Saturday, 28 November 2009

I Came, I Saw, IKEA

Some things in life leave you flabbergasted. Spurs sticking nine past Wigan, the continued popularity of I'm A Celebrity, the existence of a massive Waitrose in Bromley, that kind of thing. However, today my flabber has been gasted in the very best of ways, at that bastion of Saturday-morning male despair known as...


We went (early) to look at some options for a wardrobe; as I'm sure you are aware, at IKEA these are legion. However, they had the one we liked, on display, with the doors we wanted, in a colour we didn't know existed but preferred, with the shelf/drawer/hanging options we wanted, in stock and for no apparent reason, at a discounted price.

When we spoke to the assistant (who had magically appeared as we started writing things on our tiny piece of paper with our tiny pencil) he shook his head with a wry smile, beckoned us over to a computer and helpfully printed the whole picking list out for us, with the correct internal codes for the warehouse guys. The warehouse guys were all at their post, waiting to take orders; they took ours, and went to get the doors and heavy stuff. Within 3 minutes they were back, with it all on a trolley and we were paying. We went to Home Delivery (these are 2.5m glass doors, no way I'm getting them in the Scenic...) who helpfully said we could have it all delivered*. Tomorrow. Sunday. SUNDAY! We left it with them before they could change their minds and drove home, speechless.

I am flabbergasted :)

* Obviously, my innate sense of Britishness is still nagging away, telling me that they'll actually turn up on Tuesday afternoon when no-one is home with a 7ft pot plant, three stuffed crocodiles and a gross of energy-efficient lightbulbs, but for now, big up IKEA.

Friday, 27 November 2009

First person... hack into Peter Mandelson's home internet connection and download an illegal torrent of Transformers 2 using his account, wins a date with Megan Fox.

Get to it, geek squadron.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

In A Spin

Another nice 'modern life is rubbish' piece from Mr Brooker (yes, I know it was a couple of weeks ago; here, have a biscuit)

Particularly fond of the final paragraph:
Someone needs to go further and launch a chain called Shambles, where all the familiar shortcomings are actively promoted as part of the "experience". The staff wear ironic dunce caps and vulture costumes; if you want to actually buy something, they walk to a stockroom 10 miles away in a neighbouring county to check its availability, methodically harass you into taking out five-year cover using a subtle combination of CIA "extraordinary rendition" psychological techniques and unashamed sulking, then arrange for it to be delivered at 7am by a surly man who'll arrive 10 hours late on purpose, deliberately bring a BD4437BX instead of the BD3389BZ you ordered, attach a magic hidden "hobbling" device that causes it to malfunction immediately before the next bank holiday weekend, screw your partner, scare your kids, wreck your life, and break wind on your doorstep as he's leaving. All of which is heavily advertised as an integral part of the service.
I really think someone should get on Dragons Den and pitch it. God, how I'd love to see their faces.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Modernisms #3

Astonishingly, a further instalment in the ongoing series of Things You Wouldn't Have Heard Ten Years Ago:
#3: I need to top up my Oyster
Travel used to be relatively straightforward. You wanted to go somewhere, you bought a cardboard ticket from a large man in a small office, you got on your chosen mode of transportation and you got off again at the other end. As that irritatingly ubiquitous meerkat might opine, "Simples!". However, rather like the proliferation of self-service checkouts in supermarkets, London Transport came up with* the rather super idea of allowing people to come and go as they please on the tube and buses, as long as they carried with them a credit-card sized, pre-paid 'token'. Brilliant. Or, in fact, not. Because as fast as they could introduce rules to govern the use of these cards, regular travellers were not only finding ways to bend the rules and commute for cheap and/or free (compulsory amongst the modern youth) but also that the system utterly failed to take account of relatively normal city-wide travel behaviour; unsuspecting Oyster punters were often charged the full single fare for entering a tube station at which they were told the line they wanted was closed but they would have to swipe their Oyster card to get out and try a different route. Brilliant money-making scam; less-effective urban transport policy. They claim to have fixed that now, although 2010 sees the Oyster system being extended to the entirety of the suburban London railway network. I know; God help us all.

* OK, they copied it from any number of other schemes around the world, not least the similarly-monikered Octopus card in Hong Kong, but give me a break here...

Monday, 23 November 2009

Harry Up

Spotted a poster on the tube at Moorgate for new film 'Harry Brown' starring the legendary Michael Caine. Looks like another great British urban movie which I hope to be able to check out sooner rather than later, but the killer for me is this awesome bit of driving drum & bass over the credits from Plan B (who also stars in the film...) with Chase And Status:

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Modernisms #2

Next in the somewhat hastily conceived series of Things You Wouldn't Have Heard Ten Years Ago:
#2: You have been poked
Now it is fairly well known on t'internet that for reasons best known to myself, I am a full-on 100% complete-and-utter Facebook refusenik. All the same, I am aware of some of the social functions provided by the aforementioned site, not least the idea that you can send someone a short greeting/message/reminder known as a 'poke'. Having given this some thought, I have come to the conclusion that this must be the equivalent of a Post-It note on your computer screen when you return from a lengthy liquid lunch which, in my experience, is never A Good Thing.

And anyway, it sounds rather rude :)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Overheard #93

A meeting room in the City, mid-morning:
"Yeah, there isn't enough room on the table for a projector, due to all the croissants."

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Modernisms #1

To vaguely acknowledge the impending end of this first decade of the millennium, I shall be bringing you a series of Things You Wouldn't Have Heard Ten Years Ago:
#1: Unexpected item in bagging area
The proliferation of self-service checkouts is gathering pace. Whilst any kind of staff-based cost saving was always going to be a winner with the retailer, there is now an opportunity for a visceral kick out of cheating the system in tiny ways e.g. holding one of the apples just off the scales whilst it is trying to weigh your fresh produce, entering a wildly inaccurate number of plastic bags used and of course, la pièce de résistance, placing an unexpected item in the bagging area.

I like that :)