating, and trust me, I’ve had it done by well known bloggers who should know better. It will create a storm of annoyance from other bloggers, and unless you sort out an apology pronto, you will not be flavour of the month.

So, if you do accidentally slip up, don’t try and ignore the issue or deny all knowledge. Yes, it is hard to prove any liability of copyright on an idea- and some nastier types will know this- but in blogging community circles it is a big no no and people take a dim view on behalf of the wronged individual.

So whether you’ve seen an image on Google that would be great for your blog, or an idea has sprung to mind for a new name, check, check and for God sake check some more, because failure to do so could see you in the blogging doghouse or worse- up before a Judge for copyright infringement.

Yes, really- it’s happened, so don’t turn your little blog into a massive financial cock up, and do your research before launching an idea.

#BlogSchool: Check Yo’ Privilege (When It Comes To Brand Engagement)

Oh you guys kill me, seriously.

We’ve covered working with brands before, the do’s, don’ts and what the actual fuck were you thinking’s. However, I see the same mistakes when it comes to being polite to brands and it really grates with me personally.

As a pioneer of old age when it come to blogger’s being able to be part of outreach campaigns, I have had to deal with a lot of scorn in my time. Scorn from non-review bloggers, scorn from non-bloggers who think bloggers are a bunch of entitled, grasping, freebie hunters and blaggers.

For the most part, Bloggers who review are epic people, who will receive a product, go and photograph it for Instagram, write their review, and be polite and professional at all times. They also know, like me, that an email about a product, sponsor post or opportunity doesn’t always equal the end we’d like as sometimes, inexplicably, the lead goes cold.

If I had a quid for every time I have been contacted, on days out, holidays, products or anything else of all budgets that didn’t materialise, hell, I’d be that rich I could be like Katie Price and employ a Ghostwriter and go sun myself instead of slogging away at this blog.

Sadly, it’s not the same attitude adopted by some, and it’s a growing number as well. Which, to folk as vintage as me is a bit horrifying and irritating as it puts us back in the “blaggers” days and gives us all a bad name.

So to today and I won’t go into it too much for fear of being publicly hunted down and made to jog (seriously- one comment about this thought telling me to go jogging (ergo, I am clearly a fat burger stuffer compared to her svelte entitled self) as a reasonable argument to my shock and awe at the entitled bitch behavior being displayed).

Same old story- Blogger is approached. Blogger is offered item. Brand then, politely, and I cannot stress this ignored point enough as it was super polite, decides not to continue due to personal preference.

Nothing wrong with that. It’s up to the brand, however big or small, on who them work with. I can say this wasn’t a size issue, or gender or colour issue or I would so have joined in the righteous stamping and indignation over this one.

The blogger, inexplicably, screen grabbed this polite, innocuous message and placed it on a public, widely used Blogging group and then allowed others as mental as she is to publicly bitch the brand!

This, for the record, is the same group that, when I questioned the validity of the behaviour of a third party, frankly questionable blog/brand link up company who were not being open or honest with members, rather hoovering up as many names as they could to gain rewards from brands, I was rounded on. One of the third party was even given screen grabs of what I’d said then joined the group to harangue me whilst not making any attempt to answer my polite queries. That was OK.

However, no notice was given to the fact that:

  1. Plenty of times I have never even got a reason why a brand suddenly pulls out. This happens at least twice a month with products big and small.
  2. The brand person was super polite and apologetic, telling the blogger it was not her personal opinion.
  3. An email does not mean a contract. A collaboration only happens when you are in possession of the item/on the day out. An email is just putting the feelers out to see who is interested, however many are sent back and forth.
  4. It does not matter how many followers you have compared to the brand in question. If you’re not what they want, tough luck, move on with dignity.
  5. Slagging off a brand in public is not going to win other friends and influence people to work with you.
  6. The best course of action would be to be polite back and then, no doubt, another campaign would mean she would be top of the list for an item.
  7. My 9 and 7 year old are that savvy on brand/blogger outreach, they never question when an item doesn’t materialise.

I was told to calm down. I was told I was out of order. I was called all sorts. Admin, as is the norm with this group, told me off for saying that, actually, it was up to the brand, they’d been polite and perhaps some of the angry pitchfork wavers needed to educate themselves before attempting to work with brands.

I swear, the thing that made me laugh and then bang my head against a wall was when I saw someone, supposedly of intelligence, suggest discrimination was at play here.

WHAT!!!!?

No, ladies. Discrimination against women is rife, for sure. But it’s not discrimination to have a brand not send you a product for free! Discrimination is walking down the street and being called a fat cow by a stranger. Or being passed over for a job for having a child. Or being shipped off to a country to be married to someone you have never met. Or worse, being killed in the name of “honour” for refusing to marry. Or being a victim of FGM, domestic violence, rape or homophobia. Those are discriminatory practises.

Not getting a product is a bitch. Simple.

It’s disappointing, it’s a let down, but there will be other items, other things to try out.

No matter how many followers, no matter how big you think you are, if you don’t fit the remit, you don’t fit the remit.

Move on, behave, shut up, and don’t allow the attitudes of others to sway you. It’s called self respect. And it seems a fair few of the new breed of entitled, self important people who have appeared in blogging need to remember that.

One of my biggest brand engagements took me four years to cultivate before it paid off. The first time I reviewed them, I had gone off my own back and had simply reviewed it as I saw some constructive things which could be improved. That brand has now engaged with me for three years in a row, but, if they didn’t next year, that’s their call. Yep, I would be disappointed, but I would never go as far as to rubbish them on a group.

Things change quickly, and we can all learn that the best course of action is to simply keep on doing what you’re doing and wait for the next opportunity to come along.

If you get a rep for being a bitch, shit sticks, and you’ll find the work dries up. If they have less followers and decide to ditch you, that’s their loss, not yours, and the best thing to do is keep a respectful silence, or, at the least, politely email back that you completely understand and hope that you can work on another campaign another time. Bloggers who wish to bitch should learn they aren’t the only one’s who know how to screen grab, and no doubt this brand has already been shown this blogger’s anger, and others who joined in on bollocking them for daring to deny her an item, and I bet they won’t be high on their work with list from here on out.

Before working with brands, please, get a thick skin and know that not everything will appear in the post. You will be dropped without so much as a tweet.

It’s how you deal with that rejection that counts so much in an ever growing medium.

Suck it up bloggers, and check yo’ privilege.

🙂