Showing posts from May, 2010

How to survive being useless

I’m currently in the process of having some things I bought online delivered.  I say “in the process of” because the things in question have been given to the courier who are currently in the process of trying to deliver them to my house. It always intrigued me how couriers could survive in what must be a very competitive market when they give very bad service to the people they are delivering to.  But the answer is really quite obvious. Couriers aren’t paid by the people who receive the items, they are paid by the people sending them.  In the particular case I’m thinking about the couriers (the courier in case you care) only deliver on behalf of business with accounts.  So how does that protect them from the normal effects of being crap at what they do? Well, let’s look at my particular case.  I bought something online.  I bought it online because it was a good price, and the delivery charge looked reasonable.  It didn’t occur to me to look at which delivery service they were us

My favourite mistakes

I collect coins and banknotes.  Yes, I am aware that makes me “a bit sad” but I like it.  One thing I find fascinating are the mistakes.  The errors.  The coins and banknotes we were never meant to get our grubby little public hands on. Mistakes in bank note printing are quite common.  The paper flies through the machines at an incredible rate, and folds and other problems with the paper are quite common.  Notes are often miscut, meaning large blank paper flaps remain on the side, for instance.  Below is a photo of a UK fiver showing a slightly rarer error.  Both the design from the front of the note and the design from the back of the note have been printed on the same side.  The most likely cause of this is that one sheet of banknotes fell on top of another before the ink was fully dry. Errors in coins are rarer.  Coins are generally pressed one at a time from blank pieces of metal of the right size.  The lack of flexible paper and post-print cutting makes mistakes rarer tha

Things you overhear…

I was waiting at Euston station for a train yesterday. The train was delayed. I would say “as is typical” but in fairness to Virgin Trains, the service from London to Chester is usually pretty reliable. Anyway – waiting for the delayed train, I was standing with the rest of the world staring at the departure board trying to guess which of the incoming trains shown on the arrivals board would become our outgoing train so I work out which platform I should be edging towards. Having a pre-booked seat reservation didn’t stop me from thinking that getting on the train sooner rather than later would somehow speed up my journey. Two guys were standing next to me. From the way they were interacting, I’d say they were probably workmates who both happened to be getting trains from Euston around the same time, so had travelled there together. They were talking very loudly, and so even had I wanted to, avoiding hearing their conversation would’ve been somewhat impossible. The taller and