Gareth Glassman …. you rock, paper, scissors

160401_Rock Paper Scissors

I am not one of those people who get excited when it is time to renew their cell phone package.

I groan internally, then fret for weeks, and pretty much leave it until it either goes away or I just do not care anymore.

I like my electronics to work.

I know it sounds like a lot to ask.

My cell phone, my laptop and my other stuff work. Just needs to work.

I get happy when things just work.  I am not shooting for a dream here.  I am just happy when I put things on and they function like they are supposed to.

Or like they did the last time they were on.

The last time I upgraded – Vodacom is my service provider – was a less than ideal experience.

I called their call centre, and got a wonderful bloke who told me that this simple SIM swap was really simple.  He calmed me down and assured me that this would be done in minutes and I would be up and running in no time.

With my new shiny iphone 5S.

My general sense of pessimism was soothed in thinking that this might actually work.  He was so bloody confident and soothing.

I believed it was as simple as he said it was going to be.

I explained I had the new iphone 5S and it had been sitting in my cupboard unopened for two months and I was too shit scared to do the SIM card swap from the iphone 4 (add a letter of the alphabet) because I did not want to lose data, or contacts or the warmth of knowing I could just switch it on and it would work. And make that ring-ring sound when someone called me.

My entire life runs through my cell phone – personal and work life.  I stressed that.  I really stressed that part.

The soothing voice on the phone told me that it would be okay.  It was easy.  He would hold my hand – metaphorically – the entire way.  It would be over before I knew it — and my life would go on uninterrupted.

He assured me.  I fell for his voice.  His confidence.

I was so lulled.

Then somewhere the wheels fell off – like totally.  I wrote this blog post at a time when I was about ready to go postal at VODACOM ….. it was really really not a good experience.

The cascading shit storm that erupted in my life because of no access to my phone, records, history and basically anything had me wondering if I should call my psychiatrist for an emergency meet and great, and possibly a chat about which clinic would take me on short notice.

Or whether insanity could be a plea for beating the shit out of a few dozen people with a SIM card.

It started when I realised that the SIM card supplied for the new phone was not the right size.

The SIM swap which was happening was actually just going to lead to nothing — because the wrong SIM card had been supplied with the new phone.

Again all VODACOM’s fault at this point – the pack had been supplied by them.

Vodacom dealt with my problem like only a large conglomerate could.

No one seemed to give a shit that I was in the beginning stages of a full scale fucking mental break down.

I got shuffled/transferred to the “next person” and not one person stopped to hear me, or try to take responsibility for this problem.

I called the service center.  Numerous times.  At this point I was jotting down names, departments, times and the reaction.

It was like being stuck in Dante’s rings of hell.

I went along to the nearest/any Vodacom store I could find.  Thinking if I could just speak to human being, and make eye contact we could resolve this issue.

They sort of nodded and made the right coo’ing sounds but the fact that every hour I was losing income, and I was watching my phone not work (I think at this point we were in stage 4 of the SIM swap challenge) – the VODACOM store blamed VODACOM and told me to speak to them.

I explained I was in a VODACOM store. So you know …. fucking help me!!

They explained that though the signage said VODACOM, their shirts were doing, and the embroidery on their shirts said VODACOM, they were in actual fact not VODACOM.

You can see how this would make a sane person stand there and go “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?”

VODACOM store said I should call VODACOM …. the real one, not the store one, because they were not VODACOM ….I was of course very appreciative of that advise, as I had not even thought to call VODACOM ….. silly me.

I can’t recall at which point of FUCK (or how many times I had said FUCK) it was resolved.

I did my utmost to be polite with each service person that I dealt with.

I tried to have empathy that the problem was not the result of the person on the other end of the line.

I however did want them to solve it for me. What being VODACOM and whose fault it was.

That was kind of where I realised I was in the no man’s land of no-one-really-gives-a-fuck-of-service-providers.

Vodacom did not exactly impress me, the  problem was eventually resolved.  I think when I was transferred to “HR and Events Planning” {not joking} I knew I had eventually been transferred to everyone possible.

The real issue of moving my data and restoring all the history which the VODACOM-SIM-CARD-SWAP-DEBACLE-OF-2014 managed to create left me gasping for air and crying in the kitchen.

A wonderful man at the iphone store in Canal Walk assisted me to restore my history, and my contacts and and and …….. I realise that it was not Vodacom’s responsibility to do that BUT they had fucked up monumentally, and there was no gesture from them what so ever to do anything right.

A few days later I got a call from a VODACOM call centre and the lovely lady apologised and coo’ed.  She promised me it would never happen again, and said my data bundle would be increased at no charge, or I would be sent a virgin on a unicorn.  Or both.

I forget the details.  I was heady at this stage as my phone was working.

Neither happened (data or virgin on a unicorn).  I had my phone and my history and it was working.

Right at that point I was not willing to fuck with karma anymore.

Fast forward 2 years and I am again at the “renew” my contract stage.

To say I am skeptical does not even hint at it. I think I started experiencing PTSD symptoms at the thought of a SIM swap or contract upgrade.

I have one number that runs my life, business, personal life and fox tattoo fetish.

I need to keep that number and then have a second contract as a personal number.

Weighing up how to do that, and whether to use an existing device and how that would work was doing my brain in.

Remember now I am naturally very suspicious of smooth voiced call centre operators from VODACOM/HADES and calling them is not an option on the table — unless this time I just ask to be transferred straight to HR and Events Planning, and work backwards from there.

I tried to do my own research.

When you are trying to sift through the offers and the variances, eventually you get a head-ache, and choose to rather go and drink.

To cut a long story short (yes I realise that ship has already sailed) I just did nothing.

At least then my phone still worked and I did not lose 3 – 5 days of my life in what I would consider hell.

My feelings towards VODACOM are not dissimilar to how I feel about a urinary tract infection.

Best avoided.

Today I popped in to Cellucity at Canal Walk – to be honest my expectations were low.

Like snake shit low.

I expected to be overwhelmed, confused and walk away with absolutely no real idea of what to do.

Then I met Gareth Glassman.

When I say the name, I think I hear angel’s sing.

I explained my existing phone number and we discussed the present contract, it’s offering and where I fell short (had to pay in about two times more than my initial contract as I was using more data and so on) each month and what he suggested I do moving forward.

Initially I was getting a bit overwhelmed, as the options were endless.

I explained that I wanted a second contract – well not necessarily wanted a second contract – but I needed a second number that could be my private number.

Here is where Gareth Glassman (metaphorically) went into the back and returned in his skin tight outfit with his underpants on the outside, a mask and a cape.  Totally MARVEL MAN stuff.

He sat with me and we went through half a dozen options – he did it in a gentle careful manner.  When ever I got that “deer in a headlights” look about me, then he slowed it down.

He did not sigh once when I asked him to explain it again and slower.

We eventually hashed out a plan.  A brilliant plan.  For my existing contract and my new contract.

I was in that stage of amazement — I could not believe that someone had listened to me — actually listened and gave me what I needed.

I can’t really explain what I am feeling right now ….. is this the elation of great customer service??  It might explain why I am so giddy and overwhelmed.

I am unfamiliar with this animal.  I am not sure what to do with these feelings.

It’s all so new to me. {swoons}

Actual customer service ….. I know it does sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale where the princess loses her shoe and goes home in an Uber pumpkin …. but people I swear to you, today I saw it.  In the flesh.

I did not feel like I was having a sale’s pitch thrown at me.

I felt that Gareth was doing what many people don’t.  He was listening to his “potential” client and giving her options, until she was happy and felt content.

I have never been so happy with anything to do with my cell phone contract — EVER.

I have no idea whether this was just a run-of-the-mill client service’s experience for Gareth, or whether he felt any of the elation and amazement that I felt walking out of that store today.

I high-fived him when I left.  I would have chest bumped him if the desk was not so wide.

I walked around for the balance of the day feeling like a mountain was lifted from my shoulders.

Gareth Glassman at Cellucity Canal Walk – that man deserves ….. I don’t know.

What do you give a guy who has supplied outstanding service?  Who does what he is employed to do, and then freaking peaks at it??

I realise he is not a VODACOM guy, but maybe VODACOM can give him a call and he can pop over and train some of there client services people.

Or at the very least be taken out for a large lunch, given a back and neck massage and a week at AFRIBURN.

You have restored my faith that I might actually have a good contract upgrade experience.

Gareth Glassman — you rock. Paper. Scissors.

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Changing Rooms and Fat Mirrors …..

I am not a fan of exercise.  I am not a fan of diets.  I am what ever the opposite is of a fan.

I am a fan of inactivity, wine drinking, chocolate eating and time reading my book.

Unfortunately none of the things I enjoy contribute to weight loss.  They all however aid the inevitable spread of my arse and thighs, and also add to the image I see of my stomach resting on my upper thighs when I go to the toilet.

I should really spare you that image, but my bathroom has a wall length mirror, so the image is reflected back to me in high density detail every morning and night.  So, what ever you are picturing is not as bad as what I need to endure.

The most alarming way to scare yourself in to “doing something” is to pop along to a retail store, pick out a few things, then go into one of their change rooms and shed all your clothes and stand there in your underwear and gaze at your reflection.

If you are lucky (like me) you will be wearing one of your bras that do not fit well, so it will eat red marks into your shoulders.   The cup will not fit, and your breasts will be squished into an unusual shape not unlike those made by magicians at children’s parties who make balloon animals.  None of it attractive, all of it on the “this blows” scale.

There I stand in my badly fitting bra, my knickers (neither of which match, both of which should have been thrown away months ago).  My granny pants will undoubtedly  cling in the wrong place.  Because the planet likes balance, hang loose in all the wrong place, and in no way be complementary.

Above my head is a flickering light which does a super job of making my white flabby skin, appear a sickly yellow, blobby, blotchy, with hills and dales of cellulite.  My thighs look like something that comes out of an old custard container circa 1986.

I have back fat.  I have front fat.  My stomach sort of hangs over my bikini area.  The entire image is bad.  Oh so very bad.  OMG how did this happen BAD.  If I was feeling a semblance of happiness thinking that retail therapy was going to pep me up, it all disappears in the mist that is the retail changing rooms.

Whilst my eyeballs are being assaulted by the vision of me, in three variations —  I need to lean over and try on a pair of jeans or a shirt.

They never fit, because I suffer from the symptoms of delusion, which include always-taking-sizes-to-the-change-room-I-know-won’t-fit-but-am-too-mortfied-to-take-the-bigger-and-more-correct-size.  All of this adds up to a slightly less than satisfactory retail experience.

I usually march out the store, and go and treat myself to a large piece of cake somewhere.  It is difficult to be unhappy when you are gorging on chocolate cake!  Guilt ridden after, but at the time, exquisite joy.

Sometimes I just eat the cake, and do not bother even going to the store.

I blame my issues on the buyers and their ridiculous size curves, the horrific design of the change rooms, and also the “skinny jean” fad that appears to have crept in to everything.

Notice I do not blame my fat arse for lying on the couch and eating cake, nope I am a victim over here.

That being said, and one too many changing room experiences later, I decided to get off the couch and go and run around a field at 6am.

In the morning.  During Winter.

I have made the renewed acquaintance of Adventure Boot Camp.

It is uneasy relationship.  We both realise the relationship is one filled with anger and loathing (from my side) – I think from ABC’s side it is filled with unrequited love and devotion.

I have mentally committed to go three times a week, so that sees Monday, Wednesday and Friday with me squeezing my rather large rear into a pair of clingy lycra pants, and meeting up with a few other demented people as we spend an hour being subjected to all sorts of torture.

I have to leave home at about 05h40 to get there in time. I do not play well with others in the morning, so I am sulky and morose the entire time.  I am not really in line to win the “most bubbly” camper.

Trust me I am not filled with the joy of endorphins at any time.  Before.  During.  Nor after.

This is week 2.  I gave up on my “almost standard” McDonald’s egg mcmuffin and sausage breakfast this morning, and opted instead for a deliciou,s yet strangely less satisfying, Herbalife Chocolate Shake.

Because I had eaten an entire bag of Chuckles yesterday, and two hefty chunks of chocolate cake, I thought I would do an hour run/walk/shuffle in addition once I dropped the kids at school – a sort of penance for my calorie-gorging behaviour.

I sit here with my hamstring trying to leave my body via my groin.  I am in all sorts of pain and all I can keep thinking is how I can get out of this on Wednesday.

This morning a mom at Isabelle’s school said “I really admire you that you have time to go to gym … ”

Part of me was elated that for some reason she managed to get the image of an “active person” from my attire, and the other part of me wanted to explain the fact that I had been up since before the sparrow farted to pull this little number off, but I decided to opt for smiling and nodding.

Extra brilliant Yummy Clothing Sale – Cape Town

What with being unemployed, and overdrawn on all my accounts, now probably is not the right time to go cloth shopping.

Probably the worst in fact.

I am not known for my brilliant ideas or plans, so with that in mind I brushed my teeth, put on clean underwear {always wear clean underwear, you never know what might happen, and you want to be prepared, your mom was right about that piece of advise} and headed out to Cape Union Mart at Access Park {Chichester Road, Kenilworth}.

I heard they were having a 50% sale off Women’s Poetry and Old Khaki Clothing.  50% off already marked down prices.  I was suspicious that this would still mean reams of stuff that was still expensive, but decided to take my pessimistic self down there anyway.

I thought I might do a cursory stop by, as I really did not need anything – my wardrobe was still groaning from the last sale.

I tend to opt for two approaches when I shop.  Approach 1 : I am going to purchase the item that I want, and the price is insignificant.  Approach 2 : I pick up an item, and the cost needs to be what I consider “far below what I would normally pay for it” for me to purchase it.

Approach 1 is for items that I am going to purchase regardless of cost, as it is what I want, and really that is the only motivation.

Approach 2 is for items that I don’t actually need, and if I stand and smell them for long enough (I smell items in stores, I am THAT person) then I purchase it if the prices is what I consider a really great price.

I arrived at the sale, resolve in hand, and unfortunately once I started browsing, I loading my arms with as much as I could carry.

I was not quite sure how I was going to pay for this lot, but it appears the g*ds at Standard Bank were good to me, and allowed me to withdraw even more cash against my already bleeding overdraft – but I will need to find another way to pay for petrol to put in my car if I plan to drive it anywhere for the balance of the month.

The flashing light on my petrol guage has decided to stop flashing at me – as it has realised I am just going to continue to ignore it anyway.

I walked out {to clarify, after paying} with 1 very woolly, very warm jersey, 5 shirts of varying type – mostly Poetry stuff – and  1 jersey you would wear over a light vest/shirt {which I am doing today, I do love wearing new clothes straight out of the bag}.

It’s a really good sale – you can purchase stuff for Mother’s Day coming up, which is a win, much rather have a Poetry jersey, or shirt than a crappy heart shaped soap set!!.

The one Poetry shirt was R299.00 retail, it had been reduced to R199, then R150.00 and as this was a 50% sale off sale stock, I paid R75.00.  That is much more in my price range – and makes me all sorts of happy.

Sale runs whilst stock lasts and the sale assistant said they get new stock in each day – so if you have a few rand to burn, pop along to Cape Union Mart Outlet Store, Unit B35, Access Park, Chichester Road, Kenilworth, 021 674 6398.

For sanity sake, leave the kids at home {and the husband actually} – wear a vest, or snug fitting shirt so that you can try stuff on in store rather than having to nip into the changing rooms as there are two and they get a bit manic.

Extra idea : take along an empty shoulder bag where you can drop merchandise in to free up your hands to find more stuff, and that way you have your phone/wallet in your pocket, and bag over shoulder to stuff with stuff to buy, so that you are organised when you get to the till.

Good sale, you can find some yummy stuff for Winter!!  Enjoy!

Is it possible we are sexualising our kids?

Maybe it is because I have girls.

Maybe it is because I am medicated up to my gills.

Who knows.

I have become irkingly aware of how many overt visuals there are floating around primarily where women, and really these are young girls, are being portrayed as sexual objects.

These are little girls dressed up to appear older – they appear to be there for the sole purpose of being sexual available as images.

Little girls, you understand.  Not adults dressed as little girls, actual little girls ….. like mine, like yours.

I feel like there is an onslaught of these images  –  most of them we do not even really notice anymore because we have become so desensitized to it all, and they are just everywhere.

Music videos are crammed with scantily clad women (some are really more teens) gyrating and ensuring that they give the impression of being “sexual available” to whom ever the oaf is that is singing, or miming his way through a song.

4 stupid over-weight men, with large white t-shirts + fairly large baseball caps + questionable body hygiene  + 20 scantily glad bar.ely-leg.al looking girls + rented house decorated with bad taste + sexual gyrations = formula for most music videos.

Girls who dance must dance as if they have been trained as strippers.

Dancing is not about dancing and moving to the rhythm of the music, but rather who is able to look like they have taken lessons from Ms Pole Dancer Finalist 2010.

If a girl can bump and grind her arse, well then she wins …. what ever the prize is, I guess.

Big girls see it on television and in pop culture, so they do it.

Little girls do it as they see big girls doing it.   (Ever watched that Horror Show on MTV My Super Sweet Sixteen – and see how those girls carry on?  They are clearly in the 13 – 17 age range, and I feel an overriding urge to cover my eyes.)

You do not have to look far to find an eight or a nine year old gyrating her groin against a boy because she thinks it is “acceptable” and everyone is smiling and clapping and someone is phone-video taping this for posterity so they can stick it on You-Tube.

It takes even less to find little girls in shorty shorts imitating their adult icons.

I know it is cute when a child acts like an adult, and we tut-tut and roll our eyes, but really is it a great idea?

Could we not leave the skanky outfits until they have a part time job, and they earn enough to buy the outfits themselves, rather than as parents we go and buy it for them.  Just an idea.

Georgia is 6.  She is a tall and lanky 6.  I need to purchase clothing in the 7 – 9 range for her and then roll the sleeves up (she is really skinny) – which means I am in the 7 – 14 age range of clothing selection at most retailers.

I figure a 7 year old is going to be dressing very differently to a 14 year old.

It appears most clothing retailers disagree, and go with the same styling for a seven year old that they do for a fourteem year old.  Same style, just with a resize.

Most children range buyers work along this model when they make range choices for girls:-

0 – 24 months : pastels

2 – 6 years : bright pink/Hannah Montana/Miss Kitty/Dora the Explorer

7 –  14 years : skank.

If I was going to dress Georgia like she was auditioning for “Making the Band” or “Guess the Slut” then I pretty much have a world of choices before me.

However if I want to dress her like a little girl who does not listen to Hip Hop and Tweet her sexual availability, then it is going to be more challenging.

I do wish to volunteer at this point that I cannot afford to shop at the more boutique/stores where R250.00 is the going price for a t-shirt. My price bracket is R250.00 for the entire outfit and shoes!

Clearly I am shopping at the lower end of the retail market.

The result is I opt for jeans and a basic t-shirt most days, because the rest of it either shows her midriff, her arse or has a hint of being …. I am not sure…. just not right.

Even with t-shirts I have to filter through the ones with slogans of:

Do I Make You Look Fat

I’m Not With Stupid Anymore

When the going gets tough, the tough go blonde

You were never my boyfriend

Explain to me again why I need a boyfriend

Careful I had a bowl of bitchy for breakfast

No Money No Car No Chance

What I think I am trying to comment on in the most round about fashion I can find, is that our children – girls in particular – are bombarded with images of how they need to be, and to a degree how society sees them.

We are kidding ourselves if we think THEY cannot and do not see these images.

And these images do not have some sort of effect on them.

This effects is only not on my own girls who see these images (even on a sub conscious level), but my son who sees how girls “are” or how the “media portrays them.”

<We can discuss how we create positive personal images with our kids, and how we monitor what they watch and block several channels, in another post>

But … and there is always a but ….. it is next to impossible to keep these images away from your children, unless you live in a cave, home school, and only read ….. actually you will have to skip reading.

I will comment on this subject again when my brain is firing on all cylinders.

But these are some of the print images that I am referring to when I say “er, this is a bit inappropriate for my child….” and “why are they aiming this sh8t at children?” and “why are you putting this in an advert?”

<I am not suggesting these are the worst of it, or the best of it, these are just some random ones I had lying around>

Thongs for young girls …..

Padded bras for little girls …

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Does adult-looking clothing on children bother you?  It might be the Fluoxetine talking, but it bothers the crap out of me.