Saturday, 24 July 2010

A bit of frustration with our communications

We need broadband and fixed line telephone in the workshop.

Telecommunications are a vital service for the progress of mankind. It is appalling that the individual should be denied choice in the selection of a company that can connect or repair communication faults. The cost to our nations progress is colossal. Anyone who has tried to get an openreach engineer will understand this.
This week I have made 120 calls to my service provider BT trying to get an openreach engineer to connect 7 wires. The connection of these wires is important to me so much so it has become a personal crusade.

How can the nations productivity improve when a monopoly control the communications infrastructure. It reminds me so much of the environment I faced when trying to build a photocopier factory in Leningrad in 1990. Where there is no choice there is no progress.

George is so right in his analogy.

George Pitcher is an Anglican priest who serves his ministry at St Bride's, Fleet Street, in London – the "journalists' church".

He says and I quote "It seems to me that BT’s Open Reach is symptomatic of two service-industry ills in Britain. First, it’s a service company that has no direct customer contact; that’s a recipe for sub-soviet style arrogance and neglect. Second, it’s a symptom of the over-enthusiastic privatisation of the Eighties. BT was sold off effectively as a monopoly and has been pretending not to be one ever since to satisfy the regulator. That’s why Open Reach is allegedly “separate” from BT, but can behave with all the disdain for customer-service that the old nationalised industry had."

Back to my comment:

In the Soviet Union there was no concept of competition no advertising, no property ownership, no insurance, no carrots, no windscreen wipers, no tractors, no internet etc etc etc and no hope. Photocopiers were locked in guarded rooms and regarded as potential weapons against the state. Thatcher and Reagan knew that communications through satellite and internet would be an unstoppable conduit for change.

I witnessed this first hand. When choice is introduced freedom can develop and productivity can improve. These are lessons for us all so why can’t I buy the services of a telephone engineer to connect my phone.

There is no way to contact an openreach engineer they have a Soviet style monopoly and will not speak to end users. This monopoly must go if we are to progress and not be overtaken by our Russian friends who have seen the light.


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Our entry for shed of the year 2010

Our entry for the “shed of the year” competition 2010
"A virtual paradise for home-working"

Nestling in the Cumbrian hills at the bottom of a beautifully self landscaped garden, overlooking a 240-degree panorama of arguably the most picturesque countryside in the UK. Our client (a planning consultant) commissioned us to build his new garden office/shed!!

The design a combination of the client’s vision and our own input fits into a discreet area. Separate from the house with views / views and views the building is contemporary and discreet. Small but adequate it floats above ground on a slope with an entry deck cantilevered over a wildlife pond.

Fully insulated and double-glazed windows are placed with uninterupted views of the garden and the 240-degree Cumbrian panorama.

A virtual paradise for home-working and a great pleasure for us to build.

Monday, 12 July 2010

My shopping today

How to buy from B&Q
Richard Grace 12/7/10
B&Q are owned by Kingfisher Group – buying from kingfisher is a bit like fishing – put your bait (money) in the right place – stand on the right river bank. This is how to do it.
1. You need to understand this information first.  B&Q,, screwfix, electricfix, plumbfix and Trade Point are all part of the same organisation. They sell the same products from the same manufacturers packaged and delivered in the same way. They sell to trade and public taking cash, card or bank transfer. Their pricing policy is difficult to understand but if you do you will save money.

2. It is a good place to buy they have good products and good after sales service. If you want to save money visit any one of their outlets or do it on-line. Decide on your product then check if it is available at one of the other outlets or counters and what will be the price will be there. Do not assume that all products are the same price as there can be as much as 40% difference for the same thing.

Here is an example from my shopping today:
1. A Chrome washbasin waste is £32.46 on the shelf in the main store £11.06 + VAT at the TRADE-POINT counter and £9.85 including VAT at the plumbfix counter it is also available at the screwfix and electricfix counters at separate pricing. This is the same product in the same box made by the same supplier.

2. A slide mitre saw is available in store at £106.00 and at the TRADE POINT counter in the same store it costs £69.00 (both these figures include VAT). The same product in the same store taken to a different checkout.

3. A set of trifold doors in store at £1856.00 attracts no discount at any of the checkouts or different outlets – but if you have a Discount / loyalty card or if you are over 60 and buy at store on pensioners day this is £150 cheaper.

My shopping today - the facts:
Today I bought a saw a set of trifold doors and a washbasin waste and a few other things (not typical but true) – I needed them anyway and I made a total saving of £230 on todays visit using this knowledge. I spend approximately £600 per day on building materials. The total estimated saving per year for me at kingfisher outlets using this knowledge is £3000 – with this money I intend to keep on smoking, drinking and wasting my time blogging.

Try it but chose yourself what you do with the money.

Information here has been checked and verified by a journalist and verified with receipts vs store prices.

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Richard is an experienced business consultant specialising in garden structures design and planning + The UK's leading expert in using Pinterest for business marketing web traffic generation at lowest cost.