Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Full employment as a notion sounds lovely cos its not just employment, its FULL employment. Yeah, everyone has a job! Except while common sense and a big dod of reasonableness would leave you thinking that’s what it means, in practice it doesn’t actually for basically snidey reasons, in fact full employment is weasel words!

A certain degree of unemployment is unavoidable what with frictional unemployment i.e. people moving between jobs with ideally a contract in the post and a month or two to chill. However, alongside this is the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment or NAIRU beyond which so many people have jobs and start buying things and taking advantage of tight labour market conditions to bid up their wages prices start rising. Hence in practice a debated degree of unemployment is considered acceptable, necessary even by our lovely policymakers, which is kinda unfortunate given the links between unemployment and crime, poor health, poverty and so on and so on. But, hey ho its all good if it lets people claim full employment has been achieved even if there’s still however many poor sods on the rock’n’roll.

Except, unemployment is also an irredeemably social, moral and consequently political issue as opposed to being simply a technocratic one. To give an example, am sure a “dole scrounger” being interviewed down the broo as to why they’re unemployed won’t score any brownie points by claiming they’re doing their bit to ensure inflation stays on target.

And then there’s that lovely class-dividing line between us and them at which point me getting a stonking great pay rise is an inflationary threat and as such to be avoided whereas you getting an even bigger one is a necessary incentive to ensure those who create wealth are attracted and retained. Except if we are to believe Sir Fred Goodwin, named Global Businessman of the year in 2002, when he told the Treasury select committee that “it is just too simple if you want to blame it all on me. If you want to blame it all on me and close the book, that will get the job done very quickly, but it does not go anywhere close to the cause of all of this", then individuals, even when they are the great and the formerly good, don’t necessarily make much of a difference (for a different and more wide ranging example of the irrelevance of CEOs see here).

And this isn’t even touching on the long-term structural issues affecting labour markets like gender pay inequality, that piss all over any notion that the labour market as a whole is anything even approximating an efficient market. So for me anyhow the labour market, that place where we sell our time in return for status and cash is a tad more complex than even the fanciest econometric formula can imagine.

Hence reading some Labour leadership contender’s commitment to full employment I thought what a twat. More generally if unemployment is a price worth paying to avoid inflation, cut the deficit and misquote the former Tory chancellor Norman Lamont, I always wonder if those doing the bulk of the actual paying mebbe deserve something concrete and tangible in return if only because so many o fthe people who caused the current mess are sat on piles of cash and/or in the case of John Thain have new, multi-million pound a year jobs.

As a P.S. that's the various Japanese pornographer/cultist comments gone. They were just waaaaaaaay too creepy

Friday, 6 August 2010

Halfords is fucking shite

Excellent, now I’ve built up a dedicated audience of half a dozen Japanese cultists and pornographers I can abuse my newfound position of power and influence by slagging off Halfords cos they are fucking shite. In case I’m not being clear Halfords the shop that sells stuff for cars and bikes and stuff is fucking shite, as in fucking shite i.e. shite that is fucking shite. They are shite. See that picture? That's Halfords.

So there’s me living in E’boro stuck on a bus of a morning going to work thinking fucking hell the fucking farce that is the E’boro trams and all those taxes docked off my wages so some fucking tit of a councillor can shit it into holes in the ground to massage his or her ego is so causing congestion (and all the economic damage that does to a local economy) I’d almost be as fast walking, in fact I’d be faster cycling. So cycle to work scheme it was for me!

Except to get the tax free benefits of the scheme via my employer I needed to get my bike via Halfords. On point of principle I’d rather have got it from a local business as opposed to some big chain store. Now though I’ve learned it’d have been better to have got it from anyone but Halfords because Halfords is fucking shite. Now clearly, dissing Halfords like that requires serious justification; thankfully Halfords being so fucking shite has provided that in spades.

Take ordering my bike – as I subsequently discovered the fucking tool who passed Halfords's rigorous recruitment process didn’t click send after he took down all the details. The key word here though is “subsequently” because in my weekly phone calls to find out if my bike had been delivered I was told to try a few days later the first few times, then eventually that the supplier was giving them problems. The supplier possibly was and is is and the representatives of Halfords were/are right to bring that to my attention. Alternatively they were lying wee useless fuckwits. Anyhoo after however many weeks had passed I phoned “head office” and after a few more calls to the useless fuckwits outlet later I finally got some clarity; send got clicked and eventually I got my bike.

From this point on mebbe it's all my fault – I was that excited to finally get the fucking bike I’d now been paying for for months I didn’t pay enough attention to how it wasn’t set-up by the Halfords fuckwits. Mebbe them thinking nearly flat tyres are cool, telling me "that seat's a bit low" rather than assisting me with altering it or not oiling the chain let alone suggesting I might want to buy some oil and thus achieve some cross-fucking-sales were clues to Halfords being fucking shite? I don’t know. What I do know is taking something out a box and handing it to someone is something a fucking monkey can do if you gie it enough bananas let alone minimum wage and only counts as product knowledge if you are a fucking moron - Halfords do not "go the extra mile".

Anyhoo, as I subsequently discovered on quite a busy street the real issue was the fact the fucking gear change didn’t work and that the brakes weren’t too clever either, but that’s OK you ignore the Halfords outlet morons telling you they can’t take your bike in for a fortnight and just turn up (carefully and slowly) and say my brakes don’t work and neither do my gears and I’ve only had this a coupla weeks and the actual branch manager will see to it personally.

Except the other day my gears stopped working again because the people who perform bike maintenance at Halfords are fucking shite, much like Halfords itself, which is fucking shite and to be avoided like the fucking plague. I thought I’d phone the cycle to work number at Halfords and get some help and hey presto I got through quite quickly – unfortunately they told me to call the customer service number, which took a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot longer although thankfully while I was waiting I was reassuringly told that my call was being taken seriously by some robotic voice. Except, Mr Robot was wrong because Halfords have obviously made the strategic decision that it should take a lot less time to answer a possible sales enquiry than it should customer service, which is a fucking obvious guide as to what is taken seriously and what isn’t. Anyhoo, when I eventually got through they were useless cunts and my gears still don’t work and I’ve no idea when they ever will.

But, hey let’s turn that frown upside down by using my personal experience to spell out some realities about Halfords as a business and as an organisation:

1) Halfords is a company that does not train up their employees to the point where they can understand or operate routine company processes
2) Representatives of Halfords are comfortable with lying to the point of making defamatory comments about suppliers/other companies without any substance whatsoever
3) Halfords is a company that is happy to let its customers ride off on bikes that don’t work properly regardless of the very obvious risk that poses to said customer’s lives.
4) Halfords is happy to let people who are incapable of performing satisfactory routine bike maintenance perform routine bike maintenance (regardless of the very obvious risk to said customers’ lives).
5) Halfords systematically apportions significantly more resources to sales than customer service despite their inability to sell bikes that work, indicating Halfords does not take customer service seriously.

So yeah, Halfords is fucking shite – they lie, they don’t understand the products they sell and the customer service is fucking shite. Spend your money elsewhere and question them being the only cycle to work supplier at your work if it turns out they are. You could even check out this blerk for another example of Halfords being shite or this one or even look at this in the meantime.

An 8th August postscript - Didn't realise Halfords was actually called Halfrauds. But, aye, one of the things that makes Halfords utter fucking shite is that while they sell products with warranties its nearly impossible to get your bike in to them to get it repaired rendering the warranty useless in practice. My experience was most times I phoned the person to talk to about bikes was unavailable. The odd occassion I got him he explained I couldn't book a slot to get my bike repaired, rather I had to hand it in and mebbe I would get it fixed within 2 weeks if I was lucky, an arrangement so awkward as to encourage me to go elsewhere. So I did. I went here to a local business that couldn't have been more spot on - same day (afternoon actually) service, loads of useful advice and a ridiculously good price, all things that highlight how Halfords are rip off money grubbing useless shites.