Robert Godden’s musings and rants

I muse. I rant. This is my outlet!

Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category


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Since I last blogged here, I have created 67 posts on two other blogs – The Devotea’s Tea Spouts and The Beasts of Brewdom.

Every one of them mentioned tea.

This one does not, and therefore, it is more properly based here.

I am going to whine, to rant, to fume.

I am down $39AUD.

Now, $39 is not a lot, though it can buy eduction for a child for a year in some places.

Here in Adelaide, it buys a quite cheap meal for two.

Several weeks ago, just before an eight-week course that my better half & I have been teaching concluded, Living Social made an offer of a meal at Veena Tandoori restaurant in Brighton, South Australia for $39.

We’ve driven past that place for many years. always planned to try it.

So I decided to take up the offer as a small celebration for the following week.

I’ve used Living Social before, and it worked just fine.

This time, I decided to send the voucher as a gift.

And basically, it never arrived.

The screens went a bit screwy. As I went through, it told me that it had charged $39 to my credit card (it had) and it had sent “0 vouchers”  to my long-suffering wife.

0 vouchers? Turned out to be true. We waited the required two days and it never turned up. Not in the inbox, spam, archive, or even when I pulled up the account on the server. Nothing.

The obvious answer is to go on and print it. No, wait, that doesn’t work.

The next obvious answer is to contact their support. I did. and their reply (from September 29th)

Hi Robert Godden,

Thank you for submitting your question to us online. Help Request #01432339: “I can’t find my voucher” has been created and a LivingSocial Consumer Advocate will respond to you shortly.

Thank you,

Consumer Advocate Team

Since then, Nothing. Nada. Zip. You get the picture.

Anyone can have a failure. No-one is immune.

But to not follow this up? That’s just stupid.

So, I got on Twitter and Facebook, and started letting my several thousand followers across all my accounts that Living Social had let me down. I think “Ripped me Off” is a reasonable turn of phrase.

STILL no response. You would think a social marketing company would be smarter than that. When my sister-in-law had a problem with, I sent one email and it was fixed that day. Not in this case.

So, here’s what I am going to do – I’m going to over-react. I’ll be promoting this blog. asking people I know I share it about the place. Asking people I don;t know. Complete strangers. Anyone. Please share it.

I want to force Living Social to fix this. As a symbol of how they just can’t get away with this sort of stuff. Not to me, not to anyone.

And when I finally get what I want. I’ll send $39 to the Indus Foundation, and they can educate a child in India for a year.

Here’s an update:

A few days after I posted this, I got this email from Living Socail:

Hi Robert Godden,

In response to your recent Help Request #01432339: “I can’t find my voucher” we would like to provide you with the following solution.

I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We’re currently in the process of reconfiguring our email system worldwide, so we are a little bit behind at the moment! I hope I can assure you our typical email reply times are more like 24 hours than a month!

Unfortunately we are having some trouble finding your voucher in the system – would you be able to provide us with your name as it is on the credit card, or any other email addresses you might have? To help us further, if possible, if you could forward us either a scanned image or a screenshot of the charge on your card statement that would be great

If this Solution did not resolve your issue or you still have questions, please give us a call at 1800 548 762.

Thank you,

LivingSocial Australia & New Zealand Consumer Services Team

Notice they said how unusual it was that I had to wait a month, not  “24 hours”.

So I replied.


No Reply.

Upon reviewing the email, I noted the phone number. I have called them, and am on hold.

We shall see.



Written by robertgodden

October 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

Who needs you?

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I can understand phishing. There’s a point.

The point is to rip every cent (or penny, or peso, or whatever) out of your bank account. It’s fraud by mass market: someone somewhere will fall for it (and by the way, Anti-Phishing Phil is brilliant, if you’d like to get better at avoiding falling victim).

But when it comes to straightforward virus attacks; there’s no discernible point.

Common wisdom is that it’s the thrill of destruction – a bit like arsonists who hang around to watch a building burn.

In fact, a bit like cases where arsonists have tried to use pyromania as a clinical defence, it won’t be long before someone tries to defend themselves in court against charges of creating viruses by claiming ‘viromania”. If they ever get to court.

The vast majority of anti-social reprobates that create viruses are never caught.

To go back to our arson analogy; arsonists are often caught. And they often turn out to be people who would profit in some way, (e.g. by an insurance payout) or have a grudge.

However, there’s quite a few who get no discernible benefit; they just decided to burn down a building.

Many of the people in the last category are poor and undereducated. Burning down a building and getting caught for it is within a fairly limited scope – you don’t have to be a genius to accomplish this.

Not so the creation of a virus. For starters, you need access to a computer somewhere reasonably private, programming skills, and usually, an ability to not get caught easily.

So, why are the penalties for a poor, uneducated firebug so much more than those of a sophisticated virus author?

Now, I’m not advocating a lessening of penalties for the former; just some parity for the latter.

“Ahhhh, but Computer Viruses don’t kill people; whereas arson often does.” I hear you say.

While this is basically true at this point; how do we know that a virus won’t take down an air traffic control computer? Or one that affects red lights?

In many fatal arson attacks, the goal is gratification, not murder; and I’m happy to included virus creators in the same group.

So, I’m going to change tacks here to wrap up.

Listen, Mr or Ms Virus Author: Your efforts disgust me. The effort I put into keeping your sick products away from my home and business is time I’ll never see again; time spent away from my family. The time you spend creating it is also completely wasted.

So. here’s the changes I’d like to see.

It’s time to bring back the public stockade. These people want to be famous. Chaining them up in stocks in a public place with a ready supply of rotten fruit and a couple of dozen IT managers in the vicinity will spread their name nicely.

Then tattoo their foreheads. “Moron” in 72 pt bold works for me. If you put the “r” backwards it’s even better. A nice long sentence and perhaps a kick where it hurts as well!

And keep them in wooden prisons. Next door to the arsonists.


Written by robertgodden

June 23, 2008 at 7:24 am

Posted in Musings, Rants, society

Tagged with ,

Teo Torriatte (Let us cling together)

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Yesterday, I was feeling that the world was inching toward becoming a better place.

True, there are wars, and an end to war is a dream that many of us share.

True, a long-lost friend of mine is dying of a very nasty cancer. And an end to cancer is a dream many of us also share.

But for me, the dream of everyone being just that bit nicer is the big one. Because as the Paul Kelly song goes; “From little things, big things grow”.

The reason for my optimism is that yesterday, the Adelaide Advertiser ran a column of a friend of mine.

Sidebar: How many people know that my home town is responsible for the Murdoch Empire? Sir Keith Murdoch started it all here with the Adelaide News. News Limited went on to buy its much older rival, The Advertiser, and the rest is tabloid history. Not that I’d ever bag News Ltd. For starters, I write a column for them. And secondly, I’m a close personal friend of a whole bunch of people there, though sadly not Rupert!

As is often my wont, I digress. So back on topic:

Monica Magann’s column yesterday spoke about the power of nice. I’ll encourage her to put it on line. It was just lovely. It was, well, nice! I really felt that her quiet conviction sold the benefits.

 It’s not that every bully boss out there is going to suddenly become nice, but it is the start of a movement where people refuse to accept anything but nice.

But this morning, the world bought me back with a thump.

Autism is challenging. When I wrote the short story “Angels Like Water“, which I’m currently turning into a full length novel, I did a small amount of research. And there’s a lot to know. And a lot we don’t know. 

I’ve seen first hand the difficulty of handling a child with Asperger’s Syndrome; as one of the boys in a football team I coached suffered from it. And to be honest, everybody around suffered a bit as well.

But taking issue with someone who cannot control this condition is pretty low. When it’s a supposed adult abusing a child, then it’s far worse.

In Florida, a teacher organised a kangaroo court to evict 5-year-old Alex Barton from his classroom. In a 14-2 vote, held after the teacher asked every classmate to pillory Alex publicly, Alex was removed from the classroom. Democracy at work?

Sidebar: Democracy was not invented by happy Greeks in robes discussing philosophy as the world imagines. Cleisthenes, desperate to cling to power in Athens, proposed it one day and startlingly won the backing of the people. Whilst it has been idealised and very successfully implemented for good, it is not possible to interchange the words “good” and “democratic”. In a speech Winston Churchill said “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

So, this is a teacher who has not only abused a child, but has systematically, callously and heinously invested other children into the process. “Here’s an example of how we can kick the weak, children. Learn, well, because you may be able to fight your way to a position of power, where you’ll need those skills.”

Don’t forget, democracy gave Germany Hitler. The problem with democracy is that it only works if one is in a position to judge motivation.

What’s the motivation here? I mean, currently the most notorious example of enforcing democracy – US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan – arguably for oil, or prestige, or to fix Daddy’s little problem – still has underlying it, a passionate belief that the citizens of those countries will be better off with democracy. The vast majority of policy writers, of soldiers, of diplomats, of Presidential lackeys surely at heart believe that they are helping to restore and rebuild countries with a significant place in the history of this planet. I have to believe this to be true. I can’t comprehend the magnitude of any other motivation.

But this teacher’s motivation could be spite or sheer laziness. I’ll break for half an hour to think of others…

Back from half an hour. Still nothing!

Enlisting democracy for evil ends is nothing new. Using it to revile a child does hit a new low.

Clearly this teacher should never, ever teach again. Give them a mop and bucket, or teach them to pick fruit, I don’t care, but this is a person who has forfeited the right to ever supervise another human being, let alone a classroom of children.

No doubt there’ll be a lawsuit. Good! If a bloody big settlement is the only punishment meted out; then at least it’s something.

The Advertiser article I referred to suggests that nice begets nice, and I think that’s right. But the converse is true, and this nasty, reprehensible act on the other side of the globe has led me to my bitterest side and this rant.

I promise I’ll be nice tomorrow.

PS: On Dave Mendoza’s site, you can read the full stoty and email the school to tell them what you think:

Written by robertgodden

June 1, 2008 at 10:07 am