Category Archives: Rant

Yet more media scare mongering about e-cigs

The media make me sick, how they love to scare monger for a dramatic story. I think people would respect them more if they told the truth and/or gave the full story and facts.
This recent story about VIP e-cigarette liquids containing diacetyl. Granted the substance is not allowed, but what the BBC ( Inside Out TV programme ) and other media outlets failed to mention was that the levels found in the liquid are of little risk. This post is not about VIP but about how the media scare monger to get readers and sell newspapers etc.

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This is taken from yesterdays Metro paper website:
An e-cigarette liquid on sale in Newcastle ( actually it was Gateshead Metrocentre. Get it right if you’re going to report something ) has been found to contain a potentially toxic chemical with links to lung disease.

The butterscotch-flavoured refill, manufactured by the VIP brand, contained diacetyl –a flavouring often found in margarine. But even though it’s safe to eat, doctors have warned that it isn’t safe to inhale.

This chemical has even been associated with a condition called ‘popcorn worker’s lung’. Diacetyl was ingested in large quantities by those working in popcorn factories, as it is one of the main ingredients. But some long-term workers were left so unwell that they required a lung transplant.

The investigation into the safety of e-cigarette liquids was performed by the BBC. Researchers bought four products and sent them to a laboratory to be analysed.

VIP’s refill, which was bought at the Metrocentre in Newcastle, was the only e-cigarette liquid deemed to be unsafe.

On the mirror website, this is their headline: Potentially ‘toxic’ butterscotch flavoured e-cigarette found to contain chemical linked with lung cancer.
NOTE: they emphasise the word ‘Toxic’ just top put the shitters a bit more up people and also drop in the word cancer as that always gets people attention.
From everything I have read, the substance cannot give you cancer. It can potentially cause a rare but serious disease called “popcorn workers lung,” also known by the medical name bronchiolitis obliterans. The condition is caused by inhalation of diacetyl fumes, which cause scarring in the lungs. Sufferers of popcorn lung have difficulty exhaling, and when severe, the condition can be fatal. In many cases of severe bronchiolitis obliterans, only a lung transplant will save a patient’s life. Typical scummy reporting.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/potentially-toxic-butterscotch-flavoured-e-cigarette-4140264#ixzz3C9BSyxpk
Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook
This is from the post on the ECITA website:
Diacetyl has been identified as a substance which we do not want to see in ecigs because it has a known inhalation risk. However, the actual risk is likely to be very low, and certainly pales into insignificance compared to the known very serious risks of continuing to smoke tobacco.

At no point was anyone at significant risk of harm from the diacetyl in VIP’s Butterscotch eliquid, since even the considerably higher levels of diacetyl found in tobacco smoke do not appear to cause bronchitis obliterans. (It appears that it requires high levels of exposure to diacetyl over a sustained period to develop bronchitis obliterans. Indeed, there has only been one documented case of bronchitis obliterans outside of occupational exposure, which was the case of a man who ate microwave popcorn twice daily for 10 years.)

It is important to remember that the routine testing of VIP’s product identified diacetyl at a very low level – a level which is not a cause of significant concern in terms of harm to users of the product. Furthermore, diacetyl is found in cigarette smoke at significant levels – 300–430 µg per cigarette – yet bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung) is not associated with smoking (although plenty of other respiratory conditions are).

Please read the full article at
http://www.ecita.org.uk/blog/index.php/diacetyl-found-in-vip-butterscotch-eliquid/

I repeat, this is typical media scare mongering for a story.

If you agree with me, share this round.

Snore Wizard review

For many years now, I have had more restless nights or nights sleeping on the sofa than good night’s sleep due to a partner who has a really bad snoring problem. To some this may sound quite funny,  but to those who have to live in this situation, you will know it is no laughing matter. We have tried strips, sprays, even swimming nose clips.
One night I was watching the Ideal World shopping channel and saw a section on a little thing called a snore Wizard. I thought that looks brilliant,  if it works. You know what some things are like that are advertised on TV. They big them up so much to make you think you can’t live without it. Well on this occasion, I held back for a few months mainly due to the 39.99 ukp price on it. After a few months,  things were getting bad in the snoring department so I bit the bullet and ordered one.
When it came it was in a blue plastic carry box so it’s handy for travelling. It was straight forward to use. It’s basically like a grey gum shield that brings your jaw forward so that it keeps your airway open while sleeping with an air hole at the front. Straight away if made a massive difference. I was getting a lovely nights sleep as my other half snore was reduced, not completely eradicated, but reduced to a soft quiet snore. Enough to be able to ignore. It was like this for about a month, maybes a fraction over, then the snoring started again. I have seen some people mention that devices such as these can over time go out of shape and need to be heated in boiling water to put back into shape.  We tried that and it made no difference at all. We tried emailing snore Wizard but have never had any replies back from them.  I have even tried ringing them but it just rang and rang and rang and then cut off after a while. I’ve been left feeling very,  very disillusioned and disappointed by the lack of customer support from Snore Wizard. If they are going to sell these and make such a big deal about their product on national tv,  then they should help their customers with after sales support as well,  not just ignore any attempt to contact them. It comes across as if they want you money and after that,  tough.
My opinion on this is that it may or may not work for you. They claim to that if you are not satisfied with the performance after 30 days regular use please contact us. That’s no use if, like I say, all attempts to contact them are ignored. You may want to take the chance and buy one. If so,  I hope it works for you,  and longer than a month.
I will send them another email with a link to this review.  Let’s see if they can justify the lack of support.

Sick of rubbish service

At the time of typing this I am so pee’d off. In fact this is a big understatement. This is why. A few weeks ago I ordered a new halogen cooker from Ideal World TV. I was really looking forward to getting it and trying it out. We already have one but its start to look a bit past its best so decided on the new one. As per with Ideal World, it took about 5 days top arrive. When it did, we were keen to get it up and running, then Dee spotted a dent in the expansion ring. Although it wouldn’t of affected the performance of the cooker, she was not happy as she wanted a one in pristine condition, not damaged. Fair enough. I rang Ideal World and arranged collection of the item. I was a few days till it was collected, then what seems like another week after that before it processed as received by Ideal World. Then another wait for them to process a replacement and get it to me. So far, to date its been 2 and a half weeks from the initial order to typing this and I still have not got my replacement.
Today to top it off, I wait in for the courier, as per the emails from Ideal World and the couriers Hermes. It was confirmed on the van. I sat in all day and even had to rearrange other stuff to be in only to find at 14.46 they reschedule without notice or explanation for tomorrow. I rang Ideal World and even though the IVR verified me, the adviser decided he still wanted to do further security checks. Eventually after a twenty something minute call I was told that after he checked with the courier that Hermes didn’t even put it on the van, even though their website clearly shows on the van.
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Tomorrow I have stuff to do which I was meant to do today and also run Gee to and from town for a school visit to some museums. I have to do this stuff as well as stay in for the courier. Frickin brilliant, also approaching the weekend.

Thanks a bunch GoDaddy

Well well well what a nice surprise that was today. When I cranked up my Mac I found out that my blog emails were not working. Thanks to my good friend Marc ( www.marccorn.co.uk ) we he found out that for some unknown reason Go Daddy have deleted the mail forwarding to the account, so no emails at all was coming through. Thanks to Marc, its all fixed now but no thanks to GoDaddy for doing it in the first place without reason.

WordPress, you are doing my head in!

Sorry, this may come across as a bit of a rant. Well, I suppose it is. Today I have had loads of problems with WordPress. If I had hair I would of pulled it out by now. I was certainly cursing at my computer. I can, well hopefully, do a normal blog post, AS LONG as it does not need and images uploading into the media section. If I go to create a post then select add media, all I get is a dirty big message saying ‘page crashed’, and if I go straight to media to upload without trying to create a post, it takes ages to upload the has on ‘crunching’ which I assume is WordPress speak for processing. What has made this annoying most of all is that I have tweeted wordpress about 5 times so far, and also left a post on the support forum, and have not had one solitary reply to any of them. Theres no email address for support or customer services or facebook page for WordPress.org. There is .com but not org. I get that websites have problems now and then but at least most are sorted quickly or you get a response from them when you report it. Thats the thing annoying me most, the no response thing. I get the feeling noone is working at WordPress today. They must of all been given a days holiday or something.

Reply from The Metrocentre re: Vapour e-cigarettes

I have received a reply back from the Metrocentre Management about their decision to ban electronic cigarettes. I reads as follows:

Thank you for your email.

With regards to our policy we ask people not to use electronic cigarettes in Metrocentre. We made this decision to avoid any confusion to shoppers and security staff as they can look very realistic from a distance. Smokers of both electronic and traditional varieties are provided with dedicated areas outside our centres. This policy is in line with many visitor attractions across the UK.

As far as retailers are concerned they each have their own policy on e-cigarettes and you will need to check directly with them.

With regard to VIP our Head Office are meeting next week to discuss the sale of e-cigarettes.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,
Metrocentre Management

————————————————-

Next week may be too late as VIP are having to be out of the Metrocentre by 28th Feb.

e-cigarettes are a lot bigger that normal cigarettes, but granted that may be hard to tell them apart from a distance away but as you get closer its easy to tell, especially if the electronic ones have a green or blue light on the end of them.
Personally I think this decision is still a bad one.

Let me know you thoughts on this please.

Vapor cigarettes banned in local shopping centre

This is what I found out, last night when visiting our local shopping centre, which is, or was the largest in Europe. Its Gateshead’s Metrocentre. I visited the Metrocentre to get some new cartridges for D’s vapour cigarettes. The company that sells them is VIP, and has had a stall on one on the aisles for a year now. The Metrocentre has now given VIP notice to stop selling the vapour cigarettes and the contract ends on 28th Feb 2013. They told the stallholders that they can no longer sell vapour cigarettes on the premises. This comes across as quite strange seeing as there are one or two other shops that are allowed to continue selling the vapour cigarettes, but of a different brand. This means that customers of the stall will now have to potentially travel a lot further to get the produce. A well as this, the security guards are now stopping people they see walking around the shopping centre, and telling them that they have to stop smoking the vapour cigarettes, and cannot smoke the anywhere within the shopping centre APART FROM their champagne and cocktail bar, which is a little ‘bar’ situated in the middle of one of the aisles. This bar is obviously still situated with the shopping centre and is an ‘open’ bar, as in, being in the middle of the aisle there is no roof or anything to it, and everyone shopping, walks past it. With this said, why on earth do vapour e-cigarette smokers have to be stopped when we are in the same environment and conditions as this bar. Also, there are no signs anywhere, on doors, posts, windows or anywhere to tell you, smoking vapour cigarettes is not allowed. Also, legally, it is not against the law to smoke vapour cigarettes in a public place. There is no difference between one of these vapour cigarettes and a nicotine inhaler prescribed by a doctor, apart from vapour cigarettes use a battery. I cannot see them banning prescribed nicotine inhalers so why vapour cigarettes. According to the stall holders of the VIP stand, who do actually work for VIP, all their customers are very unhappy, and some have even taken to emailing the Metrocentre itself to complain. I have to admit, I have, myself, done this and told them exactly what I thought of these actions. Another thing I cannot understand, is with regard to the purpose of a vapour e-cigarette. Why would the Metrocentre want to ban people smoking them or selling them, when this type of cigarettes gives of no harmful vapours. All that comes out is water. No harm by passive smoking. People who use this type of product, are obviously trying to give up, so decisions like the Metrocentre have apparently made, only go to make the users of this type of product more ousted and victimised than they were when smoking real cigarettes. Smokers are being treated by some as something close to lepers, so to treat (non) smokers like this because they choose to smoke a vapour cigarette is bang out of order. It will be interesting to see if I get a response to my email. I will let you know if I do.

Virgin Media. How they DON’T deal with customer’s issues

This blog post is out of the norm for me. Instead of telling you just about whats happened in my life, this post is going to be about something that has happened, that has really started making my blood boil. Now, I don’t normally have a go at people or organisations, or companies in the public forums like Facebook, or twitter and alike, as I prefer to deal with things privately, but today, I am going to make an exception.
On 6th Jan 2013, my Mam, passed away suddenly in hospital. This was an unexpected shock as you can imagine for us all. Now, a short while after that, after the funeral, which was on the 15th Jan 2013, I rang Virgin Media, to inform them of my Mam’s passing, and that my Dad would like to take the account over in his name, continuing everything as it was on the account. I was told my Dad would receive a phone call from the Bereavement Department within 24 hours. Well, 24 hours passed and still no phone call. When I got to my Dad’s house that day ( I live 10 miles away ), I rang Virgin Media up again only to be told that the timescale for a callback is actually 48 hours, not 24 hours which I had been quoted and that he would have to wait for the callback. Now I should point out, that my Dad is 73 years old and not great with technology or having to deal with stuff like this, as my Mam normally dealt with the bills etc. My Dad is only just getting used to speaking on the phone. It took a long time to persuade my Mam and dad to get a phone installed in the first place. Anyway, back to the original issue. After being told on the second call to Virgin Media that it is actually 48 hours for a callback, I could see my Dad getting physically stressed. Because of this, my dad told me not to ring them back, and he was sure they would ring. He kept saying this to me for the next few days, and not wanting to stress him any further, I obliged with his wish. Around 5 days later ( YES, 5 days, not 24 or 48 hours ), my Dad eventually gets a call from the Bereavement Dept, who arrange to have forms sent to him to fill in and send back to them with a copy of the Death Certificate and that everything would then be transferred to my Dad’s name with his bank details for payment, and gave the impression and reassurance that everything would be fine and straightforward. A short while later, he received the forms, and did as they asked. He filled them in and posted them back with a death certificate. This is where it jumps to yesterday 18th Feb 2013. My Dad received 2 demands from Virgin Media, for 2 bills unpaid which also included a late payment charge. My Dad was very confused why these have not been paid, but what upset him the most, was that these demand were still in my Mam’s name. I tried to pacify my Dad by saying the bills wouldn’t of been paid as my Mam’s bank account were closed pending probate. Seeing my Dad starting to get upset and stressed again, I immediately rang Virgin Media up and got through to a lovely girl in the UK. Up till now everyone I have spoke to was overseas. This girl was very apologetic and could see the notes saying we were having forms sent out but nothing to say they had received them back, even though my Dad sent them over 3 weeks ago now. She apologised several times during the call, and said she would stop the late payment charge. She then said she would sent a request back to the Bereavement Department and mark it as urgent, for them to ring my Dad back, and again quoted within 24 hours. I left it at that, hoping someone, somewhere, would get their finger out and sort this out. Today, I spoke to my dad, who informed me he received two phone calls from Virgin Media. The first was a woman, who could barely speak any english. My Dad repeated several time that he could not understand her, but she just kept going on and on. Nothing of what she said was understood by my Dad, which he told her, apart from when she asked for the password. He said, if it was his password it would of been ( password given ). She said that this was incorrect. He then told her he didn’t know his wife’s password because she is dead now. At this point the lady on the phone, carried on saying stuff that my dad could not understand. He told me, he thinks she hung up in the end, but cannot be sure. After that call, he received the second call. This time, believe it or not, it was a call to find out how the service had been and how the phone call he had just had, was dealt with. I told him, I hope he told them the service is awful. He told me he couldn’t do that, so he just told the man on the phone that the service was O.K, but he did mention to him, that when people are ringing him from Virgin Media, it’s nearly always someone he cannot understand, due to them being overseas. So as it stands, my Dad does not have any idea what the heck is going on now. He does not know if the foreign lady that rang was from the Bereavement Department or chasing payment. He half joked, that he will soon find out when his T.V and phone are cut off. I told my Dad I will ring Virgin Media, when I’m at his house in a couple of days time. I also told him , that when I do ring, I WILL be giving them hell.
I have to say that I am not one of those people that live to ring up call centres and kick off just to get credits or for the fun of it, like some people seem to do. I have only once in my life lost it on the phone with someone from a company and slammed the phone down. I prefer to remain calm and collected. I find that normally you get further that way to dealing with the problem(s) in hand. I feel this time is going to be different. I am not about to stand by and watch my Dad getting stressed and upset, when in my opinion, he is still grieving, or possibly worse, not yet started grieving due to sorting stuff out. I am not a racist, but I fail to comprehend why or how a huge company like Virgin Media, employ offshore people, to deal with such personal, upsetting, and sensitive calls and issue such as bereavement, when they, in cases like this, struggle to make themselves understood on a call to a U.K customer, due to their native language and accent. If it is a U.K company, calls like this should only be dealt with by U.K, english speaking staff. Its times like this when their customers are feeling very upset, hurt, angry, or any number of emotions and need help, guidance and support of the people they speak to on the phone, to get their query resolved, not be left confused, upset and stressed. I personally think it is despicable that things like this happen. I don’t know if its a case of training, or retraining these people, or whether, and this is more probable, that companies need to take a long, hard, look at their policies, and how the deal with certain situations, and who deals with them, and not just farm certain call queue’s and departments out to offshore, just to save money.
I honestly feel that some some companies, because of their policies and procedures, leave customers feeling like just a number, and an amount money being paid, to enhance the profits, rather than a valued customer. A customer who works hard to pays their bills, which pays wages and helps keep the company operating and not going bust. They should be treat better and looked after, in all cases, no matter how much that customer spends each month.

I WILL be posting this on various social networks, and if you agree with anything at all that I have said, or believe these things need to be changed, or like me, are disgusted with the way they are dealing with this or similar situations, please share this, amongst your contacts. Please also leave a comment. I will also be adding @virginmedia in on Twitter so they see what I have to say. I will keep you updated with this as time goes by.

Wish me luck