What a great and busy weekend we had.
We took the cat to the vet at teatime on Friday. It doesn’t matter what we say or what we do, they always make me feel as though we should be doing more for our pets. And they’re always so serious. I know they have a lot of serious stuff to deal with as well but come on here. Give us a break. It’s actually NICE to have GOOD NEWS about our pets. So please, smile when you’re giving it!
Anyway, apart from being old, and deaf… there’s not a lot wrong with Holly, but she did have a small amount of discharge in one of her ears. So the vet
gave sold extortioned out of us some antibiotic ear drops (4 drops in right ear twice a day) and some anti-inflammatory pills (half a tablet once a day). Actually, I’m being unkind. I chose this vet a long time ago because they were mid-range on prices but with a great many excellent reviews. Nevertheless, we still feel as though we’ve been violated when we hand over our debit card. He wants to see her again this coming Friday to make sure there’s nothing nasty lurking behind the oozing stuff, but already she’s responding well to the treatment. So we be very happy with that one.
We knew we had a busy day on Saturday. We did the shopping after we brought the cat home on Friday to free up some time. The poet had a follow-up face-to-face consultation at the hospital in the middle of the day and his band had a gig in Bradford, which is the farthest they currently go. So when I woke up to see a message on my phone from my bank account, I was not a happy bunny and I ended up sitting up in bed before 8am with the bank on chat in one screen and the merchant in question on chat in the other.
***RANT ALERT ***
I’d grab a cuppa and pull up a chair if I was you. Even get some popcorn…
I am so angry at a certain World-Wide diet organisation. Last July I took out a 6-month PERSONAL plan with them for £10 a month, rising to £16.95 if I decided to stay. By September I already knew I didn’t want to renew after the initial 6 months and so I cancelled it. I know they knew I cancelled it because (a) I got an offer of 2 months free to give me a little longer to consider leaving, and (b) I had a questionnaire from them asking why I was leaving.
To give them the benefit of the doubt, I took advantage of the two extra months for free. But then they moved the goalposts completely and changed EVERYONE’S personal plans back to a single GENERIC plan, which wasn’t what I signed up to and nor did a lot of other unhappy customers. So I cancelled it again, and again I got the questionnaire from them asking why I was leaving.
However, I didn’t really trust that they’d cancelled it at all but when I went onto the website to cancel again, it said my account was cancelled and there was nothing more I needed to do at this stage. So I went to try and remove my debit card details and IT WOULDN’T LET ME.
Yup, this certain World-Wide diet organisation WON’T LET YOU REMOVE YOUR CARD DETAILS. So I made a note to check when the last payment was due out of the account, and that was February. Right afterwards, I got into a chat with an agent there to ensure that the account was cancelled and that I wouldn’t be charged for any more money, and I was assured that was indeed the case. And then I checked with my bank, who confirmed that all direct debits were cancelled and that this merchant would no longer be able to take money from my account.
But I still didn’t trust them and right before the March payment would have been due, I emptied the bank account. After all, I’d already advised the bank that this merchant was no longer authorised to take money from my account so if this certain World-Wide diet organisation did attempt to take the money then the bank shouldn’t charge me.
And yet on Saturday morning, there was the proof. A payment of £16.95 to this certain World-Wide diet organisation had been declined due to lack of funds.
Well, it took me an hour to get the bank to actually tell me that I wouldn’t be charged for this, and it took the same hour to get someone at this certain World-Wide diet organisation to escalate my query. She confirmed that I didn’t have an active membership, that it was cancelled in September, and she couldn’t understand why ‘the system’ (yeah, everyone blame ‘the system’) was still trying to get the money and that it would try again on 11 March. When I asked her why I couldn’t remove my bank card details, she said every member account has to have a payment method attached to it.
BUT I’M NOT A MEMBER! She just confirmed that I WASN’T A MEMBER. So WHY COULDN’T I EXERCISE MY FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO REMOVE MY PAYMENT METHOD FROM THEIR SYSTEM?
She said that she would escalate my query and that someone would contact me, and could she close the chat now?
Really? They think I was satisfied enough to close the chat? I already know that when you close a chat with these people it disappears off the face of the earth. So I kept her holding on while I went through screenshotting the entire conversation. But the moment I said that yes, she could go, she went. And POOF! So did the chat.
In the meantime, my bank (whose chat history is always still there whenever you go in) advised me to change my card details and then I received a new message from them. They’d reviewed all of my conversation and they said they’d put a block on my account so that the merchant would not be able to help themselves to any money.
I had a holiday deposit to pay at the weekend, so I didn’t want to change my card details until I knew they’d get their money. But when I checked with the holiday booking site, I was able to change my details and they would take effect immediately. Fortunately, I have the kind of bank account that also lets me change my details and they will take effect immediately. So within only a few moments, my card details were changed (it’s a numberless card managed entirely via the app) and so were the card details on the holiday site. (We’re off to the Wye Valley, if you’re interested – all four of us.)
I am really very cross about all of this. It was time-consuming, inconvenient, stressful and I had to change my debit card details. It was only because I have a modern bank that changing the details didn’t take too long. But as far as I’m concerned, taking money from someone’s bank account without authorisation is theft. And changing a contract without consultation and not giving the customer a chance to back out or choose an alternative is fraud. But I’m sure they’ll be covered in the small print somewhere.
On Monday morning I received another questionnaire from them asking why I was leaving… That’s three. I’m so glad I kept them all.
***END OF RANT ***
So… We made it to the hospital 30 minutes before the poet’s appointment, and they saw him straight away. I’d not even got out of the car to give the dog a quick walk when the poet was back at the door. So far so good, and they’ll see him again in another 6 months.
We got home, the poet had a bit of a practice in the kitchen (good acoustics, apparently) and we had an early tea. Then we dashed out, filled up with petrol on the way, and arrived at the venue.
Here’s the good part. While the band were setting up, you know what I did, don’t you? I pulled out my mobile phone, opened the Novelist app and tapped out the first 400-or-so words of my short story Killer Queen. Four hundred words while the band set up. I was really happy with that. It was the first scene drafted and part of the second scene.
By the time we got home after the gig it was very late, and we usually wait an hour or two for the poet to stop buzzing enough to sleep. But that, of course, meant a lazy lie-in on Sunday and a late breakfast. Then, at about 4:30pm we were off out again, this time to Leeds to see Disney on Ice.
This is my birthday treat (not my birthday until Thursday) as I’ve never seen Disney on Ice live and I don’t think the poet had ever seen a live ice-dancing show either. (I won tickets once to see Dancing on Ice on Tour, the one with Vanilla Ice.) We had time to have a Cantonese tea but we bought some sweeties at the venue…
BIG MISTAKE. Our two bags added together came to £33. Thirty-Three Pounds. (Apx. $40!) We’d picked-and-mixed over a kilo between us and ended up bringing most of them home – hence today’s illustration with a white-board marker pen for perspective. (Good job I’m not currently dieting…) This bowl is currently residing in the office. Our office is the best workplace in the world for sweeties.
The show was great. The audience was full of children, which we soon became oblivious too. It’s just a pity that some of the adults soon started to behave like children, standing up, boosting their seats, sticking Minnie Mouse ears on their heads so the people behind them couldn’t see. Many of the children were saintly when compared to some of the adults accompanying them. But it was a fun show and the ice-dancing was, of course, spectacular.
Monday morning dawned with that cancellation email from WW and another email telling me my Novelist app review was now in Synergy on Medium. The poet was up bright and early and off to the midlands before 7:30pm, where he’ll be for the next few days.
I did my phone faff over breakfast and finished a book I was reading for pleasure. Then first job at my desk was to start today’s blog post, which should be a book review, but as the book wasn’t one of those it’s one of these blog posts instead. I went and updated my submissions sheet with the latest Medium and Vocal earnings. And I did the daily competitions over dinner.
In the afternoon, I had a play with Trello to see what I’d get with the premimum package, and I’ll be trialling that over the next 14 days. I did some admin for both Diane’s Gig List and for Monkey Dust, and I scooted through the jobs board, pitching for just one job in the end.
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