Hanging on the telephone

I had a very frustrating morning. I had to work from home because I got an automated phone calls yesterday and Monday telling me that my new Dell computer would be delivered between 8am and 1pm today. Come 1pm, no computer. So I looked up on the Dell website and lo and behold! it now had it marked down that the delivery would be on Friday! When I called customer services it turns out that this is all because I couldn’t confirm the delivery, because the internal phone system here wouldn’t allow it. Course, if a PERSON had called me to confirm the delivery there wouldn’t have been a problem. I think I’m going to implement a strict “shopping in shops” policy from now on… The irony is that I’ve been forced into buying the computer in the first place because the OU doesn’t provide its software for Macs, at least, not for the courses I’m doing, so in the end the simplest thing to do was to get a PC, even if it’s cost as much as the course. If you see a spike in the November retail figures, you’ll know why.

I hope you’ve all heard the news about getting rid of standards for intra-EU fruit and veg (bananas will still have standards, but that’s more about it being an international trade issue). I like the comments on the BBC Magazine article about this, which went along the lines of “if this is all about EU rules, how come I can buy all sorts of funny-shaped veg in France and Spain?”. Down in my bit of France they have a tomato that’s totally ridged and lumpy. It looks quite weird. I bought some in a supermarket because they looked so unusual and they were DELICIOUS – really intense tomato flavour, perfect for a simple tomato salad with shallots and some good olive oil and loads of pepper. yum! These rules have often been quoted as a “Euro-myth” NOT because the rules don’t exist (obviously they do, otherwise we wouldn’t have to get rid of them), but rather because they weren’t imposed on the UK by the EU – such standards already existed in the UK before it joined and in fact harmonised rules were something the UK fought for during its accession. It’s a bit like metrication – the UK embarked on the process of introducing metric well before it joined the EU.

If you bought a car between 1998 and 2003, it’s likely you were affected by the cartel on car glass that the Commission has just fined a record €1.38b.

Published by Antonia

I'm a British citizen and European Union offical, who lives in Brussels again after 6 years in London and 8 in Melbourne. I went to the London School of Economics and University of Melbourne. In 2008 I took part in the Eisenhower Fellowship Multination Programme, the subject of 3 of my blogs. You can find me on Twitter as @antoniam or on Mastodon as @antoniam@mastodon.scot

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