I know, it’s been a while again, but it’s summer. The plot is in full growth, the sun is high, and very hot most of the time and it’s all very busy.
I have onions, potatoes and courgettes coming out of my ears. I have been almost living on salad and raspberries they have done so well. The polytunnel is full of lettuce and this year, for a change, the aubergines actually have flowers on them. With all the eggs the chooks are laying, rhubarb and custard is high on the menu along with poached eggs, one of my favourites.
I should be skinny by now, but I’m not.
I’ve also been writing and editing a lot. I have a story in the first edit phase, a couple waiting to be polished and the outlines of a couple more. I just need this relentless heat to give up so I can sit and write without dripping all over the keyboard.
Anyway, onto the traditional moaning, it wouldn’t be a proper blog post without a good moan.
First moan, magazines who don’t communicate. I submitted a story to a certain magazine, which will remain nameless, back in May. Their Grinder page didn’t raise any flags for me, save for a 4% withdrawal rate, but I started to get a niggling feeling when they didn’t even confirm receipt. Still, it’s a pretty short story that has already been out a few times, so I left it a while. Their guidelines said to query after six weeks, I left it eight. I got an auto response telling me to wait at least six weeks. I tried again a few weeks later only to get the same response. I messaged them via their website, just in case their auto responder was messed up and got no reply at all. So I withdrew my submission, on the assumption that there was no one there to read it anyway, and got the original auto response.
That story is now waiting in someone else’s slush pile, and they did confirm receipt. The first magazine has been put on my ignore list and noted as unprofessional and unresponsive. I followed their guidelines, they should do the same.
Second moan, banks. Or my bank to be precise and this time I will name them, Virgin Money. They used to be Yorkshire Bank (I think they still are underneath, but outwardly they are Virgin). This is all about their paperless policy, or saving trees as many companies put it. I set mine to off, on both my accounts, as I want paper statements (go through a messy divorce and you’ll be paranoid about having all your accounts in line too). I set both accounts back to paper on their website (they defaulted it to paperless for me), but both kept resetting themselves. I contacted them via their online chat and was told that both were set to paper no matter what I was seeing on the webpage (a glitch I was told). Anyway, today I got an email telling me my paperless statement was ready. So I called them, to be told that one account was set to paper and one paperless. I asked them to switch both to paper and was told I had to go online and do it myself. I had already explained that it didn’t work, and proceeded to explain again. I asked to speak to a manager, anyone, who could help me or at least take a complaint on board (their tech team is not front facing apparently, which I think means I can’t talk to them, but the customer service people can put a request through which, if I log on regularly enough to do it myself, will be declined – how bloody helpful.)
While I was on hold waiting for a manager to speak to me I went online and checked the settings myself. They were both paperless and I changed them to paper. This time it worked. They’d fixed it, but clearly hadn’t set mine right, and didn’t bother to tell me. The guy on the phone confirmed both were now set to paper.
I’ve been with Yorkshire Bank for around thirty five years and can’t remember when I last had to call them with a problem. Since they changed to Virgin Money I’ve called them several times. Things do get sorted out, but they’re things that shouldn’t have needed sorting out in the first place. This should all have been done the first time I complained that it wasn’t working.
As for saving trees, that’s rubbish. It’s saving the bank money by pushing their printing costs onto me. They know damn well as soon as most people download a statement they’ll print it out. It’s not saving any trees. If they really wanted to go environmentally friendly they’d use 100% recycled paper and environmentally friendly inks for everything and all cycle to work, and stop all investment into fossil fuels. Only that wouldn’t save them any money.
As for the online statement, I went to have a look and guess what, their secure message service, where they hold them, was down. “Oh yes,” I was told while still on the phone with them, “there’s a problem with that.” It’s clearly not the only one.