Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mr Minit – The Resolution

Geez – it’s been a long few weeks with Mr Minit.

You might recall the dilemma which was that I wasn’t certain that he was deliberately infuriating with appalling customer service and trying to avoid responsibility or that he was just not that sharp. 

I called Mr Minit on the following two Fridays, advising him that despite a global search on the net (actually, is there any other?? But it did sound like I was being thorough) I couldn’t find any similar boots, new or second hand other than $199 ones. He was just as rude on the phone but I refrained from barking at him that this was taking up a ridiculous amount of my time and did he have any idea of my charge out rate?? (In fact, another reason I didn't say that is that it does make me sound like a prostitute - and the way I dress, well, he could already be forgiven for being suspicious.) After 3 weeks I bit the bullet and purchased the $199 ones thinking I'd just take what ever he was prepared to contribute. A few days later I got an email to say the stock wasn’t available and they’d cancelled my order. Crikey, this was exasperating!!!

Tony Bianco, the shoe chain, had been helpful to date. In fact I can’t tell you how lovely the girls there are; they could teach Mr Minit a thing or two about customer service. They emailed all their stores looking for something similar and in the end, I settled on a far more conservative (ie I don’t love them) version of the boot reduced to a mere $30 plus $18 postage.

Mr Minit was naturally relieved when I rang to tell him the damage. He said he’d have a cheque for $48 made out for me. When I went to collect it, for the first time ever, he was friendly and sympathetic; acknowledging it wasn’t often you could replace exactly what you had and apologising for all the inconvenience. But the answer to the dilemma was confirmed when he rightly asked me sign a receipt for the money which said it was for ‘selling the rong product.’ Oh dear. And I thought my spelling was bad.

PS Sorry for the reduction to weekly posts - just been a little under the pump recently.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Cupcake Competition

It was the Sass’s school fair today. It was a slick affair when George started 12 years ago, and has now escalated into an operation a sophisticated military unit would be proud of. I’m completely in awe – and clearly completely uninvolved. (Actually that’s not quite true; I did donate all the citrus fruit from our garden to make marmalade. Mostly because for the first time in years, I could not be fagged making it myself and frankly, I was quite relieved!)

The cupcake competition was launched with fanfare weeks ago with a notice home,  the details and a form to enter. It was to be judged by the celebrated Matt Preston of Master Chef and restricted to students of the school. (I’m sure he’s in huge demand, so I do find his tireless involvement for our local school generous. And no, despite him being a spokesperson for one of my client’s products, I don’t actually know him.) Once entered, this week we received a small cake box to decorate and construct, a recipe for 12 cupcakes, several silver foil patty-pans, extra bags and plates and boxes and tags and cellophane bags for the ‘spares’ to go to the cake stall. Amazing!

Elle and I had a bit of a brainstorm and in truth, after I had cooked the cakes, Elle did a lot of the decorating with Sass’s help. She had sea blue icing, raw sugar sand, a chuppa chup beach ball, marshmallow and lifesaver bucket, deconstructed liquorice allsorts for a towel and a cocktail umbrella. I thought it looked pretty good. So I was gob-smacked when Sass and I dropped it off to see the caliber of the other Prep offerings. Seriously, they were NOT done by children!!! It was like the product of a Cake Boss episode. There were expertly moulded mermaids, elaborate piping, and complex arrangements of flowers. It was truly laughable. Sass’s looked positively naïve by comparison.

I was reminded of JB (who was Deputy Important there before retirement) who often lamented she really needed to set a project for the kids AND one for the mothers!!

So it was and wasn’t surprising when Sass took out second prize for her cupcake. It clearly wasn’t the most amazing cupcake there – far from it – but it was plausible that a child had been involved.

And to top off a winning day, check out the fish George caught on his outing with JCAAA (Joint Councils Access for All Abilities) fishing trip! The biggest of the day – around 5kgs – that’s my runners in the photo to give you a perspective. It’s in the oven now…..

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Khaki Skirt

I had a khaki pencil skirt a few years back that seemed so corporate. It was well know Melbourne designer in a crisp cotton to the knee, fully lined, suitably expensive and with a split up the front that saved it from being dull.

I also had a new senior client that had come into the agency for an induction, and as arranged, we then headed out to lunch. I was driving. We were casually chatting. I glanced over and noticed he was not only looking out the passenger-side window, but had his head determinedly facing away from me. Hmmm, slightly unusual I thought, chatting on. As we turned into a side street to park, I happened to glance downwards and realised I could see my undies!!!! That bloody khaki skirt. So proper when you try it on or getting dressed - standing up. Perfectly decent when your lower half is parked under a boardroom table or desk. So very, very wrong in a car.

Sharing this story with a female client from the same organisation, she felt compelled to send me the following poem:

Mary had a little skirt,
It was split right up the sides
And everywhere that Mary went,
The boys could see her thighs.

Mary had another skirt,
It was split right up the front,
She didn’t wear that one very often…

You know who you are.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Wait one minute Mr Minit!

Mr Minit ruined my boots and I am not happy. However it has raised a dilemma that I’m struggling to resolve and would love to have your thoughts.

On Sunday, I asked Mr Minit if he had any black spray to restore my suede boots and make them look new again. No, he said, he didn’t, but he did have this bottle of black stuff I could simply paint on. Having only used the spray, I was dubious.
‘Do you need to brush it after?’ I asked
‘No, it just soaks in.’
Okay. He’s the shoe guy. I believe him. I spent the $10.80, took it home and painted my boots.

And OMG – this stuff just dried solid on them. I tried brushing with a wire suede brush, a suede pumice block (yes, I have all this at home), all to no avail. So I decided to head back yesterday with the hope they’d be able to use their wire wheel thingy and get them back to suede.

My sad boot
Close up of ruination...

But no. All I got was grief.

After explaining to the guy there – not the guy from Sunday - I got, ‘No, we can’t do anything.’
‘Right….’ I said. Long pause.
‘And….?’ I prompted.
To cut a long, awkward conversation full of long pauses short, some highlights included me saying (and I am not proud about it)
      ·      Is this a franchise?  (It was)
      ·      Are you the franchisee? (He was)      
      ·   So, what’s your responsibility??
And him saying:
      ·      What do you want me to do? (an acknowledgement or apology might be a start)
      ·      Well if this is true, and I’ll need to talk to the guy who was working Sunday…. (Yes, because I would so make this up)
And finally me (this is the bad bit)
      ·      Under Section 52 of The Trade Practices Act, you have sold me a product that was not fit for purpose, so you are legally liable!

He suggested I paint the boots all over. I said I wasn’t after that look. We’d reached an impasse.

‘Well, you can have the product back’, I fumed, slapping in on the counter before turning on my heel and leaving.

I got outside and thought WTF?? I’ve now left the evidence if I do decide to persue this and I didn’t even get my $10.80 back!! I looked for the receipt (couldn’t find it) so went back, asked for and got the product back.

Fuming, I Twittered. I felt better.

I got back to the office and called Mr Minit HQ (Head Quarters) and got the most empathetic Lesley. Leave it with me MWW, she said, we’ll get back to you shortly.

So who got back to me? Yes, the offending Mr Minit!!
‘I believe we have an arrangement to come to,” he said. This wasn’t getting better.
‘What do you suggest?’
‘In these situations, we usually try to replace the shoes.’
Usually? You weren’t offering that a couple of hours ago, buddy.
I said I’d look online and even eBay and see what I could find – even used.
He asked how much they were new, I said $160. He assured me he knew someone who got a pair exactly the same ‘off eBay’ recently for $60.

I’ve looked online, including second hand and eBay and all I can find that are the same are new boots, same brand – but now $199.

So here’s the dilemma: I’m not certain that he’s deliberately infuriating with appalling customer service and trying to avoid responsibility or if he’s just not that sharp? Should I let him know my only option is $199 (plus the $10.80 for the product) or should I just ask for $60? I really want to replace them as I was wearing them at least twice a week and am desperately missing them already.

I’d really love your advise because I have totally lost perspective……

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Renovation

For at least a year now, I’ve harboured what I thought was a reality – to renovate – only to have my partner/builder/plumber tell me it’s a fantasy and that he has no interest in renovating. What the…?? Break it to me gently why don’t you?

I’d be gathering thoughts and ideas and had the interior designer who’d helped with the kids bathroom do a rough plan. Geoff was objecting violently (figuratively, not literally!) to having the size of his study halved, so as I contemplated solutions, he announced, point blank he’s not interested. Not at all. Bugger.

My friend Theresa has renovated her house and has an extremely beautiful (and proportionately expensive) kitchen tap that is almost a work of art the shape is so perfect. She said the same one can come with a blue light that goes on when you turn on the water.
‘Oh! I want one of those,’ I said.

So as small compensation, I arrived home the other night to discover Geoff had bought a little thing that replaces the existing end of the tap to one that lights up. Powered by the water, it’s blue for cold, green for warm and red for hot. Kitsch? Absolutely – but I do love a little bit of kitsch. And for $7 online from Japan, a hell of a lot cheaper than the reno.

PS As an aside, I’m not really into the footy, but was amazed to see these chips in Coles today when Geelong only won yesterday. If you know anything about supermarkets, logistics and manufacturing, you’ll appreciate how absolutely amazing this is!!! 

In the supermarket less than 24 hours after the Cats won.

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...