Wednesday, 9 October 2013

On Customer Service And A Marathon Matinee At Cineworld

Having been involved in finance all of my working life I am afraid that I am a bit of a pain when it comes to home bookkeeping and, thanks to the wonders of Microsoft Money, I can tell you how much we spent on clothes, food, holidays, football (you name it ) in any month or year for about the past fifteen years. However I have one credit card account that I don't check regularly as I got an unbeatable interest free and no initial fee offer on it about eighteen months ago and I've simply been paying the minimum back each month. But this month it's due to be repaid and the interest free offer runs out so I went online to reconcile the statement. 

To my surprise it didn't balance. I was £72.75 better off than I expected. So I trawled through the online statements and found that in November last year we were refunded £72.75 by ACHICA for some pictures that we bought for the room we we're doing out for the grandchildren. At one stage we had an apology from ACHICA notifying us that the pictures were not going to be delivered as they had run out of stock but we thought nothing of it as they arrived a day or so later.

So I wrote to ACHICA and told them that we owed them £72.75 from last November.I was interested to see how they would respond to this slightly unusual contact with customer service. They immediately sent an email invoice with payment instructions and we duly paid by return but that was it. "What else did you expect?" I hear you ask, "you owed them money and you paid it. What did you want? A flipping medal?" Whilst I know that is correct I just thought that someone in customer service somewhere might have written a note of thanks and maybe offered us a fiver off our next order - after all if I had kept quiet they would be £73 worse off. 

On the subject of customer service, hats off to John Lewis Ipswich. We bought Melody a lovely, and quite expensive, little babygro from them online in July (before she was born). When Melody wore it for the first time a hole appeared. We took it back today almost three months later and were refunded immediately with no quibbles. I was very impressed as the shop could easily have argued that we had damaged it ourselves but no, I left the store five minutes later with the card refunded.

We were in Ipswich as the Prius was due its 70,000 mile service. We had a good day and did a bit of shopping in the town centre before heading to Cineworld (where I discovered that I now qualify for senior prices). 

We saw Sunshine On Leith at 1 o'clock. It's one of those musicals with a story made up to fit the songs. After Mamma Mia and others in this genre, this time it's The Proclaimers turn to get the treatment. I love The Proclaimers so I knew that I would like the film. And I did, despite Peter Mullan's inability to hit the right notes the few times that he sang. The storyline about a couple of squaddies returning to Edinburgh after a tour of duty in Afghanistan is a double romance and it's great fun with some superb moments - Lets Get Married set in an Edinburgh pub was pure joy and the flash mob finale of 500 Miles was a truly happy, memorable and feel good movie moment. With the Edinburgh skyline playing a big part in the film I'd recommend it for anyone who loves that city and the Proclaimers or is a bit of a softie. If you want a strong story I'd give it a miss.

Straight out of Sunshine On Leath we were into the adjoining screen to continue our marathon matinee. I'm a fan of author Meg Rosoff. I've read three of her novels which are aimed at a juvenile audience but can still be appreciated by adults. I haven't read How I Live Now but it does contain Meg's trademarks of a degree of surreality accompanied by a fair deal of teenage sex and a healthy serving of angst. Saoirse Ronan plays American, Daisy, who is sent to spend the summer with her cousins in a glorious British countryside. The cousins are two teenage boys and a younger girl. Romance blossoms between Daisy and her cousin Edmond. The cousins' mum has to leave so they are on their own and having an idyllic bucolic time when suddenly World War 3 (which has been simmering in the background)  breaks out and the story develops into a dystopian apocalypse. It's a powerful film with great performances from Ronan and her co-star George McKay. It's clearly been filmed on a budget so the apocalyptic scenes are on a fairly small and slightly unconvincing scale but this is compensated for by great cinematography and a very touching story.