Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I recently visited Sainsbury’s in a Sussex market town on a Sunday to return some boys shorts bought the previous day which had been incorrectly labeled and were, therefore, the wrong size.

I had done a major shop the previous day and didn’t need to purchase anything else other than about £5 of milk etc.

When I paid the cashier I asked her to ‘swipe’ my car park entry card in order to allow me out of the car park because I had probably been in the store for very slightly more than the half hour allowed for ‘free’ parking.

Without swiping the card I would have incurred a parking fee of £10 for the privilege of being forced to return a faulty product and make a minor purchase.

The cashier made the assumption that because I had bought such a small number of items I must have been in the store less than half an hour. When I told her I had also spend a considerable time dealing with my exchange of shorts she held on to her mindset of me being within the half hour.

She refused to swipe the card, saying she ‘couldn’t’ swipe it if I had been less than half an hour and ‘couldn’t’ swipe it if I had been more than half an hour because I had only spent about £5 and not the minimum of ten pounds.

Never the less, I asked her to swipe the card because should I have been in the store for just slightly more than half an hour I would be refused exit without paying a ten pound fee, and I would have blocked the exit to the car park for all the other exiting shoppers while I either paid the fee or had the unpleasant experience of arguing the matter with the intransigent Sainsbury’s staff.

Although this discussion was ludicrous, there was no personal difficulty or rancour in the discussion other than the cashier explaining to me her wish to obey her management instructions not to swipe cards in my sort of circumstances.

The cashier then hailed a passing ‘supervisor’ and asked her to take the card to the customer service point to have it swiped. An amicably reasonable solution to the utter lack of initiative the Sainsbury’s management deprive cashiers of using.

I would stress that despite my slightly acid description of events, there had been no unpleasant exchanges between the cashier and me. I recognised she was following the management instructions to her and our exchange was perfectly polite and civilised in every way.

I merely told her I insisted the card must be swiped as I did not want to block the car park exit. And It seemed complete lunacy to gamble on whether I had been in the store 29 minutes and would be freed, or 31 minutes and would be trapped causing every other exiting shopper to also be trapped behind my blocked car.

There had been no disruption or ‘argument’. It was a perfectly normal exchange, with a perfectly amicable solution as the cashier instructed the supervisor who gaily tripped off to swipe the card without further ado.

Unfortunately, just as the supervisor walked off with the card, a hatchet faced woman with a Sainsbury’s uniform and with a filthy expression of intense anger on her face shrieked at the top of her voice to me ‘You’ve been barred from the store.’

At the same time she slammed her hand on a ‘panic’ button to set off a loud alarm and shouted for security staff to forcibly remove me from the store.

Amazed and utterly nonplussed, I replied to her that I had not been banned. The supervisor taking my card to be swiped turned around and handed the card back to the cashier who then handed it to me, unswiped. I handed it back to the supervisor in a dazed state as the screaming harpy was continuing to shriek loudly at me that I was banned and shouldn’t be shopping at the store at all.

This was news to me as I have been shopping at the store every few days for five years uninterrupted by any ‘banning orders’ imposed by screaming harpies shouting abuse at me at the top of their voices.

The supervisor with my card walked with me to the customer service point where the card was swiped by her without comment.

Meanwhile, a burly security guard appeared who told me I couldn’t leave the store. He kept shuffling up to within a very few inches of my face every time I tried to keep a reasonably normal distance from him, breathing his foetid breath straight into my nostrils as he followed his training instructions to intimidate people by ‘invading their personal space’ in an overtly threatening manner by standing abnormally close to them.

I was a prisoner of Sainsbury’s, not allowed to leave the premises by this threatening security guard.

I was completely stunned at being screamed at for absolutely no reason at all by this maniac of a hatchet faced harpy woman employed by Sainsbury’s, and then kept prisoner and prevented from leaving by a threatening ’security guard’ who clearly implied he would use violence to prevent me going about my lawful business.

Meanwhile, my nine year old son appeared to be in a state of increasing terror at what was happening to his Father.

A duty manager, then appeared and asked the security guard what was going on. The guard replied he had no idea other than the shrieking Sainsbury employee has said I was banned from the store and had asked him to throw me out.

A slightly unnecessary procedure as, armed with my now swiped card, and having paid for my shopping, I was more than anxious to remove myself from this screaming madhouse where the Sainsbury employee’s continued shrieking had attracted a wide audience of at least a hundred people looking to see what the fracas was all about.

The manager did not speak to me, indeed refused to do so as he asked the security guard what the fuss was about. I was insolently and rudely told to be quiet by the manager when I greeted him as a possible saviour from this growing insanity and attempted to start explaining to him what had taken place. I imagined that, naturally, the manager would wish to speak to the polite and diffident customer being kept prisoner and prevented from leaving the store by a security guard.

Not so. When the security guard had finished telling the Duty Manager he had no idea what was going on, the manager simply refused to speak to me and told me brusquely to leave. I replied that was what I was being prevented from doing.

The manager’s response was to behave in an extremely confrontational and aggressive way, and also following his training on how to deal with violence, proceeded to do the same as the security guard and shoved his face within inches of mine. Together the manager and the security guard ‘herded‘ me out of the store in a brutally uncivilised and unnecessary manner, not allowing me to leave normally and willingly as I was entirely intent on doing.

It occurred to me the pair of them must have been watching too many American Los Angeles Cop and Car chase type TV films and were completely confused about what was American television fantasy and what was real life in a quiet Sussex market town as a sixty year old, inoffensive, middle class resident went about the daily business of domestic shopping with his nine year old son.

I was followed into the car park by the security guard at a distance who waited to see which car I approached. He then wrote my car number in biro on his hand in a thoroughly dramatic manner, no doubt still living the fantasy and taking his cue from all those America Cop movies he watched when not harassing innocent shoppers in the local supermarket for a living.


When, many years ago, my Father was a Councillor in this town and as Chairman of the Council was intimately involved in trying to prevent Sainsburys’ and other megalomaniac big businesses from wrecking the then pretty country market town with massively destructive ‘redevelopment’, he would have had absolutely no idea how nasty these big businesses like Sainsbury’s would become.

Since I knew the town as a boy, the Sun Life Insurance company and Sainsbury’s have together been instrumental in conniving to persuade the Town Council to raze down vast amounts of the then attractive centre of the town and browbeat the Local Council into agreeing to close off most roads into the centre of town and build an ugly motorway-like ‘inner ring road ‘bypass’ around the centre of sleepy little town, preventing any normal access to it.

Both these business organisations built monumental and modernistic ugly buildings over the centuries old town centre roads, killing of the historic town at a stroke. No doubt Sainsbury’ and Sun Life persuaded the Council it would be a good thing as they would be bringing lots of local jobs into the town.

But it has had the effect of preventing any of the local residents from getting at the town centre to do any shopping and empty shops now lie abandoned and boarded up forlornly as a result.

Shops and other traders still struggling to make ends meet as the Council extorts gigantic parking charges, hugely exceeding the costs of paying an average monthly mortgage for a house, never mind a bloody car parking space, can only watch grimly as turnover falls and they go out of business one by one.

Fewer and fewer residents bother to overcome the sheer trauma and hassle of being milked by unreasonable parking charges and endless threats of £90 parking tickets followed by bailiffs at the door adding hundred and hundreds of pounds to just one parking ticket, then threatening householders with the legalised theft of their house contents if they don’t pay up immediately.

Pedestrians are artfully provided with their own obstacle course to get into the town centre too. Nearly the entire local population has to brave an artificially contrived and utterly inappropriate and unnecessary urban motorway, carefully conceived by dimwitted ‘planners’ to make getting into the town centre on foot as unpleasant as possible for virtually everyone.

Hence, the town is dying on its feet; a slow strangulation that has already turned a really busy, attractive mediaeval market town into a nasty little empty urban desert in the middle of of what used to be some of the most stunningly beautiful landscape in the World.

It is now a noisy sprawl of ring roads and Orwellian building development designed to look as revolting as possible.

But Sun Life has fallen on hard times as more and more people realised the life insurer plundered their pockets and business has slumped. So the predatory business has now gone, having done its job of sucking the life out of the two like the parasite it is.

Sainsbury’s too is no longer in the centre of town, bringing the extra shoppers and vibrancy it had solemnly promised all those years ago.

It’s old low rise utilitarian shed like architecture is now a shoddy enclosed shopping centre, identical to any down at heel shopping mall anywhere. Completely without character and wildy unpleasant to visit, most shops offering standardised high street cloned tat.

Sainsbury’s supermarket itself, even more sophisticated in manipulating and dictating to local town councils all over the country, has purloined most of the one time garden of a fantastically elegant classic manor house in the one small remaining bit of the original town by the ancient Church that still remains.

The Manor House is no longer fantastically elegant as it was bought by the RSPCA for it’s headquarters, and then sold at a massive profit to developers who built bits on everywhere and turned it into a warren of poky little ‘town houses’ and awkward apartments in the once elegant original building.

The town is is now ugly and bereft of the soul it had. The centuries of hustle and bustle of a busy English country market town have gone. The old coaching inn, once the focal point, is boarded up and decaying listlessly. In the evenings and on the weekends, the town is dead and empty, except for a few loitering youths, often mindlessly drunk.

It is not the pleasant, friendly place it once was. Instead it is a place to hurry away from before a black cloud of depression descends about what modern life is like .

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Britain Now a Totalitarian State

We live in a country where at present a minority of gutless, ignorant and cruel individuals stand more unaccountable than ministers in our own government. An unaccountable minority making lives hell for thousands of families and their precious children each year.

An unaccountable minority who escape prosecution for their perjurous crimes committed against innocent families in unaccountable family courts wrapped in secrecy. Unaccountable legal representatives who pretend to care right at the start only to deceive and ignore nearing the end.

These are draconian laws, but made worse when twisted by local authority officials using a safety net of unaccountability. Abolish all secrecy in the Family Courts and let the daylight of open inquiry illuminate their work.” Fassit

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The lunatics in question are an evil team consisting of BT (otherwise known as British Telecome) and Talk the Talk ( an utterly insanely named bunch of twits that make its
shareholders very rich by providing a truly lousy telephone service.

Today I started my working day only to discover my BT broadband connection had entirely vanished.

I discovered Talk Talk had somehow hijacked my telephone service so I could make calls, but not receive any, and there was no broadband connection at all.

Talk Talk had stolen my phone.

It's called 'slamming' in the language of the mentally retarded wierdos of the electronic sub-culture. It is illegal and a crime.

I spent a solid five hours and came close to having a heart attack at the immense difficulty of getting anything done about it and recovering my line from the thieves.

It meant I got absolutely no work done at all. I also feel like checking in to the nearest secure psychiatric hospital after spending the entire day in the hands of 'customer advisors’ and 'call centres' of various kinds with BT and Talk Talk, OfCOM and the frequent foray around the globe to Hindustani speakers in India, a continent or so distant from here.

If this sounds mad, that's because it is. More later.