Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Customer Service Part 2

Quotation of the day: John Lennon --Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.

It's time for a consumer revolution.

Small, independent companies in general, seem very good at customer service -- i guess they have to be, in order to survive -- and when they're good, they are really good.  (See my last post.)

It's the big corporations that treat their customers like dirt.  The answer?  Avoid the big corporations as much as possible.  I'm not afraid to name names and i, for one, will never buy a burger from A & W again, and will never buy anything from Maple Leaf Foods: i received crap service from them both recently, and complained each time, but my complaints fell on deaf ears.

OK, fine, i just won't give them any more of my hard-earned.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Customer Service

Quotation of the day: S.J. Perelman -- Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin -- it is the triumphant twang of a bedspring.

I think we might all be forgiven for thinking that "customer service" is a dying art.  We have become accustomed to being treated like dirt by the people whose wages we pay.  To some extent it's our own fault, of course -- mega-corporations treat we lowly customers with contempt and we put up with it.

So i am delighted to report that it still exists.

A couple of weeks ago, i ordered Dave Swarbrick's new CD, "Raison d'etre," from, and it arrived yesterday.  Except it didn't.  What arrived was a "Raison d'etre" jewel case and a CD labelled "Raison d'etre."  But what was on the disc was actually Swarb's 1978 album "Lift The Lid And Listen" (which i already have).  (Don't worry if you've never heard of Mr Swarbrick -- he's an English folk fiddler, not exactly viral on YouTube, but i've been a fan since the 60s).

I wrote to customer service @ cduniverse, not really expecting any satisfaction but ... they've been in touch with me twice in the past hour, full of apology both times (although obviously it's not their fault, but a cock-up at the manufacturer's) -- first for a clarification of the problem, and then with instructions for the return and replacement of the disc.

So ... credit where credit is due:  well done CDUniverse!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Today is the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald (and thanks to Craig & Rita of for reminding me), and if this song isn't a Canadian classic, i don't know what is...

I'm not a Canadian by birth, of course, but i have embraced this land.  I took Canadian Studies at university, gorblimey!

This country has a massive inferiority complex, thanks to living right next door to the colossus that is the U.S.A.  I talk to the natives and the impression i get is that they think that Canadian books, films, music and history are all really dull.  They couldn't be more wrong.

Canadian history is just as exciting as American history -- although you'd never guess it from the way it's taught in schools here, and -- i don't really want to start ranting, but the arts (or, The Arts) in Canada are (oh god i hate this term, i only use it cos i'm too tired to think of one that's preferable) "world class."

Friday, 5 November 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It... Oh, Shut Up

Quotation of the day: Sinclair Lewis --Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.

We had the first snow of the season here today.  I was outside having my first cigarette break of the morning at around 8.30 when it started.  And it snowed -- not heavily, but steadily -- for most of the day.  It all melted as soon as it hit the ground, but it's here.

Future posts to this blog may well be influenced by the fact that i'm going to be cold for the next six months :o(

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Spriggsblog Goes To The Movies

Quotation Of The Day:  Van Morrison -- I'm nothing but a stranger in this world

 I watched the DVD of "Oceans" last night, and it was brilliant.

It's a documentary, distributed in North America by the Disney
Corporation, but was actually made in France, and it's a gorgeous study of oceans and ocean life.  Unforgettable scenes of dolphins stampeding, cormorants dive-bombing sardines, men swimming beside sharks, and film of the unbelievable creatures who live on the sea floor (in one instance, swimming around a shopping cart!).  My only complaint was about the narration -- by Pierce Brosnan and presumably added by the Disney folks and thus "dumbed down."  It was discursive at best and incoherent at worst.

But never mind, it's a feast for the eyes!

And, speaking of feasts, here's one for the ears:

I am, even as we speak, listening to Van Morrison's album "Astral Weeks."  If this isn't art, i don't know what is....

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Carpe Diem!

Quotation of the day:  Fran Lebowitz -- Very few people possess true artistic ability.  It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort.  If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.

It's my diem off today and carpe it i certainly did!  Life is to be embraced, i always say.  No, really, i do.  I know several people who have promised to punch me in the throat the next time i say it, they're so fed up hearing it.

So here's how i seized it:  got up at 3 a.m., listened to the radio (94.9 The Rock, of course) until around 9, had a bath, went out for breakfast, listened to last Sunday's episode of "The Beatles Universe" (at, and then listened to CDs by The Mississippi Sheiks, J.B. Hutto, and Robert Wyatt.  Then i did last night's dishes and a load of laundry and watched two (2!) episodes of the second series of "Between The Lines."  Oh, look!  There's the National Portrait Gallery's portrait of Francesca Annis, who's a recurring character in series two....

I have raved about this before, suggesting that it was the best police drama ever, but i have changed my opinion.  I now think it was the best television programme ever.  I was crying real tears at the end of the second episode i watched today -- you don't get that with "Friends" ....