Smellmycheese's Blog

People* sometimes** ask me what it’s like working from home compared to working in an office and so I thought it high time I laid out for all those interested folk just what the pros and cons of working from home versus working in an office are.

Pros:

You can work in your onesie and no one can tell you not to!

You can eat tuna sandwiches for breakfast and no one can tell you that it stinks or is making them feel sick because they’re pregnant or is making them feel sad because Bobby the Office Goldfish just died of a massive heart attack.

There are no colleagues to bother you with their bad body odour, bad breath and bad music tastes.

You no longer have to deal with office politics or listen to mind-numbing gossip in the kitchen/toilets/smoking area about people you don’t care about in the slightest.

You don’t have to coo over every Tom, Dick and Harry’s new baby as they’re brought in for a ‘show around’.

You are no longer expected to attend meetings in which you find yourself staring out of the window at a small squirrel and wondering what it must be like to just hop around all day, nibbling on nuts, scampering up trees… before you’re interrupted by your boss directing something at you to which you’re supposed to respond and which probably wasn’t about squirrels.

Probably the main pro though is that you no longer feel as though you’re dying inside, bit by bit, as the hours tick by, the meaningless business bullshit phrases keep coming, the endless meetings about the most insignificant of details take place and the realisation that you are simply wasting away your time on this planet lining the pockets of some fat cats at the top of some massive multinational company of questionable ethics looms ever larger.

Cons:

If you own a onesie you are an imbecile who looks like a huge, overgrown baby. I watched a programme once about grown men who get their kicks by dressing like babies, being bottle fed like babies and having their crappy nappies changed like babies. That is you.

You can’t play catch with Bobby the Office Goldfish anymore.

There are no colleagues to blame for your bad body odour and bad breath and you can no longer kid yourself that you only listen to crap music because you have no choice.

You stop receiving mail as the postman is not comfortable with the very long conversations you force him into in order to have some level of actual human contact. He particularly does not enjoy you making him have these conversations with you in your bathroom.

Inviting babies into your home is not socially acceptable. And they almost always have other plans.

There are literally no cons to not having dull meetings in which seeing a squirrel outside is the most entertaining thing to happen for the entire working week.

You are broke now though.

Image

This look says ‘Hey, I’m a fully grown adult lady woman, but I’m also a mad cow. Let’s party!’

(*no one)

(**never)

You know what gets right on my wick?

Everything, obviously. But apart from that, charity b*stard muggers get on it royally. I’m aware that having a pop at these irritating slimeballs is like shooting fish in a barrel, but sometimes shooting fish in a barrel is called for.

I hate them. I hate their faux chirpy bullshit, I hate the fact that they try to guilt trip you into giving money, I hate that you can’t walk down a street in Leeds without tripping over at least ten of the pesky little vermin and I hate that they’re getting paid to be annoying wastes of space.

Seriously, if you care so much, go volunteer at a soup kitchen or do a sponsored silence instead of getting in my face with your wacky, wacky comments. “Hey denim jacket lady!” Nice one. I am definitely now going to sign up to give £10 a month to The Royal Society for Retired Gerbils for the rest of my life on the basis that you’ve noticed a thing I am wearing, and have commented on it.

In case your sarcasm detector is defunct, I’m not. I’m actually probably never going to give money to The Royal Society for Retired Gerbils purely on the basis that you’ve annoyed me, and many retired gerbils may now be slightly less fulfilled as a result. I hope you’re happy, charity muggers.

So, if you feel like I feel, you can assuage your niggling sense of guilt by instead sponsoring me to do a fun run tomorrow for Children with Cancer UK.

See what I did there? I ambushed you with a charity request. Sorry about that, but at least I’ve not commented on your clothes (although they are GREAT and if I could see them I would definitely comment to that effect in the hope that it would somehow appeal to your ego and therefore make you give me money).

If it makes a difference, this particular ‘fun run’ won’t be that fun for me. Thanks to a bout of insomnia for the past couple of weeks, I’ll be dragging my weary body around the track wondering why I signed up to do this thing in the first place. So that should make you donate, shouldn’t it?

And it IS for children. With cancer. In the UK. Okay, so the third bit of that isn’t too relevant but if the rest of it doesn’t tug at your heart strings then perhaps you haven’t got one and instead there is a small, shriveled raisin in its place, pathetically pumping dribblets of cold blood around your body. I’ve lost the metaphor… point is, please donate if you can.

http://www.justgiving.com/leah-kayles2013#

(If you don’t I take back what I said about your clothes. I hate them.)

Favours? Who the hell needs favours? I don’t mean good deeds or kind acts, I mean those little bags of sugared almonds (in the 80s) or tubes of Love Hearts (now) you get on the table at weddings. What a total waste of money!

And, really, what’s the point in a wedding cake? Just to have a photo? Why bother. No one even likes the taste of fruit cake, no one ever bothers to eat it. Grab a caterpillar cake from ASDA for a couple of quid, bang a groom and bride topper on it and job’s a good ‘un.

As for flowers. Why pay for a florist? Flowers GROW IN THE GROUND for Chrissake. They’re free! Well, free when you ‘borrow’ them from a neighbour’s garden or from the local cemetery… What?! They won’t notice, they’re dead.

So, that was my attitude to weddings just a few short months ago (bar the cemetery flower-stealing. I’m not actually a terrible person). As long as I looked good, the guests all had enough booze and the DJ played Gangster’s Paradise (for me to rap to, obvs), I was happy.

I was certainly NOT going to turn into one of these girly girl women who spend all day, every day Pinning pictures of flowers, cakes, cake toppers, bridesmaid dresses, favours, bunting, table plans and f*cking seat covers to Pinterest.

Nor was I going to obsess about the minute detail of all of the above, to the point where I would only dream in the EXACT shade of dusky pink (it’s not baby pink; they are very, very different) and muted, natural green (you have to say the ‘muted’ and ‘natural’ bits otherwise it sounds crap) that would make up my colour scheme.

And I certainly wouldn’t wake up in a cold sweat over the thought that my bridesmaids might not choose the specific shade of pink for the accessories to complement the aforementioned colour scheme, and I certainly would never be such an anal wedding freak as to send group messages via What’sApp, email, Facebook and good old-fashioned email and text message to my bridesmaids with pictures relating to my colour scheme approximately five. times. a. day.

So yeah… what a clueless fool I was back then.

Best part is: there’s still eleven months and two weeks to go. Not that I’m counting (but I bet my bridesmaids are)…

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This is NOT the correct shade of Crimson Red!! You have RUINED my life. 

Christ on a bike, I’ve not written a post for almost a year! And the last one was well depressing.

So, just like Christ, I’m getting back on my bike and pedaling. For bike, you can read blog, and for pedaling you can read typing. And for Christ you can read whoever the chuff you like. He doesn’t care, he’s too busy having a right laugh on his proper ace bike. (Sons of God do not have crap bikes, and that’s a fact.)

A lot has changed in a year. One thing is I have finally left (well, finally left AGAIN) the utterly soul-destroying period of my life that was working in marketing behind. HURRAH!

I mean, not all of it was shit. We had some good nights out and got free sandwiches once a month at the agency meeting. But the sandwiches weren’t great and the work was on a par with a massive tuna bap: you think you want it, you enjoy it at first, but after a while your breath just stinks.

What I mean by that of course is that I was terrible at it. Every single solitary aspect of my personality, interests, opinions and morals is not in any way compatible with working full time in a marketing agency.

I don’t care about making money for companies or having ‘conversations’ with consumers in their online ‘journey’. I don’t want to hear about a deck unless it’s a deck of cards and we’re playing some form of drinking game. I do not have a ‘capacity pocket’. You can keep your marketing baloney in your own pocket. Mine is full of a probably used tissue, 1p, an old train ticket and a potentially hazardous extra strong mint circa February 2011. Because that is what pockets are FOR.

I couldn’t give two tiny rats’ buttocks if a brand resonates with an audience. I don’t want to know where people go online, what they do when they’re there, what they’re thinking when they click a mouse or how we can ‘engage’ them. Plus everyone knows the answers to those questions are: porn sites, watch porn, show them more porn. (Apart from my Mum who thinks the internet has one website, Google, and looks at how to make patchwork cushions on it. Probably.)

If no one reads this post, I don’t care. I only ever wrote stuff online because I liked it, it was fun and I could rant away with no one telling me to shut up. But then I accidentally got a job doing it, but not writing fun stuff anymore and, ironically, sucking all the fun out of the fun thing that accidentally got me the job in the first place.

But no more! I’m alive, I’m back and I’m here to rant whether I’m simply shouting into the empty abyss or to a varied and diverse audience of engaged consumers. I just don’t give a TOSS.

Smell that? That’s the sweet smell of freedom my friends.

My take on the Julian Assange debate raging at the moment, written hastily so apologies for any errors.

I am absolutely gutted that Tony Benn has waded in and revealed himself not to be the man I thought he was. [Edit: he actually waded in some time ago, back in 2011, but the video only seems to be getting attention now.] He has said that the allegations are that “it was a non-consensual relationship…. well that’s very different from rape”. Now I don’t know all the legal ins and outs but from what I have read Assange had gone to bed with one of the women in question and had consensual sex with her, then had woken up and had sex with her without a condom, despite her protestations. That’s pretty much rape to me.

The thing that’s muddying the waters here is that many believe the charges have been trumped up or that the women have been coerced into pressing charges in order to serve the political interests of those in power who find Wikileaks, and therefore Assange, dangerous/a threat. This has led to a split amongst left wingers who like freedom of speech (e.g. Wikileaks) but don’t like rape (obvs), and has sadly led to comments from the likes of prominent left wingers such as Tony Benn and George Galloway along the lines of ‘non consensual sex is not the same as rape’. Reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg’s comments a few years ago that when film director Roman Polanski gave drugs to and sodomised a 13 year old (which he admitted to) it wasn’t ‘rape rape’. Hey, she did look older and he is really good at films, after all…

Here’s the thing, and it’s very simple really: non consensual sex is the same as rape. If you’re unsure if someone wants sex, it’s best to ask them. If you’re mature enough to have sex, you’re mature enough to talk about it.

Whether Assange is being pursued for political reasons and the charges are false is a completely. different. debate. and one which definitely needs to be had. But the debate isn’t whether penetrating somebody who clearly doesn’t want you to is rape or not. That can be answered easily: it is.

So please, Tony Benn and the rest of you, stop redefining rape. Concentrate on the injustices you believe Assange is suffering by all means, but keep the two things separate.

And that’s my two penneth.

Wow. Since I wrote my first blog post and second blog post about Simon Macbeth and Leeds Domestic Cleaning, things seem to have snowballed and my blog has received more and more comments from people who have experienced similar problems with Simon. Some in relation to Leeds Domestic Cleaning, others in relation to his various other companies (Outdoor Fitness Leeds, Design Market, Films by You, to name just a few) and others still recounting times they’ve been ripped off by him in his capacity as a landlord.

If you visit the Leeds Domestic Cleaning Facebook page now [edit: the page now appears to have been taken down] you will see that it’s flooded with negative comments from people who, like me, paid for a service they did not receive and then failed to receive a refund.

You’ll also notice a message on the Facebook page and on the Leeds Domestic Cleaning website itself stating that Simon Macbeth has sold the company and giving the personal email address and phone numbers of the people who have apparently bought the business (on eBay) and telling customers of Leeds Domestic Cleaning who are still owed money to contact these people: Natalie and John.

After Natalie commented on my blog I spoke to her on the phone and what Natalie told me had in fact happened is that she bought some cleaning equipment and web design from Simon Macbeth, not the Leeds Domestic Cleaning business, and has not actually received everything she paid for. She is seeking legal advice about this and about the fact that Simon Macbeth has published her email address and phone number without her permission, resulting in her fielding calls and emails from Simon Macbeth’s many disgruntled and let down customers.

In the meantime, I have reported my experiences to BBC’s Watchdog/Rogue Traders and suggest that anyone else who has had a bad experience with Simon Macbeth and/or Leeds Domestic Cleaning please do the same; the more people who report this story, the more likely it is that it might get covered.

It’s fantastic that my blog posts have become a forum for Simon Macbeth’s disgruntled customers to share their terrible experiences (please read the comments under my second post; they have to be seen to be believed) but unfortunately no one finds my blog until they have already suffered negative experiences with him, as it’s then that they Google ‘Simon Macbeth’ and ‘Leeds Domestic Cleaning’. And by then it’s too late!

So I’m hoping that if enough people help spread the word by sharing this blog post on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ (not only will it help spread the word to your friends, it will help increase the blog posts’ search rankings so they show up when people search in Google for Simon Macbeth and Leeds Domestic Cleaning) and by reporting your stories to Rogue Traders if you have suffered similar experiences then we’ll get to a point where people are warned about Simon Macbeth and his various business before they lose any money.

Thanks in advance for helping to spread the word. All comments welcome!

Ah what fun I have had with Simon M Macbeth of Leeds Domestic Cleaning over the past few days. For all those not familiar, please read my initial Leeds Domestic Cleaning blog post to get up to speed on the astoundingly shoddy service I have had at the hands of Simon M Macbeth and his operation, Leeds Domestic Cleaning (trading as Design Market).

In short, I paid for a cleaning service, no one turned up and then Simon M Macbeth dealt with the situation by fobbing me off with offers to send me photos of my front door (to ‘prove’ someone called and which of course never transpired), only offered to make a second appointment as a ‘goodwill gesture’ when I called him after his emails offered no solution, pretended to be someone else (I believe), before cancelling my second appointment and refusing any further contact, never mind a refund.

I would really appreciate it if you could help me out by sharing links to this blog post (and/or my first post) on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and anywhere else you can think of, as I have effectively had money stolen off me (and you doing this will help my posts’ search rankings so hopefully other people can be warned). If you can also write on Leeds Domestic Cleaning’s Facebook page saying that you have heard negative reports and therefore will not be using them, that would be brilliant. They will just delete negative comments written on their wall (they’ve done this with me and others) so the best bet is to write it as a ‘recommendation’ on their page; they seem unable to delete these.

Read on for the second lot of email correspondence between myself and Simon M Macbeth, plus ‘Mark Wang’, who, coincidentally, makes exactly the same grammatical errors as Simon and writes in an all too familiar manner. Funny that…!

Subject: RE: KGB Oven

Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 10:19:58 +0100
Hi Leah,

I have checked and thus can confirm that you are already booked in on the 12th May 2012 at 13:30.

Many Thanks

Mark Wang
Clients Manager
Leeds Domestic Cleaning

Always a sure-fire sign someone can’t string a coherent sentence together if they resort to unnecessary use of ‘thus’ and ‘hence’, if you ask me.

Subject: RE: KGB Oven

Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:32:06 +0000

Thank you. I am still waiting on a photograph of my front door as offered on Monday (see previous emails). Can you tell me where this is please?

Thanks,
Leah.

Subject: RE: KGB Oven
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 10:56:47 +0100
Hi Leah,

I will speak with Simon regarding the photos that Pauline had taken from outside your house. Having spoken to Paulina she kindly informed me that she deleted them after you advised Simon that you would not beleive they was taken on the day of your clean. I guess you thought that we would drive to yours the following day and take the photos then?
Many Thanks
Mark Wang
Clients Manager
Leeds Domestic Cleaning

Note the use of ‘was’ instead of ‘were’. Exactly the same mistake Simon made in his email offering to send me a photograph of my front door to ‘prove we was there’.

Subject: RE: KGB Oven
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 10:13:26 +0000
Hi Mark,

If you look at the emails below (which you will also have in your own emails) you will see that this is not the case. I asked to be sent the photos anyway to ensure that the cleaner would go to the correct address this time.

I quote: “please send me the photo anyway so I can ensure the cleaner goes to the correct address next time. Thank you.”

This was sent on Monday. Paulina was not due in the office until Tuesday according to Simon. So when would she have been given the incorrect impression that she should delete this mystical photograph…?

I have tried to call several times over the past two days and keep getting put through to answer phone. Can you please call me on XXX? It would be nice to speak to a different representative of the company to get their take on my experiences. I wasn’t aware there was another Client Manager as I have only ever spoken to Simon. Or failing that, if you could just answer the phone I would appreciate it.

Thank you.

Subject: RE: KGB Oven
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 22:21:56 +0100

just wanted to confirm that your booked for 12 May 2012 is cancelled
Many Thanks
Simon M. Macbeth
Clients Manager
Leeds Domestic Cleaning

I left another voice mail at this point asking if Simon could have the decency (and guts) to call me back at least once and explain this to me. He of course didn’t. He sent an email (as usual) instead.

Hello Leah,

I’m not happy with the defamation posted over the internet about myself and LDC. Due to this we are no longer willing to work with you.

Since we did previously attend your property and you failed to let in our cleaner we are under no further obligation to you.

Please stop with your continuing phone calls and emails as this is our final respo

Many Thanks

Simon M. Macbeth
Clients Manager
Leeds Domestic Cleaning

Subject: RE: KGB Oven
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2012 20:33:45 +0000

Hello Simon,

It’s interesting that you are not happy with the ‘defamation’ posted on the internet about your company (all of which is nothing but the facts). I am not happy with the abysmal treatment I have had at the hands of you and your shoddy operation. You have taken money from me and not provided a service, so you are certainly under an obligation to refund me or provide the service and I will not be ceasing the phone calls, emails or internet activity until you do this.

You keep insisting that someone turned up on the date of my appointment. As I have told you several times, no one buzzed my intercom that morning.

You offer to send me a photo to ‘prove’ you were there. I take you up on this laughable offer, the photo never transpires, and then a ‘Mark Wang’ mysteriously appears who makes exactly the same grammatical errors as you and believes Paulina has deleted this (obviously mythical) photo.

I’ll be honest with you Simon, I don’t believe there is a Mark Wang. I believe that was simply you emailing me.

I don’t believe that Paulina took a photograph of my front door on Saturday. I don’t believe Paulina came to the correct address and I know she did not ring my intercom. I can prove I was in all day and you have yet to prove anyone called at my address.

I do believe you chose to ignore my phone calls and I know you have blocked me from your Facebook page. I also know you could have phoned me at any point to try and sort this sorry mess out, rather than fob me off with mythical photographs and promises of emails and (it would seem) mythical members of staff.

It’s interesting that I’m not the only person who has experienced this complete lack of customer service from you, as demonstrated by a Ripoff Report I read online.

I am a social media manager and have now written reviews for your company on Google, Google Plus, Ripoff Report and my own blog. I have filled my posts with mentions of your company’s name and asked as many people as I can to share links to my blog post to ensure that it appears in search when people Google your company name. I have asked people to spread the word on Twitter and Facebook and I will continue this until as many people know about your shoddy operation and complete lack of customer service as possible. Or until you refund me or provide the service as paid for.

This could all have been avoided if you had any grasp of how to treat customers in a courteous manner and had simply offered me another appointment in the first place, without me having to call and chase you. Simply replying to me by email telling me unequivocally that your cleaner had turned up and offering no solution or apology is not acceptable and the way you have dealt with the situation since then has gone from bad to appalling.

As well as the continued contact and internet activity I will be looking into how trading standards and the CAB can help me and whether I can take this to small claims court if necessary. If you decide to do the right thing and refund me, you have my number.

Thank you

Leah
I am not in control of what you do however this will be the final time I reply to you.
Many Thanks
Simon M. Macbeth
Clients Manager
Leeds Domestic Cleaning

update: the same Simon M Macbeth runs several companies, including Outdoor Fitness Leeds and it would appear that he has been reported for scamming before. It looks like he could also operate under the names Simon Naylor and Simon Greenwood and has a reputation on the internet for various scams, if it is the same person. 


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