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Is it just me?


Coffee

When ever I want a cup of coffee and a biscuit there is always a queue!

Like today, my wife had to have some teeth out in hospital so I had an hour to kill. A coffee and a biscuit would kill some time, wouldn't it? It certainly did. I joined the long queue and watched as each individual customer scanned their products on the bar code scanner themselves and, mostly, paid by credit card. All very slick. That's all of course AFTER they had the important coffee decisions to make such as variety and size - probably 5 types and 3 different sizes making a minimum of 15 variations. So far so good but we now have to make the coffee while the queue grows ever longer. "yes", she says looking at me. "I am waiting for the cup of coffee I just paid you for". I scarcely had time to drink my coffee before being summoned back to the waiting room.

It's the same in M&S, Bath. The queue can be horrendous at times. It's not the endless variety of snacks that can be purchased - it's mostly self service anyway - it's the coffee. Splutter, splutter, bang, bang, etc. You would think that management might have got this sorted out by now.

I wouldn't mind so much but most of the time the coffee is no better than can be made with a decent jar of instant (imo). Those rare occasions when you get a cup of coffee that's so nice you just sit down and relish it. Now, those are treasured moments. The coffee and cake shop in Castle Cary is one such place to go for nice coffee and a cake.


On-line security

Life is so much more complicated now. On-line banking security just gets, necessarily, more complex with increasing levels of security. Sign up for two levels of security and soon it will be three levels. Accessing your own money gets ever more complex.

With branches shutting down the only recourse is to telephone the ever elusive helpline. Good luck with that if you can get past press one for this or that, press this or that for a second level of options. You need to be retired to have the time to get through to speak to somebody.

We have just moved accounts from Halifax to Nationwide. What a revelation - you can actually telephone the branch who, so far, have been extremely helpful. Visit the local Nationwide branch and there are real people sat behind a counter most anxious to please. They REALLY are customer focused and it is a joy. Good old-fashioned, high standard, customer service. Take a look at their FlexPlus Account where we saved a significant amount on the usual holiday insurance.



I hate shopping

It's a necessary evil but I just hate it. My wife had to give up driving so that meant I had to go shopping. At first I followed her around whilst trying to read the paper or doing the crossword. Eventually I asked if she would mind if I went and had a coffee, read the paper and did the crossword while she shopped. Her immediate reply, "I would prefer it." So that's what I did right up until Covid.

ASDA had this lovely little space manned (or womanned) by a delightful older lady where you could buy a self-service coffee and a biscuit, cake, or whatever. I would enjoy my coffee and a biscuit and read the paper. Occasionally I would meet someone I knew or engage some hapless individual in polite conversation until it was time to go to the checkout and load the bags.

It all changed during Covid and the wonderful little coffee space has gone, along with the delightful older lady (I bought her a Christmas present just before Covid). I was told a major coffee chain was coming to the car park which, so far, has turned into a do it yourself coffee machine in an obscure part of the store.

To make matters worse they have replaced many of the checkouts with self service checkouts manned by badges with "Here to Serve" who would be of more use on the old checkouts. This might suit many of you but I steadfastly refuse to use these. Next we will be body searched for illicit shopping. While we check out people lose their jobs and then they have the gall to complain about the levels of shoplifting - you couldn't make it up. Don't forget that the technical term for shoplifting is "Shrinkage", they budget for it and we pay for it in extra prices.


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Have a great weekend

Ray

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