Vodafone – what not to do with customer service…

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Just over a week ago I switched to Vodafone, the drawcard being the ability to get a HTC Desire HD phone (and what an amazing phone it is!). Vodafone being the sole provider of them in Australia (although you can get the standard HTC Desire from Telstra).  This morning my phone stopped receiving service… Emergency calls only… tried to call work as I was running late – but no – sim card not working… The message I got was ‘Your sim card does not allow a connection to this network’ when I try to connect to Vodafone.

So I called Vodafone, 33 minutes on hold just to get through, whats more beforehand you have to speak to Lara – their automated phone answering service… she doesn’t understand hardly anything I say… I have spoken to these types of systems before but this was just impossible. Already upset that my phone wasn’t working and now the phone system wouldn’t let me through… although eventually getting her to understand… so after 33 minutes the phone is picked up and I have to tell the operator all my details again that I had already told Lara… what is your phone number? what is your pin? come on guys why do I tell Lara just to tell the ‘real’ people who answers the phone again?

So the man that answers the phone tells me to turn my phone off… I have already done that I say, and taken the battery out and tried the sim card in another phone… well you will need to get another sim card then…. you will have to go into a vodafone shop… then call back to activate it or they can do that for you in the shop…

So I headed to the shop, and I must admit that I got quite decent customer service although I was upset with the lack on answers in the end… I got a new sim card, the customer service person entered it onto the computer and transferred my information from my old sim card to my new one… we put it in the phone… it didn’t work… re-looked it up on the computer – the computer had a sim-fail error message… service person called service centre and apparently someone will look at it in the next 24-48 hours…  No answers about why or if they will be able to fix just someone will eventually look at it – no you won’t have phone service to who knows when…

So being enraged and missing my phone I logged a complaint about my still not working phone – I know it has only been like 20 hours without it – but what if someone has been trying to call or something has happened to one of my kids. My phone is my communication channel… Anyway… so I logged a complaint and it obviously picked up a few words and suggested that I needed to activate my sim card… thought it was worth a try – had to speak to Lara again… oh my – after completely mucking it up the first two times she finally got it right and after me telling her my phone number and pin she told me that this could not be processed at this time of the day and to call back tomorrow! What the! Make me suffer the pain before telling me that I have no hope to have my phone service tonight! How rude!

So will vodafone pick up their customer service – time will tell – Is this how they treat all their new customers…  Will they make me pay for these days of service with no service… Are they breeching their contract by not providing me service?

Phone showing on hold time for Vodafone

How long do we have to be on hold Vodafone?

What do I think they should do in this situation?

  • Provide a customer with a temporary sim card with another number on it (ie: prepaid) and divert their number to it.
  • Compensate the customer with a bonus for their wasted time in solving this problem and the lack of phone service.
  • Let the customer know exactly when the situation will be addressed and give them a phone number to call that does not have a 33minute wait time.
  • Delegate responsibility better to shop staff – they should be able to change sim cards and fix all this and help the customers without having to call someone – surely a happy customer is the best outcome.
  • Have better quality sim cards – this should not happen in the first place!

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Displaying Children’s art

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I have long ago realised that my house is not mine but mine and my children’s. To that effect I have had to change it to suit my children as well as I. I have hung pictures lower – particularly in their rooms. But I had the delimma of what to do with their art. They bring home so much of it and while I used to stick some on the fridge it was forever falling off and getting squashed and making a mess.

I figured that the best bet was to hang it up on the walls. First I considered using magnetic paint on one of my walls – but as I am currently attempting renovations (this may be a later solution) I did not necessarily know which wall would be best (as it may be a wall that disappears). So I settled for a couple of pieces of string along the wall and pegs to hold the art work in place.

A photo of my children's artwork on display

A photo of my children's art work

So now I have a wall of art and it has had an extra effect – when my kids walk past this wall, they frequently stop and point out the pieces of work that they did and sometimes tell me the story of the work. They are proud of their art wall… It is not a huge space but it is their work.

The art work is hung at their height so they can help to put it up and take it down.

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Alternatives to watching TV for children

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Creative drawing while giving Mum some quiet time

Creative drawing while giving Mum some quiet time

I read an article in the Zen Habits Blog yesterday called ‘How to be a great mom: 12 awesome tips”. It offers some very practical down to earth advice… one that I could relate to, and want to discuss here, is the guilt Mum’s (and Dad’s) feel when sitting the kids in front of the TV so they can have some quiet time. The article says that it is okay to do this (and I agree – but to an extend).

I find that sometimes this is a self-defeating action as my children can get quite overactive after watching too much TV or the wrong sort of TV. Recently my guilt at sitting them in front of the TV has led me to plot alternative action. I have been experimenting with what other activities will keep my kids entertained for long enough for me to have some quiet time. Here is my list so far (please add a comment to the end if you can add to this):

  • Bubbles: I find that my children love to blow the bubbles and then chase and pop them. I have a normal bubble wand for my five year old and bubble pipe for my three year old (as he blows the standard bubble wand too hard).
  • Climbing Trees: So I normally supervise when my five year old, Cooper, climbs but I can sit on the ground and do some work. He doesn’t need my attention when he is climbing (Cooper is a bit of a monkey – this may not be for all kids). The other day Cooper said to me ‘Can I please climb the tree instead of watching TV?’
  • Drawing with chalk on the footpath/pavers: I give my kids some big thick chalk and they sit outside and draw for an hour or so, peacefully working together. When it rains their art washes away and they can start again.
  • Collecting rocks and garden treasures: I give both of my boys a bucket and they go in search of hidden treasure in the garden. Tomas, my three year old, will collect everything he finds; while Cooper takes care and finds the smooth rocks or items based on colour. Sometimes they pick flowers and put them into some small vases I have for them. Leaves and sticks are also sometimes glued to bits of paper to make pictures or collages.
  • Sandpit: The sandpit is one of my boys favorite play spots, it contains a few kitchen utensils, a sieve, buckets, spade and a number of cars (and sand).
  • Playing with a ball: They can throw, kick, catch and shoot goals with these. It does help if you have two kids.
  • A tent: An old tent put up in the backyard has provided my kids with hours of enjoyment, they pretend they are camping, play house or just see how much they can fit in. I purchased ours for a couple of dollars from the thrift shop and althought it has numerous holes that would not allow it to be camped in- it is perfect for the backyard.
  • Colouring in: Cooper can sit down for hours colouring in while Tomas (at three) will not sit for more than 10 minutes. Quite useful for when Tomas is having a nap.
  • Lego: Tomas will play with lego for hours, building and rebuilding houses – sometimes I have trouble putting him to sleep as he is in the middle of building. Cooper also loves lego but will happily colour in while Tomas plays.

And well I do resort to TV in the late afternoons when their attention span decreases because they are tired and grumpy (and so am I) – but I try to set a limit to this time.

Zemanta Pixie

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Making castles with the kids

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My children like to make things, they can sit there for hours perfecting something they are making. Their attention span when they are creating seems much longer than when they are playing with their toys.

Having just moved in the last couple of months I had some boxes sitting around and we decided to make castles for the boys knights and horses. As you can see from the photos the boys castles vary in skill level you can tell which one the three year old made compared to the five year old – but they were both happy with the finished product.

These were inspired by the book Recycled Crafts Box by Laura C. Martin. We didn’t follow the instructions but more looked at the picture and each boy interpreted what they saw to their ability. This is a great book and I may provide a review for it in a later post once my boys and I have tried some more of the ideas in it.

This is the castle that Cooper built.Castle built by nearly 3 year old.

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Kung Fu Panda – profound messages for children

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On Saturday I took my two boys to watch Kung Fu Panda. They were impressed by it. Overall it was a good movie – I enjoyed it and they enjoyed it. It does however contain a bit of violence in parts that may be disturbing for some younger children.

Film poster for Kung Fu Panda - Copyright 2007, Paramount Pictures

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After seeing a movie I usually discuss it with them. Our conversation after Kung Fu Panda was about ‘how awesome Po was and how he won’. Winning at the moment seems to be important to both my children, I am unsure where this competitive streak has come from because I don’t encourage it (as it normally ends in the non-winner in tears). I added to our conversation about how Po was so good and ‘won’ because he believed in himself and used the amount of time he had to learn.

One of the messages in the movie that I thought quite important was ‘Everything happens for a reason’. I think that this is an important concept to accept in life. If you can accept that everything happens for a reason it makes it easier to deal with the hard times. It means that instead of wondering why me? you can wonder what can I do to improve my situation? or what now? I know that my belief is that everything happens for a reason has been important in my life. It has helped me to not regret decisions but rather to see obstacles as important learning opportunities.

Another important message is ‘now is the present, and it is called the present because that is what it is’. How often do we think it will be better in the future or when I make more money or if only neglecting what is happening now. One of my current strategies for everyday living especially when with my children is to not worry about the mess that will have to be cleaned later or about what else I have to do but rather to enjoy the time I spend with them and be totally involved in the minute. At times this is hard especially when I have study to do but I try and put everything else that has to be done is a box and store it at the back of my mind to open later.

As my kids seem to remember the storyline of movies I sometimes use examples in them to relate to their life…. such as ‘kung fu panda (or Po) did not learn straight away, he had to practice and try really hard’ or a for my three year old ‘what would Dora do?’ ‘lets stop and think’.

In a way some TV (in moderation) can be used to teach children about values, how to think and how to believe in themselves – but you need to watch it too (so you can apply it to their learning and discuss it with them).

Kung Fu Panda is a great movie to take your kids to watch…. enjoy!

Zemanta Pixie

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My little cooking secret…

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An amount of formality may be present at a dinner

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It has been a busy year, studying, working, moving house and looking after my kids. I used to plan my weekly menu’s and shopping lists etc. However, moving house sort of stopped this happening, with so much needing to be done to my new house I found myself forever catching up with what needed to be done last week.

My cooking went became not quite as healthy as I would like. Meat pies, sausage rolls vegetables…. a bit more take away than I would like, cutting corners to save time.

Then I stumbled across the Six O’clock Scramble – I was a bit dubious at first about whether the recipes on this site would match what my kids and I would eat. But I liked that I could plan a menu for how every many days I needed to cook and then it gave me a shopping list! I figured for approximately $1 a week it was worth a try.

Most of the meals can be adjusted for vegetarians – which is good as quite often my budget doesn’t quite stretch to meat (which my boys eat but I don’t). I like the fact that I am able to choose dishes based on what is in the pantry, how quick it is to cook and on how I wish to cook it (for example – I use my slow cooker often – when I am at work, my meal cooks for me and dinner is ready when we get home so we can eat, bath and then bed for my boys).

My favorite meal so far is lemon feta chicken for two reasons – it was delicious and it took next to no time to prepare.

I now know what I am cooking for each meal and I have a shopping list this has meant that I am much less likely to resort to takeaway and I tend to buy only what I need – this has saved me quite a lot of money (I would say about $50-60 per week) – we eat much healthier and it has given me back the confidence that I can cook a decent, tasty meal.

The only downside of the Six Oclock Scramble is that all the measurements are in onces and pounds and living in Australia all measurements here are in grams.

I have had a few people over for dinner and to stay and they think I am a good and organised cook – and well with the Scramble I am!

If you wish to subscribe to the Six O’Clock Scramble you can use my promotional code GLREB5446 – this gives you a discount and extends my subscription by a month. They also have a book which is on quick to make recipes – I haven’t read or used it but if it is as good as the site it would be a good buy it is: The Six O’Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy, and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families

Zemanta Pixie

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What if your child is not the standard size?

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A spring scale measures the weight of an object

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Yesterday my son was sick and as he got worse as the day went on I decided to take him to the doctor. I usually like to wait a few days as often they get better, but with him having spent the weekend with his Dad I didn’t know if he had already been unwell.

Anyway it was just as well I did as his lungs were starting to sound like he was getting a chest infection and thus he was put on antibiotics – today he is nearly like his old self again. Anyway that is not why I am writing.

While at the doctors – the doctor weighed and measured him – they need to do this to calculate the dose of the antibiotics. However, when the doctor went to put his weight into the computer – the program would not let him as my son was outside the parameters for a two (nearly three year old). The computer would only let him put a weight in of up to 18kg and he was 21kg and a height up to 108cm and he is 110cm.

My son is big for his age – which can be a pain at times – particularly when he was younger as kids and parents would think he was much older and expect him to act older (like when he was nearly two and hurt a five year old who had pushed him).

It got me thinking how stressful standard heights and weights are… what if you child weighs too much or too little. Are we making a situation that may make our children paroThe standard weight and height chart that is used in Australia dates back to the 70’s surely they have the stats available that it could be updated.

If a child’s measurements cannot be entered onto a doctors computer – how can they be properly monitored – surely the computer needs to be capable to accept variations.

What is a normal size anyway?

Zemanta Pixie

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Woolworths Everyday rewards… Who are we rewarding?

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Old gas pumps from the former Soviet Union

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A quick visit to Woolworths yesterday and well it was all decked out in orange and white balloons… celebrating it seemed the launch of their everyday rewards card.

The card is marketed as a convenient way to store your 4cents of a litre dockets. If you register online before the end of June you can recieve 10 cents of a litre on your next petrol purchase. There are also prizes you that you can also win.

Revisiting the store again today, I said that I had left my card back at the office and was told that I had to use it for every purchase – it got me thinking – Is this card worth it and what is in it for Woolworths?

What’s in it for Woolworths?

Could this be a Woolworths data collection method. Think about it – they are going to know your demographic data, they are going to know your shopping habits – what you buy – when you buy… they are going to know a lot about the shopping habits of their customers. What an excellent way to build statistics that can be used to change their marketing strategies. Do you want Woolworths to know this much about you? For Woolworths this can be a very cheap way to gather a large amount of valuable statisical information.

So what is in it for you. slightly cheaper petrol… I don’t know about you but 4cents per litre off is not much compared to the current price of petrol. As a single parent I have to be careful about saving my cents…. but not enough for me to have to buy petrol where the savings is only 4 cents. I drive a small car with a 35 litre tank so 4 cents off equates to $1.40…. isn’t it better to support the smaller independent petrol stations and maintain the competition? I am sure without competition petrol will go by more than 4 cents per litre. So is using such a system really a very small short term gain for longer term higher petrol prices?

What about the chance to win prizes…. well I guess how big is the competition…. if everyone who shops uses one of these I guess there is not much chance of winning at all…

Although the information that Woolworths collects will not be used by anyone but them (according to their privacy policy) – do you want Woolworths knowing so much about you?

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