Thursday, 31 March 2016

An Open Letter to ASDA (Or, Why I Don't Shop at ASDA Any More)

I have put off writing this many times, out of misguided loyalty to your company, but what I experienced tonight at ASDA Newport Superstore, Pencarn Way, pushed me to the point of having to finally speak out. It also destroyed any remaining shreds of loyalty I once held.

As of today, I am no longer an ASDA customer, loyal or otherwise.

Before I begin, it's necessary to point out that I would not be making this complaint if this were the first time that I had experienced this problem – but it's not the first time. Not the first, second, third, or even fourth. This shocking display of appalling customer service has become, it would appear, common place at ASDA Newport.

I sincerely hope that it is the behaviour of your staff at this store alone; not a company wide policy.

Tonight, my husband convinced me to join him in doing the grocery shopping at ASDA – I mention this because I am not always able to do so. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety, conditions that make it very difficult for me to cope with strangers and/or crowds.

Although I find it easiest to manage department stores such as ASDA late at night, when they are mostly empty, I understand that this particular store may close their cashier operated tills at 9PM, switching instead to self-scan, which my husband struggles to manage due to chronic back pain. I had to navigate relatively crowded aisles – aggravating my Anxiety – to do our shopping tonight, to ensure that we were done before the tills closed at 9PM.

I oughtn't have bothered.

It took us an hour to fill our trolley. An agonising hour of deliberation, meal planning, and budgeting. In the end, we had a shopping cart totalling over £100.

By the time we completed our shopping, I was already ill. I was dizzy and clammy, struggling to keep from passing out. I was desperate to help my husband load the shopping on to the belt so that I could escape to the car.

While looking for an open till, we noticed four ASDA colleagues clustered together, having a good chat and a laugh, in front of the tills. We walked down the row of tills to find that, although it was only 8.15PM, all of the cashier operated tills were already closed. Only the self-service tills were open.

The store was still quite busy.

Being keenly aware of our limitations, we approached the cluster of chatting ASDA colleagues and commented on the lack of open tills. Not one of the women gave us the time of day. One of them literally shrugged it off. When, frustrated with their unhelpful attitudes, my husband told them that he was leaving our full cart, worth over £100 with them, because we can not use the self-serve tills for a large shop, the only reply was, ''Fine.''

My husband then pointed out that it would take the colleagues longer to put our groceries back on the shelves than it would to open a till and run us through. A colleague replied, ''Oh, well.''

He then asked a colleague to confirm the time. ''So when I tell them what happened tonight, I can give accurate information.'' The time was confirmed but, the colleague's reply to the suggestion of a complaint being raised was, ''Fine. Tell them. We don't care.''

This behaviour is rude, unhelpful, and utterly shocking. We were disgusted by the experience.

It's important to note here that we had to leave without our groceries, including our dinner for this evening. I began to get a tension headache from that moment and was too overwhelmed and exhausted to even contemplate entering another store.

Exhausted and ill, I left your store empty-handed, but for a determination to never set foot inside again.

This may seem like an insignificant incident to you, but let me tell you what it meant to me:
  1. It meant coming home without my dog's and cat's food.
  2. It meant not having any dinner for myself and my husband.
  3. It meant having to take extra medication when I returned home.
  4. It meant having to order takeaway – which we had to take from our grocery budget.
  5. It meant wasting 20 miles worth of petrol.
  6. It meant wasting at least an hour of our time in the store – and another hour composing this letter.
It may have very little significance to you but, as you can see, it had a huge impact on us.

I mentioned before that this is not the first time we've had this experience; not this exact experience, of course, but very similar. In the past year, we have done our shopping five times – at five different times in the evening – only to find that the tills were closed. Five times, we asked what time the tills are supposed to close and, disturbingly, were told five different times.

Is it that your employees are not communicating with one another? Shouldn't there be a company-wide policy regarding this? Is it altered on the whim of managers? Why is there no sign-posting for customers, regarding the closure of tills?

A simple sign proclaiming the time that the tills are due to close each evening would prevent other vulnerable customers from experiencing the same inconveniences that we have.

Each of the five times we have come up against this problem, we brushed if off and tried to get over it but, each time, our trust in your store waned a little more. We have no more trust to give.

Make no mistake: this is not simply a complaint; this is a condemnation. The behaviour of your staff has been despicable. Not once did they apologise for the inconvenience. Not once did they acknowledge the distress that it caused us.

Once, however, a member of staff actually laughed in our faces when we complained.

We have other options. To get to ASDA Newport, we drive past Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and Morrison's. We never went to ASDA because of value, convenience, or variety; we went out of loyalty. Twenty years worth of loyalty.

We'll not make that mistake again. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

WednesDIY: Jack Skellington My Little Pony

A few years ago, I picked up a paint-your-own My Little Pony. With no more paper cranes to fold, I thought it was about time that I got to painting...

I was surprised and a little disappointed to learn that the Pony was actually ceramic, not plastic, but it was a fun project to work on during a Skype. (I'm obviously not much of an artist so go easy on me.)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Not Cool, Man.

One of my cosplay friends tagged me in a photo, because they knew I'm always on the lookout for photos of Jay as Beast. I was a bit... surprised when I saw the picture.

What the-


Needless to say, I was not impressed to see that someone - supposedly a photographer, of all things - was using my photo, without acknowledgement, or permission. Not cool, man. Not cool.

I tried to be an adult about it  I did. This is the message that I posted to the douchebag:

And here's my original photo: 

The fact that my intellectual property was violated upset Jay. He even told me that he has second thoughts about cosplaying, if this is going to be the result. 

The photo did get taken down - but, when I checked later, I found ANOTHER violation. This one isn't mine, but is of Jay.

My head went pffffztPOP when I saw it. How many photos that this supposed photographer has posted are actually his? Very few, if any, I would guess. 

This time, I didn't do as good a job at holding my tongue:

I decided not to report the copyright violation because it wasn't my photo but I did warn him what would happen if I saw anything like it again.

Come on, guys. What the fuck? Jay is happy to stop and pose for photos a million times a con, if you ask him. Take your own damned photos and stop taking other people's!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Monday's Meme of the Week

This stupid meme had me laughing like a child:

Jay groaned and rolled his eyes when I showed him, which just made me laugh harder.

This Oregon Trail meme deserves a geeky, honourable mention.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A Song for Sunday: The Rumjacks - Jolly Executioner

This song never fails to bring a smile to my face. (Yes, I know that's messed up.)

It said his blade weighed half a tonne, 
O' Spanish steel, Christ how it shone, 
With a whistle & thump yer dash were done,
And the axe cared not for who you were
Lyrics from LyricsMania

It's just so damned... jolly.

Friday, 25 March 2016

A Rejection

Got this today:

Derp. :/ 

I've come to the conclusion that writers must be masochists. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A Good Day for Books

I was very excited to find this giveaway book from goodreads in my mail today.

Later, when we went to Tesco, I found two great used books in their charity collection.

I love Christopher Moore's novels; they're so off it. This is one I hadn't heard of before so I'm looking forward to it.

I haven't read any of the Sharpe books but I'm enjoying the movies. This book is quite a way in, though, so I'll have to shelve it for awhile, until I catch up.

Family Walkies

This afternoon, we met up with Alun to walk Dylan, Blod, Khaaaan, and Min. It was a surprise visit for me, so it made my day.

We were all very excited to see Min again - especially Mama Bear!

And Min was very excited to see us! She kept climbing all over me and Jay.

Min gets along so well with her mummy, daddy, and brother that it always seems like a crime to split them up at the end of the visit.

I can't wait until we can visit again!

Throwback Thursday

I came across a pile of photos this week that were taken nearly three years ago, one trip before I went home to say goodbye to my mother.

This photo makes me happy because it's my favourite place, ever: the jukebox at Abie's Bar.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

On My To-Watch List

I was disappointed with a lot of the trailers that showed before The Boy. It all seemed to be a lot of spy/action stuff, which doesn't seem appropriate before a horror movie. Boo.

Midnight Special was the only one that looked half decent - and even that's sci fi. Are there no horror movies being made?

WednesDIY: 1,000 Paper Cranes

Who remembers reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes as a child? It was one of those stories that both moved me and broke me. If you haven't already read it, I suggest you do it right away.

The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic…until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life—the race against time. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan. (More on Amazon.)

Basically, an old Japanese legend says that, if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, a crane will appear and grant you a wish. It's something I've always wanted to do so, back in December, I decided to check it off my bucket list

It didn't take me as long as I thought it would to finish and I had so much fun doing it. I even got one of my friends hooked on doing it. 

People kept asking what I planned on doing with them all and I had no answer - until a friend came up with this suggestion: 

Which is such a great idea! Another friend suggested sending them to different people so they can, you now, fly around the world. I love this concept and I'm definitely going to be doing it!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

At the Pictures: The Boy

This week, we met my favourite Italian for a movie. The Boy was totally my call, since I love creepy films.

Even though I jumped once or twice (okay, a lot) it wasn't as scary as I was hoping it would be.

The best part was, halfway through, Jay leaning over and saying, ''Doesn't that woman look just like Maggie from The Walking Dead?'' LOL.

Monday, 21 March 2016

MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Jay and I weren't entirely sure that we'd make it to Birmingham Comic Con (aka: Memorabilia) until the morning that it happened. We'd both been fighting the flu and weren't really feeling great but, in the end, we decided to suck it up and drag our sick asses there. 

The second we arrived, Jay got swept into a Marvel meetup with some of our cosplaying friends so I got to capture some great photos of them all. 

Birmingham Comic Con is the one that feels most familiar, even though I've been going to Collectormania longer. I love the NEC - although the walk from the parking lot can be a killer.

As always, the cosplayers were fantastic. Seems like the costumes get better and better every con.

It was great to meet up with some of our con friends. The cosplayer community is so fantastic. 

There was a lot going on, as always. There were meetups, movie cars, sellers, games, a section for artists, and so much more.The only things that there weren't enough of were good guests.

Jay and I had to cut out early because we just weren't feeling well - but we did make it, which was more than we expected. 

Jay was happy because he got to try out his brand new Beast costume. I had to do a little last minute sewing the day before, but it turned out pretty well, don't you think?

Monday's Meme of the Week

It's no secret that I despise St. Patrick's Day so it should come as no surprise that this is my favourite meme from last week:

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A Song for Sunday: Celtic Woman - Níl Sé'n Lá

I absolutely adore Irish music. Right now, this is song is one of my favs:

Never mind the rising light
There's no sign of day or dawning
In my heart it's still the night
And we'll stay here till the morning (via MetroLyrics)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Throwback Thursday

Since it's St. Patrick's Day (boo, hiss), this week's Throwback Thursday just has to be my baby brother, dressed as a leprechaun.

Clearly, he got all the Irish genes. Lol.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

On My To Watch List

When I saw this trailer on Facebook, my jaw nearly hit the floor. I couldn't believe it was an actual movie.

W. T. F.

I have to see this movie.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Bournemouth Film and Comic Con

I missed out on Bournemouth Film and Comic Con last year because I had to stay at home with the puppies. So, this year, even though I was absolutely full of the flu and not feeling my best, I was determined to go.

Jay was even sicker so he had to stay home. :/ I tagged along with a couple of friends while he rested up for next week's comic con.

I was worried about going to a ''new'' convention without Jay, because of my Anxiety issues, but it wasn't that busy and it was very well spaced, which helped a lot.

The best part was the convention centre being a five minute walk from the beach! Is there anything more soothing than a few hours at the beach?

I enjoyed our walk up and down the beach more than the convention itself. I managed to collect shells, get far too close to the surf, see a pier for the first time, and just relax. Bournemouth beach was absolutely gorgeous. I hope we get to go back soon.

A Rejection

So, there was this...

Derp. :/

Maybe next time...

Monday's Meme of the Week

This made me nearly choke on my pop:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Cardiff Film and Comic Con: Day 2

Another successful day at Cardiff Film and Comic Con. We even got to see some cosplay friends we weren't expecting to see. 

And we made some new cosplay friends, of course!

Jay's new costume was my idea. What do you think?

I saw the sweatshirt at another con and just had to get it for him - and thus, Casual Beast was born.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Cardiff Film and Comic Con: Day 1

Day one of Cardiff Film and Comic Con was a success.

One of our cosplay friends decided to Beast it up for this con. Good... but not as good as my Beast, of course.

Thursday, 3 March 2016