Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lin Sampson out bitching herself

Dear Lin Sampson,
         I hope you’re happy with your slaughter of the innocent.
         To say your attack on a 17 year old school girl’s matric, dance dress was totally over the top and unwarranted would be a lie – it was far worse than that.
         Her story was about her enterprise and ingenuity in getting South Africa’s Olympic swimming, gold medallist Chad le Clos to be her date at her school’s matric dance. As you know she did this by holding up an invitation placard in the crowd that was at Johannesburg’s airport to welcome athletes returning from the Olympics.
         But you chose to do your utmost to take the gloss off what was a particularly momentous occasion for any school girl, by belittle her in the meanest possible way. And you were aided and abetted by Nadine Dreyer, the Editor of the Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine, who allowed your vile venom to appear in print.
         Your article came across as some kind of warped revenge for what happened to you 50 or was it a 100 years ago at your own matric dance.
         You told us you designed your dress yourself based on one you saw in Vogue and it made you look like a Voortrekker wagon.
         Well judging by the only picture of you that I could find on the internet very little has changed. You still look like a Voortrekker wagon only now your wheels have come off and it would take more than a team of oxen to pull you up again.
         Looking such a mess your bitchy ranting about the dress style of others can’t have any validity at all, let alone what the Sunday Times seems to give it.
         If the way you looked for your own school dance made your father cry, hopefully he’s not around to see you now. You say you got drunk and was only allowed back to write your matric exam.
         It was the first forbidding presence of recklessness that would define my life and it started with an ill-starred frock, you wrote.
         So we can blame all your reckless, trashy sniping at the world on that ill-starred frock.  
         No wonder you had to look for the snidest remarks available in your book in an effort to destroy Melanie Olhaus’ special occasion that was so very different to yours.
You began, OK so the dress was wrong. Anyone could see that, as if this was an established fact, not your warped opinion.
Surely your murderous pen could have done better than to describe her dress as a bit like a Swiss cheese; a hole where you expect cheese.  Or it looked a bit like a bathing suit that Ester Williams, a 50’s swimming star might have worn – in the pool and it was little more than an animated rag.

Lin on Cape Town Fashion Week
         And when you ran out of your own store of bitchy remarks you quoted an anonymous colleague, who I don’t believe exists, as saying It doesn’t fit.
         You had a field day lambasting Melanie’s dress and evidently just as much fun knocking Jan Gert Coetzee, the celebrity designer who produced it.
         One of his greatest crimes, apart from the one that appeared on Melanie, was evidently having designed a dress for one of the Kardashian sisters.
         In your eyes that made him a warrior of the junk genre de jour, of reality TV, of people who are famous for being famous (whatever that means), people who are not famous at all but think they are.   Not content with that slap down you continued with your insults by saying, With his platinum curls and sweet lips, he has a terminal case of celebriphilia.
         Your idea of how Melanie should have looked was for her to have had a simple hair style as her hair augmented with extensions gave the appearance of boiling over. So she didn’t even get that right in your expert opinion.
         Her dress you believed should have been a chic contemporary outfit in soft flamingo silk, an ivory and rose cardigan, and a swathe of seed pearls.
         Don’t tell me you saw that in Vogue as well.

'Sunday Times & the Art of Fiction' by Mathew Blackman
         Didn’t you once say that you had your first reporting job with the News of the World? Well look how far trashing the lives of the famous for trashing’s sake, just to increase circulation, got that rag.
         I can’t resist asking if you had had too much to drink when that rare photograph of you was taken because if you hadn’t been drinking you have absolutely no excuse.
         I would crucify the photographer in you next article, if I was you, because he certainly didn’t take you from your best side - if you’ve got one.
         Jon, Chairman of the Protect Our Children from Predatory Journalists Society.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cape Town's Tourist Dump

Dear Cape Town City Counsellors,
           How about coming round to my dump next week for a cocktail party? You would all be very welcome especially you guys from the Democratic Alliance now that you are running the show after the African National Congress made such a mess of things when it was their turn.
          Let’s make it on Monday at 6.00 pm for 10.00 pm. Sorry for this short notice but I wanted you to come when the entrance to the suburb where I live is looking its best. It wouldn’t be truthful to say it’s blooming although it is very colourful.
          I’m convinced you’ll agree with me when you come that even the scent of the flowers at Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens doesn’t compare with the aroma at my place.
          There’ll be plenty to drink and snacks for Africa. The money’s coming out of our  Housing Fund because us residents agreed unanimously, after several protest marches, that it was more important to get you councilors here at least once every 10 years than having more houses. You can then see the enormous progress that is being made right under your noses.
          To make the event as much fun as possible all I ask is that you bring a plastic, rubbish bag. You can bring more than one if you are totally committed to that greening the earth thing. As soon as you arrive I will organise you into teams. But don’t not come for fear that I will mix DAs with ANCs because nothing like that’s going to happen.
          The wining team will be rewarded with double the amount of wine of that is consumed by the rest of you in keeping with the true Cape tradition.
          Oh sorry I forgot the most important thing. At my age, born at the time of the great rinderpest plague, my brain goes off-line a bit more often than when I was two. You’ll be please to hear that it’s nothing onerous. All you have to do is fill up as many bags as you can with rubbish in the four hours between six and 10.
          You won’t have to go far to find it. There’s stacks at Masiphumelele (Masi to its friends) where I and my family have lived in the same conditions since 1895. If you’ve never been here, not to worry. All you do is drive along Kommetjie Road from the Fish Hoek direction and when you see huge piles of household refuse on the righthand side of the road that's where you'll find me. It's a well known landmark. 
          No end of tourists in those great big coaches and in their hired cars have remarked that this view has been one of the highlights of their visit to Cape Town because they’ve never seen anything like it. As you might know they have to pass it on their way to Cape Point.
          It’s just as well that Sir Francis Drake is no longer around otherwise he would have had to revise his opinion about this being the fairest Cape in all Christendom. I think that’s what he said although it was a bit before my time. Or was it that Vasco da Gama chap? No he didn't speak English did he?
          Anyway I hope you’ll all do the good deed thing and attend the party and enter into the spirit of the evening. I’m really getting sick and tired of my friends and relatives constantly saying, Are you still living in that dump?
          Drunkenly yours,

*According to the False Bay Echo the head of the City Council's cleaning department, Claire McKinnon says the complaints are a lot of rubbish because the mess in Masi is the fault of the residents. She says it's civil disobediance as every resident has access to a weekly refuse collection via bins or free bags. So there!             

Monday, October 1, 2012

First National, the don't care bank

Dear Michael Jordaan Chief Executive of First National Bank,
         It’s me again. Sorry to harp on about it, but the undertaking given by your bank to put more staff into one of your ailing branches hasn’t materialised.
It was nearly six months ago that Barry de Witt, your CEO of Branch Banking told me, We have arranged to increase staff numbers (see Big, Bad, Bad First National Bank).
This was at the Long Beach Mall branch in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs.
         Surely if this had been done your clients wouldn’t still be putting nasty messages in that Give us your thoughts book that you have at the branch.
         Here are some of the latest ones and I’ll include some of the ones I mentioned before just to refresh you memory.
         11/9/2012 - Liz Goate` wrote 'You have no staff available. You might as well close the branch down.'
         Liz owns the Lighthouse property management business, which involves having separate bank accounts for the properties on her books. And she told me this incredible story of what happened on this occasion when she went in to open another account.
         The man at inquiries was jumping around having apparently bumped the funny bone in his elbow and he claimed he couldn’t write. There was nobody else to help her so she told him she would wait, assuming that the pain would soon wear off.
         But the not so funny experience for her was that our manly FNB staffer still couldn’t write half and hour later. He must have been a soccer player.
        'I was surprised you could read my writing because I was so furious,' she told me. 'I have a huge number of accounts at that branch.'
         22/8/2012 - Veronique said of the service 'It’s up to SHIT!!! I pay a lot of money for your services. There are 2 people in your bank.'
         She is I assume a well healed client who expects the best service because she was previously with RMB Private Bank. As you  know this is the part of the FNB group that deals with wealth management and that kind of thing.
         She described the change as being 'disappointing.'
         9/7/2012 - K.Govender commented 'More tellers are needed. We are always waiting up to 30 min in the queue. The manager is of no help and is rude.'
         3/7/2012 - Rob Holding’s indictment was 'Always waiting at the tellers. Worst service of any FNB I’ve been to.'
         Wendy Fortune, who does the banking for the Photo First shop in the Mall, wrote, 'Most times when I come for change you don’t have any. Unacceptable for a bank not to have change. I had to go the Standard bank who could help.'
         She told me that FNB had now sorted out this problem for her.

         Tom Cooper’s complaint was, 'Find more competent technicians to service the ATMs. All three have similar defects on the screen.' And on the other side of the page there was this entry, 'Branch response. Technicians do not inspect ATMs once they have repaired them.'
         While I was looking through this classic book of how not to run a business the manager came up to me and assured me that all these comments no longer applied as they would shortly be getting more staff.
         Haven’t I heard that somewhere before? Last time when Barry said much the same thing I wrote that only time will tell whether things will improve or if the branch will remain a monument to BAD, BAD Service.
        Well this monument can’t be changed, it seems. It’s cast in stone.
         Your distressed Consumer Watchdog,
P.S. Barry told me the staff compliment was increased by three, but then there were two resignations and they are in the process of replacing them. 'The rest of your comments are noted and we will address them,' he added.