So, my site has been up and running for a couple of weeks now, and so it’s time to look at the breakdown.

As of the time of this post, Stardestroyer.net has contributed the greatest number of views to my site (with 13), Big Footy is close behind with 11 referrals, Starfleet Jedi is in third place with 8, Twitter is next with 7, then there’s a bit of a gap to fifth place with iMDB contributing only 4 views. Facebook follows with 3, then, bizarrely, it’s Facebook again with 2 (not altogether sure what’s going on there), search engines have only led to one view, and finally, Movellas has yielded 1 view.

By country, the United States is way out in front, contributing 71 views. Britain is next with 53, then Australia with 19. Canada is fourth with 8, Finland are next up with 4, and Denmark and Ireland are both on 1.

It’ll be interesting to see who’s still leading at the end of the month!

I recently advertised (for lack of a better word) my site on the forums at StarfleetJedi, and I would like to thank Mike DiCenso for his feedback thus far on my ‘versus’ pages. I hope to address his feedback at some stage in the not-so-distant future.

It’s always nice to hear from people about how your site or blog is progressing. Feedback – whether positive or negative – means you no longer feel like you’re operating in a vacuum.

It’s also nice to get feedback which isn’t simply ‘you suck!’ Constructive criticism is far more valuable than anything, even (or perhaps especially) praise.

Hopefully, as I expand my site and its pages, I shall be lucky enough to receive further feedback – and hopefully, I will find the time to act on it!

So there I am, thinking to myself as the working day slowly draws to a close, that the day has gone well, that the store will be tidy and that everything is upstraight.

I could not have been more wrong.

Having been rocked by the news that a thoroughly nice man I knew had died, I didn’t think anything would happen to rival this. Instead, four chavvy scumbags swept into the store, stole three tablet PCs and tried to steal two more. I tried to stop them but four against 1… well, the odds were not in my favour.

I wonder if thieving little shits like the ones who struck last night realise just how scummy they actually are. They’re cowardly chicken-shits, too afraid to get jobs or be civilised men so they resort to smash-and-grab raids for drug money. I hope they get caught, and that the book is thrown at them.

This morning I received a tearful phone call from the wife of a man I knew, via work, for the past five years, informing me that this gentleman had passed away. I was stunned, and saddened, to learn of his passing.

I can’t claim to have known him thoroughly, as I knew him mostly via his being a customer of the store (and occasionally I would go round his house to help him set up his laptop/printer, or solve a tech problem), but what I did know of him is that he was a good man, a proud father and grandfather, and that his death has shocked me. I hadn’t seen him for a few months but this was not unusual – sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for ages. It occurred to me the other day that I’d not seen him, and sadly, now I know why.

I was touched that his wife got in touch to tell me though. She didn’t have to, and in return I hope I can offer support to her if she needs it, in any way shape or form. God speed friend, God speed.

Retail2It seems that customers are under the mistaken impression that I can alter the system – including the company website – if they complain about it long enough. They are also under the misguided belief that showing up to collect a reserve-and-collect order before they’ve had confirmation it’s arrived is going to mean the order will be available anyway.

I fear that I will be ranting at length about work as this blog evolves. It certainly isn’t my plan to do so, but work, sadly, forms a large part of all our lives, dominating our daily routine, so it’s inevitable that, as and when problems arise and stress builds up, rants will appear.

Time for a deep breath, and here’s to de-stressing a little at the weekend!

After struggling to drop off to sleep (a problem of mine lately), I finally do so, only to end up dreaming about getting a new tattoo (the Rebel symbol from Star Wars), only for the tattooist to cock it up. All of a sudden the scene shifts and I’m Nigel Mansell, on the phone to Ron Dennis, and then I’m taking a bunch of schoolkids on a tour of London.

My subconscious really does love to process the day’s activities in bizarre and strange ways.

I don’t usually go too nuts about upcoming films. Yeah, there are a few I’ve been excited by (Star Trek 09, Star Trek into Darkness, Revenge of the Sith, The Avengers), but as a golden rule I don’t go nuts for films.

That said, there is one film I am very keen to see next year – and no, it’s not Star Wars.

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I can’t say I’ve been too much of a follower of Marvel comics. Sure, I was aware of most of the characters, but the whole saga was on the edge of my awareness.

Since seeing the first Iron Man film back in 2008, I’ve developed more of an interest in this little universe Marvel are building. Whilst not every film has been amazing, they have generally been good, and the ambitious project will reach eleven films when Age of Ultron comes out.

I am very much looking forward to this film, though first I need to get around to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy!

Goodbye Robin Williams

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I awoke this morning to the shocking and sad news that comedic genius and all-round great actor Robin Williams had passed away. News outlets are reporting that he took his own life after a long battle with depression.

It’s such a shame. Williams was a naturally funny man who gave us the manic and dazzling Genie in Aladdin, the cross-dressing Mrs Doubtfire, and heartfelt performances in films like Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come. He was brilliant in Bicentennial Man and lets not forget Toys, Jumanji and The Birdcage.

I wish his family well, and hope they can somehow come to terms with this terrible loss. Rest in Peace Robin.

I am often prone to unusual dreams. I have what I called my ‘action adventure’ dreams (usually involving sci-fi references but also including ‘end of the world’ scenarios), and I have my work-related dreams (which usually happen when I’m feeling quite stressed).

Last night though, I dreamed that I was on my way to a house, and in this house lived someone I think I was supposed to know – but at the urging of the ghost of a woman I also knew, I killed them, violently, before turning on the gas and blowing up their house. Then I toodled off, without a care in the world.

I have absolutely no idea what prompted this dream. Last night my wife and I sat down and watched a spoof about police, and afterward caught some of a bad Syfy channel film about mutant spiders. Not exactly ghost material.

There can be no doubt about it – my mind is a dark and mysterious place!

angrymeerkat

I would like to consider myself to be a patient man. I don’t get angry easily, or often, and am quite easy-going. However, the customer who came into the store today was sorely trying my patience.

He bought a laptop from us over a year ago now, and at one stage ran into trouble with it. The laptop had to go away for repair (at this point it was under the jurisdiction of the manufacturer’s one year warranty – industry standard stuff), and he kicked up a huge fuss, insisting we, the retailer, were responsible, that we owed him a new laptop, blah blah blah. Heard it before, that’s not how it works, and no amount of foot-stomping or whining will change this.

After a time, his laptop came back, he collected it, and off he went. Case closed.

Or so I thought.

Today, he came into the store again. He wanted me to deal with a software issue. Being the easy-going person that I am, I began to have a quick look, thinking it might be something I could deal with easily. However, as I explained to him, store associates are not trained technicians and we are not qualified to fix serious errors.

After eventually overcoming the language barrier (he is eastern European and English is clearly not his first language), I realised that he wanted the icons and programs that kept booting up with the laptop to be turned off. He didn’t want them. I explained that some of them (such as anti-virus software, volume control, battery status) always come on at start-up and that, to be honest, that’s a good thing. The other stuff that he’d installed… well, given that half the info coming up on screen was in a foreign language, I had no idea, and nor did I have an option to disable them.

Cue the customer becoming irate. ‘You just want my money, you are no help’. ‘I have extended warranty, you should help me, you are not helpful’. Well, the extended warranty covers hardware, not software, and we are not responsible for user misuse creating problems. He wanted me to phone the manufacturer too (never going to happen, they would probably refuse to help, since almost no manufacturer deals with software problems, and certainly not ones that happen outside of warranty – at least not without charging a fortune).

After informing him thus, he stormed off, got into a van, ranting to his (presumably) wife, and drove away. He did not come back.

whatifItoldyou

Unfortunately this sort of thing is not uncommon. People often think they know more than we do about the operation of our shop and business than we do. They think that we, the store staff, have the power to make decisions about our own stock file – sorry, but the heads of the multi-national company I work for decide such things, not us.

We get similar grief over our opening hours. Our hours are 9am to 7pm, which is marked on our website and also by several signs both outside and inside the store. A few years ago, our hours were 8am to 8pm, and when they were due to change, we placed several signs at prominent locations around the store for a couple of months to make sure everyone was aware of the change. On the very first day our hours changed, the first customer in the door (who happened to be a regular who went to nearly every one of these locations) complained we hadn’t advertised the change very well.

We still get customers come up to the doors as we’re closing, reacting with shock that we’re closing. ‘But the site says 8pm!’ Actually, no, it doesn’t, and I know it doesn’t. Some third-party sites still give out the old hours, but we’re not responsible for those.

I can’t help but suspect the laptop guy will be back – or we’ll get a call from customer services about the whole sorry affair. He’s wrong, I think he knows he’s wrong, but I doubt that will stop him.