A humorous look at bodily ills and daily woes, and tips from someone who has suffered everything from arthritis to athlete's foot.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
The curse of the voucher
We all like to get something for next to nothing and about a year ago, having been badgered by friends who were forever telling me about the wonderful bargains they'd got from Group or Wowcher - cheap holidays, shoes, even computers - I signed up. And soon realised that buying deals wasn't always a case of what you see is what you get.
I have had a couple of excellent, good value spa days; in fact, I shall be having another next Monday in a central London hotel. I've bought enough Oral B electric toothbrush heads to last for the next two years - the toothbrush will probably die before I run out of brushes for it. I have a year's supply of antihistamines for my itchy eyes and drippy nose. All truly useful and good value.
On the other hand, the size L thermal leggings would have been too small for a stick insect and the torch refused to shine. I got the latter replaced, but had to wait weeks for it to be processed, and as the leggings came from Taiwan, I decided it was easier to pass them on to a very tiny friend.
Just lately, having filled my bulging cupboards with everything I could possibly need, apart from a deaf, mute man with a tongue like an anteater and a PhD in computer skills, I launched myself into self-improvement, shelling out £49 for a £499 course in how to build your own website, with a company called Skillsology. The blurb on the voucher site claimed that the course was 'suitable for beginners'. Huh! I reckon I could have done them under the Trades Description Act because, once I'd redeemed the voucher on the company's website, which meant I could no longer claim a refund from the voucher company, I was told that before I could download the course, I had to fill in an on-line questionnaire.
It turned out to be no ordinary, simple, dumbed-down questionnaire, of the 'did you find our p&p charges excellent, good or poor' type. There were 43 questions, they were timed - you had 30 minutes in which to complete them - and you weren't allowed to change your mind and go back, you had to plough on. I looked at Q 1. It was pure technological gobbledygook. I clicked a random answer. Q 2 also made no sense. I only understood one word in three, as the rest referred to things like WX3Z26 protocol, or some such thing. By the time I found myself staring in bemusement at Q5, 20 of my 30 minutes had already elapsed and I had collapsed. I realised I had as much chance of designing a successful astronautical reverse wormhole thruster as I had of correctly answering even one question correctly.
Almost in tears by now, I emailed Skillsology, complaining that the course was absolutely not suitable for beginners and asking if it was possible to get my fee refunded. That was a few days ago. So far, they haven't bothered to reply.
Meanwhile, this morning a friend forwarded a voucher offer for a course on how to format your e-books for Kindle, including designing a cover. Only £29 and sounds just what I need! But then, so did the website one. Let's face it, I'm about as techy as an amoeba. There is no hope. I shall end up like my mum, who gave up on televisions once remote controls were invented. Thank heavens video recorders have bitten the dust. I was still trying to work out how to use mine when they invented the DVD! Though I'm not as bad as someone I know - male, too - who, unable to work a mobile phone, goes out with a walkie-talkie phone. Tin can and a piece of string, here I come!