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Enough about COVID

Except to say that Ontario seems to have overstepped the mark, turning themselves into a Draconian society where everyone is pissed off by measures that don’t have any measurable impact. So much for being driven by science. (Doug Ford seems to have woken up since.)

Safeway fraud

Useless Safeway coupon (2019)

Useless Safeway coupon (2019).

This has bothered me for a long time, at least a couple of years but maybe more. (I first scanned one of these coupons in 2019 for this post, but the first website screenshot is from 2018.) Safeway prints out a fuel coupon for “4 cents off/litre” with just about every receipt. But where can I, as a resident of the Greater Vancouver area, use this coupon? According to their own website, the only Safeway with a “gas bar” (as of yesterday) is at “South Trail Crossing” in Calgary! There did used to be a gas bar in Aldergrove, but if I’m out that way I’m usually driving further east, in which case I drive a couple of miles further and I’m out of the Vancouver fuel tax area (or whatever it’s called) and I save even more at one of the fuel stations deliberately set up there. However, according to their website the Aldergrove store doesn’t exist any more.

Useless Safeway coupon (2021)

Unusable Safeway coupon (2021).

A couple of years ago I literally threw the coupon back at the cashier and told them it was a “waste of paper and a fraud”. I have to get back into that habit, as it’s dishonest of Safeway to “gift” their customers with something they can’t even use.

Shaw

Speaking of customer feedback, Shaw called me recently to renew my two-year contract with them. I immediately launched into how pissed off I am at their cable service, and how I will become an ex-customer if their merger with Rogers goes through. The guy actually had the balls to tell me that the merger was not his responsibility! So I told him how I don’t have the ear of Brad Shaw, so the only thing I can do is talk to his employees and tell them how pissed off I am. It’s then his job to tell his supervisor, whose job it is to then tell his manager, who passes it on up the line to Brad Shaw.

Are employees not taught any more how customer feedback works, or do companies rely completely on leading survey questions that always lead companies to conclude that they’re the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

Robert Dziekanski

I noted that it would have been Robert Dziekanski’s 54th birthday on 15 April. If the RCMP hadn’t murdered him for no reason.

Racist attacks on Asians in the US

Did anyone notice a couple of weeks ago that the attacks on Asians in New York City caught on video where perpetrated by Blacks? Am I allowed to say that? I thought only Whites were racist? I’m so confused.

“Do you identify as an Indigenous person?”

Speaking of race, I noticed when registering for a COVID-19 vaccine recently that I was asked this question. It’s emblematic of Canada’s relationship with the country and people they colonised, but it exposes the weaknesses in “politically correct” use of language. I am fully supportive of trans-gendered people, but I can decide today that I “identify” as female; if I do, it will be politically incorrect to question me and ask to check my shorts, but I can guarantee that if I answered “yes” to this question, I’d be questioned at the vaccine site and sent away.

Off-duty cops pulls gun on unarmed arsonist; arsonist wins

In the keystone cops department, we recently had a case here where an arsonist set two fires at Masonic Temples in North Vancouver, in broad daylight, then drove across the bridge and did the same at another in Vancouver. He was brazen about it! At the last a bystander videoed him walking away from the front door with a jerry can back to his car. An apparently off-duty police officer approaches his with his drawn pistol. You’d think that would be the end of it, according to the NRA in the United States, where armed members of the public are supposed to keep the world safe from criminals. But no, the arsonist shrugs off the cop, and goes home to boast about his escapades on social media. He was later arrested somewhere other than one of the scene of his crimes, where he was “threatened” by the cop.

If there was an opposite of a police medal (booby prize?), this cop should get it. But first the cops should be trained on what to do in that situation. Step 1 should not be to draw your weapon. That’s going nuclear from the get-go, and we all know that cops are absolutely incapable of backing down, or de-escalating, a situation. So if you’re going to open the confrontation by drawing your gun, the only option then is to shoot the guy if he doesn’t comply with your orders. As moronic as the arsonist is, arson in and of itself is not a capital crime. (We can argue whether or not stupidity should be.) But if a cop really thinks that a brazen arsonist is just going to get on his knees and kiss his boots as soon as he has a pistol pointed at him, the cop is almost as moronic.

BBC News website

BBC registration pop-up

BBC registration pop-up.

I get my news from a variety of websites, but one of the main ones is BBC News. However, they have taken to harassing me lately with pop-ups (see image) and banners, insisting that I register … which I see as an ominous sign. One banner or pop-up states that “you can get the news you want”, or words to that effect. I don’t know how an international organisation with the reach and expanse of the BBC can’t see how fucking stupid that is. The reason the whole world is becoming and has become more polarised is precisely because people are being siloed into news bubbles, never seeing anything that “disagrees” with their view of the world. This is, apparently, how they’re trying to sell me on the concept of registering with them.

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 - April 2021), BBC

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 – April 2021), BBC.

In other BBC news, they had the dates of Prince Philip’s life as “10 June 1921 – April 2021”. Yes, no actual day in the date of his death. The BBC is good in their coverages of world news, but their Web team is letting them down.

Prince Philip

Speaking of Prince Philip, I noticed a woman (not a CBC journalist) on the CBC (I believe it was) professing, quite proudly, her ignorance of Prince Philip. This is how low the CBC has gone; they now give air time to people who are mindfully ignorant of world affairs.

Rogers buys Shaw. How bad can the news get?

Three weeks ago it was announced that Rogers Communications Inc. is planning to buy Shaw Communications Inc. This is yet another example of the big communications and media companies in Canada giving the middle finger to the public, and doing what they want to maintain the oligopoly they hold over the aforementioned marketplaces. Study after study, year after year finds that Canadians pay the highest prices for cell phone usage in the world, and yet the federal government, who are supposed to regulate these companies, pays lip service to lower prices but never actually follow that up with action.

Shaw owns Freedom Mobile (to whom I refer as “Troublesome Mobile” given the absolute gong show I had transferring a number to them from Virgin, a number I actually had to abandon), and they are the only reason I only quite recently got a cell phone in Canada. Before 2019 I found it more convenient and cheaper to have a phone with an American provider and “roam” in Canada. I combined that with Sugar Mobile to have a Canadian phone number. It wasn’t exactly a great system, but having lived in Third World countries in the past I am used to “making a plan” to work around the inefficiencies of Third World governments and thinking. Welcome to Canada.

Ironically, Air Canada just cancelled their planned purchase of Air Transat. The reason? The European Commission wanted concessions from the newly enlarged airline, while the Canadian government had given the green light to the merger. Thank the gods for the EC, saving Canadians from ourselves.

There has been talk that the federal government could insist that Freedom Mobile and perhaps Shaw’s fledgling cell phone service, Shaw Mobile, be excluded from the deal, to do something to encourage the nascent development of competition in our mobile industry, but such a suggestion assumes that the Canadian federal government has the cojones to do so. (But speaking of Shaw Mobile, it looks to me a lot like Sugar Mobile, the company against which Rogers successfully waged a legal challenge to shut them down in 2017! That hypocrisy is a story for another day though.) While I would support the federal government doing something like that, it won’t be enough for other opponents of the deal, such as OpenMedia.

I can assure Brad Shaw and Edward Rogers though that, regardless of the action or lack thereof from the Canadian government, if the purchase and merger go ahead, the new company will lose a long-time customer of Internet connectivity, cable TV, and now cell/mobile service. The cell service will go back to the United States; Internet will probably go to one of the resellers (possibly even of Rogers, but we don’t have much choice), and if I can get my shit together we’ll “cut the cable” completely.


Updated, 2021-04-07: Add link to Troublesome Mobile.