WHAT PRICE LOYALTY?

 

The yearly hunt for new utility suppliers and insurers has been in full swing. Loyalty is costly, there is no value to the customer, you and me,  in being loyal to any utility and insurance company.  I noticed one company was lauding its plans for offering loyalty to its customers. Attractive though it sounded, on further investigation, the primary up front costs were not competitive in order to give it a try.  With terms and conditions always changing – the requirements of the underwriters, or because of taxes, are the stock reasons to date – there’s no confidence, nor is there any evidence on which to base this offering.  The annual research of the market is wearisome, but made totally necessary, if you want to keep budgets within personal means. Service companies, (including banks) rely on inertia. Many signals have indicated for some time that people are being priced out of the insurance market. There is already significant fuel and food poverty here in the U.K.

My suppliers’ fuel quote for a 1 year fixed price tariff has changed in four days and not to my advantage. A quick review of a number of companies I had considered demonstrated that the increase was across the board. What was not general, were the amounts by which prices had increased. My energy supplier wanted about £108 per annum more than their original quotation.

In general, increases with the other companies of interest ranged from about £13 – £24 per annum for a one year fixed price tariff.  Then, I tripped across an attractive two years fixed price deal at a very similar increase to one of the other competing providers.  It was described today as the cheapest two year fix on the market. Considering the volatility of the times we are living in on so many fronts, including international fuel supplies, it goes without saying, after hair-raising experiences with a previous supplier that I checked a lot of reviews on this company.

 

 

Two years peace of mind and one less concern next year is very tempting…….

 

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£££’s – KEEPING AHEAD OF THE GAME.

The domestic fuel provider hunt is on here in M’s household. I hate it!  There is no reward for loyalty. You have try to keep ahead of the game.  In commerce loyalty is seen as valuable commercial inertia.

A drain

The research into domestic fuel suppliers does demand focus.  The offers in the competitive market place require analysing, understanding and then an applied arithmetical brain work out.

number cruncher

The various and numerous  consumer comparison sites quite often do not agree with each other as to what’s truly best for you or me.  They too, are running a business.  One consumer web site is very transparent about its commissions from recommendations.  They also ensure their site shows other market provider options, from which they do not gain pecuniary advantage .

The best offers with all the suppliers are usually  available on the web. There are domestic fuel supplier names I have never heard of,  young businesses that are building up their customer base, trying to grow quickly with very competitive offers but without appropriate customer infrastructure in place. Caveat emptor.

My experience last year with a new kid on the block that metamorphosed into a total unknown during the transfer process, got to tear your hair out proportions:  My current contract with them is ending,  just as I have got them trained.

BETTING ON BARGAIN SHOPPING.

Black Friday has at least taken the media focus off some of the dafter stuff going on in our little island. Apparently, zillions of us will have ‘bet’ on buying online bargains within a twenty-four hours period. The knock-on short -term employment generated by this activity must have its good and down side. The existing delivery services cannot cope with the demand, so are increased and complemented by all sorts of distribution methods. The zero hours contractors,  come to mind as do  as do self-employed drivers  many of whom, work to tight margins.

2Many retailers in the U.K, both online and in the high streets, like Black Friday, (an American Import) as it generates the consumer to shop. It is said that the U.K is big with online shopping, more so that many other countries worldwide. Logistically, retailers large and small have to be creative.  One way to be creative has been to extend bargain hunting with special offers for a about a week before Black Friday and a week after.

 

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Yours truly has ordered a book, not especially because of Black Friday, but, it’s just that I remembered about it; so while the grey cells were working, I decided to go for it. The book will be delivered by Royal Mail, (what’s left of it).  I think I do quite well, as a rule, shopping in sales at other times.  Most of the inspiration for gifts I buy is found that way.  This year though, inspiration has been in short supply, a bell-weather, I think, of a tougher  retailing  market.

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The mass purchasing activity of online shoppers in a small window of time will give an equally huge short-term boost to turnover and sales.  However, when this feverish activity is over and the  annual accounts are calculated as a whole, economists say,  it does not necessarily enhance the balance sheet; the annual accounts, they advise, will even out.  On the other hand, if that is the case, without any shopping boost, the annual business balance sheets may look a lot less viable.

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A FLYING SQUAD OF TRAFFIC WARDENS

The Scottish police authority dropped the role of the traffic warden from their services in 2014. People became aware  of the missing enforcers when some of the roads, the pavements and any road-like nook or cranny started to resemble a motorists’ wild west. There was double parking, some drivers were even triple parking.  I saw cars at rest close to traffic lights, there was plenty of parking on and close to junctions.  It was perilous to ease out of the shadows of the vehicles into the main road. Now, in some countries this kind of parking is an okay every day occurrence, but it definitely is not allowed here in the UK.

Tearaway Biker

Earlier this year, parking habits got so bad, the local police chief was prompted to issue a very polite request in the county newspaper asking motorists to be more considerate and be mindful of parking restrictions and traffic laws. There was a suggestion that if there was not a meaningful response to this polite request, some people in police uniform would issue forth from the police station and take action. Inevitably, many commercial vehicle companies were unlikely to have seen the newspaper article and the drivers  of those vehicles, (some vehicles are really huge)  while needing to complete their work, were amongst the worst offenders.

Van

Last month the Regional Council decided there was a money-making opportunity they were missing.  A squad of yellow line painters were despatched around the region to renew faded and broken traffic restriction road markings and, in our area, re-site a few. We are being exhorted to take note of the yellow lines on the road and read the parking restrictions signs.

ryr

About now, a flying squad of ‘traffic wardens’ will be starting their initial peregrination to all the far flung towns and villages; we’re expecting a diplomatic offensive on the 19th October, if they can find their way. Unless there’s any glaring violations, the idea is,  on this first visit, the flying squad of traffic wardens will only issue advisory warning notes. Hereon in, subsequent unannounced visitations, are to be for serious cash generating business, which will no doubt, pay for the traffic warden’s wages and  expenses and add a much needed fillip to the cash-strapped council coffers.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Getty Images:  Peter Cook and Dudley Moore -clever comedians, now sadly. departed from this world- lampooning traffic wardens.

INSTITUTIONAL I.D…LATEST

Updating my recent post on institutional identification

A letter arrived yesterday, not exactly an apology, or anything like one.  It did state that we should both be assured of  security when my new replacement card arrives in the form and style I expected.

A letter arrived today with the second  new card—-when I saw what was imprinted on it I hissed louder than a boiling kettle.  In grim mood, I made a call.  It was a pity that a different operative had to take the flak.

Forty minutes later, after the admin office had done a bit of checking into my association with them, I was offered compensation for the inconvenience and the problems caused. A third new card is on its way.

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