Diary of a Food Addict: Ring Road Rage

Last week, I confided how irritated and angry I got at a moronic driver who was weaving around the Redditch Ring Road in his chavved-out little car. He was so dangerous, and people were honking as he narrowly avoided them. I was so angry as he did the same with me, especially as I had my daughter in the car at the time. I thought about how it’s only a matter of time before he kills or maims someone, and how he should be taken off the road. What can you do, though? Call the police? That’s no good unless you gather up the witnesses and they’re not really going to be interested until he actually has killed or maimed someone.

He sped off into one of the car parks, and later on I am 99% certain I saw him and his girlfriend at a stall in the grounds of the church where there was a fete happening. His green and black baseball cap was so distinctive. At that time, in that moment, I really wanted to walk up to him and just punch him in his chavvy little face, to teach him a lesson that his actions have consequences.

I didn’t, of course, and concluded that it was a big risk to take without absolute certainty, that it wouldn’t set a good example for my daughter, and that I’d be the one who actually gets into trouble not him. Rightly so. It’s not up to me to be judge, jury and executioner.

So I walked on by. I even concluded that it was just not worth trying to remonstrate with him. He was so chavved up, and his girlfriend too, that it was clear to me they were just too far gone, too far for reason, too far for an appeal from me to their considerate side, if one exists.

“Funny,” said my confidant, with a raised eyebrow. “You got really angry with him, but can’t you see how similar you are to him?”

“How so?” I enquired, with lips pursed. I didn’t want to be like this person, not one jot.

But she explained that my overeating problems are often caused by me swerving in and out of the rules, even the ones I set for myself. I don’t conform to the norms, and I don’t behave as I know I should.  I show disregard for my loved ones, and I put them in danger because if I have a heart attack and die they will suffer greatly because I’ve failed to plan my finances properly – again, another result of ducking and diving the rules and the norms.

She continued that I had sped through life, jumping between the lanes, and yet people around me – people who care about me – are all honking their horns and trying to get me to change my ways.

How frustrated must they feel, she noted, that they try to help you but you just keep on driving through the lanes in a haphazard manner. They must feel like punching you square in the face sometimes!

But they don’t, she said. They decide it’s not worth it, that it’s going to cause too much aggravation, and that ultimately it’s not their responsibility to change your behaviour, it’s up to you and only you.

I pondered the analogy (dare I even call it a parable?) for some time afterwards, and I still am.  It’s about time I drove my life forwards in the right lanes, in the right way. Not someone else’s version of ‘right’, and not because someone else is telling me to do so, but because it’s simply the right thing to do to honour and protect all those around me, but also myself. I deserve better than to die as a result of my own ‘careless driving’.

Pro Tip for Dealing with Free Trials

We’ve all been there and got the scars from trying to cancel a “free trial” once the period is over, or to just cancel some other service you’ve realised you don’t need anymore.

Some of the worst offenders include Experian’s CreditExpert service, and subscriptions to The Times. Add your story in the comments, I’d love to hear it.

Here’s one way you can get around having to call or write to them:

Most of these services will have a facility to let you ‘update your card details’ that will only let you stick in the details of another credit or debit card. So here’s what you do:

  • Find an old bank account that you don’t use any more – make sure it’s on ‘free account’ mode, downgrade if you have to. You’ll still be able to to keep your debit card.
  • Empty it of funds. Leave the balance at £0.00 and don’t apply for an overdraft.
  • Change your account on the website so it now uses the card for the account with £0.00 in there.
  • When the company tries to take a payment it’ll bounce.
  • They will probably send you some warning emails, but eventually they’ll just cancel your account 9 times out of 10. Chances are you’ve been paying in advance, not in arrears.

There are some heavy warnings with this however. The biggest one being:

READ THE TERMS & CONDITIONS

Some of them will have terms stating they’ll let the account arrears build up before sending the heavies to your door. Watch out for that.

One variation to the above is to make sure you use a credit card. Call your credit card company and tell them to block payments to the website/company you want to cancel with. Again, make sure they won’t fine you or make your account stack up as a result.

This method is not ideal, and it’s not a nice way to do business. But neither is it nice not to let your customers leave you when they want. You’re running a website not the Bates Motel, just let us go.

So this is your way to stick it to them. Bounce the payments. Turn the tables. Make them do the work.

Eventually they’ll do a Netflix – they were amongst the worst, now you can walk away and come back whenever you like, and look what it did for them – it made them rich!  Funny what not treating your customers like prisoners can do!

 

Don’t get too attached

Honestly, this has to be my 100th time of starting a new WordPress-based website-cum-blog.  I do this a lot.

The main reason is I just like to have a website I can play with. Somewhere for me to play with new ideas, methods, and also to try out themes and plugins before I put them onto a client’s site.

So why not have a development server? That’s a hassle. This site runs on the same infrastructure as my clients. If something works here, it’ll work for my clients.

I’ll do blog posts – and I’ll genuinely engage in having a blog. Just be prepared for it to change before your very eyes without notice. This is a ‘bleeding edge’ area. If you like things to stay still for a moment, this is not the place for you.