Archive for December, 2012

Dorothy Perkins – a new verb

Posted in Customer Service on December 16, 2012 by thecognitivekey

Christmas is always a difficult time. The difficulty is the balancing of the work commitments with the need to get presents and cards. The internet is a boon, but causes problems of its own. The problem is always the delivery or collection of the ordered goods. In a shop there is no problem, you can walk out with your purchase, but you have to wander the shop to find the present. The internet is great for browsing and buying, but it is the receipt of the goods that falls down. Many shops are now moving towards Click and Collect. It’s a great option. I can buy and collect from the shop at my leisure. No aimless wandering round the shops, straight in and straight out. Excellent.

One of my daughters requested some clothes from Dorothy Perkins. Easy to order on-line  and pay, and even better they have a Collect from Store option which is far quicker than the post. So I opt for this. The emails tell me the goods will be in the Fareham store the next day. That’s what I call a service.

My daughter told me where Dorothy Perkins is. My knowledge on the location of women’s clothes shops is very limited if not negligible. I had a late start at work so I could pick up the order on my way to work.

Dorothy Perkins is not a large store. It has a small service desk with till etc. Two members of staff are at the desk. One, a young girl, is serving a customer and the other, an older woman, is on the phone. A chap is polishing the floor with one of those machines that appears to float. All very good, so I join the queue, actually I suppose I made the queue as there was only the other customer before. Can you be a one person queue if you are being served? Or was I solely the queue because I was waiting? Discuss.

The customer was getting a refund or something which took a little while to sort out. I waited patiently. Probably 5 minutes. The customer dealt with, the girl asked if she could help. I presented my internet printout and explained I’d come to collect the order. It’s in the backroom she said and went off to collect it. I waited. The woman on the phone was still on the phone, the floor was getting cleaner. Not much to do. I looked around. The voice of the woman on the phone drifted over. She was explaining that on Monday evening she was at the company party…hang on, I thought, you mean you are not talking to a customer. I did think it must be a particularly difficult customer you were talking to given the length of call, but you are talking to a friend!

I don’t know what DP expect this staff to do when there are customers waiting to be served but my guess is that they are not supposed to ignore them and chat to their friends on the phone. The girl came back with my order. Everything was in order, she was the perfect assistant. I left. The woman with the short red hair was still on the phone. My guess is that she is the manager. I shan’t be using Dorothy Perkins’ Click and Collect again, life is too short.

A new verb for you to describe receiving poor service in a shop. To DP. Short and snappy, just what the Customer Service wasn’t. An example, ‘I was DPed today in <add shop name>, totally ignored by the girls behind the till. It probably won’t catch on, but we should fight back. I have replied to Dorothy Perkins’ Customer Satisfaction questionnaire they foolishly sent me.


The Hydrogen Sonata – Iain M Banks

Posted in Books on December 16, 2012 by thecognitivekey

I do enjoy reading Iain M Banks. Most Culture novels are excellent. ‘Surface Detail’ was a tough one, unremitting pain and torture in parts…the only Culture novel I haven’t liked thoroughly. But The Hydrogen Sonata is back to normal Culture. Plenty of ‘Minds’ and alien cultures.

The story centres on a race who are about to ‘Sublime’ which is a bit like going to some kind of heaven, en masse. In the early days of their race they received a ‘Book of Enlightenment’ which set the direction of their culture. On the eve of the subliming it turns out that the book may have been a fake, an experiment by another culture. This is the tale of the investigation. Actually it’s a lot more than that, but, a) it’s difficult to just precis it here and b) it would spoil the enjoyment to give too much away.

I love  the Culture ships and their ‘Minds’. I could read about them forever. Such endearing names they have for their ships. Long may Iain M Banks write about the Culture.

A very good read.

Mobile Number

Posted in General on December 2, 2012 by thecognitivekey

I have a new sim for my mobile. I got it for free from O2 when I was thinking about going PAYG. In the end I decided to keep my existing number and get a contract. The number is an OK number.

But the new sim will eventually be my new number as it’s far more interesting a number in itself.

The last 6 digits are 0s and 1s, 010001 to be precise, which is 17 in binary, and 17 is a prime.

The whole number isn’t prime, but it is the product of 3 primes and nothing else!

How cool is that!

Currently I have it on a PAYG phone but as soon as my contract is up….