I never fail to be surprised at the incredibly strange decisions that Homebase makes sometimes constantly.

Guess what we’ve just got in stock today to be saved in the warehouse.

That’s right, Christmas Trees!

What the fuck Homebase, Its not even the end of September yet! The first floor of the warehouse is literally filled to the brim with trees, with no room for anything else up there. I also know for a fact that the majority of customers will only buy trees a few weeks before Christmas, or afterwards, because around those times you can usually get some insane prices on usually expensive gear. Last year, we were selling off 6ft fibre optic trees for £4. £4! £4. No wonder you aren’t making any goddamn money.

So for anybody wanting to buy Christmas trees at Homebase (not likely for any readers here, but you never know), leave it until a few weeks before. These are valuable tips from insiders, you know!

Long time no post, apparently. Blame that on work. I blame a lot of things on it, myself.

OK, so a few days ago we got the results for last months “Mystery Shopper” surveys. Basically if you don’t know what these are, its where some person wanders around as a customer taking note of whether they get good service or not, basically. There’s not really much more to it than that.

Back onto the topic at hand, we got the results and they were decidedly average. They found problems with the four areas they look at, which would be the exterior of the store and the front end area, two questions to shopfloor staff, and the checkout process. I didn’t pay too much attention to the shopfloor because that was OK, on the whole. Now, regarding the tills and customer service, this is where the bulk of the problems were.

The short story is that on the tills, the cashier only offered basic service, didn’t talk much to customers outside of basic service lines, and didn’t ask for the loyalty card. This was pretty much how it went on the customer  service desk, for the record. Also, no smiles were offered.

Sounds pretty bad, right? Well. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Lets look at the other side of the story for a moment here.

What this survey fails to mention is that there were no other till trained staff available on that day, due to holidays, sick notes, and what have you. Same story with the customer services. So basically, for what constituted 95% of the working day there was only one person manning each area. Of course, on Sundays – the day the Mystery Shopper was in – it gets busy. Take both these things into account, and what do you get? Long queues and waiting times. Feel free to throw in the random occurrences of barcodes not scanning, tills crashing, and a whole host of other things. So all in all, the staff were stressed.

This leads to an unescapable catch 22 situation. Either the staff follow all the guidelines, score the marks on service and lose out on speed of service, or serve people at full pelt and discount the “extended” service marks until the queues subside. Normally more staff would be thrown into the fray, but of course today that wasn’t an option, considering there weren’t any.

Of course, after results are in this leads to a high speed buck passing regarding who is really at fault here. The managers, who fail to ensure the proper staff and relief staff are available, or the staff for not providing the proper service?

Also not smiling. Maybe now it should be clear why we weren’t.

Either I’m incredibly stupid or remarkably patient for staying in this job for four and a half years.

Fun fact: This was originally posted over on YCNN before here. So good I’m posting it twice!
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I’ve been planning on doing this review for quite a while now, but ironically enough it’s been the game itself that has been delaying me from throwing this review up here. Mainly because I can’t seem to stop playing it, no matter how much I need to get other things done. Like writing a review, for instance.

No matter, as I’ve beaten the to within an inch of its life, and now I don’t need to play the game… as much. Damn you, game! Considering my DS’s battery has ran out, while its charging I can finally get on with starting this thing.

I’m not going to bother including any screenshots here, as you can get far better grabs from Gamespot, or – shudder – IGN.

Read the rest of this entry »

OK so I picked this up a while ago, breezed through the easy stages, and had a challenging time but relatively trouble free time on the Normal tier tracks.

Until I reached the Final Track, Jumping Jack Flash.

Well. Whoever designed this particular level can go and kill themselves right now as far as I’m concerned for unleashing this monstrosity of a stage on the population. Seriously. The game lulls you into a false sense of security for the first two phases. It’s still a challenge, but nothing that an EBA player who got this far on their own couldn’t handle. Of course, it doesn’t stay that way. Oh no.

After you polish off phase two, You think you’re the goddamn king. You can take any combination of numbers this game throws at you. No sequence  too tough, no phrase bar too long, no spinner unspinnable. Of course, thinking this way leads you into the unavoidable rapefest that is phase three. The game literally spews numbers at you with wild abandon until you either shatter your stylus during the onslaught and break down suffering nightmares for the rest of your life, or it rapes you so hard and so fast you won’t even realise you’ve been violated in such a heinous manner until you try to sit down. Then you feel the true wrath of Jumping Jack Flash. And that’s if you haven’t had a seizure already. I don’t even want to know what vile debauchery is inflicted on you after that.

Jumping Jack Flash is coming, and he wants your ass. For dinner.

I think this game gave me cancer.

OK so yeah I should really get a schedule or something for updating this because I never seem to have much time to write out a decent post. Well, except for this one. Bear in mind I’m not in any way suggesting this is a decent post, just for the record.

Also the ulterior motive here is that I need – well, not need per se – to test out Windows Live Writer, to see if that’s any better then using the WordPress editor which quite often likes to disregard my line breaks entirely, thus words end up scrolling behind my sidebar.

If you’re actually interested in giving WLW (beta) a spin, you can filch a copy from the Live Ideas Betas page. I said filch, not feltch. Filthy bastards. Well so far for this post it seems fairly decent, even if it does run a little slow on my computer. I can blame this on installing the program on a wristwatch, which is the equivalent power of my computer in today’s terms. I’d upgrade it my machine, but that’d just be like putting a carbon bodywork kit on a Trabant, or perhaps more glamourously, polishing a turd. Either way its a waste of time. I’d recommend trying it out because its actually quite a decent program.

In other news, I’m planning on throwing up a review of Custom Robo Arena sometime, when I finally stop playing it. I wouldn’t expect it very soon because apart from work, this game is the other thing that’s been devouring my free time. It’s not often a game will do that these days. The last time this happened was when I bought Paper Mario 2, and that was a superb game.

I miss the copious amounts of free time I used to have. Damn you, Time!

I swear you can’t make this kind of thing up.

Company worker Kazuo Osada, 54, was on a jaunt with 10 other bikers yesterday when he failed to negotiate a bend. However, he was “unaware his right leg had been severed below the knee apparently because his attention was focused on the strong pain he felt from the crash”, according to police.

I assume he only found out about his errant leg when he went to put down his kickstand.

You may recall in a previous post I mentioned a little thing called the “Till Closed” sign. Well, for no reason other than I feel like making a post about work, here is the sign in question:

Till Closed Sign

Ignore the shakycam footage, the Homebase Guy there and the Venus Fly Traps for a minute. Now, this particular image was taken from the average spot a customer will stand in before they mosey on over to my checkout.

Please tell me you can see that sign clearly, because a startlingly large percentage of customers cannot actually see that notice. Never mind the fact its bright orange, right at the front of the checkout, and says something to the effect of “THIS TILL IS CLOSED, PLEASE PAY AT CUSTOMER SERVICES.” In 72pt Comic Sans, no less. How is this difficult to see? People will stand there for – no joke – ages looking like they just beamed down from Saturn wondering where the cashier is to take their crazy Saturn Money. I will suggest to Nondescript Jim that from now on, all Homebase signage be rendered in Saturnese as well as English. Also, that the sign be changed from an A4 sheet of paper, to a colossal neon sign that flashes and shoots awesome lasers all over the goddamn place while playing “La Cucaracha”.

In other fluffier news, here is a cat:

AND ITS NOT EVEN CATURDAY

So I took mo otspe ak – not “moots peak” – and ran it through some intertron doohickey that renders my posts into lolcats format.

To think, its not even Caturday yet! You can never fill your posts with enough cats, though. NEVER.

Not even then.

We will return to our regularly unscheduled updates shortly.

Just a little heads up here, for those of you who may be thinking of buying Mario Strikers Charged hoping to get some intercontinental matchups going. Sounds pretty cool, right? Yeah.

Nintendo dropped the ball with internets play by not allowing EU and US – and I’m assuming other regions – to play matches against each other. As far as I’m aware here, lag is a total non-issue as I’m certain Xbox Live can do these international matches without breaking a sweat.

And Friend Codes! Don’t forget Friend codes!  Because using your Wii code – that is, a code unique to each Wii console, much like an Xbox Live Gamertag – would totally be impractical and inconvenient for passing around for netplay purposes, right?

Well, no. Not really.

I hope this isn’t going to be the standard for future Wifi Games. Not sure if this is the same deal with Pokeymans, because thats not out on Wii here yet.

I’m sure by now some of you have heard of Wii Fit, right? The game that promotes fitness or something or other by getting you to balance on a board. How this actually makes you fit I don’t know because frankly I’m not keeping too big an eye on it, what with being the peak of fitness myself (note: lie).

Alas, already people are looking to ruin the experience by finding you can still play the game by just sitting on the board.

Now you can get fit by sitting down with a cheeseburger in each hand! Kind of like playing DDR by just swatting the arrows furiously with your fat meaty hands, I guess. I don’t know if anybody actually does that but I wouldn’t put it past some people. OK, fair play if you’ve had both legs amputated, but for the rest of us theres no excuse for us people not to thrash around wildly in time to flying arrows, is there? Or balance on a small board, at least.

Well, I have an excuse. I’d look stupid doing it.