Sunday, 30 September 2012

Customer service is right but the customer isn't always

I believe in Customer service but I can't agree with or accept the phrase that "The customer is always right". No, far from it. This morning, I was in Morrison's supermarket and this girl was collecting money for an Under 15's girls football team. She was about 15 or 16 years old. I am not quite sure, but anyway she offered to pack my bags for me. In response, I said that she could.

Due to her friendly and polite manner, I put a pound in the bucket for the cause she was collecting for. She thanked me. Had she been rude or surly or unpleasant, then she would not have got a penny from me. That rule also applies to other places where I have been a customer or purchased something. If the staff are friendly or helpful or pleasant, then I will want to go back again. If they are rude, objectionable or disinterested, I will not want to.

That said, I don't always go along with this idea the customer is right. I have seen in stores or shops and have seen some customers speak to checkout staff or store workers like they are a piece of shit, in the most disgusting manner. I have also seen customers purchase items, then change their mind a minute later. Therefore, it works both ways. On occasion I can see why sometimes a staff member MIGHT snap a customer.

So whilst I appreciate pleasant and helpful staff in a supermarket, shop or store, I don't buy into the philosophy that the customer is always right. If someone snaps at you as a one-off, you don't know what might have happened beforehand or what bullshit they might have had to put up with from some customers.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Why buy what you don't need or use?

How many times is it said by someone "If I won the lottery I would do this or that or go there"? Say if I won 20 million on the Eurolottery, I would tour Britain, Europe, the USA, Canada, visit Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, and go on a round world cruise. Apart from that, there is nowhere else in the world I plan on visiting!

I would never, if I had that sort of money, buy something I don't need or just spend for spending's sake. I can never understand people who win millions on the lottery, who buy Mansions with Tennis Courts, Swimming Pools and Music Rooms when they don't play Tennis or hate the game, don't swim very often or never, and can't sing or play a note. It is the same with people who buy Rolex watches who have loads of money. It must be a status symbol or something. Why spend thousands of pounds on one watch? It just tells the time like any other. I have had my Casio Watch which I wear since August 2005. It has needed two new batteries putting in during that time. If I had that sort of money, I would buy hundreds of Casio watches rather than thousands on one Rolex. Same as having 10 cars. I can understand having two or three yes, but you can only drive one car at a time.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Asperger's affects what makes me angry, where and when

Isn't it odd that some things make us very angry and want to explode and others don't? What can make one person very angry might not affect or bother another. The location we are in at one moment can also affect how we react to events or stimuli. Certainly with me it does. I am more likely to snap at somebody or something, if I receive some bad news or something unpleasant happens in my life, if someone is prattling on too much at the time or is asking me too many questions at once or in a situation where there is a lot going off around me or too many people around me than in a quiet, calm environment.

In fact, the unexpected or mental overload seems to make me angry or want to explode more than a bad or sad event or more than provocation. At least I can tolerate provocation up to a certain point.

There are irritations which piss a lot of people off and yet don't bother me. What makes me have to count to ten are traffic jams, queues, hold-ups, being late for an event, because I feel I am letting the person down I have arranged to see or someone being late without telling me or phoning me, which I consider to be extremely rude, or too much going off at once. I also get irritated and agitated by stimuli such as car alarms, burglar alarms and bus engines and pneumatic drills.

I also will never visit a relative if s/he has visitors. I feel like I am intruding, and I hate to do that or to butt in something which isn't anything to do with me.

I guess it is all related to my Asperger's.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Charity Becomes Big Business

Yesterday I was asked to donate to an Animal Rescue Charity, which I did, because I care a great deal about the welfare of animals, such as Dogs, Cats, Birds etc, and can't stand to see cruelty of any kind towards them. Shortly after making the donation, say 200 yards later, I was stopped by someone who almost jumped out at me, asking if I wanted to make monthly donations to the Red Cross Charity by Direct Debit. I explained that I couldn't do it. I would make a small donation then but they explained they would only take donations via direct debit.

A short time after that, I was stopped and asked if I wanted to donate to a children with cancer charity, again, by a monthly sum, via direct debit. No donations. All of these charities are good causes, that is beyond doubt, but the simple fact is you cannot donate to every charity under the Sun. Even if at times I might feel a shithouse for doing so. Autism and Animal charities are my favourites along with one or two others and they are the first ones I always make donations to.

I can still remember being horrified seeing Michael Burke's report on the Ethophian Famine as a kid, when watching the news. This led to the release of the single "Feed the world" by Band AID, and then the famous Live AID concert at Wembley, masterminded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, on the 13th July following year, which I can vaguely remember. The USA also held a concert as well for the same charity. In late 1989, famine threatened Ethopia again, and this time a new BAND AID was formed, led by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. At Christmas 2004 the single was released for the 3rd time in 20 years, and each time go to number and rightfully so. However, it makes me wonder where the money is going with issues such as famine relief when it repeatedly occurs after vast donations of money? Is it going into the pockets of corrupt dictators in Africa? Is it not going to the people who need it and who the donations were intended for?

It isn't necessarily corrupt dictators who embezzele money or charitable donations intended for the starving or poor in their country. Sometimes, those you want to help or support don't receive it as your donations can become gobbled up in administration and costs.

A lot of famous or non-famous people do charity work behind the scenes and don't feel the need to tell everybody about it or to boast to all and sundry. I admire those types of people. However, you get many famous people, and some who aren't famous, who make sure that the TV cameras are there so they can be seen doing charity work, or in the case of famous individuals, they do it to live down a scandal or get back into the publics good books after a scandal or crisis, or if I am going to be really cynical, to get their MBE or OBE or knighthood. I have no time for egotistical charity workers who seek fame, praise, gongs or glory or do it to make themselves look good or better.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

You don't have to be famous to say something deep or profound

Have you ever noticed that world-famous people who have changed the course of history, such as Churchill, Einstein, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Bruce Forsyth are quoted and their sayings are used by others repeatedly. That is very well and good, but what about non-famous people who have said things just as witty or as profound or inspirational... For example, Harry Shufflebottom, a 63 year old shit-shoveller might say something witty or original or profound, or William Stickers, a 45 year old building site labourer.

For example, would "Follow your instincts, more often than not, they are right".. Harry Shufflebottom, a 63 year old steelworker, Thursday 13th September 1979 or ‎"How successful your life is depends on how happy you are. If you are happy then your life is a success"... Fred Wood, a 40 year old Mill worker - Monday 20th October 1952 or "Happiness is whatever you define it to be in your own mind" - Albert Burkinshaw, a 29 year old coal miner - Sunday 1st February 1914.... be quoted and repeated worldwide if made by a famous person?

One of my favourite sayings is "If your life has been a success depends if you are happy. If you are happy, then your life has been a success. Someone might be married, kids, beautiful home and luxury cars and holidays and be miserable as sin or someone might have nothing and not have two pennies to rub together and be happy..."

I am a nobody and even today, despite the advent of the Internet and social media, I can't see my saying being circulated and spread around the world.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Judge Situations On Their Merits Not Rules

I am, or at least I try to be, a law-abiding individual. I also try to be honest and dislike lying to or taking advantage of other people. I have never broke the law or been arrested or in any kind of trouble with the law at any time in my life. People say that I see things in black and white, and yet I find that many of laws or commands in society cannot always be applied.

The first one I find contradictory and confusing is that men shouldn't swear in front of women and children. Fair enough, admirable in theory. I generally only swear when angry or to put emphasis on something I have said. To swear for no apparent reason, means that it loses its effect. It also indicates that I have got Tourettes or have a poor vocabulary. I have heard women and children come out with as much foul language as men. You can take that both ways. The first one is that don't stoop to their level. Show you are better than them. The second one is that if they are going to do it, why shouldn't you?

Another confusing rule is that you should always stand up for an older person on a bus or a train. However, supposing you are 30 years of age and a vigorous, energetic 72-year-old gets on a bus/train followed by a 29-year-old with Cerebral Palsy or MS, who would you give your seat up to? I know who I would give it up to. I wouldn't expect someone five years older than me to give their seat up for me, who was in ordinary health, and I wouldn't give my seat up for someone five years younger than me in ordinary health.

The third one is that you should treat older people with respect. No. You should treat anybody with respect, regardless of how old they are. But respect is something which has to be earned, not automatically given. At least that is how I think and operate. If someone is objectionable, or rude, or difficult, regardless of their age, whether they are a teenager or a person in their 40's or 70's or 80's, then as far as I am concerned, they don't gain my respect. They aren't worth knowing. So why should I respect them? If someone of any age treats other people with respect and consideration, then they are worthy of respect, and will get it from me. If someone older than me is taking nonsense or says something I don't like or agree with, I will tell them, just as I would to someone younger than myself.

The other week I was talking to someone on the phone and I used the F**k word. I apologised because there was an old woman stood nearby. I had a daft thought immediately of myself apologising to her and she saying "Don't F*cking worry about it, I F*cking swear myself often. There are some C*nts about aren't there?".

Mind you, it is also contradictory, when some people say that the TV is not what it used to be or as good as it used to be, the next they complain it is full of repeats!

There are many other things that people say which don't make sense. It makes me laugh when people claim to be a lifelong supporter of a football team. I saw on Facebook a while ago a 23-year old man wrote "I have supported Liverpool for 23 years". Perhaps when he was born his cries were interpreted as "Liverpool!". Perhaps when he gurgled it was "Come on you Reds!". Perhaps his dad took him to Anfield in his cot. The first FA cup final in my lifetime was between Liverpool and Man Utd but I have no recollection of watching it.

Another rule I find hypocritical is this that you are not supposed to speak ill of the dead. When you didn't like someone when they were alive, why should you suddenly now pay tribute to them now they are dead? As far as I am concerned, if I didn't like or get on with someone when they were alive, it is no great loss for me now they are dead. When that happens I would either say "Good riddance I hope he fries" or not comment on all. But to claim you are sad when someone has died when you aren't or to lie about your relationship with a deceased person is hypocritical.

And you wonder why I don't make sense of this world?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

How anonymous can you be?

It makes me laugh when famous people join Alcoholics Anonymous. By doing that, they aren't going to be very anonymous are they?!!!

Breasts matter more than human life

What do Kate Middleton or Kate Windsor as she is now know, and the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, in Sheffield, in April 1989, have in common? Very little on the face of it. Kate Middleton was seven years old and was living in Berkshire, when Hillsborough happened. The only thing they have in common is that both made the news in September 2012, in the same week, and both received disproportionate coverage to what they should have received.

On Wednesday 12th September 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel reported its findings on the disaster after a two year long inquiry. The panel was set up in 2010. It found that up to 41 of those who died that day might have survived had they received adequate emergency care. Only one ambulance was allowed through on to the pitch and the authorities were simply too slow to react. It was also revealed that South Yorkshire Police carried out a systematic cover-up to exonerate senior officers and took part in a smear operation to put the blame on fans for being drunk and violent. Hundreds of witness statements from officers on duty were significantly altered, including 116 which criticised the match-day police operation and its leadership.

Coroner Stefan Popper sanctioned the taking of blood samples from the dead to establish alcohol levels, the panel said, and the Police National Computer was used to check the pasts of some victims in an effort to "impugn the reputation of the deceased".

I came to the conclusion many years ago that the Police played a part in causing the Hillsborough disaster. The officers who went to aid and attend the dying and injured were not responsible. They must be praised, but guilty are Duckingfield and the top brass. I salute the bravery of those parents and campaigners on Merseyside who have, with their own money, and with little support in the media, and often with slurs against them cast, by the establishment, the police, often an unsympathetic national media and they received no help from any government. They fought and fought and fought and finally have got the truth to be published and stated. This is a true David v Goliath story.

When the tragedy happened, the Sun newspaper printed one of the most evil headlines in British newspaper history. They said that Liverpool fans urinated on the dead, stole from the dead and violent attacked brave policemen. Last week, after 23 and a half years, they finally did so along with Kelvin MacKenzie, who stood by the April 1989 headline in December 2006.

If I had lost a family member at Hillsborough, I personally would never forgive them for what they said or wrote. The Police, the Sun or MacKenzie. Irvine Patnick, the former MP for Sheffield Hallam, who also spread these lies, has apologised. He should be stripped of his knighthood. Boris Johnson has apologised for saying in 2004 that people in Liverpool wallow in a victim status. Michael Howard, the former Tory leader, forced him to go to Liverpool and apologise then. There has to be apologies from Sir Bernard Ingham who helped to spread their vicious lies. Duckenfield has to be prosecuted, as does anybody else involved in this disaster. It won't do for there to be some cover up where everything is moved upstairs to some secret committee and thus is a bland whitewash. A full, free, frank, independent public investigation is needed and only that will be sufficient now.

But still, you might argue or ask what does this have to do with Kate Middleton?

There have been photographs of Kate Middleton, topless, which were taken outside an house in France, by a zoom lense, last Thursday. I refer to it was Breastgate or Kategate, and it was reported in the national media last Friday, and provoked an intense controversy. It whipped up days of endless coverage and minutes of airtime, in the national media, day after day and sparked off debates. In contrast, coverage of the Hillsborough findings received one days coverage in the newspapers and national media. Apart from some coverage in the national newspapers, last Sunday it more or less died off.

Doesn't it say everything about the media today, when an event where 96 people died, which has had been covered up for 23 and a half years, and vicious and evil lies have been told and repeated about it during that time gets one days coverage whereas a photograph of somebody topless in France has had blanket coverage, which only stopped because of the terrible and tragic murder of two female police officers in Manchester on Tuesday 18th September 2012. If that had not happened, and we of course, wish it had not, then it is very likely the Breastgate or Kategate scandal would still be receiving pages and pages of coverage and minutes of airtime.

Perhaps I am being paranoid or just silly, BUT, I wouldn't be surprised if the blanket coverage of the breastgate or Kategate scandal was a conspiracy, by the national newspapers, to take public attention away from Hillsborough because it was embarrassing to the establishment and some of the Police. Not one bit.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Diagnosis and Social Class

I frequently wonder if there is or was, certainly in the past, a social class aspect to age of diagnosis, with conditions such as Autism, Asperger's and ADHD. It is my personal belief that there was and possibly still is. I am working-class. I was born and brought up in a solidly working-class family. On my mum's side of the family, my mum's dad worked down the pit as a coal miner as did his father before him. On my Grandmother's side of the family, her father was a coal miner as were two of her brothers before one became a Vicar. My dad has worked as at a Glassworks, foundry worker, welder and Postman. My mum in a water bottle factory, onion factory, done Telephone sales, and a cleaner and dinner lady.

Nothing concrete or no condition was ever suggested of me when I was young, but there were comments on my school reports, which indicated that things were far from fine, from as early as Infant School. Such comments became more frequent during the Secondary School years. The Secondary School I went to, quite frankly, and I will not retract this or apologise for writing it, was a shithole. A cesspit, and a toilet of a place. I hated it with every atom of my being and I hate it even more nowadays, as my experiences, learning and understanding, as I have got older, has made me actually realise how bad it was.

Some of the Teachers weren't very good at teaching or controlling a class. Not all of them can be described as being this, of course, a few were good Teachers and good at their jobs. As well, depending on the Teachers, a good number of lessons were ruined by a minority of shithouses and arseholes. Yes, whoever it was that said your school years or teen years are the happiest days of your life obviously had very narrow experiences of life. The Secondary School I attended quite frankly did not give a shit. They commented on my behaviour and conduct but did nothing about it. Well, I don't feel any guilt or shame for slamming them on here. I don't owe them any thanks or favours. I ignored my former form Teacher delibrately and ostentatiously in June 2005 and I would do the same if we were to meet again, which I hope we don't.

I think that children brought up in middle or upper class families or homes would have been more likely to look or have looked for signs that something is or was missing or not quite right earlier. If I had been born into a middle or upper-class family I might have been sent to a private school, perhaps paid for by my LEA if my parents had looked for signs or the school had been more aware. There are certainly other cases of people who I have read about or known from middle-class backgrounds, whose parents had them educated away, as I have just stated, or got them diagnosed earlier and more support. These parents probably looked for an answer or a reason behind their children's behaviour when it was different or stood out or why something was amiss. Their schools and education system or authorities probably did. Some of these people were only a few years younger than myself, not 30 or 40 years younger.

Further evidence for the social class correlation is that often, children brought up in middle or upper class families or homes will often get diagnosed earlier, as their parents read child development books more, and will look for signs or that something is missing or not quite right earlier.

In the distant past, it was widely believed that both Asperger's Syndrome and Kanner's type of Autism only could occur in white, middle and upper class, academic and professional families. The children who Kanner saw were all from such backgrounds. The reason for this is that middle and upper class parents were likely to have been better educated, more knowledgeable, articulate, assertive, and more pushy. Therefore, they will have taken their child to see a specialist early in life. This probably led to the theory that AS and Autism can only happen in middle and upper class families. They would have been more likely to look for a cause for their child's behaviour than many working-class and poor parents, who would have been more likely to attribute it to bad or disruptive behaviour, and therefore, sanctions and discipline were needed to cure or reduce the problem. The latter probably wouldn't have looked for a solution or reason.

I have read that in the past, a lot of upper and middle class parents tried and pushed for a diagnosis of Dyslexia when their kids weren't up to scratch, rather than face the basic fact that they were a slower learner or not up to it.

Marc Segar, who produced a book called the "Asperger's Syndrome guide to survival" was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism in 1981 when he was seven years old, when his parents took him to see Elizabeth Newson, a specialist in this area. He was middle-class. His diagnosis was later changed to Asperger's Syndrome. Segar was born in April 1974, so he was of my generation. I don't know if he died accidentally in a car crash or if he committed suicide in December 1997 at the age of 23, but if he indeed did commit suicide, the title of his publication is cruelly ironic. After seven years in a special school, Segar was transferred to a special school until he was 14 then he was transferred back to mainstream school until he did his GCSE's and A-levels then went to the University of Manchester to complete a degree in Biochemistry. Something must have been spotted by, A) His parents or B) The mainstream school he attended. Perhaps Segar's school or Local Education Authority were progressive and alert to special needs, but his behaviour can't have been that different from mine.

When I was younger, maybe because I wasn't as disturbed in my behaviour as one or two others, nothing was done. Perhaps because my behaviour didn't include the kind of transgressions or conduct that authority figures zone in on, such as bullying other kids, stealing cars, taking drugs, and setting fire to property.

As well as social class, it seems to me, that it is always those pupils, or parents for that matter, who shout the loudest, who make the most noise and who are the most vociferous who get attention.

I am not running my parents down in any way, shape or form. Both have been great parents overall to myself. However, education and awareness-wise I am in front of them. Both of them failed the 11-plus and left school at 15 without any qualifications. They do not read apart from the newspaper - the Daily Mirror. They did not know the ins and outs of what was the best schools in the area or grades or homework that much. They sent me to the local one and that was that. In contrast, I have read and heard about better educated parents parents conducting research to which is the best schools in the area and sending their children there, whether they live there or not.

Another factor is time for diagnosis age. If I had been born 20 years later.. in 1996.. I would almost certainly had been diagnosed earlier and received more support, but you are born when you are and there is nothing you can do about that. You have control over your life whilst you are in this world, but nobody controls when they come into it, where they come into it or what brings them into it. My life, for good or ill, has gone the way it has.. I can't changed what has gone.. if I was born 50 years earlier in 1926 I might not have been diagnosed at all.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Why I haven't joined Twitter

The reason I have never joined Twatter, no, sorry, Twitter.. though no doubt there are a few people on it who fit the first four words of what I have just mentioned on it, but then they exist on Facebook, is because I am not a fan in general, of celebrities and the celebrity culture. People might say "Oh such and such is on". To that, I would say "So what? I don't know them. I have never met them. I have no desire to know, see or meet them". I just concentrate on my life and the people who are in it and my world. Also, I like to ramble and rant. You can do that on Facebook. On Twitter you can't or you are restricted. I also seem to like what I know. That is a trait of mine. So you can call me a Facebook loyalist or a Dinosaur, depending on your point of view!

Monday, 3 September 2012

How To Achieve Happiness

People attend seminars, read books, make in-depth studies, take drugs, booze, or spend money, on how to find happiness or bring happiness in their lives. I don't feel the need to do any of that. Speaking from my personal perspective, and it is only my perspective, perhaps the best way to achieve happiness is to be honest to yourself, and not be or try to be someone or something you are not, to accept your failings, and not try too hard to strive to achieve what you can't, or aim a bridge too far, and accept your limitations. Perhaps just aiming for basics instead of trying to go too deep or look for deep meanings or understanding, is the best way to achieve happiness, but what brings happiness to one person might not for another, or what is happiness to one person might not be to another. We are all different. It is also a known fact though that if you look too hard for something, you often don't find it.