Category Archives: Complaints & Comments

Comments on events and situations in life that rankle and intrigue…

Did ya’ ever notice…

Question – What do the following services have in common, from the standpoint of ongoing use?

1. Cleaning lady or service company
2. Lawn service
3. Snow removal service
4. Financial Adviser

Let’s put it in a scenario… You decide that one of these services is to be farmed out – say, house cleaning. That is, you are too lazy, too busy or too whatever to do it yourself. So, you check around and find what appears to be a suitable person or service org. Most of these arrangements are informal, so you say go ahead and they start.

The first few times are wonderful. If it is a cleaning service, your house is clean and tidy, including places you didn’t think of or didn’t want to think of. You are delighted. You can live in your mother’s standards without effort!

A period of time elapses when this continues and you settle into complacency around the service. It just happens as a given.

Then, slowly, the service starts to decline. This is not startling or extreme, just not up to the same standard here and there. A new lower standard settles in and that is what is permanent, not what you contracted for. If you are busy and not looking at it too closely, you may not notice for a while. The provider is too busy or rushed for everything, corners get cut, etc. It is slow creep…

You are paying the same and have the same service level expectations. So why is this?

It is like they are on trial for a while, but that is not the real service level. You only see the real level once you are in the bag as a customer and you relax.

There is something wrong here! Is the whole point that you should be able to relax with the assurance that the job is being done?

Now, I don’t have an answer other than vigilance and changing provider occasionally (a pain in the rear end). But this phenomena seems so prevalent in service areas that it is a sociological study in the making.

I am also willing to bet that this generalizes more widely, but that would be outside of my direct anecdotal experience to date. You can draw you own conclusions.


Is Catbert in the investment business?

Those who read Dilbert will be familiar with Catbert, the evil corporate officer. Many of you also likely invest utilizing the services of some sort of advisor, who is attached to an Investment Firm of some sort. My experiences of late convinces me that Catbert has a relative (likely more than one) working in the investment business.

With these dealers, though I do not know this from experience, if you walk in off the street with cash in hand I would guess that there is too much of a problem. However, if you are established with one advisory firm and then decide to switch to a competitor, look out for Catbert.

Admittedly, at least some of the problem arises from the largely justifiable paranoia surrounding several recent, high profile investment fraud cases – Madoff, Jones, etc. The effect on investment firms has been that the regulatory and compliance departments have been elevated from relative obscurity to a ‘king of the castle’ position. They have gone from being relatively unimportant, often disparaged, pains in the preverbial *#)*, to all powerful potentates, reporting to the CEO throne rooms.

Since in the past Catbert el al were relative insignificant, there was little contact with them. But now, with compliance being king, they hold sway over ever increasing, self generating, blizzards of paperwork that the world must bow down to. Paperwork muscles are flexed and in the words of the Borg “You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.”

So this is how it goes – file out paperwork, small typo or undocumented oversight, fill it out again, no precise requirements but you have to guess what they are, fill it out again and so on. Also. fill in the specified form then later fill in the form to comply with the original form (not stated on the original). You get the picture.

Not to say the regulations to protect people the Bernie Madoffs are not good. They are. But the proper documentation of precisely what is require has not kept pass with exponential grow of the paperwork itself. Proper documentation would equal painless and efficient compliance. The blizzard would melt.

A cynical consumer who has watched the news and flow of event might also jump to the conclusion that all this compliance has more to do with avoiding litigation than any other concern.

Now this could be completely wrong, of course, but fighting endlessly repetitive blizzards of paperwork does seem to be at the expense of those more out of control of situation. A little more investment in proper paper flow and clear documenation seem in order…


Friends of the Moose

This Post could also be called Arm the Moose,  and I will no doubt offend some people, but you can’t please everyone.

I just do not get hunting. Actually I never have.

What is proven by taking high powered modern weapons, and using them to blow away animals in their natural habitat? How does this make a man more manly? How does this demonstrate any sort of ethical behaviour as a steward of the planet? In my complete biased view, it does exactly the opposite.

It certainly may demonstrate skill in the act of sneaking covertly about in the bush, and also in the precision of shooting. There is also the wonderful fellowship which participants report that they enjoy. All that is arguably commendable. But it is the obsession of the kill that we are talking about here, not the window dressing.

In secular terms, people today are usually obsessively concerned with fairness in all things. Without entering the debate about the appropriateness of fairness, how can killing animals as they stand unaware in the wild be considered fair. Thus we have my subtitle of Arm the Moose. Or let the hunter hunt with a knife and naked. That would be closer to ‘fair’.

There was most certainly a time historically when hunting was a necessity of life. In that context it was wholly appropriate, and I definitely get it. Today, however, that is not the case.

Today it is not a necessity either in term of survival, nor in terms of providing male identity. If it is, then the associate definition of identity is pretty trivial indeed. This could lead us to the whole area of Male actualization – expressed 20 or so years ago in the Male New Age movement, and repackage very successfully recently in the Eldridge phenomena. We will deal with that in due time, but suffice to say that it is not a justification.

In Christian terms, I do not see it as good stewardship, since it is not a necessity for survival, nor for successful character actualization.

Now, am I saying that shooting itself is a problem? Not at all. I see nothing inappropriate in target shooting, sheet shooting, and so on. I am also neither an NRA aficionado, nor a vehement gun control advocate. Lastly, I am not saying that you shouldn’t shoot the bear that is about to attack you.

So there we have it. The guns are on the table, to be issued to all Moose. Once that is done, I don’t think that I would object to the hunt at all!

Comments ( no shooting, please)?


New Years Eve – The aftermath

So, if you read my previous post, you know that I just don’t get it on the subject of New Years Eve. However, it seems that not getting it doesn’t save one (at least not if they are a parent) from the legendary New Years Eve aftermath.

Although I don’t get it, my teenage daughter and her church youth group do get it. As a result, they arranged an all night evening at the church to generally celebrate, socialize and avoid sleeping. Good fun, well supervised and very appropriate.

Now the part that drives this post. As a responsible parent who frets appropriately when overnight actiivities are underway, and who takes an active part in many of them, the upshot is that though not getting New Years Eve, I now have an insufficient sleep hangover appropriate to someone who does get it!

This also got me to considering how many other people are in the same boat, albeit for other reasons. A huge number of people work massive overtime in support of those who get it. Right? Many of those people, though they may get it, can’t have it because they were working endlessly. They also are suffering the aftermath without the beforemath. Another interesting senario.

So now, as a mental vegetable, I can only post silliness such as this. Go figure…


New Years Eve – I just don’t get it

Well, another year is drawing to a close, and the media et al are full of the usual end of year special reports: What happenned, who happenned, where it happenned, etc., etc.

I just don’t get it. Actually I never really got it. All this hoopla about the end of the year has always left me cold. Not to mention the eternal boredom of the media end of year excess.

If one were celebrating something of a real milestone, I suspect that I might see the point, but the end of the calendar year has no real significance in the life of anyone, except maybe the income tax department.

Renewal has nothing to do with the flip of a calendar page, any more that the tick of your watch is in any way transformational in and of itself.

Renewal is singularly and only related to ones place in the Kingdom, and what each new day (irrespective of the the time of year) brings in that saga. The calendar is unrelated to that as far as I can see.
So for the new years party (lower case you will note) I just have to say yawn.

On the other hand, maybe I am missing the point massively. If so, someone please ‘splain it to me asap…


My dog is a weekend warrior

Most readers have probably heard of weekend warrior syndrome. That is when people (mostly guys one might speculate) who are largely sedentary and out of shape go out and do vigorous activity or contact sports, resulting is physical stress injuries of one sort or another.

Well, dogs are not immune. Last night, while playing with his buddy in a local yard, my dog caught his for in a wood lattice work while jumping around, and came up badly lame.

So, after a night in the living room with him, since he couldn’t climb the stair (yes, he is 85 pounds of spoiled Doberman), we were off to the vet this morning.

Now, if YOU had this injury in our fair Canadian city, you would languish in the emergency department for 4-10 hours waiting to be looked at. If would be free, but only if your time and pain are worth nothing.

The dog was seen by his first class doctor the next morning. We waited about 15 minutes. He received a more thorough exam than you would ever get at the emergency department. His treatment not only included conventional means, but also up-to-date naturopathic therapy that is used by Olympic atheletes.

Yes, it cost a few bucks, but if you were to work out the cost vs the time, it would be cheap at twice the price if you could get that level of treatment.

Now, I am not saying the medicare is bad, or that a completely private medical system is desireable. It isn’t. But there is something fundamentally wrong with our care system, which for all intents and purposes burns while the governments fiddle.


Listen here, Elvis has left the building…

It is amazing how some people can’t take a hint graciously, no matter how clearly and politely it is delivered.

I held a post on a volunteer (let’s say that again loudly, VOLUNTEER) board of directors for a few years. In that position people tended to suggest that ‘we’ do things, of course meaning that in the end I should do them because they were busy or whatever. The end result was months of often singular and invisible labour, lots of blame from those that didn’t actually do, and eventual burnout.

Sooooo, in the end, after a few years of service, with the beginnings of stress related health problems, I politely resigned.

Although some were most gracious, as in “sorry to see you go and good luck”?, there were others who responded “you can’t go until we approve” and “you OWE more service”. They were of course in most cases the ones on whom the responsibility to do stuff would now actually fall. What planet are these people living on? A volunteer, particularly one who has sacrificed much more time and grief than they have, OWES them nothing, nada, zilch, zero…

Anyway, it is truly amazing how self absorbed people can be. No wonder people don’t volunteer readily for some things.

Go figure…


The Gas Company that is deaf…

If you live in Canada, in a house, have you been visited by the ‘Fix Price Energy’ sales rep? They must train these guys at the same school that trains Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The guy comes to the door (selling a product that is MORE expensive in the short run and according to analysts likely will NEVER be a good deal) saying he is just doing a survey. That is the first lie. Then he wants to know if you have signed up to save money “just like all your neighbours”. All the neighbours – second lie.
I respond “Thanks, but I am not interested”. But being polite is unfortunately an error. Sir, you must want to save money. All your neighbours have signed up (they haven’t by the way), he insists. I try again, “Thanks, but I am not interested”. There must be a sociollogy paper in here somewhere. We do this dance a couple more times, then I start to get impatient with his inconsideration. After all, this guy is brain dead and I am just being polite. In the end I am intrigued by his stupidity and ask if he is getting the message. He says “Well since the door is still open you must really be interested”. Argh, we are back to night school for Jehovah Witnesses…

I tell him firmly that he should move off my porch and I shut the door.

So, did he do his employer, Direct Energy, any good. Not likely. Not only am I still not interested, but I won’t buy any service from them now.

So now we know that there IS human junkmail, and it is sent out by Direct Energy. Just doing a survey, of course…


Doesn’t it drive you crazy when…

Those readers who are old enough will recall Andy Rooney’s commentaries at the end of many episodes of the 60 Minutes show. You may remember chuckling at (as well as often likely agreeing with) his complains and comments on many of the strange aspects and occurances of life as he marvelled at them. In remembering this, you will have some idea where I am headed in this Topic.

We will see where this leads. The actual threads, comments and discussion will unfold as life does…