LookAgain – two updates in one week, I should buy a lottery ticket

After raising our complaint again, the people at LookAgain appear to be taking it a little more seriously this time.  My partner e-mailed the complaint as detailed in my last post and received the following reply on September 26th:

Dear Miss Smith

Thank you for your email.

With regard to connection of appliances, we can confirm that delivery crews are only contracted and insured to connect to existing pipework.

Your complaint against this particular delivery driver has been passed on to the supplier Beko for investigation, as they use their own nominated carriers.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kind Regards

Sue Came
Look Again Customer Services

This was followed by a slightly more detailed reply on September 30th:

Dear Miss Smith

Further to your email 26.9.11 complaint re non connection of washer & abuse by Beko drivers.

Beko are currently investigating your complaint with the drivers concerned and their customer services office that took the calls from the driver on the day of delivery.They take these complaints extremely seriously and will deal with this matter as quickly as possible.

With regards to non connection,this was not done as the driver explained to the gentleman who accepted delivery that the pipework was in pieces on your worktop and whoever had disconnected your old appliance had not put the pipework back correctly and completely.All connection entails is the cold water pipe from machine to already existing pipework only.

Kind Regards

Elaine Turner
Look Again Customer Services

Not wishing to contradict Elaine, but sadly the last paragraph is total shite; the plumbing was not “in pieces” or “on the worktop”, simply the pipe for connecting the waste pipe from the washing machine to the drain had been removed, otherwise any water draining from the sink would have flooded the cupboard, which was explained, but seemed to be enough of an excuse for the driver to do as little work as possible after the machine had been brought into the property.  Elaine’s second point about connection entailing the cold water pipe from the machine being connected to an existing supply is a redundant point; I pointed out the supply was in place, and suggested as a compromise that this be connected as agreed and that I’d deal with the waste pipe myself, only to be told by the driver they would have no part in the installation.

I must admit I’m not sure how to react.  I know LookAgain are obligated to deal with customer complaints, and in this case they need to let BEKO investigate, but I get the feeling they are simply going through the motions, hoping that it’ll go away if they stall long enough.

As Ive said before, If you thinking of buying a household electrical item don’t buy it from LookAgain, and if you do, don’t pay for them to fit it, you will be ripped off.

Hopefully my next blog post will be on another topic, The Barking Atheist recently made a video on “THE ATHEIST CHALLENGE”, 25 questions for non believers, I might have a stab at answering them, assuming the fallacious nature of the questions doesn’t make me want break something.

LLAP

LookAgain – another chapter in the saga

After what I described as the ‘token response’ from LookAgain a week ago, we’ve decided to write to them again, I don’t imagine we’ll get any more response from them, but hopefully the full extent grievance will be recorded, and they are aware that it, and their response so far has been made public.  My other half wrote to them again today, with a little input from me, and sent her communication by e-mail, as there are no attachments this time, we can hope this one won’t get lost:

Dear Sir/Madam

Account no: ********

 I recently sent a letter of complaint regarding the delivery and fitting, or should I say lack of fitting, of my washing machine and the way the delivery driver, P*** W*****, acted while in my house towards my partner.

I received a telephone call on Tuesday 13th September to discuss my complaint.  I do not believe the person I spoke too had actually read my complaint letter before calling me.  I was advised that under the terms and conditions the driver was correct in not fitting the washing machine and leaving it packed for shipping.  While I appreciate that I missed this in the terms and conditions I have now checked the catalogue they are at the very back of the catalogue, with no reference that I can see, to the terms and conditions on the pages regarding the washing machine fitting.  The only thing I can see is regarding non refundable terms.  The terms and conditions state “for all appliances, no addition electrical plumbing or other work will be carried out by the installer.”

While I appreciate that replacing a pipe may be classed as “other work” I think this was just an excuse to not fit the washing machine.  My partner asked for the washing machine to at least be unpacked and pipes fitted so that he could refit the missing pipe after they had left and finished the installation of the washing machine by just connecting the pipes but this was refused.  The girl on the phone advised the driver was correct in doing this as if it had flooded I could have made a claim against yourselves due to flooding.  Surely the driver could’ve phoned the company, as he did when he refused to fit the washing machine, to advise partial fitting had been done and it would’ve been recorded to cover himself, not that I would’ve made a claim anyway.

While on the phone I felt as if the person was simply hiding behind the terms and conditions, hoping to get the call dealt with, with as little actual effort as possible.  I suggested that it would be good idea that when the call back is made to customers maybe they should make this very clear when telling customers the how an old  washing machine should be disconnected, and how pipe work should be left.  In reply I was told that they have a lot of information to get through, however I don’t think that adding this information would be a big addition to advising the correct disconnection of the old appliance, and would also avoid complaints such as this.

During the telephone call I made several references to the way the delivery driver behaved while at my property but I didn’t receive an apology until I prompted your agent for a third time.  This is shocking customer service on your part.  The first thing I expected was an apology as this driver’s behaviour was completely inappropriate and aggressive.  This person was a representative of your company and he left a very poor impression, unless of course you encourage your staff to refer to your customers and/or members of their families as “fuckin’ wanker[s]”, in which case, he did a fantastic job.

I have used your catalogue for about 11 years, and I would normally be starting to make my Christmas purchases at this time of year, but at the moment I am still deciding whether I will be doing so, or going elsewhere.

I’ll look forward to your swift response on this matter.

Yours faithfully

******* Smith

As before, I’m not convinced we’ll get much of a result, but I’m open to any kind of reconciliatory gesture they might want to offer.  If they stick to their guns, then the whole thing is written up here for the public to see, this has already been read by over 200 people, that’s 200+ people who’ll probably think twice before buying from LookAgain, and that’s good enough for me.

LookAgain – The (Token) Response

If you’ve read this blog before, you may remember my recent account of events of when my girlfriend’s new washing machine was delivered a little over two weeks ago.  it was a fairly eventful Tuesday morning, and resulted in us writing letters of complaint to the LookAgain catalogue, and my prediction of some kind of token response – that was yesterday.

I should point out that while I was present for the delivery of the washing machine, I was not present when Miss Smith received the phone call from LookAgain’s representative, so this account will be pretty short,  second-hand, but still 100% biased.

From what I’ve been told the female representative from LookAgain who called to discuss the complaint had not actually taken the time to read the letter, so was not familiar with the nature of the complaint – abusive language, aggressive behaviour etc, and spent the entire duration of the conversation hiding behind some terms & conditions that, in fairness, are in the catalogue but were not mentioned during the conversation when the washing machine was ordered, and made no attempt to discuss or apologise for the delivery drivers behaviour until she was prompted… three times!!!

The final outcome – of the £30 charge  for installing the new machine and disposing of the old one, installation which didn’t happen and disposing of an old machine which would have cost nothing courtesy of the local authority: £10 has been refunded, the predicted token gesture.
For the abusive driver who called me a “…fuckin’ wanker”: an apology as warm as a Scottish winter, extracted with the ease of a constipated turd.

I think the plan now is to escalate the complaint to the next level, whatever that might be.  My advice to anyone buying a household electrical device, buy it somewhere else, LookAgain want your money, as much of it as they can get, for as little effort as they can put in to get it.

(A)theism in the workplace

Amongst the YouTube channels I like to watch, the Seattle-based Ask An Atheist show is often very entertaining.  They started out as a public access TV show, very much like the Austin based Atheist Experience, but have moved to AM radio in recent months.

In the episode posted on YouTube on 4th september the host discussed an issue I’d had to deal with in my last job; coworkers finding out that I didn’t attend church or hold any supernatural beliefs.  I had originally posted my thoughts on the Richard Dawkins forum back in April, but after listening to the AAA guy thought of it, thought I’d reiterate my story here.

My original post on the Dawkins forum on 17 April 2011:

Hi

This is my first post. Xmaseveeve has been a friend of mine for several years, and has been encouraging me to join the discussion here.

It’s taken me a while as I didn’t think I had much to add to the discussion, and had pretty much assumed there would be many people here far more educated and knowledgeable than myself, but a recent event at work has caused me to seek the opinions and advice of others of a similar world view.

I’ll avoid mentioning where I work, or naming anyone involved, but it started with a colleague mentioning taking her very young daughter to a toddlers’ prayer group at the weekend, something along the lines of a Sunday school playgroup as far as I could tell. This started a conversation, with another colleague saying that all children should be made to go to Sunday school. When I disagreed, saying I didn’t agree with children being indoctrinated, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, and that Sunday school provides “moral fibre”. I decided to step up a bit here and asked if this person had actually read the bible, and was met with some non-committal mumbles. I proceeded to mention the lack of evidence that the character of Jesus actually existed, and was told again that I was wrong and “talking nonsense”.

At this point the conversation caught the attention of a 3rd employee, whom I know to be a very devout Christian. He told me that a person’s religion is beyond question, and that I needed to “have faith” to understand. Here there was a general agreement to disagree.

Later that day I found myself with a migraine (I suffer from these regularly) and asked if anyone had any pain killers as I’d run out. The 2nd person mentioned above was good enough to give me some Paracetamol tablets, and a couple of hours later I mentioned that I was feeling better – and this is where it gets strange. The person who had given me the pills told me that they would have worked faster if I’d believed in God, which I took in good humour based on the earlier conversation. However, over the rest of the day there were many similar comments from the same person, and it seems he is having difficulty accepting that I don’t share his supernatural beliefs.

I suppose my question is this; now that my views are more widely known, and it seems I’m to be outnumbered, do I keep my opinions to myself? Do I engage in debate when challenged? Or if the comments/verbal barbs continue, do I take my concerns to management?

I imagine many of the non-believers on this forum will have an opinion, and quite possibly some 1st hand experience, on this topic, and I’d very much appreciate anyone’s opinions and/or advice.

Stevie

There were several comments, all encouraging, from several members of  the Dawkins forum, I’m still very interested in other people’s opinions in this subject.  I should mention I no longer work for the employer where the above difference of opinion took place, and only have minimal (i.e. facebook) contact with any of my old colleagues.

Comments from other users on the Dawkins forum:
Comment 1 by jimbob21 Its completely up to you but I would say definitely do not keep your opinions to yourself. This sounds like something from George Orwell’s 1984! The fact that your outnumbered does not mean your in the wrong and should keep quiet. I mean a guy that thinks the analgesic effects of Paracetamol are actually speeded up by God if you believe in him needs to be challenged. The only reason he thinks that kind of tripe is that nobody challenges his views. If anything this is a perfect opportunity for debate, go for it.

Comment 2 by hypnoticbob If people are mature enough to bring religion into the conversational environment, they are mature enough to have their ideas challenged. Simply holding different views between one another is absolutely no reason to resolve to silence or to be silenced. One of the greatest things we can achieve, with respect to one another, is to challenge each other, regardless of topic, and especially when truth is the goal. You are within your fundamental rights to speak as you wish (within reason, of course) and it should be generally respected. However, depending on the situation, if you are not directly brought into the conversation, it may be best to exclude yourself. I find that it’s hard to do this when irrationality enters the arena, however. Good luck.

P.S., You should absolutely not be admonished for having your own ‘in-group’ conversations that are antithetical to religion. If then others (the religious) wish to engage you, they are then liable for their own discord.

Comment 3 by Steviemgallacher Hi Thanks for the replies, and thanks to the mods for posting the discussion, and letting other give their views.

The situation that originally had me so rattled has pretty much died down, with the people reacting as follows: Person 1 still take their child to Sunday pre-school, Person 3 had been a model colleague, and not mentioned the previous disagreement.

However, person 2 still seems to be having difficulty, and still makes the occasional comment about me being an atheist. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy, but I think he’s having difficulty reconciling my disbelief in the supernatural with my attempts to be, what I hope is, a decent person. From what little he’s told me, I think he was raised on one side of the protestant/catholic divide which seems to almost define massive numbers of people in Scotland, and simply can’t see that there are more than two options available.

Since the previous conversation the occasional jibes have continued, and I’ve have continued to state that I disagree with what’s said, but I’ve made no attempt to start any conversation on the topic. I think this is the wisest course, regardless of my civil rights; it’s likely that if I did initiate the conversation and someone took offense, it would be me that would suffer any consequences, whether social or more formal.

Comment 4 by Alan4discussion I would definitely leave the management out of it.

“However, person 2 still seems to be having difficulty, and still makes the occasional comment about me being an atheist.”

Unless out and out bullying is involved, a bit of banter between colleagues is normal. Your example as an work colleague and atheist, will give the lie to any misconceptions created by ranting preachers.

Some of the remoter parts of Scotland are very “church-community-dominated” with preachers being very influential. The protestant/catholic divide is similar to that in Ireland. – Unsurprising because of links to ports. Your presence is likely to stimulate thought.

Comment 5 by Mbee Hi Steve, I’ve always gone by the old adage don’t talk about religion or politics. However there are plenty who insist on doing so and many who consider themselves ‘right’ in their particular views. When it comes down to it those who think they’re right will probably never change their minds and are essentially a ‘lost cause’ when it comes to logic and reason. I’ve always found the best thing to do is keep away from them as much as you can and this is where the workplace sometimes makes it a difficult environment, especially if the person is in a position of influence with respect to the job. Hopefully this will not deteriorate into a worse scenario and I wish you luck with your situation.

I recently had to work with a devout muslim and managed to not talk about their religion, although it was ‘all’ they were talking about. I used the situation to learn more about what they believed in and educate myself – I’m all for an easy life and normally just ‘go with the flow’. They assumed I was a christian and didn’t even ask me about my belief. That says a lot as to where their thinking was at. I normally try to avoid conflicts and leave these people to their delusion and their closed minds – sometimes it is just a lost cause and not worth making the situation worse. Mind you if they escalate the situation keep good records and witnesses if it becomes intolerable.

Comment 6 by Independent Thinker I side with Mbee about staying away from religion & politics except that I’m fascinated by people’s religious beliefs as much as i am about ethnic background. It’s about learning about people to gain insight and perspective (regardless of whether the perspective is unusual from your vantage).

I try never to tell someone they’re wrong about religion or politics as these are all matters of opinion (even though much of religion is based on fantasy).

When asked about my own beliefs, I reply that I do not follow any organized religion. If they want to persist from there, I’m open to intellectual debate, however, I try to not offend people about their beliefs in imaginary friends; the debate may last minutes, but we’ll need to work together far longer.

Accepting of abundance, but not diversity

Over the course of the last week I’ve been pretty musical, I’m standing in with a wedding band on Saturday night so have had to learn their entire set list which is pretty diverse, bit I’m looking forward to the gig, and fingers crossed it might lead to some more work in future too.  In amongst all this musical activity I did have a little free time before last night’s rehearsal with Independence, so decided to have a quick glance at my subscriptions page on YouTube.

One vlogger whose videos I’ve almost always enjoyed is TJ, I don’t agree with everything he says, he’s an arrogant pain in the ass sometimes, and flat wrong on several topics, but he’s also very intelligent and can form a cohesive argument 99% of the time, and is very entertaining.  He has several channels on YouTube, the best known is theamazingatheist, and the other I’m subscribed to is TJdoeslife where I found the video that caught my attention.

The video titled ‘Park You’ is above, but to summarise, it’s TJ’s response to a blog posted on August 26th called ‘Can’t even got to the park’ by a woman called Stacy Trasancos where she talks about how she’s not allowed to impose her ‘morality’ on others, yet others are allowed to impose their ‘immorality’ on her,  upon further reading it appears to be several paragraphs of anti-gay fear mongering mixed in with a fear of some questions from her seven children about families with two mothers or two fathers, questions it seems the children never asked.

As is mentioned above, the blog was posted on th 26th of last month, and after 668 responses, both positive and negative Stacy has closed it to any future responses with the following statement:

“Gay rights activists” you’ve had your say. Comments in this thread are now closed, but they will stand so people can decide for themselves who is tolerant and who is not.

Before I go to express my opinions of what she’s said, and in the highly unlikely event Stacy ever reads this blog, I’ll state from the outset that I do not live in the USA, I am a white heterosexual male, in a monogamous relationship, and I am an atheist, I do not believe the character of Jesus, as portrayed in the bible, ever existed.  While I don’t have any problem with religious people, I don’t like religion, I don’t like any organisation that claims to know the unknowable, and then asks for money simply for knowing it, and usualy pays no taxes.

ok disclaimer done.  As above anything quoted from Stacy’s blog will be in italics.  Let’s begin:

The same people who say I shouldn’t impose my morality on them, are imposing immorality on me and my children to the point that I literally have a hard time even leaving my home anymore to do something as simple as visit the park. And this is freedom?

Not giving too much away in the first paragraph, without the addendum telling us why comments had been closed I might not have guessed that the ‘immorality’ she was talking about was the presence of gay people in a public place.  well, Stacy, this is freedom, everyone has the freedom to be there, just like you have the freedom not to be there if you find the presence of others who don’t fit your preconceived notions so distasteful.

I am a Catholic stay-at-home mother of seven, and I live in the state of Massachusetts where “gay marriage” has been legal for seven years and it’s just one aspect of the larger secular agenda. Because we have so many little children, it takes a phenomenal effort to go anywhere. We have only filled our truck with gasoline twice this entire summer vacation. We go to Mass and we go two miles up the road to a small outdoor swimming pool. That’s pretty much it.

So many things wrong with this, but let’s start with the obvious one: Seven children!!! why? In the dark ages when infant mortality rates were higher couples had to have large families if they wanted the family line to continue, but in the 21st century it’s simply not necessary, there are already 7 billion people on the planet, and those people are living longer.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an active sex life, we evolved with the desire to procreate (yes we did, accept it, even the last 3 popes have), but also the ability to satisfy those urges without falling pregnant.  use birth control, and claiming you can’t because an old male virgin in a dress, whose main contribution to the world has been to offer safe harbour to pedophiles, says it’s evil doesn’t even begin to qualify as an excuse.

Secular agenda?  As someone who advocates for secular values, and fact over superstition, I think I missed the meeting where the agenda was decided.  Could you fill me in, Stacy? your blog  was lacking any detail on any other aspects of the “agenda”.

And finally, for paragraph two, my personal pet peeve.  you take your kids to church.  Have you explained to them that there are around 30,000 different sects of christianity, and many other religions in the world, but christian Catholicism is a choice you made? or did you present you beliefs as fact?  I’d bet good money you went with option two, before they developed the critical thinking skills required to see through the inconsistencies in the so-called holy books that you hold so dear.

At the pool this summer there were homosexual couples with children and, while I was polite as my own young daughters doted on the baby with two “mommies”, I also held my breath in anticipation of awkward questions – questions I’m not ready to answer. My young daughters are all under the age of eight and they are not old enough to understand why a baby would have two women calling themselves “mommies”.

When there were two men relaxing at the side of the pool unnaturally close to each other, effeminately rubbing elbows and exchanging doe-eyes, I was again anxiously watching my children hoping they wouldn’t ask questions. They don’t see Daddy do that with anyone but Mommy. We haven’t been back to the pool for a couple of weeks, except once but it rained. The truth is, now I don’t really want to go back.

It seems we have the same issue expressed twice: openly gay couples are out in public behaving like couples in love.  If this was straight couples I don’t imagine Stacy would have any problem with it, illustrated where she talks about two men by the pool “unnaturally close to each other, effeminately rubbing elbows” worried ‘cos her brood “don’t see Daddy do that with anyone but Mommy.”  Stacy, yes I’m addressing you again if you ever read this, you need to accept that there are gay people in the world, and many other people who won’t fit into you’re ideal picture of what a person should be, and as a parent it’s your responsibility to prepare your children to deal with diversity they will encounter when they grow up and go out into the wider world, not hide them from it and tell them everything different is wrong or sinful.  in the 21st century  same-sex couples raising children is something you will see more of, no matter where in the developed world you live.  It’s probably not something you’ll ever participate in, but it’s something you will encounter, these people are members of your community, your neighbours, possibly your friends, maybe even members of your church.  why not just meet them, learn about them and embrace them as fellow parents, and fellow human beings?

So what am I harping about?

This most intelligent thing you’ve said so far.

Today we decided to go to the park. We live near a nice park that is safe, clean and quiet. Two of my daughters were in the sandbox, one on the slide, the other on the swings, and as I lifted the baby out of his stroller I looked up to see four women laughing at a baby boy as he was swinging in one of those bucket baby swings. That seems harmless enough, but I’m so sensitized to the strangeness in my community that I’ve developed this ever-present jumpiness whenever I’m in public. Sure enough, two of the women, so happy to see a baby boy laughing, embraced and remained standing there rubbing each other’s back in a way that was clearly not just friendly affection.

Would it have been ok if it were a straight couple watching their child on the swing? if the answer is yes then you are exhibiting bigotry.  Do you have similar feelings towards African-Americans, Muslims, Jews or any other minority? if not, why not? these people also don’t fit into the box you would label as normal, are they immoral too?

This is my community. I find myself unable to even leave the house anymore without worrying about what in tarnation we are going to encounter. We are responsible citizens. We live by the rules, we pay our taxes, we take care of our things. I’m supposed to be able to influence what goes on in my community, and as a voter I do exercise that right. But I’m outnumbered. I can’t even go to normal places without having to sit silently and tolerate immorality. We all know what would happen if I asked two men or two women to stop displaying, right in front of me and my children, that they live in sodomy.

Where to begin… ahh the beginning
This is my community- No, it’s not, it’s a community that you can choose to be a part of, or to isolate yourself from.  It seems you’ve chosen to isolate yourself instead of dealing with the reality that the world is in a constant state of change because some of those changes don’t fit with what you consider to be normal or moral.
We are responsible citizens– I’ll have to take your word for that, based on your writing here you’re scared your children might question you on things that don’t fit with your world view, so much that you worry about leaving the house because you might encounter gay people in public places. how is this responsible?
I’m supposed to be able to influence what goes on in my community, and as a voter I do exercise that right. But I’m outnumbered. This is called democracy, when a population vote on a proposition, the majority usually get what they want.  This system is not without its flaws, The USA had 8 years of George W Bush because of it, although he did steal the first 4, and I’m not suggesting that might makes right.  Democracy has led to some bad decisions, but equal marriage right for homosexuals isn’t one of them.  take the broad view; if two men you’ve never met get married tomorrow, what effect will it have on your life? none.  so what’s your problem?
I can’t even go to normal places without having to sit silently and tolerate immorality. We all know what would happen if I asked two men or two women to stop displaying, right in front of me and my children, that they live in sodomy. – I think you need to define what you consider immorality to be, from what I’ve read any casual affection between a same-sex couple is immoral to you, but it would be ok between a male & female couple.
Also how does one live in sodomy? If you’re reffering to Sodom, the “wicked town” describe in the book of fairy stories you get your very questionable morality from, I’m pretty sure it’s not in Massachusetts, so you’ll be safe.  If you meant the practice of sodomy, while I’m no expert, I’m fairly sure the women wouldn’t be doing it.

So now I go on a rant.

Only now? so what was all the anti-gay stuff if it wasn’t a rant?

Our taxes are being used to fund contraception, abortion and IVF already. That offends me in ways that are inexpressible. I read last December in the Wall Street Journal how two men near us are raising two assembled daughters after announcing to the world how they killed two other siblings in surrogate mothers in India. Let me guess? I shouldn’t offend them though, right? And what’s next at the park? A needle exchange drop-box for heroin users? No joke. These things are not isolated, it is all the same issue at a fundamental level. We’re being pushed to accept immorality and it’s not just on TV and in Washington D.C. It’s right in front of us too.

We’ve touched on contraception already, the Nazi Virgin says it’s bad, he’d much rather the African AIDS epidemic spread further and killed millions more, than it was brought under control.  The best method is the ABC system, Astinence, Be faithful, and Condoms.  Humans evolved as sexual creatures, and it’s unnatural to suppress that desire, but it can be handled responsibly.
Abortion is a touchy subject, but I think pro-choice is the way forward, if a couple makes a poor choice, they can make the decision not to proceed with the pregnancy long before the cluster of cells becomes anything resembling a thinking, feeling conscious entity we’d call a person.
IVF- How the fuck can you be offended by IVF? the application of science to allow childless couples to become parents, a privilege you have known more than most people ever will, and you find the idea that some people less fortunate need help offensive? you offend me, and I don’t even plan on having childen.

We fund a lot of illegal immigrants here (just ask the President about his auntie) and helping people who really need help is not something I’d ever oppose. But it’s still haunting me that just this week I learned of an illegal immigrant who killed a young man innocently out for a ride on his motorcycle. The illegal immigrant, who didn’t have a license, was so drunk he didn’t notice when he hit a motorcyclist and then dragged the 23 year old college graduate a quarter of a mile while people were yelling at him to stop. When he finally did stop, the young man was still alive until the drunk driver put the car in reverse and backed up over him before driving away. He’s charged with vehicular homicide and “reckless conduct creating a risk to a child.” He had a six year old in the car with him.

Just to clarify, the illegal immigrant has been arrested and charged with his crimes?  presumably the criminal justice system will take its course and he will be punished for what he’s done?  just checking.  while there is no excuse for the actions of this individual, he is precisely that, an individual.  he does not represent every immigrant in your country.  I heard news story recently, I wish I could remember where it was, but one state in the USA decided to deport all the illegal aliens to free up jobs for local residents, unfortunately none of the locals wanted the menial jobs like harvesting fields and picking fruit, they were too good for that, so crops were left unpicked, and the local economy suffered. Also I think I t was Obama’s uncle.

Do you think knowing this happened about seven miles from my home makes me afraid to leave the house? You bet it does. But that just adds to everything else I’m being asked to tolerate. Seriously, is this freedom?

So one criminal act and some gay people being affectionate makes you afraid to leave the house? that’s your choice, but you could also choose to behave like an adult and set a better example for your children, at least one of whom, statistically speaking, could grow up to be gay.  In anwer to your question, yes it is freedom, but as it’s freedom for everyone, not just you, compromises will need to be made, and made by everyone.  This means you’ll need to tollerate gay people being affectionate to one another in public, and the more enlightened members of the community will need to tollerate your bigotry, but becaus it’s tollerated doesn’t mean it won’t be challenged, I assume you’ve realised this from the hundreds of responses you’ve had to you’re blog post.

After reading Stacy’s blog I started scanning through the replies, and there are litteraly hundreds, some supportive, but most disagreeing strongly with the sentiments she expressed, and some were pretty threatening, and few pretty funny, I’ll copy few in below for some perspective.

1st comment from a supporter-
Welcome to the world the left has created. It is beyond horrifying.

The Culture of Death is in full swing in Massachusetts, and it is poised to kill itself. It has a declining population, and there is no future for any state where homosexuality is the norm. There is no potential for life, no potential for a thriving future, only death and decay.

I lived in Massachusetts during college, and I haven’t set foot in that state since. You have articulated well why I never want to go back there.

2nd comment from someone who didn’t agree-
LOL. I’m sorry. But gay people at the park???!?!?!?! Being affectionate? And happy? And functioning?

Yeah. Being able to smile and kiss my boyfriend in the park is freedom. And that has nothing to do with IVF.

Stacy’s reply to the 2nd comment
Case and point. I can’t even vent frustration on my Catholic blog without being harassed for objecting to immorality.

This isn’t even me going to a public park and sitting quietly with my children – being offended but remaining silent to keep the peace.

This is someone a) who knows I object to sodomy and b) to whom I have never once been rude intentionally clicking to my website just to punch a bunch of question marks and exclamation points to insinuate that I’ve simply lost my mind.

Since you are here though…

Could I ask you, please, to never kiss your boyfriend in front of children? (!)

A comment showing Stacy had edited the blog-
I find this really, really sad, almost as if you’re looking to find persecution where there is none. Yes, this is freedom – would it be freer if gay couples were given tickets by the police for publicly showing affection? What about freedom involves silencing or restricting people who say or do things that you disagree with? Is it freedom if you feel free but no one else does? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I could have sworn that when I first read this post you mentioned something about wanting to make the sign of the cross in situations like these, as if somehow your right to do that has disappeared. It hasn’t! You have just as much right to public displays of faith as gay couples have the right to public displays of affection, regardless of whether gay marriage is legal.

And to your point about the illegal immigrant – citizens don’t murder? Don’t commit atrocious acts of violence? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Byrd,_Jr.

Stacy confirms this (she takes the commandments seriously at least)-
Zach, honest question – if you are so happy why do you come to Catholic websites to tell us we are harming your life?

Michelle, I get fed up and I’m not alone. It’s my right, and obligation, to speak up about immorality especially in places where my children play. That is the purpose of community. We all have a voice. We are freer when people practice virtue, not when they do whatever they want with no consideration for those around them. (Yes, I removed the Cross comment because I decided it was snarky.)

About the murder, I lived in TX when that happened. The point isn’t that only illegal immigrants murder. It’s that they aren’t even calling it murder. And if I drove that drunk with a six year old in the car, I certain I’d be charged with more than reckless conduct.

An Anonymous comment-
I would like to know, Stacy, your definition of “freedom”. Yes, ANY of-age couple being allowed to engage in holding hands, putting their arms around one another and even kissing IS freedom. It seems to me that you have a rather backward and skewed idea of what it means to be free in this country.

You remind me of another type of bigot: those that said the SAME things about black couples in public, or inter-racial couples in public. *How DARE they hold hands in front of me? I should have a right to point out their immortality and the fact that they are allowed this is an affront to my own freedom!*

Replace the word “gay” (or any other word used to describe the gay community) in your piece above and maybe, just maybe, you’ll see how ridiculous and backwards your stance is.

“But that just adds to everything else I’m being asked to tolerate. Seriously, is this freedom?”

Absolutely, this IS freedom. Without tolerance we have no freedom. You seem to lack a basic understanding of this concept, Stacy.

Shame on you. You are smarter than this. Or, at least I thought you were. I guess I was wrong.

Stacy’s reply-
I have no idea who you are, bold anonymous commenter. 🙂

“Without tolerance we have no freedom.”

If that’s what you think freedom is, then you have no basis for not tolerating what I wrote.

I accept the definition of freedom that is based on natural law. If you are an atheist, I imagine you aren’t interested in a discussion of freedom based on natural law. However, I also imagine that you don’t really believe freedom means everyone can do whatever they want to do either, while everyone else is just supposed to tolerate whatever it happens to be.

A comment from Margaret-
You are simply too lazy to explain what is going on in the community to your children. It seems like bad parenting to me. Shielding them from this kind of exposure won’t do them any good; they will eventually figure it out one way or another.

Comment from Adri-
you really don’t think your kids can process very much do you? Unless you plan on raising them in an isolated commune, you may as well get used to the fact that many many people do not believe as you and it is their right to live freely in the public sector. Consider it a teachable moment. or just ignore it, because at their age they are more concerned with the sandbox than myopic worldviews

Anonymous comment-
You are the reason that ‘Atheist’ is the fastest growing self description in the world. You are the reason that church attendance is down across the globe. Your false morality and piety are driving more and more people to secularism and reason. I would personally like to thank you for making more atheists and making the world a better place. Please carry on.

Awesome comment from Jordan Lund-
First things first, your blog is on the Internet which means it’s not your personal walled garden anymore. Be prepared to have your beliefs challenged.

Second, suppose I wrote a blog about how I coldn’t take my son to the park because of all the Catholics running around with 7 kids they can’t afford. I’m afraid of all the uncomfortable questions he might ask like “why doesn’t he have 6 brothers and sisters” and, really, he’s just too young to understand why the Pope says some people can’t use birth control.

Ridiculous? Offensive? Absolutely…

I want you to think back… when did you choose to like boys? You didn’t choose that did you? Nobody actually does. It’s the same way for gay folks. God made them the way they are and, frankly, who do you think you are to question that?

The problem isn’t gay people, the problem is between your own ears. Once you realize that then you and your famly will be in a better place.

As for being too young to understand… here’s a five year old who met a gay couple for the first time… he shows more clarity on the subject than you do:

http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/122927/smart_kid_says_gay_marriage

“I USUALLY SEE HUSBANDS AND WIFES … BUT THIS IS THE VERY FOIST TIME I’VE SEEN HUSBAND AND HUSBAND!!!!!!!!! SO THAT MEANS YOU LOVE EACH OTHER???? OK. I’M GOING TO PLAY PING PONG NOW.”

And, really, that’s all anyone needs to know about any married couple.

And the final comment I’ll share comes from ‘Disgusted Cathiolic’ and probably offers the most insight-
I am ashamed to say I know you. Very disturbing to see how you really feel, although, I can’t believe that these are really your thoughts. I think this is all some sort of displaced anger about the life and man you finally settled down with out of fear. Your marriage is a sham, your kids are suffering… Good Lord, I hope you wake up and use that brain that God gave you for good.

There was a comment I wanted to add where somone said something along the lines of ‘if you don’t like it, fuck off back to Texas’, but I couldn’t see it.  Depending how the republican party nominations go, I imagine this lady will probably be voting for Rick Perry if he is nominated.

To me this is another example of American self righteousness, backed up by a belief that they have jeezuz behind them all the way, and with America being the last remaining super power, we really should be worried.

LookAgain again-not so much a sequel as a DVD extra

A quick update after my account of an unpleasent experience with a delivery guy on Tuesday (not monday as I’d said, I must have been traumatised by his terrible language), My other half decided to make her complaint to the customer service people at LookAgain, and not wanting to waste time, decided to do it by e-mail with my letter as an attachment.

I’m pretty sure most of us who use e-mail every day and are familiar with the process of attaching items to e-mails, and how to retrieve an attachment from an e-mail you’ve received.  I don’t anything about the programming, but I know how to use an e-mail client, it’s not rocket science.

Can you guess what the reply was?  It seems while the main body of the e-mail was the received, the attachment never quite made it all the way to its destination, so the customer service staff were unable to assist on this occasion.

How can a Microsoft Word document attached to an e-mail get lost?  I don’t know about you, but I call bullshit!!!

So we’ve sent the complaint again, this time using a time-tested method: the Post Office (‘cos they never lose stuff), and the next update will probably be sometime after Christmas.

A reason not to LookAgain ‘cos the country’s fucked

It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to add to my blog, I’m still not working, and I don’t have anything new to report on my health.  Generally it seems to be getting a bit worse, I have been refered to The headache clinic again, and am on the waiting list to be seen by a specialist again, but after my visit with them last summer I’m not terribly optimistic that it’ll give me any answers, but I need to let the doctors do what they do.

The new guitar is ordered, fortunately this was bought and paid for before I joined the ranks of the great unwashed (horrible expression, I shower daily y’know), and I’ll be collecting it in November, so I’m looking forward to that.

On to the subject of today’s post – and possibly an insight into why a good friend of mine once described our home town, possibly our country, as the world centre of apathy.

My long-suffering girlfriend recently had a major domestic appliance break down, her washing machine.  “These things happen…” you may say, and you’d be right, and it never happens at a good time, ‘cos there never is a good time.  so a few days ago she asked if I’d mind waiting at her house for the new one to be delivered.  The delivery time frame was 4 hours, so I armed my self with a book and a couple of DVDs and I was set.

The new washing machine was ordered from the LookAgain catalogue, not the cheapest way to do it, but they had more convenient payment options, and they would fit it, and take the old one away too – for a price.  All I had to do was let them in, and lock up when they were done.

Too good to be true?  it was.  I won’t go in to too much detail straight away, but she has asked me write brief letter explaining everything that happened to accompany her complaint.  The content of the letter is below, I’ve tried to keep everything factual, but I think my opinions are pretty obvious throughout.  I’ve removed any personal details except my own, my partner will be refered to as Miss Smith.

I don’t personally have any catalogues, but if that’s how you like to shop, fair enough, but this experience has left a particularly bad taste in my mouth, and I wasn’t even the customer.

Her is the letter, exactly as I sent it to be included with the complaint, including the part about making it public:

Dear Sir or Madam

I’m writing this letter to accompany the letter of complaint written by my partner Miss Smith regarding the delivery of her new washing machine on August 30th 2011.  I feel it very unfortunate that any complaint has had to be made, however it’s unacceptable that I was referred to as a “fuckin’ wanker” by a one of your employees at 8:10 on a Monday morning.

I agreed to wait for the delivery on the above date as Miss Smith was working, and I had no commitments.  I’ll attempt to document my recollection of the events as they happened, you’ll appreciate this account may be slightly biased.

I received an SMS text message just after 9pm on August 29th to tell me that the machine would be delivered between 7- 11am, I checked that Miss Smith would be in the property until around 7:45, so I made sure I was there before she left, I arrived around 7:35, and received a phone call from the delivery driver at 7:41 advising he would arrive before 8:30.

My understanding was that the new machine was to be delivered and installed, and the old machine taken away for disposal, and that Miss Smith had paid a premium for this service.  What happened is that the new machine arrived a little after 8:00am, the old machine was removed, of the two men involved in the delivery, the fellow who appeared to be in charge took a look at the plumbing under the kitchen sink, and made a call on his mobile phone, at the same time mumbled something to me about not being able to carry out the installation.  After speaking to a female where he described the plumbing as being “in pieces”, then handed the phone to me.  I explained the plumbing was not “in pieces”, and that it could easily be rectified (I have asked that photos be included with this letter), however I understood that the delivery drivers were not plumbers, but I believed Miss Smith may wish to take the matter further.

I attempted to explain that the drain pipe for the old washing machine was removed so the sink could still be used without flooding the area under the sink, but could easily be reinstalled, and I could arrange this if he would do the rest of the installation as agreed.  Apparently not- It seems since one part of the installation involved more (or in this case, less) than just lifting the machine & swapping some pipes (I do actually know what’s involved in swapping one washing machine for another), the whole job is untouchable.

In the spirit of keeping the whole situation civil, I suggested getting the new machine unwrapped, and the transportation bolts removed from the drum so I could get the rest of the installation done myself, I was told in no uncertain, and slightly aggressive, terms “we’re no touchin’ it!”.  At this point, I admit, I became a little exasperated and said “you’re taking the piss.”  While I appreciate when written down this might be seen as profanity, in the west of Scotland this is a colloquialism, casual language meaning “you’re having a laugh” or “you’re taking the mick”.  Within a few seconds it became abundantly clear that the chap was not having a laugh, and taking neither the mick nor the piss.  His reply was to raise his voice and say “naw, you’re takin’ the piss!”  As I felt the service provided was substandard I told him I was not happy to sign for the goods.

I should explain that when I sign for delivery of goods of this nature, my understanding is that I’m also signing for the quality and my satisfaction of any work carried out, in this instance it would include the delivery of the appliance to the property without any damage to either, and the installation as agreed.

At this point the delivery man said he would take the machine away, and stormed out the property, shouting on his colleague, presumably to help him remove the new machine.  Since this struck me as rather pointless, I closed the door behind him, thinking, perhaps, he needed a minute to calm down and gather his thoughts.  A few moments later there was a knock at the door, and in the time it took me to walk from the kitchen to the door (about 6 steps) he’d decided I wasn’t answering and shouted from the close (tenement) door to his colleague “he’s no answerin’ the door!  He’s a fuckin’ wanker!”  It was at this point he realised I had answered the door, probably prompted by my questioning tone and use of the word “Pardon?”

He declined to repeat his comment, but did threaten to call the police! I don’t know what he thought that would achieve, but I’d suggest if you allow you drivers this kind of discretion in carrying out their duties (I don’t doubt there are times when it’s called for), you may want to acquaint them with the laws regarding breach of the peace (it’s an offence for which one can be arrested), and perhaps some training in good manners and customer service wouldn’t go amiss either.  I grudgingly agreed to sign for the delivery, but not before I took note of the chap’s name, which, after some prompting, he told me was “P***”, and after some waiting, was appended with “W*****”.  I don’t know if this is his real name, he did seem to give it rather a lot of thought, but I’m sure it could be confirmed, he did call me from this mobile number: 07*********.  He also gave me the number of his van, a note of which I left with Miss Smith.

While I appreciate that I am not your customer, so my opinion is probably of little importance to you, I feel I should point out you were paid for a service that you have failed to provide, and as soul witness, it is my view that you representative(s) entered the property with an agenda, that being to look for any excuse not to provide the prepaid service, and to leave to property as quickly as possible, doing as little actual work as possible.  The only advantage to Miss Smith is that the old washing machine has been removed; a service that would have been provided by the local council for a cost of £0.00, or it could have been loaded into my vehicle and driven to the local recycling facility, also at a cost to Miss Smith of £0.00.

My suggestion at this point is that you refund the installation charge to Miss Smith as a gesture of good will, and a fitting one, since no installation was carried out, and any other benefit could have been achieved by other means at no cost.

I know Miss Smith has been a customer of yours for a number of years, and has encouraged others to use your service, going forward I’d imagine she’ll be less likely to recommend you to others, and I’ll make a personal point of publicising my experience to the best of my ability (which will likely include making the content of this letter public, minus any personal details of course), this will include steps you take to compensate Miss Smith for your employees’ behaviour and all round piss poor service in this instance.

Should you wish to discuss this further, you already have my number, if you can’t find it; it should be in “P***’s” phone as he called me at 7:41 this morning.

While I doubt you’ll reply to me, I’m sure Miss Smith would appreciate a prompt response.

Yours Faithfully

Stephen Gallacher

I don’t doubt that when the complaint is received the people at LookAgain will make some token effort to rectify the situation, and I will note it on this blog when/if that happens, but what bothers me is that these companies take your money by offering a service, then look for any excuse not to provide that service, and when you call them on it, they have the audacity to accuse you of being in the wrong.  To be fair in this situation I was in someone else’s home, but it was someone I’m very close to, and it could easily have been my appliance being delivered to my house, and while I understand the waste pipe wasn’t set up the way they wanted it, any effort at compromise I offered, they declined, and when I became frustrated, they got angry and called me names.

Yes, the country is fucked!!!