More recruiters and LinkedIn detritus…

Every now and then, I decide to test the employment market and hone my questionable interview skills.

I’ve had many wonderful experiences whilst doing this, made many friends and even become employed once or twice!

Alas, then there are the other experiences…

A disclaimer

I have had the privilege of working with many excellent internal recruiters across many companies. So many of you in the internal recruitment space are overworked, underpaid, underappreciated but still 6 different types of awesome.

Alas, there is a group of McFucks that contribute only detriment. They need to do better and to be instructed.

So, with that said…

Recruitment Agencies

These are the accepted modern equivalents of pimps – seeking to sell you to an interested party whilst taking a percentage of what you end up earning should the employer they’re pimping you to decides to pay for your services.

Although many do attempt to prepare and coach candidates for such wonderful encounters, the percentage they are awarded tends to increase with position seniority. As a result, the wankier your LinkedIn profile is, the more likely you are to be accosted by someone who claims to be very impressed with your experience after greeting you with “Hello <FIRST_NAME>!” and their demonstrable inability to use LinkedIn’s features properly.

These overtures tend to fall into one of the following categories:

My friend recommended you to me…

This is seemingly a newer “tactic”, designed to break through the grizzled exterior veterans have developed after dealing with the pimps of the industry. The overture starts with “My friend <insert name I’ve never heard> recommended you for a position I am trying to fill. Please send your current resume to <some Yahoo!/GMail/ e-mail address>!

Inevitability, the mouth breathers who try this tactic are after your LinkedIn network and/or meeting some bizarre quota their equally-inept managers have arbitrarily imposed for contacts, new connections or volume of verbal flatulence. 

In terms of counter-tactics, I’ve found that the following tend to provide amusement:

  • “Really? I definitely don’t know your friend!” – this tends to result in “Well, now that we know each other, let’s connect!”. Asking “Why? What’s in it for me?” tends to result in hilarity.
  • “Sorry, I no longer consider that person a friend after they walked in on me having sex with their mum – the fucker didn’t even knock, and I don’t care it was at their house! You should still knock before barging into the shitter!”
  • “Tell your friend he still owes me $250 for that orgy in Pattaya. I hope he’s ok – he swore that rubbing toothpaste on his cock would protect him from STIs.”

You’re awesome, and I’m sure you have awesome friends in the industry

This one fucks this Arsehole off beyond all belief, and is incredibly common. 

As this Arsehole is now 142 years old, he apparently has experience and skills (if only they knew the truth!).

For some unknown reason, this seemingly translates into this Arsehole knowing a great many professionals who are all desperate to have their time wasted by IT pimps who won’t even offer to give you an option other than sleeping in the wet patch.

The messages typically take a form that shares the stench of this assemblage of word-shaped things:

Hello Arsehole!

I have an exciting opportunity with Fluffers for Step-sisters Stuck in Dryers LLC!

Your experience is very impressive and I don’t want to assume that you’re looking for new opportunities right now but thought that you might know people that are interested in making a change. 

Please send me their details so I can connect!


This is another attempt for said flesh-trafficker to expand their network in the hope of earning 20% or more of a person’s first year compensation whilst contributing nothing other than their questionable personality.  

As I love my friends dearly (we’ve been over this before – suspend your laughter at the idea that I have friends who are none of imaginary, paid for or cats), so I should advocate for them appropriately.

So I do:

  • “I’d be happy to inform my friends and colleagues, however I’d need to have total compensation and benefit details to do so.” – most fail to comprehend this question, making statements of “Base salary is $X and there are RSUs and benefits”. When asked for clarification, they typically respond with, “If there’s someone you have in mind, give me their details and we’ll talk”.  They don’t tend to enjoy my reiteration of a requirement for clarification.
  • “Do you have a referral program?” – this is wonderful. Someone who is paid on commission asks for introductions, but typically finds sharing any amount of their commision to be offensive.
  • “Here are my remuneration requirements” – this typically results in “Oh, we can’t meet that – how about your friends?” Responding with “Why would I be so unkind to my friends?” typically results in pleadings regarding the culture of the company, which are demonstrably irrelevant.

Other LinkedIn detritus

This category is perhaps the most pathetic.

You work at <Insert big company name here> – we can help you solve your problems!

When asked that said problems be specified, said aggressor tends to retract, diminish and beg.

We can reduce your spend on <product X> immediately! Let’s have a meeting!

This is akin to my previous posts – asking the aggressor to quantify the level of spend reduction results in questions as opposed to clarification.

TL;DR: LinkedIn is a bit of a McFukt place. And I’m loving it.







Scammers – new tactics

This is going to be a long post…

So, I decided to buy a car…

And that was wonderful for 2 reasons in that I now have a car and I have a new verdant source of scammers to hone my craft on.

Here in the US, insurance is bizarre in comparison to my homeland – there are multitudes of “agencies”, which equate to a few people signing up as resellers of an actual insurer and hammering your inbox, mobile device and snail mail orifices with pleadings for consideration.

I am convinced, and some of the locals have confirmed my suspicions, that many of these agencies and/or insurance companies leak information more rapidly than an Australian bogan leaks liquid excrement after drinking the local tap water against all advice to the contrary whilst holidaying in the runoff of an abattoir. 

So after committing to obtaining an automobile, I needed to obtain myself some insurance to protect against the litigious nature of the world, and that’s when the “fun” started.

Mildly intelligent IVRs

For those who don’t know, IVR is a TLA for “Interactive Voice Response” – an overbuilt Dell PC feeds you prerecorded and/or generated voice responses after accepting key tones or  attempting poor voice recognition.

I’ve had 37 calls in the last month from such devices attempting to “talk” to me about my insurance choices, with the opening line being “we’ve received some of your auto information”…

These are fairly easy to spot, with the most popular approach seeking to collect personal information for nefarious purposes in the same way that a ’90s adventure game attempts to direct you through a dialogue tree until you finally assemble whatever joke the writers were attempting to make.

That said, there does seem to be a way to eventually be escalated to a real human so you can let them know how you feel – just give them a name, date of birth and Social Security Number.

As long as it isn’t yours – feel free to pick and choose.

Unfortunately, the window for inflicting trauma on these awful persons is limited and fairly high effort

Alas, these bastards leak as well! Which leads me to…

Mildly unintelligent humans

This category covers a few areas:

  • Extended car warranty
  • Loan refinancing
  • Insurance pleading
  • Legal representation after accidents

So, in turn…

Extended car warranty

This is akin to a sod named Shayden (because their bogan parents could not stop arguing about the merits of the names Shayne and Jayden) attempting to sell you an extended warranty for your entry-level TCL TV for 50% of the price of the item itself after failing to convince you that you needed a $200 HDMI cable to facilitate your masturbation.

Well, it would be if the persons involved were mildly as capable as Shayden.

These calls all go the same way, and it is hilarious.

Some poor fuck tells you that your extended warranty is about to expire on your 2011 Tundra, 2014 Tacoma or 1986 Virginity.

The bestest example of enjoyment I have to offer here features no profanity, exposing belief to reality or sending a collection of my pubes to the caller.

As the caller said, “Hello, I’m calling about the extended warranty on your 2014 Tacoma. How much miles does it have on it”?

In response, being the considerate Arsehole I am, “How many miles?”

The scammer did respond with, “Yes, how much?”

Alas, the scammer knew not who they were speaking to – “No, I’m not asking for clarification, I’m correcting your pathetic command of grammar.”

There was crying and a breakthrough. As that happened, I hung up and went off to raise another chargeback against an airline.

Loan refinancing


The robocalls I’ve heard in this regard would be more comprehensible if delivered via a Theremin.

“Hello – we can reduce your auto payment. Press one to talk to our advisor.”

Those calls tend to go away before long, but the humans do not.


“Hello, this is Candy Diabetes calling on a recorded line about your auto loan refinancing to connect you to our loan officer as we can reduce your rate! Can you tell me about your loan and interest rate?”

Poor Candy…

After asking Candy about what rate she can offer me, she insisted that I can only receive said information after detailing my current situation to her and then speaking to whichever Kraft Cheese bootlegger she’s in cahoots with.

Upon uttering, “Candy, you’ve stated you can reduce my rate but then have backtracked upon your words – this is not a wonderful start to our relationship”, various things happen:

  • Admission of “I’m just doing what the script says”
  • We beat you British in 1983 and we’ll do it again in 1997!

Plenty of fun can be had in the US insurance space. 

Just not by those working in said space…if I’m involved.

Legal representation after accidents

The fun that can be had….

Just tell the caller, in extreme detail, that you can only orgasm whilst your mother sucks you off as your father has a camera pointed at your face whilst you’re expelling your bowels off a diving board.

Of course, this is an introductory example and you can obviously do better!





Recruitment agencies…the Arsehole awakens

During these troubled times, recruiters from various agencies are still busily asking people if they’d like to abandon their current place of employ in order to furnish them with a fee for ejaculating them in the general direction of a new boss.

This is all well and good, however some of the most recent attempts I’ve seen are as poorly structured as my attempts at dancing and love; I assure you, dear reader, that you are better off having not seen my sorry efforts in either of these endeavours (and apologise to those who have endured this far in seeking parse my attempts at prose).

Somewhat recently, such a “professional” claiming to be acting on behalf of a multinational company with “very amazing roles” (their words, not mine) gushed over my shoddy LinkedIn profile before requesting that I give them my phone number.

I provided “my digits” (which is apparently what the cool kids say) along with statements of needing visa sponsorship to work in the country in question (including the type of visa), my salary expectations and my long-form CV.

It was agreed that said pimp for professionals would call me at 2pm on Thursday. 

That’s not exactly what ended up happening.

Instead, the following happened:

  • 9:58am – I received an SMS message: Hi UltimateArsehole, I’m <some name I’ve never seen before> from <some company I’ve never heard of> – you free at 10am for our chat?
  • 10:56am – The same sender inflicted another message onto my mobile device: Sorry, I see that you requested my colleague call you at 2pm.
  • 12:47pm – Yet another SMS: What number should I call you on?
  • 2:02pm – The vibrating of my phone heralds the commencement of discussion

The call

This is where things became quite strange. After some brief niceties, I asked who the recruiter was representing and was given two company names. 

I’d recently spoken to talent sourcers at both of the companies mentioned and had committed to talking to them should I be interested in exploring opportunities with each company. 

This was met with a most bizarre set of responses:

  • Oh, I know the people you’ve spoken to – what are their names? (The issue with this statement is left as an exercise for the reader)
  • We have better access than those people – you should work with us (?!?)

My reiteration of previously mentioned commitments was met with the unmistakable sound of frustration, akin to attempting to achieve a solo climax after a potential pronging partner’s profuse projection of phlegm and previously-poured Prosecco into the porcelain phone.

Then the questions started…

  • What are your salary expectations?
  • You’re a US citizen, right?
  • Oh, you’re not a US citizen? So you have PR?
  • Oh, so you need H-1B?

In response to each of these, I reiterated that I’d already provided the information being requested and that I thought it was not a good use of our time to continue the discussion until that information had been reviewed.

For. Every. Single. Question.

Alas, this “people placement executive” was not to be dissuaded by the likes of this Arsehole! They pushed on, with flusterment comparable to a McDonald’s employee fending off marriage proposals from high bogans  at 3:33am.

  • How soon can you quit your current job?
  • How would you rate yourself on each of the following programming languages from 1 to 5?

At this point, I insisted that the call ended immediately and that no further discussion occur until previous correspondence had been read and understood, and that should have been the end of it.


I received a follow-up e-mail from the person I’d originally conversed with regarding these “very amazing roles”, which was roughly written thusly:

Dear Arsehole,

I do not understand why you refused to speak with my colleague and let us represent you at BigCompanyA and MassiveCompanyB – what exactly was the issue? Very confused.

When I reiterated my concerns in writing, I received the most bizarre response I’ve seen to date when dealing with any recruiter:

Can’t you just answer their questions? It can’t be that hard!

And I was having such a nice afternoon…

To summarise: 

  • I’d provided written answers to questions that were asked during the first exchange
  • The next engagement step was as poorly organised as my scrotal wrinkles (pre-scrotox of course – I’m not a savage)
  • The actual call involved a bunch of questions that had already been answered
  • Requests that my previous, written answers be reviewed and the discussion be rescheduled ignored multiple times
  • My surname had been used in place of my first name in multiple interactions (those who know me understand how much this annoys me)
  • The ease of providing information was impressed upon me…by the person who already had all the answers requested but was either unable or unwilling to pass said answers on!

There was nothing else for it…

The Arsehole awakens from his slumber

I did some digging and found that the company in question is not actually a recruitment agency at all – they’re an intermediary attempting to build a database that they then sell access to or obtain a finders fee for making cursory introductions. They operate under several names, but do have relationships with with the companies they mentioned if their web presences were to be believed. 

As they’d misrepresented themselves, I decided to “help” them and sent copies of my correspondence to the large corporations they were begging to represent me to.

In an experience that is (apparently) comparable to treating a fungal infection infesting one’s dangly bits with Lamisil, a week later saw thank you messages from the NASDAQ members involved and all mention of said companies removed from the website of the “recruitment agency”.


This call may be recorded = victory

We all have experienced the awfulness of businesses demanding that we engage them via telephonic means to resolve an issue caused by the business in question. And we have all heard the generic IVR greeting that somehow navigated the slalom of focus groups, legalese enthusiasts and managers that stated that our words were potentially subject to digital immortalisation. 

Alas, the word may is a misnomer – your call will be recorded. The statement you heard as the call commenced isn’t false, however it is terribly dishonest:

Your call may be recorded for quality and coaching purposes does not exclude your call being recorded for any other of a multitude of purposes. Your call will definitely be recorded for legal and business purposes – semantically this happening is completely consistent with the message you endured as a customer upon calling to ensure that the particular form of fuckery that some particular business offered to inflict on you at least didn’t burn down your house or exfoliate your perineum with a belt sander.

The psychology of observance

Having a colleague, boss, sibling, parent, friend or other eyeball owner hover on one’s shoulder as one acts is typically considered an act of scrutiny by many and for good reason – there is an association between examination and confirmation of correctness. 

Alas, I have heard from many friends, family members and random people that I yell “your call will be recorded!” in the general direction of that the statement gives them pause – the idea of review and scrutiny can serve to demand some level of compliance to some arbitrary set of unspoken norms that are leveraged all too often.

And this is a problem.

Call recorded = victory

As this Arsehole has stated previously, one of your greatest assets is information. More specifically, as a customer you are in a position to expect that statements made to you are representative of the organisation you have engaged with and you can demand that such representations are executed.

There are two very recent examples that have served this Arsehole well on behalf of his Arseholly self and his family that reduce to a simple question.

Why are your customers paying for your company’s mistakes??!?

Example 1 – really?

My parents decided that they’d visit the UK before the island cut itself off from Europe for reasons that are best characterised as refusing to recognise that we’re all human beings and comprised of the same fucking stuff.

Alas, due to some changes being made by the airline that would carry my family from London to the US, the mile and status earn owed to my parents was hamfisted into oblivion in a fashion comparable to George Lucas’s insistence that Ewan McGregor surrender the ability to emote and act in Episode 2 and 3.

As I’m a completely reasonable human being I suggested that my Dad call the airline the mile and status earn was being credited to and inform them of the situation. The call boiled down to:

  • Yes, we see that the fare has not been credited properly – we’ll fix it.
  • Yes, your wife’s account will also be credited

Alas, only one of these things happened – there have now been multiple conversations with the people answering the calls we make, and they are ill-equipped to actually assist, regularly falling back on policy.

The moment a mention of “pull up the recording of my previous call” is mentioned, acquiescence comes more quickly than my cats do when my voice goes up by an octave.

The actual cunting fuck!?!

My parents decided that they’d fly north toward a den of boganality and my homeland’s bestest rollercoasters. As they’re not savages, they opted to fly at the front of the plane and upgrade with the multitude of point/mile earnings they’ve secured. Of importance in this example is the fact that the airline flown and the loyalty program involved are directly associated and promoted singularly.

Alas, this encouraged behaviour resulted in 2 of the 4 flights involved earning absolutely nothing in terms of points/miles and status recognition. When questioned, the response was:

  • Yes, we know that there is an issue
  • Yes, we will fix it

Alas, this did not happen:

  • Multiple phone calls were required to ensure that the conditions of the fares purchased were honoured
  • To date (15/Dec/2019), the promises of those conditions being honoured have not been fulfilled
  • At each interaction, staff have attempted to cite policy in an attempt to refute their employer’s responsibilities

These examples serve as an archetypal basis for holding companies to account – staff are disempowered, stated expectations are discarded and indifference is expected.

To quote my dad, there’s a lot to be said about getting some cunt about you.

As much cunt as you get about you though, please don’t be an Arsehole.

Our rules only apply when we say!

This particular Arsehole had reason to fly from the US to a few places in Europe (and back) and identified quite an excellent deal being offered by Turkish Airlines for all the major cities that needed to be visited. After maximising the value of the purchase in terms of credit card rewards, the Arsehole was happy in their securing of the set of tickets on offer.

Alas, it all started to go somewhat wrong.

The first leg of the trip departed from the sixth worst airport in the entire world, LAX. The excellent Star Alliance lounge at the Tom Bradley terminal served as a wonderful refuge from the terminal prior to boarding, however this particular Arsehole soon learned that announcements for boarding were not a matter of procedure in this lounge and passengers needed to ensure that they were at the gate for boarding without prompting for Turkish Airlines flights.

With this information, the Arsehole headed to the gate to observe a complete omnishambles in progress. The gate in question featured shiny new biometric scanners that weren’t used, staff who decided to complain in the general direction of anyone asking why boarding was delayed and changing the configuration of the boarding lines every few minutes out of either catharsis or confusion.

Eventually, boarding happened and I was very impressed by the crew and the way they took care of their passengers – uniforms were immaculate, attentiveness was present and unobtrusive and the handling of requests was very exceptional.

And then the flight landed

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is a very interesting place. Many aircraft land at remote gates, there’s quite a lot of congestion and jet bridges have a rare configuration for deplaning passengers involving well-dressed airline employees standing at the threshold, directing passengers up a ramp to the departures level for connecting international flights or down a different ramp to customs and connecting domestic flights. This is where things started to go quite wrong.

Somehow, the flight from LAX to Istanbul had managed to lose about an hour in the air, so the connecting flight that Turkish Airlines had sold me had since buggered off to Bucharest with precisely zero fucks given. In cases such as these, it is the responsibility of the airline to rebook passengers such that they get to their destination without having to resort to hitchhiking or hiding in someone’s luggage and I was directed to the Turkish Airlines rebooking desk. Which is in the domestic section of the airport for some incomprehensible reason.

A brow-beaten bloke looked at my boarding pass, muttered something unkind about Bucharest and then gave me a new boarding pass that would see me arrive more than 6 hours later than my original itinerary promised. This made me a very sad panda, but things only got worse. 

Upon finally boarding the flight to Bucharest, it became apparent that an equipment change had occurred and no Business Class seats were present. In an example of gross egregiousness, I was subjected to flying in Economy! 

Thankfully the subsequent legs around Europe were without incident, with an expectation of dealing with the late arrival and downgrade of my Istanbul-Bucharest leg once I was home. Alas, I was about to be grossly disappointed.

As originally booked, my flight to the US would see me have over 3 hours to meet a connecting flight at San Francisco airport (which is the 5th worst airport I have ever been to). Yet, for some unknown reason, Turkish Airlines decided to alter my itinerary such that I would have less than 90 minutes to clear immigration and customs, recheck my bags, change terminals and be molested by the TSA. To add insult to injury, the incoming flight was ordered to come to a halt and wait for a bloke named Keith to tow the 777 to quite a distant gate.

Upon getting through immigration, Turkish Airlines staff had tried to be “helpful” and moved my bag off to a storage area which they proceeded to forget the location of. After administering hypnosis and deploying my personality in the general direction of the staff, my bag was suddenly found and I was told that I would be delayed by another few hours and I would have to endure the unrelenting pestilence that is Economy for my connecting flight.

Up with this I shall not put

So in summary:

  • My arrival in Bucharest was delayed by over 6 hours
  • The Istanbul-Bucharest leg was downgraded to Economy
  • The San Francisco-Seattle leg was changed without notification or justification
  • The rebooked flight arrived hours later than scheduled and was downgraded to Economy

I wrote to Turkish Airlines, expressing my concerns and was told to fuck off in the second most polite way I’ve experienced to date. After laying out all the facts, the airline refused to do anything about the issues encountered even though their customer rights document laid out exactly what they should be doing.

In the end, I ended up invoking my favourite C word in their general direction and let American Express deal with them. Oh, the fun that was had:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

Thank you for bringing the issues you encountered during your journey with Turkish Airlines to our attention. We have reviewed the documentation and evidence you have provided and agree that the airline is refusing to act as is detailed in their customer rights document.

To that end, please be informed that a credit of 1,200 Euros will be applied to your account whilst we recover the funds from the airline.


American Express

But this is not the end of the story

About 6 months later, I received an e-mail from Turkish Airlines with regard to this incident. I was expecting the message to allude to attempting to claw back the funds in some fashion, but surprisingly this was not the case:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

We have reviewed the manner in which your case was dealt with and agree that it was unacceptable. As an apology, please find attached a voucher valued at 168 Euros for use on our airline when we next welcome you aboard.


Turkish Airlines

Victory! Twice!

Six little digits

Technology advancement is wonderful. Thanks to the relentless focus on data as a valuable commodity there are many means of maintaining contact with friends, family, coworkers, businesses and advertisers that are based on acknowledged relationships between parties. As a result, the majority of the communication I engage in does not involve a conventional phone call.

Consequently, it was with great joy and anticipation that I answered my phone recently only to be greeted with a voice wanting to offer me access to an amazing investment opportunity! What a frabjous day it was turning out to be!

Of course, my joy was entirely a function of the fun I thought I was going to have. My expectations were met in this regard – I was very amused. 

Give me your number

Scammy calls of this nature always have a predictable, boring structure. For the purposes of giving an example, we shall call the lying, vindictive belligerent party in this scenario Scott Morrison.

Scott: Hello! Is this Ultimate Arsehole? I am from Dodgy As All Fuck Fake Investments and I have an amazing, fantastic opportunity for you! We have many happy investors and are eager to share the details of their success with you and help you reach your financial goals quickly and without any risk. Would you be interested in us sending you more details on our products?

At this point, there are many ways one could respond to useless pricks like Scott. Some of my favourites include:

  • Really? What are my financial goals specifically?
  • Can you provide me with a link to the ATO ruling that covers your product?
  • What’s your company’s ABN? The form on ScamWatch won’t let me submit reports without that.
  • What is the Morning Star rating on your product?
  • I only invest in mud wrestling promotions and brothels for livestock
  • Are your expense ratios calculated before or after deducting time lost to management masturbating and them praying for forgiveness for masturbating?

As the person in question was calling from an Australian number and was in fact calling an Australian number, I decided to try out a well-worn shortcut so I could get back to perfecting my masturbating-whilst-investing technique. I simply asked, “What is your organisation’s AFSL number?”

Hilarity ensues!

At this point, “Scott” started making a series of statement about as coherent as an inexperienced teenager in a barrel of Vaselined eels. 

Scott: Yes, I am from Dodgy As All Fuck Fake Investments – DAAFFI

UA: That’s interesting, and not even remotely an answer to my question. What is your Australian Financial Services License number?

Scott: Yes, we provide investment services.

UA: This really isn’t that hard. You’re selling financial services, and to do so you need to possess an AFS License – I ask again, what is your AFSL number?

Scott: The numbers for returns on investment are only available to customers.

UA: I’m sorry, but do you have some difficulties with comprehension or basic English? I’ve asked a simple question, and you either need to give me the requested answer or admit that you’re engaging in a scam.

At this point, I really thought this person would cut their losses and go dial a bogan named Keith or Theo. How wrong and amused I was….

Scott: Our number is 612 8103 4313.

At this point, one should probably have two pieces of information:

  1. An AFSL number is generally 6 digits long.
  2. “61” is the Country Code for Australia as allocated by the ITU

I could scarcely believe it myself – Scott had somehow decided to give me a phone number to satisfy my request for actual credentials. At this point, I laughed so hard that one of my cats attacked one of my feet, the local neighbourhood nutter complained about the noise and I learned about the effect of mineral water and saliva on Razer’s green keyboard switches. Scott was not impressed by the remainder of my response:

UA: That’s a phone number. In fact, it’s the phone number that was presented before I answered this call. Do you have an AFSL number or not?

Scott: Our address is on Pitt Street in Sydney…

At this point, I decided that I was overdue for my third wank of the evening and decided to wrap this fuckery up.

UA: Again, that statement has precisely nothing to do with my question. Do you know that you’re participating in a scam Scott or are you a victim like the Keiths, Nigels and Teeshans that you spout this fuckery at? 

Scott: <click>

TL;DR: Scammer is asked for a license number – provides their phone number in response. Was amusing, would repeat.

Your internet has been hacked!

How long I have waited! How long I have hoped for this wonderful day!

In the last 7 days, I received a phone call that commenced with the sultry tones of GlaDOS, assuming she’d decided to go out on a bender of nutmeg and kerosene:

This call is from Telstra.

Your IP has been been hacked and is compromised. You need a new IP and a new router, and this will be provided free of charge. Please press 1 to talk to our Senior Technician.

How could I refuse? I pressed 1 with extreme enthusiasm and proceeded to talk to a person who we shall call Percival as to protect their identity (apologies to all persons named Percival who aren’t actual pricks).

Speaking to Percival was interesting, in the same way that attempting to save a towel from being swallowed by one’s toilet is interesting.

Percival: “Hello, I be Senior Technician Percival. Are you a Telstra customer?”

UA: “You tell me Percival – which IP address did I last secure a lease on ?”

Percival:  “Yes, your IP has been hacked. Your internet has been hacked.”

UA: “I don’t have ‘an internet’. What does ‘IP’ stand for?”

Percival: “Sir, I need to access your PC so I can fix your internet.”

UA: “You were asked a very simple question – answer it or go bugger a goat. Or a cow. Or both. Perhaps you can upload the footage to ‘your internet’ so someone can scam your stupid arse when they claim that your ‘IP’ has been ‘hacked’. Also, ‘IP’ stands for ‘Ignorant Peon’ – when did you last wank whilst huffing perfume in a Chemist?”

Percival: “I will find you and KILL YOU! <click>”

Well, I seemingly upset poor Percival. So much so that his manager Clarence decided to call me and provide more amusement:

Clarence: Sir, my good name be Clarence. Your internet has been hacked! Percival need to help you!

UA: You are so full of shit you cry brown tears.

Clarence: You are a racist! We are legitimate business!

UA: Ok – what are the last 3 digits of my payment instrument used to fund my Telstra account? I know that those details are available to all sales and support personnel.

Clarence: Do be confirming your credit card number so I can be providing the detail.

UA: Err….no

Clarence: But sir, I must have the info for doing the needful.

UA: I like cheese. Please cease to exist. <click>

I tied up Clarence and Percival for about an hour, got a hold of their call origins and network arrangements, sent then on to various legal and commercial entities and hopefully made their lives somewhat harder.

I do hope they call back – their sobbing was quite unique.


UA vs VA – 2018 – a trend presents and an outcome occurs

There’s a worrying trend that continues to become apparent in various organisations – the touch points involving customers are deprioritised in terms of cost, training and focus.

This was the case when I represented my family when taking issue with many issues caused by VA’s gross incompetence.

There were many discussions, however they were all completely unproductive:

  • My computer says that the correct outcome is X, and I’m incapable of reading and/or understanding the analysis of the Terms and Conditions VA has published and made public.
  • Our application of the published terms and conditions is incorrect, but that’s what our management says should be done so no other discussion will be entertained.

After being poorly amused by the idiocy on display, a missive was sent in the general direction of VA and their CEO’s inbox:

Dear VA,

The level of ineptitude and disempowerment of the staff your company has decided to deploy in response to the issue I have raised has given me cause to take this matter outside of your resolution process.

American Express will be instructed to issue a chargeback for all tickets issued by VA and VA’s partners given the refusal of VA to adhere to the stated Terms and Conditions.



I was expecting this missive to result in dismissive behaviour, but I was thankfully incorrect. Less than 12 hours after this foretelling was communicated, a mildly competent person from VA did contact me (very insistently in fact) and afforded my family the full allocation of points stated in the program terms as well as a compensation in points to address the refusal to understand and address the issue initially.

The old man wins.


Can UA win this one? UA vs VA 2018 – A prelude

This particular Arsehole and his family spent some time in the US in March 2018 and all hold Gold or higher status with Virgin Australia. This is meant to provide a few privileges:

  • Access to lounges with Virgin Australia and their partners, including Delta
  • A 75% bonus on points earned in Virgin Australia and Delta flights (100% if you’re a Platinum member, which this particular Arsehole is)
  • Priority boarding and baggage
  • Priority phone service from a specialised team of Virgin Australia staff

Unfortunately, the to-date smooth experience my family and I have enjoyed with Virgin Australia experienced turbulence:

  • As if they were inflicting the “experience” of “flying” Jetstar upon themselves, my parents were denied access to the Delta SkyClub at Los Angeles International
  • Even though Virgin Australia state that Velocity Gold members earn a 75% Points Bonus on all airfares on VA and DL tickets operated by either VA or DL, bonuses of a mere 37.5% were awarded.
  • 12 days after completing the trans-Pacific leg of their journey, the earned points and status credits had not credited to my family’s accounts. At all.
  • The Family Pooling arrangement between two of my family’s members was severed, but VA continued sweeping the points and status credits to the beneficiary anyway.

This particular Arsehole didn’t think this would be a problem, as the situation could be discussed with the skilled, customer-focused people that Gold and Platinum members get access to. Alas, this was not to be the case:

  • Platinum members are now shunted into the same contact centres as everyone else.
  • Basic mathematics was provably impossible for those tasked with addressing my concerns.
  • The first response was seemingly written by someone that failed remedial high school English and was named Chan’tel by their evil, sadistic parents and contained a terrible turn of phrase:

I’m sorry that you feel that way

When a company states that they’re sorry that you “feel” a certain way, they have completely failed to comprehend the issue, let alone engage in acknowledgement, correction and making it right. I wrote back to Chan’tel Brit-tney L3a and stated the following:

  • The stated concerns have not been addressed – please review the correspondence and correct this
  • If a discussion is required, note that the aggrieved parties are currently on the US west coast

Things did not get better from this point.

We know where Ralph Wiggum went for work experience

At 11pm local time, my phone rang and a very insistent person calling themselves “Ignatius” decided that they would launch into telling me that the concerns my family and I had stated were wrong and that nothing needed to be done. This is an example of where preparation is the best possible weapon one has in such disputes:

  • “Ignatius” attempted to ignore Virgin’s own earning charts
  • “Ignatius” displayed a complete lack of awareness of prior correspondence beyond a highly-trivial extent

Most worryingly, and to my infinite horror, “Ignatius” didn’t understand my favourite C word!

In an act of defiance of this particular Arsehole, “Ignatius” sent me an e-mail summary of our conversation, if one applies the the term summary in this instance in the same way one applies “factual account” to Harry Potter.

At this point, this Arsehole was looking at inevitable defeat, with many wanting him to finally be put in his place.

To be continued.


If you don’t ask…

Although I have precisely zero evidence to support such thinking, I am of the opinion that there is a reliance on customer apathy by many organisations when it comes to their customers. Specifically, I’m referring to organisations that impose undue difficulties on their customers when they need to have something addressed resulting in customers either not asking at all or giving up in frustration.

Here I present two somewhat-contrasting cases of what happens when one does ask.

As I’m a hopeless geek, I had preordered the special edition of a very mature, culturally important video game that came with a collectible thingy. On the day of release, no shipping details were available so I wrote to the good people at Amazon to find out what was going on. The response I received can be summed up as follows:

  • We made a mistake managing our inventory
  • You’ll still definitely get the limited edition you ordered
  • We’ve upgraded the shipping on your order from 2 days to overnight at no cost
  • Here’s a $15 Amazon credit – we don’t imply that this makes up for the delay but we hope you’ll accept this gesture as a show of our want to retain your trust as a customer

This is an example of acknowledging, resolving and making the issue right with the customer. The cause of the issue has been stated clearly, the resolution laid out and things made right with the customer. I was extremely happy with this outcome, but seemingly Amazon weren’t. Later on that same day, Amazon sent me a UPlay code for the game so I could start playing it immediately, effectively allowing me to get started on the campaign before I would have otherwise been able to.

The game itself was more of a letdown than ordering a Meatlover’s pizza and having a Vegan’s Delight pizza delivered instead. With the pizza being cold, stale and missing all analogues of cheese. But that’s hardly Amazon’s fault.

Virgin Australia

In 2016, I had scheduled a month-long holiday in the US so I could be incredibly mature and ride as many rollercoasters as possible. Of course, I needed to fly Business Class but wasn’t willing to pay the asking price and used my wanker-ish status with the airline to upgrade using points.

At this time, Virgin Australia was in the process of refitting their fleet with an excellent, originally named Business Class product and a seat had opened up on a flight featuring this upgraded product. Of course this Arsehole immediately called (because making this change online is seemingly impossible), paid the required $100.00 change fee and secured themselves a seat in this much better cabin. Or so it would seem.

A few days later I’d noticed that my seat allocation had changed, and to my infinite horror it turns out that the flight I’d changed to still featured the old product without direct aisle access for all passengers and lots of other undesirable aspects. I wrote to the good people at Virgin Australia, explaining that I had now paid $100.00 to receive the following benefits:

  • The exact same type of service I previously had secured
  • Earning fewer Velocity Points and Status Credits
  • Having to get to the airport even earlier
  • My then-partner’s (yes, I date – don’t laugh!) unending laughter for securing all this for the incredibly reasonable price of $100.00

I wrote to the good people at Virgin Australia, requesting that this change be reversed (as the only reason it was made was to get access to the shiny new product) and was told the following:

  • Thank you for being a Velocity Platinum member
  • Cabin configurations are subject to change for operational reasons
  • Go away

Of course, being an Arsehole I did not go away. I wrote back, providing screenshots of my seat selection, requests that the call recording be checked and asking precisely what sort of person would want to spend any funds on the “benefits” I’d received by making the change.

At this point those that knew of my arseholery were hoping for imminent defeat, with my antics somehow resulting in me ending up Economy (or the cargo hold) to restore balance in the universe. Alas, a wonderful person named Linda from Virgin Australia called me, credited $100.00 to my Travel Bank balance and added the deficit of points and status credits to my account. It was also admitted that an issue at the airline caused the problem that I saw and the initial response had not considered all the facts, with additional training and reviews being considered to stop this from happening again.

All-in-all, the issue was sorted satisfactorily but at the cost of more effort than was warranted.

The moral of these ramblings

Things are going to go wrong, regardless of how much is put in place in terms of safeguards, planning, mechanisms and good intentions. Focusing on the manner in which issues are dealt with is infinitely more important than focusing on the issue itself.