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23 November 2011

Caffeine Rush

This morning at breakfast I discovered an efficient way of waking up the body without actually consuming the caffeine.

Here is the method:

1. Put two table-spoons of fresh ground coffee in cafétière.
2. Boil water, let water go off the boil then pour into the cafétière.
3. Leave plunger up (important).
4. Place cafétière on table.
5. Now place slices of bread in the toaster and a bowl of porridge in microwave.
6. Switch on both machines.
7. Return to the table with a toast rack (do this quickly, and ensure right forearm makes contact with coffee pot plunger).

The resulting torrent of hot coffee and grouts over trousers, chair, cupboard doors, kitchen carpet, the rapidly spreading of the dark stain, the pinging of the microwave indicating porridge is ready, the clang of the toaster as toast pops up, (all occurring simultaneously) is a sure-fire way of increasing the heart rate and the flow of adrenalin. If you can also arrange for your wife to be upstairs in bed at the time, so you can look forward to explaining what has happened, you will be surprised as to how much this enhances the adrenalin rush.

The great thing is, you have achieved all this without actually having consumed any coffee.

Try it tomorrow!

01 November 2011

Small-minded vindictive "TripAdvisor" Reviewers

I cannot be the only person using "TripAdvisor" to wonder how a hotel or restaurant can accumulated a large list of these ..
.. and then in amongst all those you encounter a couple of these ..
I have been pondering the possibility that these odd 1-star reviews (which are frequently offensive and often written by people having only a fleeting acquaintance with the English language) tell us more about the reviewer than the premises they are reviewing.

Channel 4's TV documentary last night, entitled "Attack of the Trip Advisors", pretty much confirmed this to be the case. The film makers followed the antics of a number of people "addicted" to providing in-depth critiques of hotels and restaurants, mistakenly believing that they were doing the rest of us a service.

We saw hoteleliers and restaurateurs reduced to tears by petty and vindictive reviews that potentially had the power to destroy their businesses.

Whilst I am keen as the next man to expose shoddy and over-priced services, I believe this documentary showed these reviewers to be operating on another level altogether. There is not a hotel or restaurant anywhere that can be 100% perfect and if you set out to nit-pick every conceivable fault then this destroys the whole purpose of "TripAdvisor".

One guy admitted to having been bullied at school, and this was his way now of asserting himself.

One man follows a slavish routine when visiting hotels. This includes getting out his ball-point pen and making a small blue dot at the end of one of the bed sheets so he can see if the sheets get changed before his second night in bed. Apparently he has a skin condition, causing flaking whilst in bed and his sheets need to be changed daily. Because the hotel staff did not do this he slated them, conveniently ignoring the fact that he failed to advise the hotel of his special requirement. His theory is that it is up to the hotel to ask him if he has any special requirements regarding bed linen.

He then stuffs a handful of the free tea and coffee sachets into his pocket to check whether the supplies have been replenished when he returns to his room at the end of the day. Because supplies were not replenished that was another black mark! You and I might simply phone Reception for more sachets, but in our case we probably would have actually used ours to make drinks with rather than stuff them in our pockets. Room staff would not doubt have noticed that although some sachets had been taken, there was no evidence of dirty cups or empty sachets dropped in the waste bin.

Another asks for a gin & lemonade in the bar and when the waitress brings him a gin & tonic instead, this goes down as another black on his 1-star review, even though his drink was replaced by the requested one in double-quick time.

All these people were no doubt glad to be filmed for this documentary, being full of their own importance, but they probably are completely unaware of the fact that they came over as sad, petty-minded, vindictive little idiots. The documentary did a great service in exposing them for what they are.

My advice, what what it is worth, is that every time you are looking down a list of reviews for a hotel or restaurant in which you are interested, if you come across a 1-star rating tucked in amongst a host of 4-star and 5-star ratings treat it with the utmost suspicion. They are only worth serious consideration if the place gets nothing else but 1-star and 2-star ratings.

I am an enthusiastic "reviewer" on "TripAdvisor" but I do my utmost to write a fair review. On the few occasions I find things to be worth complaining about then I ensure that I complain at the time of my dissatisfaction. Then, how well my complaint is dealt with determines what kind of rating and review I give the place.