That WAS Entertainment

It’s been a shitty few days.

Things haven’t been great for me recently. I WAS back at work, but I’m back on the sick again, because of my feet. Hopefully, it’s just for the week. and I’ll be back on Wednesday, but more on that later, possibly in a separate post. I’m still trying to get over the shock of the impending doom of “That’s Entertainment”

Well, it all started earlier in the week. As I mentioned, my feet are falling to bits again, so all plans I had for the weekend had gone out of the window. I planned on sitting in, not speaking to a single human being until I went back to work, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Accomplice came to the rescue, however, and said “I’m driving to Middlesbrough to get my hair cut on Saturday, tag along and you can raid That’s Entertainment, I’ll be parking near it”, which loosely translates to “Get yourself out of the house, even if it’s for an hour, you miserable bastard”.

I agreed that a rummage through the 49p boxes at the afore-mentioned record store would possibly bring a small glint of happiness to an otherwise depressing week, so he drove round, I hobbled to his car, and off we popped to Middlesbrough.

We arrived at the store. Accomplice disappeared up the road to get (what’s left of) his hair trimmed, and I entered the store. My eyes lit up! The 49p CDs were now 10p each! I hadn’t been this excited since the Washington Branch closed last year Now, for the ininitiated, these 10p discs are CDs that have lost their cases, and are provided in just a plastic wallet. Some may have the odd scratch, and some may only be single discs from a multi-disc compilation. I don’t care about the cases, I don’t care about scratches. I don’t even care if I know what’s on the CD. 90% of the fun is getting it home, adding it to the database, and finding I’ve found something I’ve been after for years.

Now, these are right next to the counter. I think they’re intended for customers to just have a quick rummage through while waiting for their turn at the till, and not like I do – inspect every single box, picking out many discs at a time. I usually get quite a few at 49p, but then they’re 10p I do, quite literally, fill my boots.

However, seeing these CDs at 10p is usually a double-edged sword. It usually means the store is closing. As these were right next to the counter, it took seconds for me to realise something was indeed up. the staff were talking about dismantling shelves and moving stuff into a van. This very much sounded like the store was closing. I asked the guy behind the counter if this was the case. He confirmed this was the case, and as the conversation spread between the staff, I found that the entire chain are going “online only”.

Time stopped. Voices around me stopped making sense. This was possibly the most devastating news that a music hoarder could ever hear, especially with That’s Entertainment’s USP of selling cheap sleeveless CDs. I reached for my phone. I just had to tell someone. A text to Accomplice was in order.

I texted him, because I knew it’d make his day. Over the years, since my first discovery of the (now closed) store in the Metro Centre, I’ve dragged him round many other locations, as near as Stockton, and as far afield as Manchester. I’ve planned days out around going to these stores. In total, I’ve visited 17 different branches, each of them with their own unique charm, and, of course, row upon row of cheap CDs.

So, for one final time, the PA system played “Ring The Bells” by James. I plonk my (109) CDs on the counter for one last time, a lump in my throat, but with a slight wry smile on my face, as the guy behind the counter has to scan his “Sleeveless CDs” barcode 109 times, and altering the price to 10p for every single one. I pay my money and step away from the counter, just as The line “I don’t feel like God is watching over me” plays.

The song draws to a cold ending, with a chorus of “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”, as I walk out of the shop for one last time. knowing that the likelihood of me ever gracing these steps again would be very small indeed.

On the plus side, I have all of these to add to the catalogue, and also a nice “That’s Entertainment” retail box to keep them all in, and all of this only came to a tenner.

All done!

Well, that was a pretty painless process, as in, not painless at all. I’ve been moved from one server to another, and everything appears to be working. No sign of any errors, and the databases are intact. This is mainly just a test post to make sure it DOES work, and the whole thing doesn’t fall over the second I press the “Publish” button.

We now return to our scheduled programming.

Ooooh! A server move!

My webhosts have informed me, that due to the size, and I assume, sheer popularity of the site (!), that they will be migrating my hosting from one server to another tomorrow!

If you notice anything funky happening with the site around that time, bear with it / me. Last time, I had to reinstall wordpress, left the install directory in place, and got the site hijacked within about five minutes. Oops. That won’t happen this time. Saying that, There were a few problems last time there was a server move, as the database backup/restore didn’t *quite* go to plan. That was a few years ago, so hopefully nothing untoward will happen during this transition. I’ll post another message once it’s all done and I’ve verified it’s working.

Not that anyone’s bothered. This is more of a post for my own benefit, to remember to start backing evenrything up, y’know. Just in case. And who doesn’t like a good backup?

EDIT 18/01/2018

Well, the webhosts have informed me that the server move didn’t go as planned today, and instead will take place tomorrow. A little bit of an annoyance, as it means I’ll have to back the databases up again now. I mean, god forbid I can lose an entire days’ worth of useless statistics that I’ll never bother doing anything with anyway!

I blame Brexit.

Dear Just-Eat…

I know, for those of you who follow me on Facebook, I’ve already had a rant about this, but please consider this a 12″ extended version of the afore-mentioned rant. I also realise that ranting on a personal blog with 2 readers is a bit pointless, but if it gets my feelings out there into the internet-o-sphere, and someone reads it, and boycotts Just-Eat like I’m going to do, then my work here is done.

Anyway, Just-Eat was, until tonight, one of my most visited websites on a weekend. For those of you who were unfamiliar with the concept (perhaps you’ve been living on the moon for the past 8 years), it allows you to order take-away food directly through their website, from any number of establishments in your local area. The take-away / restaurant would then get a printout of what you wanted, and then they’d prepare and deliver it, with NO human interaction. It’s perfect for me, as I can’t stand talking on the telephone, and the order is printed out, minimizing the chance of cock-ups with the order.

I would usually order a curry, usually once a week, from many of Hartlepool’s finest curry outlets (Yes, Cafe India was on there), in fact, since August, I’ve ordered through just-eat 23 times. That’s a lot of curry.

Anyway, they had a thing where they would charge you for the use of credit cards. That wasn’t much of a problem. There was one time where I paid by card, the money was taken and the meal never showed up, even though the restaurant swore blind they delivered it, and I had to fight for a refund. If you decided to pay by cash, you dodn’t have to pay the 50p. Fair enough. A livable arrangement.

Anyway, as I mentioned, there was a 50p surcharge in place to pay via credit or debit card. Then, the ban on card surcharges came into force. Now, how were they going to go about this. Were they going to be a good company, and begin to absorb the charges themselves? No, of course not, otherwise, I wouldn’t be typing this, with my fingers bashing the keyboard so hard that the neighbours are banging on the wall. And I don’t even have neighbours!

NO, Good old Just-Eat did possibly the shittiest thing a company could ever do to a customer, and they brought in the 50p surcharge for EVERYONE, whether you are paying by card or not.

I would just like to know how pissed they all were in the meeting, when the brightest spark in the room, possibly slumped over a table suggested this… I can only imagine it went something like this…

Whoever 1: “Well, we’ve been shafting customers with our 50p card surcharge, but the government are going to put a stop to this… what can we do to get around this?”
Whoever 2: “Oh… I don’t know…. Shaft everyone?”
Whoever 1: “PERFECT! I LOVE IT!”

Well done, you’ve lost me as a customer, and hopefully, many many more. Yes, credit card charges cost money, but you find another way of absorbing the charge. I’m sure you make enough from the takeaways and restaurants that are signed up (but hopefully won’t be for much longer). You wouldn’t DARE increase their fee. Noooo, instead, you take out out of the pocket of the consumer.

The other argument is “Well, 50p isn’t much is it?”. Yeah, once. But take those 23 times I mentioned above. If I ordered as frequently now (fat chance of that), I’d be £11.50 out of pocket for absolutely NO REASON. It’s like going to Argos, paying for something with money, and then charging you 50p for the fucking barcode stuck to it.

I would love to know if they have a marketing team. If they do, I’ll expect a copy ‘n’ paste response from a script, scouring the internet for their name, and posts such as this one. If, just eat, you ARE going to come back on this, please include the meaning of the word “moron” as the third sentence of your comment. Y’know. To show that you’ve read and understood this.

Yours sincerely,
Angry Jamie

Goodbye Cafe India, it’s time to (not) dine…

Sad news, for all of you who love their curry, and live in this fair town of Hartlepool… Cafe India, one of my regular haunts (or one that cropped up regularly on my rotation of Hartlepudlian curry houses anyway) has served up its last onion bhaji.

I noticed it earlier in the week. I work a mere stone’s throw from its location, and I noticed that part of the window looked to be boarded up. The road it was on was not the most elegant road, so I had hoped it may have just been smashed. Imagine the heart-wrenching scene, when I approached closer, and yes, the entire place was boarded up. I have heard via Facebook that it closed due to lack of staff. Maybe this means there’s a chance it’ll reopen if they find someone? I notice their Just-eat page is still active (naturally, you can’t order from it). Maybe it’s just lulling me into a sense of security. Maybe it’ll disappear just as suddenly.

Over the recemnt months, I’ve been less of a customer. Not for any fault of theirs, it’s because, due to ol’ crater-foot, I was barely out of the house for 4 months, and the once regular occurrence of a curry, pretty much disappeared into the ether. Ironically, the last time I was in here was immediately after Hartlepool got relegated to the Bananavanarama league, way back on 6th May…

And, now we don’t have Cafe India, we might not even end up with a Hartlepool United…

#savepoolsday – 20th January.

UPDATE: I had heard that the owner had moved into taxis, but had no confirmation of that, until now – the owner of the Cafe India page has changed it to “Taxi Shahan”. I guess this means it won’t be coming back.