Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas 2011, the yo yos tale

It was our first Christmas in Rotherham, a town which not so many years ago was twinned with Mordor, but after much unrest and complaints from the locals, Mordor won and the twinning was ended. And so December the 25th arrived at our little flat in Rotherham, a few days earlier I had gone out and shot the Turkey myself. the staff at Tesco's weren't very happy about it and insisted that I had to purchase it now as no other soft bugger would.

The Turkey was cooked with great care and a feast fit for ourselves was prepared for consumption on Christmas day. And lo from the East (local Asda) there came some crackers which were pulled asunder with great abandon. Out of Angie's fell some incredible nail clippers, while out of mine came a majestic yo-yo in a deep irridescent pink. When held up to the light, it split the rays up into a rainbow with a lovely warming pink hue that was almost magical to behold.

I examined the humour and the words of wisdom that fell magically from the cracker, the humour inside was subtle and incredibly amusing and indeed, it took some seconds for us to stop laughing. Then I inspected the yo-yo, I carefully held it in my hand, checking it's weight, it's balance, it's shape, it was perfect.

I stood up and assumed the stance of a professional yo-yoer, tied the string carefully round my finger and extended my arm, with a deft flick I sent the weighted end majestically towards the wall intending to pull it back to me at the last moment leaving everyone watching gasping with delight and amazement. The yo-yo reached the end of it's string and at that point became a yo as it and the string parted company and the speeding bit of plastic now smashed against the wall and resolved itself into it's constituant components.

Bloody cheap gifts from crackers

Friday, 9 December 2011

December in Rotherham

It's hard to think that this time last year I was completely and utterly buggered thanks to an allergic reaction to some dry skin stuff and incorrect medication, the tablets that sorted me have left their mark as my kidney and liver functions are still not quite back to normal and I feel the cold a bit more now that I used to.

Of course, this time last year I was working in Best Buy Aintree, there were plans for many more stores and in a few months I would be offered the position of Senior Counter Intelligence Agent at Rotherham Best Buy. An offer I took despite having reservations about the store manager and some time later my fellings about him were proven to be true.

I'm betting he was a very spoiled only child that had been bullied and was now using his new found powers on those that worked for him. Then in October came salvation, my immediate manager  returned to the Dark Side or DSG as we call them and I was offered a position there, it took a bit of thinking but I accepted the position and within 2 weeks of accepting the job. Best Buy announced that it was pulling out of the UK market. It's unusual that I get to make a decision that turns out that well but thankfully things have gone my way for once.

A few weeks later I once more made contact with my son Jason, I was foolish to lose contact with him so many years ago and although there is very little chance of a complete reconciliation, talking is a good start.

So next year will hopefully see us moving a bit further south in the direction of Newark or surrounding area and maybe things will start to come together properly.
Let's see what the future brings.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

November 21st, 2011

So what's special about the 21st of November, well it's that time of year that I think once more of my father Ken Holt.

When I say father, I mean the man that brought me up as if I was of his own flesh. It appears that for some reason my parents couldn't conceive. And in April 1959, I was born the illegitimate son of June Sedgmond and someone who I don't know yet.

A lot of things have happened over the years, including meeting the other two children of June, they have accepted me as if they had known me for ages and I am eternally grateful for this.

But back to Ken, he was born on the 21st of November 1921, this would make him 90 tomorrow. It's stupid now, but there's a lot about him that I don't know. How he met Pam, my mother, what happened to him over they years and of course, never saying goodbye to him when I had the chance to because of a stupid argument
There was a record that hit the  charts when he died, one of the lines  goes:
"I wasn't there that morning, when my father passed away, I didn't get to tell him all the things I had to say".

It's too late now, but all I can say is I miss you.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bye bye Best Buy, Best Buy bye bye

It was July 2010 when I resumed being an active Geek Squad Agent at the new Best Buy store in Aintree, watch out Dixons Group and Comet, Best Buy were here to whoop yo arse was basically what they were trying to say. We will be better, friendlier and not as pushy as the competition, this was drilled into us at all stages of our training.

And then the doors opened and reality hit, targets had to be hit, we weren't always cheaper, the price match had lots of conditions, stock was not coming in as quick as we wanted and so forth.

There were plans to open up someting in the region of 200 stores over the next few years, store number 10 was Rotherham and I was offered the position of Senior Counter Intelligence Agent there, it was not geographically the way I wanted to move but it seemed the next logical step if I wanted to get promoted and move somewhere nice. Then Enfield came and future stores were put on hold while a review happened.

To be honest, it was about this time that I realised I had made a mistake moving over to Rotherham, describing the store manager as an areshole would be doing an injustice to aresholes. How the hell the ex manager of an underwear department became the manager of an electrical retailer I completely fail to understand.

And then there were the times he could be seem crying by the windows because somebody had upset him. The guy was probably an only child and had been bullied at school and he now had the upper hand and it was his store and if you didn't do what he said he would take it home with him.

After many months of being bullied by him and I do mean bullied for not doing my job properly without the aid of a job description of any kind I decided that I would just shut up and do exactly what I was told and come January would move one. Then our DCI decided he had taken enough crap and went back to work at one of our rivals. Myself and another two agents followed suit shortly afterwards and less than a month later, Best Buy announced that all the UK stores would be closing.

Using just a bit of common sense we can see some cockups here, it took nearly three years from the announcement of their coming to actually opening the first store. This gave the competition time to get their act together. Apart from the uniform and the fact that all the staff were generally excellent, underneath they weren't that different to any other retailer.

People in the UK didn't have clue who Best Buy were, driving into Rotherham for instance you would think they were another Asda or Tesco at first glance unless you were familiar with the name. There wasn't even a Geek Squad sign on the outside of the store.

Completely underestimating the competition was probably the biggest mistake, DSGi had been around for a long time and still had a lot of fight left in them, Comet are still hanging on in there, the big supermarkets also have quite a large chunk of the market and when it came to mobile phones, their biggest competitor was themselves under the Carphone Warehose brand.

And so we say bye bye to Best Buy in the UK, it's a shame as it looked so good when it started and held so much promise. But in it's passing it has managed to give a kick to the competition who have improved the way they work and this can only be a good thing for the public.

I feel for all the staff who were given so much to hope for and were eventually let down by bad timing and in certain cases by a store manager who at best would be capabable of managing a corner shop.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

April was interesting, that's the month I got an offer of promotion to Senior Counter Intelligence Agent at Geek Squad Precinct 4031 in Rotherham, the start date was May the 1st and to be honest May has been a crap month.

150 miles a day in the Nissan at a cost of about £25 for the round trip in a month which is about 5 weeks between pay days has cause some considerable financial strain to say the least.

The offer of financial assistance disappeared and nobody seems to remember making it so finances are being drained quicker that I would like.

But the store was coming together nicely and the team seemed to be quite good and  bonded well together. And as pay day approached, it's was time to get some accommodation in Rotherham sorted. It's not quite the direction I wanted to move in but to get any future promotion, this seemed the way to go.

No more stores in the pipeline yet this year so hopefully this will give us time to get our life in order and prepare for a move to an area we would like to go to when the next batch of stores are announced.

Still no joy with the Bugg Centre and the missing wages, but as they say revenge is a dish best served cold, or is that ice cream.

Found out that some of the agents I used to work with in Geek Squad Covert Ops in the UK have got their badges at last, they deserve it as they are an amazing bunch and I miss working with them, yes even the ginger one.

Our next major task was to get our belongings all packed up again and get moved over to South Yorkshire.

This all happened without any major hitches and we are now living in Rotherham. I'd really like to say what a wonderful place it is but to be honest, it's not that exciting. Still, it's not permanent (I hope) so let's see what happens.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Oh the times they are a changeing

So the Bugg Centre has closed it's doors in Blackpool leaving a lot of people with either broken machines or no machines at all, Denis has dissapeared and the papers and trading standards are after him as are the staff that want their wages. 

On a personal note, the mighty Rover finally drew it's last gasp while bringing me home from work. It travelled down the M57 with no problems and then at the end of the bypass it just cut out. A 15 amp fuse had blown again, a new one was fitted and this too went bang when the car went above 1500 rpm. A tow-truck came and brought it home and a few days later it was replaced with a Nissan Primera 1.6 petrol in white.

The old faithful Rover was taken to it's final resting place at a breakers yard in Runcorn and a tear was shed when the certificate of destruction arrived at the house about a week later.

The car was not particularly good in any way but was flawed in ways that made it almost loveable and human.

And now there are some challenges ahead, I have interviews lined up for 2 new positions in the company I work for, one is local and provides a vehicle while the other is in Cardiff.

So the Nissan could be the shortest lived car of the lot if I get the former position, watch this space to see what happend next.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The first Ramble of 2011

It's amazing how much things can change over the course of a few weeks, three weeks ago I was barely able to stand up due to some fairly dodgy medication from the locak doctor that flared up a skin condition and then some more medication that made things even worse. Thankfully, I got the right treatment from a doctor on house call and then finally put on a course of tretament from a dermatologist that means I now have proper skin and I actually feel human again.
I still have no fingerprints at the moment but they should start to come back, and then of course there was The Bugg Centre of Blackpool, more cheques arrived from the company to pay my outstanding wages and these of course were stopped when they were presented.
I tried to be friendly but got nowhere so the courts have now been brought in which has cost me more money.
Then there's a chance of some promotion at work which could result in another move or possibly two in the coming year.
I'm hoping that 2011 will be better that the one that has just finished. January is going to be a bit tough, but hopefully from then on things should start to look up and normality will be back with us once more.
So to all out there who are having a crap time, here's some advice.
Talk to people, take advice and Never Let Go, things will improve, it just may take a long time.

In the meantime, enjoy this video from Geek Squad in the US.