Amazon Prime & Distance Selling Regulations

For those of you who read my last blog Aldofo Kimisky will know that I currently am the proud owner of a book I want to read, but can’t understand the language that its written in. My own fault really – after all the french title should have been enough to give the game away. It wasn’t that long before I noticed but it was too late do do anything about it.

One problem I’ve found with Amazon Prime (other than the fact you have to pay for it) is that your order is dealt with so quickly so there is only a matter of minutes for you to amend or cancel it. This wont really be an issue for most sensible shoppers, but for one reason or another has caught me out a few times. When this has happened I have had to have something delivered that I don’t want. In order to get my money back I have to send it back to Amazon. This is where the law as a consumer is on your side. Distance Selling Regulations are a result of an EU directive and apply to any contract between a supplier and consumer is drawn up by means of distance communication. In this case the suppler would be Amazon and the consumer would be me and the method of distance communication would be the Internet. Distance Selling Regulations stipulate that the consumer (me) has the automatic right to cancel the contract with the supplier (Amazon) at any time within seven days after the product is delivered. Once the contract has been cancelled then supplier has to reimburse the consumer within thirty days. This reimbursement includes any postage costs paid by the consumer for the delivery from supplier to consumer. Most interestingly under the Distance Selling Regulations once the contract is exited by the consumer it is the responsibility of the supplier to arrange collection of the goods from the consumer, and it is only down to the consumer to take reasonable care of the items and facilitate their collection back to the supplier.

Distance selling regulations are a bonus to consumers. This is far beyond what is required under the normal Sale of Goods Act and sometimes results in a retailer having to have two returns policies. I got stung  when I bought a DVD in person from HMV. It was a ‘need it there and then purchase’ as it was someone I had overlooked in my Christmas shopping. Afterwards it turned out that I wasn’t going to see them over Christmas and I realised there was a far better deal on the DVDfrom Amazon. My plan was to get the better deal from Amazon and take the DVD I had already bought to HMV. It was still in the plastic wrapper but they said they told me I could only swap it or have the price loaded onto a gift card. This is the minimum they have to give me under Sale Of Goods Act and they wouldn’t even have to do that if I couldn’t provide proof of purchase. This however was useless to me as I never shop in HMV. I can count the amount of things I have *ever* bought from HMV on one hand. The few times I have bought something from HMV it has either been online (as something has been cheaper which very rareley happens) or I have been back in my home town – usually at Christmas like in this case and I have forgotten  to get someone a present at Christmas. Annoyingly if I had bought it online then I could have taken it into a HMV store and got my money back, but as I had bought it in person I wasnt protected under the Distance Selling Regulations. They are complying with the law perfectly, but as a customer service practice it stinks. HMV can’t not comply with Distance Selling
Regulations, but it seems silly that depending on how you buy something dictates how you are treated by that company. For that reason I won’t shop at HMV either online or instore. The same goes for Sports Direct. I have found getting Sports Direct to even comply with the Sale of Goods Act challenging to say the least.

I decided that I am not going to cancel my contract with Amazon. I am going to keep my book on Aldolfo Kaminsky  proudly on my bookshelf.  Maybe occasionally  I will send if out to one of my friends who speaks French and are in need of a good book. With the book I will put a message simply to return it to me when they are done. This way I hope that the courageous story of Aldofo Kaminsky is heard by some that would otherwise not know his name.

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Aldolfo Kaminsky

I am a big follower of TED talks. TED talks are great. They are like YouTube videos, but  instead of watching videos of a dog with strange bark, or someone throwing a brick into a washing machine you listen to a neuroscientist talk about her experience of having a stroke or what was going through the mind of a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549 which made a emergency landing on the Hudson River after encountering a brid strike shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. There really are some fascinating talks and they really will open your eyes to so many things.

New TED talks are being released all the time. A few days ago I watched a talk about Aldolfo Kaminsky given by his daughter Sarah Kaminsky. Aldofo Kaminsky spent the vast majority of his adult life as a forger. He worked tirelessly creating forged documents to assist others, for example in WWII to help Jews escape from the Nazi regime and the final solution. It’s a really fascinating story which is all too sad that it needed to happen in the first place.

From this TED talk I realised that Sarah Kaminsky had written a book about the life of her father – ‘Adolfo Kaminsky: Une Vie De Faussaire’. Pretty much straight after I had finished watching her TED talk I went to find her book. Amazon was an obvious first place to look, and within a few seconds and a few clicks I had a copy of the book making it’s way to me. Then in dawned on me that I had better check that the book was in English given the TED talk was in French. It’s quite a big assumption that just because I bought the book from the Amazon UK site that the book will be in English. As you can see it is in French so I am now the proud owner of a book I really want to read, but in a language that I can’t understand. Great.

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Goodnight Sweetheart

A bit of background. I am quite a WWII geek. Anything and everything about the era interests and fascinates me. It’s a massive subject though, but that means there is always something else to learn about however much you already know.  I have even set myself the challenge of watching every film centred around WWII, however the list is rather long and ever expanding. As well as films, there are numerous TV programmes (‘shows’ for my American readers).  Dad’s Army and Allo Allo are perhaps the most well known ones. There are numerous lesser-known ones.

Goodnight Sweetheart was set in both the 1940’s and the 90’s. It centres around Garry Sparrow (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) who in the first episode realises that he can travel back in time going through a time portal at the end of Ducketts Passage. He quickly falls in love with a woman in the 1940’s called Phoebe and starts establishing a life in the 1940s.

Both Phoebe and Gary know each other are married. Phoebe is married to Donald who is serving in North Africa but as Phoebe put it’s “their relationship and marriage has never been much cop”. Gary gives the impression that his marriage is loveless and that his wife is only in name and eventually starts seeing another man. Back in the 1990’s however, despite Gary and Yvonne’s problems it is obvious that he loves her deep down. Of course, what Phoebe doesn’t know that Gary is married not in the 1940’s but in the 1990’s.

On several occasions Gary understands that flitting between the two eras needs to stop and that he needs to concentrate on just one woman and one life. His first attempt of staying in the 1940s ends in disaster. He rapidly realises that without the 1990s just down the road wartime London is not a hard place to exist. By being present in both eras he is able to supplement his life in the 40s, initially to impress and woo Phoebe with chocolate, meat, cigarettes, stockings, and even once bananas. He claims to have gotten them from the US Embassy shop that he has access to through his connections due to his secret war work and his previous life in the US, which is why few people have head of him before the 1940s. He is also able to bring back mint collectables from the 1940’s to sell them in his wartime memorabilia shop ‘Blitz & Pieces’. This prevents him having to have a real job as keeping two women happy 50 years apart is far more time consuming than a job ever could be. Eventually, in the final episode the time portal makes the decision for Gary keeping him in the 1940s with Pheobe who is by then his wife and their son Michael.

Whenever a TV program ends there are the inevitable unanswered questions. We know that Yvonne after finds out that Gary is a time traveller leading a double life with two women. What we don’t know is if Phoebe ever finds out what really brought Gary into her life. Throughout Gary’s time in the 1940s he makes numerous references to life far forwards of the 1940s. One such post-40s reference is to Marilyn Monroe. This is who Phoebe thinks Gary is married to, but what happens when Marilyn Monroe becomes a household name. Two people having the same name is the obvious and very plausible explanation. However when Gary tells Ron, his friend in the 1990’s and the only other person to know of his time-travelling antics, that he told Phoebe that his wife is Marilyn Monroe as it was the first name that popped into his head; in Ron’s amusement he gives Gary a photograph of Marilyn Monroe after signs it as if Marilyn signed it to him. Gary leaves the signed photo in his pocket and Phoebe sees it. What happened when, in the 50s, Marilyn becomes internationally famous and Phoebe realises that she has seen before the iconic picture from the film The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn’s skirt blows up far before the film was even at the scripting stage.

Gary also pitches himself in the 1040s, as well as a member of the Secret Service, as a singer-songwriter, bringing famous titles from beyond the 1940s to wartime London far before their time. He entertains everyone with songs actually by the likes Elton John, The Beatles and even Wet Wet Wet passing them off as his own. How does he deal with this later on? One explanation is that he changes the path of history and becomes credited with these creations. Maybe when time travelling Gary not only jumps between time periods, but also into a parallel dimension where his actions in the 1940’s do not alter the course of history in the dimension that he travels from. We know this isn’t the case though as on several occasions as evidence of Gary being in the 40s comes into his view in his life in the 90s. His actions carrying over into the future, is how once confined to the 1940s he reveals to Yvonne the truth in quite an eerie and emotional conclusion to the story.

However the antics of Gary are of course just a story. Time travel isn’t possible, and none of it actually happened. This makes the unanswered questions impossible to answer. Believing the characters and the situations they encounter real or even just wanting them to be real and wondering what happed to them after the programme leaves out TV screens is just the perfect testament to the writers for a job well done.

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Would You Find It Strange If…

…a man and a woman are in a relationship, they are boyfriend and girlfriend, and the woman’s surname is different, but it’s the man’s surname but with a single extra letter at the beginning.

It’s strange. Perhaps even stranger than both of them having the same surname and not through marriage, but just them having the same surname. This would give rise to the odd situation that her maiden name is the same as her married name.

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Probably Not The Best Time To Start A Relationship

I have a friend who has their medicine finals in a matter of weeks. No, this isn’t my girlfriend, thankfully she has finished & passed her medical finals. If medical finals weren’t enough to contend with she has quite a bit of emotional stress going on. I won’t go into details as it’s irrelevant. However after quite a bit of deliberation, she has decided to start dating someone.

I won’t beat around the bush. I disapprove. I don’t disapprove of the relationship, more the timing. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be proved wrong and that they’re relationship will flourish and they will be very happy together. However I think the timing is rather silly. Without all the other stuff she is going through she is under a huge amount of stress and if you consider what else is going on in her life I am in awe to how she is able to keep a smile on her face.

When my girlfriend was in the run-up to her medical finals I saw her even less than I would normally, and when I did she would a text book at most a few feet away. The most physical contact I got was from an abdominal examination. She was incredibly stressed What I wanted had to take a back seat. I understood and accepted this, and I tried as much as I could to be as supportive as I possibly could.

We still had one or two arguments. Given her stress levels I think a full blown argument was inevitable. This was in a realationship that three years in has managed to survive some quite astounding stuff being thrown at it and us.

Add this level of tress to a new relationship and it creates a very volatile mixture. New relationships take a lot of work, and they are liable to go sour quickly and without warning. Given the immediately pending finals I just fear this is just that little bit too risky.

When stress levels rise and emotions are flying around it’s all too easy to get led into something that you otherwise wouldn’t as you are craving it; smething you feel whatever is on offer can give you. You can get blinded by your up and down emotions and what you think you want, need and what you think you get get.

Any potential boyfriend worth considering would understand what’s going on, and if it was me I would definitely be taking a back seat and leave the courting or even just getting to the next base until at least after the end of her finals.

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2 Wheels 2 Continents

One of my house mates recently left to go on an epic trip from San Francisco to Buenos Aries.  I am missing him. He was an awesome house mate.

Follow his amazing photos and his even more amazing journey on 2 Wheels 2 Continents.

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My HEMS Selection Experience

I have just got home from one of the most challenging days of my life.

HEMS selection days are widely accepted to be rather brutal. They have a large number of potentially suitable candidates and only small number of positions. Simply higher the ratio of candidates to positions the higher they can set the bar. It certainly was challenging on almost every level you can think of; physically, mentally, intellectuality and of course clinically.

Before I go any further, I should say that I didn’t make it. I’m not going to be putting on a orange jump suit and flying across the skies. I lasted through all of day one which is longer than quite a few people lasted. I was quite pleased with my performance and I got some very constructive feedback from the assessors who concluded that if it hadn’t been for my fitness letting me down I would have easily made it to day two. I can cope with this. I knew my fitness, or rather lack of it was going to be an issue. I didn’t however want to turn down the opportunity of competing. We didn’t get the exact specifics of the fitness test until we had been short-listed for the assessment weekend. If I had got this at the time I was applying I don’t think I would have applied as I knew there wasn’t a chance I could get up to the standard within a month. I’m glad I applied. I’m glad I had the chance to do the assessments.

I have had a lot of my mind recently. I have also had a very busy, stressful and tiring two weeks. Driving home this evening what I was feeling more than anything was relief. I’ve been so very stressed, cranky and probably unpleasant to be around during these last few weeks, and in particular yesterday that I am just very glad that I can get back to my normal level of stress which most of the time I am quite good at dealing with. Notice I said most of the time.

For those of you who read this who want to do HEMS sooner or later. If you can’t pass the RAF aircrew fitness test then you had better get training. It is far more brutal than the ambulance service fitness test, and the examiners are nothing less than what you would expect from a military fitness instructor.

Will I go for HEMS again. Yes I would still like to do it. I now know first hand what is expected as part of the selection process. Will I be applying next year? Possibly but then possibly not. I am determined not to let my fitness be a factor in whether I apply or not.

I will try and get around to writing about the actual assessments at some point soon. They where all fantastic learning opportunities in themselves.

I would love to say I’m off for a run, however I am truly shattered! Instead I’m going to return to my duties as a loving and attentive boyfriend by making dinner for my girlfriend who is just 10 days away from starting her final year exams.

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