I don’t often complain but every now and then I feel the need to vent, particularly about stuff we pay good money for that is nothing more than fancy rubbish. I also think the time when corporations could get away with shonky products or service are close to over with the online voice of the ‘helpless’ consumer getting louder and reaching a wider audience.

Flyspray and other useless methods of controlling flies

It seems about this time of year that flies are a problem in Christchurch, most likely made worse because we have three dogs (outside). They are the small, seemingly harmless but annoying small houseflies. They lazily patrol the room, landing where they please and leaving a trail of brown dots on the wall wherever they congregate. I am a peace-loving individual but flies really get on my goat, it’s just the whole ‘dirtyness’ but not in a Christina Aguilera kind of way. I take steps to control the flies that create marital dissonance by being liberal with the Raid Flyspray (= can of uselessness) which stinks the place out and leaves the flies rolling around the window sills in laughter watching my feeble efforts. Often they will buzz me in the face just to show me exactly what they think of my ridiculous antics. I have rung up about the pathetic fly spray raid sell and they respond by sending me coupons to buy more rubbish in a can – I can’t win.

Wouldn't hurt a fly...
Wouldn't hurt a fly...
You think I would learn but I decided to try the fly window stickers (Raid Fly Control System) as someone had recommended them and they would be less likely to get me divorced and hopefully rid the house of those smug flying insects. I have two stickers applied in strategic locations in clear view of the flying population. It has been over two weeks now and there has been no visible decrease in pesky flys, apart from a spate of cold weather which forced the flies to hibernate for the day. In fact, I was watching the flies in the vicinity of the sticker and it seems to have no attraction whatsoever but according to the packet flies are apparently attracted to the colour, logo and food attractants on the sticker … hmmm … what flies did they test on, had they been starved for the last three weeks? I will just have to ring the Johnson consumer advice line (the lets-send-you-more-free-stuff-that-doesn’t-work team) on 0800 656 534. Ok its ringing … and still ringing. Obviously they’ve all been driven out of the office by a plague of flies no doubt. [UPDATE: They will send me some more fly stickers, I guess I can find a use for them somewhere] Might have to go back to chasing down these flies with the vacuum cleaner!

Harsh words from Meridian Energy

Meridian threatens to send round the boys
Meridian threatens to send round the boys

I have had a good history with Meridian, my previous electricity supplier, but a recent transaction was way over the top and actually pretty rude, not that I’m bitter about it (much … that’s why I blog about it instead!). The story was that we switched to the Powershop recently as they had some sweet $50 rebate deal and cheap unit prices (plus you can check your daily usage and other cool stuff) and so Meridian sent us a final account (with the new smart meters this all happens pretty quickly, no physical read required!) which was fine and as the photo shows it would be automatically debited from our account with the direct debit authority we’ve had in place for some time. End of story? Nope. Just a few days ago we get a stern letter from Meridian advising that if we don’t pay the $27 outstanding in seven days we’ll be in the rough hands of some debt collection agency. Wow, how did we get from thanks for being a longtime, well-paying customer to you have 7 days before we send the boys round to rough you up and rearrange your furniture?! Ok so it was actually an honest mistake on their part (they hadn’t altered the direct debit to take the final account amount) but seriously let’s think about this as if I was a walk-in customer. Imagine going in to your favourite store, which you’d done for many years, you’d bought a lot of stuff, always paid on time with a smile then one day you walk in and, because of a mistake made in the shop’s back office, the store manager bails you up, shouting at you and threatening to send you to a debt collection agency. Would you be likely to ever come back? Hardly. Sorry Meridian but that’s just not cricket!

Flies … not of the zipper kind
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