Facebook Thoughts

That special moment when uses a photo of married couple promoting “traditional marriage”

Just saw this ping up on my Facebook, an image of a kissing couple in wedding attire along with the caption: “That special moment when uses a photo of married couple promoting “traditional marriage”, and actually the photo is of a same-sex couple. Lela McArthur and Stephanie Figarelle from Anchorage, Alaska’.

I was ready to call bullshit, but actually it’s authentic. The image allegedly appeared on this article: but has since been removed. The mishap was then reported on Gawker.

Facebook Misanthropy Thoughts

Dear Prime Minister: Is this true? Pension Reality Check Letter HOAX

The following piece of shit has been circulating the internet for YEARS.  NO IT’S NOT TRUE.

Yet all I can see are legions of ignorant, racist morons reposting this with self-righteous anger, so easily ignited by a few lies written on a screen. None of them would think to check the facts or verify the veracity of the claims. The most obvious inconsistency is the constant reference to ‘illegal’ immigrants claiming benefits. An illegal immigrant cannot claim benefits – if they are here illegally and come to the attention of the authorities, they will be deported. That’s how it works.

So naturally this shit is an easy target for Facebook, where idiots repost things without a first, nevermind a second, thought. As always, as ever, CHECK YOUR FACTS before you end up looking like an idiot. It’s not even hard.

Dear Prime Minister’s Office,

Are you aware of the following, is this a true statement and list
of benefits, if not the please correct with the real figures?

The British Government provides the following financial


Weekly allowance: £106.00?


Weekly allowance: £250.00


Weekly Spouse Allowance: £25.00?


Weekly Spouse Allowance: £225.00


Additional Weekly Hardship Allowance: £0.00?


Additional Weekly Hardship Allowance: £100.00





Review Thoughts

John Lewis gives good customer service

Customer service is king. Everyone has experienced at least one nightmare situation where you have a problem with something you’ve bought, and the company you purchased it from couldn’t care less. They ignore you, try to palm you off, or give a half-arsed excuse of customer service while doing the absolute minimum to adhere to the basic legal rights of the consumer.

While I am greatly predisposed towards complaining on this website (and there is a lot to complain about), never let it be said that I don’t acknowledge good customer service where I find it, and I found it this week at John Lewis.

In November 2010 I bought a cheap electric heater from John Lewis. It worked capably well for two years, and then this happened:

It suddenly died and the plug socket set itself on fire. If you’re wondering this was a De’Longhi brand heater.

Anyway, I happened to still have the original box and receipt, and posted on John Lewis’ Facebook to explain the problem. They replied pretty fast and asked me to email their customer services. Their customer services replied to me promptly to explain my email had been sent to my local branch. My local branch then emailed me to say they had my email, and would reply to me again shortly. They then emailed me again to ask for my phone number. I gave it to them and they rang me within the next couple of hours to ask me to bring the broken heater into the local store.

The next day I did so. They took one look at it and said they’d be sending it back to the manufacturer for examination and an explanation. In the meantime they offered me a free replacement of any heater in my local store’s range. I was conscious that I’d only spent £20 on the original heater, and not wanting to take too much advantage of them I picked a mid-range model that was £35. They rang this through the till (at no cost to me), and gave me a receipt and warranty for my new heater.

They then rang me 2 days later to inform me that the old heater had been sent back to the manufacturer and they’d let me know as soon as they heard back.

Now, obviously a heater spontaneously setting itself on fire is something of a safety hazard. John Lewis had good cause to worry that I might go into their store, guns blazing and full of righteous anger. Unusually in this situation I was vaguely aware that John Lewis were supposed to be quite good at customer service, but I’d never experienced it myself. I was content to sit and wait to see what they’d do after I reported the problem.

From start to finish my broken heater was replaced and sent to tbe manufacturer within 3 days. Pretty good work.

De’Longhi is another matter, and I will update this post as soon as I hear from them. Some form of compensation would seem to be in order, but insofar as John Lewis goes, I’m not sure what more I could have expected of them. Decent customer service really makes a change, although I’m just glad I’d kept my receipt!

One final note: I bought my heater on the 29th November 2010. It decided to melt down on 29th November 2012. 2 years TO THE DAY after I bought it. Freaky.


Facebook Thoughts

[Bizarre] At 13, she publically did this EVERY day! How obscene!!

This is another standard Facebook spam like this one that implores you to click on a link to find out the shocking details of a story that doesn’t exist. Do the world a favour and don’t click on it, or share it or anything.

Other variations:

  • [DISTRESSING] At 16, she did THIS in public high school, EVERY day! How foolish!.
  • At 15, she did that in public high school every day! how terrible!!

Seems that fake girls will do anything at any age! :oP


The Student Loans Company and the P45 problem

On my recent SLC annual statement, I noticed my total repayment figure stated for the year was very low, about half of what it should have been. Looking at my P60 I can see that the SLC payment figure my employer has stated is also incorrect, and it’s this information that been given to the SLC.

Then I realised I’d changed employers half-way through that year, and that my P60 only reflected payments from my new employer. Why not from the old employer? Turns out that while a P45 has a box that says ‘Student Loan Repayments to continue’, it has absolutely nothing to record the Student Loan repayments made to date in the financial year. Therefore the new employer has absolutely no information to pass on to the SLC at the end of the financial year, and this causes the discrepancy.

HMRC’s website has a PDF describing what to do with Student Loan deductions and P45s, which you can see here.

Now, if you give that a read you’ll see that the ‘advice’ given in this area is no advice at all. It admits that the P45 won’t carry over any information to the new employer, and to refer any enquiries to the SLC. The ONLY thing it says in relation to this problem is that it’s very important to keep your payslips and your P60.

This gives rise to the following scenario:

Jack earns £100,000 a year and automatically pays £630 from his payslip each month as a student loan repayment.In February of one year, Jack gets a new job, hands over his P45, and begins working for his new company in March on the same salary. At the end of March, Jack pays £630 to the SLC as normal.In April Jack’s new employer processes his P60, and states the total SLC deductions for the year (the only one they know about) as £630. This information is sent to the Student Loans Company and they update his balance to show £630 of payments.

Jack has paid a total of £7560 in repayments for the year, but his balance only decreases by £630.

Now, who’s at fault here?

New employer? They can only work with the information they’re given on the P45. They haven’t fucked up, because there’s no way for them to know what you’ve paid.

Old employer? They have no way of conveying what you’ve paid in the financial year to date. They can specify the tax you’ve paid, which is fine (except it’s not, for reasons I’ll come to shortly), but there’s no box for ‘SLC payments’.

SLC? They can only work with what they’re given on the P60. They’re too stupid to be able to reconcile what they’ve actually received via HMRC for you, so they’re entirely reliant on your employer telling them on a piece of paper once a year.

HMRC offer no advice, and if you don’t realise, you’re getting fuck fuckity fucked and there’s nothing in place to catch the discrepancy. Anyone reading this that has repaid a student loan after 1998, and has changed employers at any point thereafter has almost certainly been screwed over in this way.

The ONLY way to fix this is to realise yourself, manually reconcile all of your payslips against your P60 (assuming you kept them), and send them as evidence to the SLC. They may then eventually update your record to reflect your true payments. I’m guessing that’s the next step, but I haven’t got that far yet.

Why isn’t there a gigantic klaxon going off somewhere to alert people to this problem? You could have overpaid thousands of pounds in student loan payments and never have realised.

I’ve gone back over payslips, P60s, and student loan statements for the last three years. I’ve been caught by both of my job changes in that time and I’ve actually paid off far more of my loan than the SLC is aware of.