Category Archives: David Epstein

Bid or Buy Bye Bye

Can you imagine the following: you go to an online auction, post an automatic bid (for those not in the know – an automatic bid is a bid which is a fixed amount which you automatically bid against others bidders until you hit the fixed bid amount), get notification that your bid amount has been accepted and go to sleep. Next morning you wake up and find out that you have lost the auction. You win some you lose some. But then you see that you have lost the auction to a bid lower than your automatic bid amount. So you contact the online auction owner and they tell you that you did not have an automatic bid! You respond with telling them that you received an email notification saying that your automatic bid has been received. Then the auction company representative says they had a system glitch … in the form of a power failure!!! What?? A power outage in Johannesburg – WTF, are we living in a 3rd world country? You contact the seller to tell them that they have been short-changed in the auction. The company says that they will do what they can, but can’t do too much, sorry for you and goodbye.

Well not so fast they, the fact that you had a system meltdown and until I complained had no idea of the extent of the system cock-up and posted a very vague “…we experienced system issues…” on a forum on your website (that who the hell reads is a total mystery) doesn’t mean that you can deny all forms of responsibility because your an “online business”.

I have called twice to speak to the CEO – Jaco and Cuan, presumably the Head of Tech – do you think they have had the common decency to return my calls?

So here is the issue that I have: the BidorBuy system is flawed in a number of ways:

1. If they experienced a power failure which took down their systems means that their management team is downright negligent for not having a UPS, needless to say a Disaster Recovery in place.

2. They are responsible for the losses incurred by the seller – in my case, the seller did not get the the maximum value for the goods they were selling. I had an automatic bid that was higher than the winner bid – how many other sellers were put in this situation?

3. They have an obligation to buyers who in deed have winning bids – but didn’t win such as myself.

4. They need to deal with the lower bid winners in one way or another.

If BidorBuy was in the league of the e-Bay’s, Amazons of this world they would have full disclosure and a public apology to all parties concerned. You think this is going to happen if they can’t even return a phone call?

How time flies…

Yes I know, I’ve been really bad. It’s been ages since I wrote a blog, despite drafting a whole range of stories, life has consumed most of my free-time. Modern day living (not that I can compare it to any other form of living) is just so fast-paced, that at times I’m quiet happy to vegetate in front of the TV. Now that we are in mid April, with the national elections looming (and the DA is seriously pissing me off with calls from call centres and SMSes in the middle of the night), complete plans disappearing (anyone think they’ve been abducted by Aliens) and with THAT trial coming to an end, there is enough material to write about. However, the ability to find the creative time is what is so challenging.

I fear for the kids of today – it’s this life that forces them into a performance model, no matter what. You remember the old days when we were at school – assuming that if you are reading this you are over 35. Do you remember when we had “special” classes, when the kids who plugged a standard more than twice were moved into? Socially, we may have been mean to them by calling them horrible names, but what was our defense against someone who was 3 years older than us in the same standard? Special classes just seemed to have disappeared as did the pupils who were confined to them. I wonder where some of those kids ended up? Did they ever “reach their full potential” as is the precursor today for to determine if your child being misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD? Did they disappear because some PhD’s decided that it would be better to socially group them in one environment? Maybe name calling by your peer group isn’t as bad by being called names by the “normal” kids? Time has been consumed by having to protect my kids (but that is material for another story).

Time … so precious when used correctly.


Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer ….

I’m on a quest: to find a restaurant that can live up to it’s reputation. These are going to be quick posts, because the less I have to think about them the better:

7:05pm Arrive at Thomas Maxwells. It’s fairly full. We are promptly seated

7:25 Order starters and main – stock standard menu items – Fried Camembert and Steak Tartare

7:55 Call the maitre d’ to enquire where the hell our starters are …

7:58 Starters arrive – seriously: 40 minutes for a bit of fried cheese and some raw mince …

8:15 Starter finished ….

8:30 Nothing ….

8:45 Excuse me, can you tell me where our main is?

8:57 Mains Arrives

9:00 Mains sent back – a medium to well done steak that arrives and is meant to be medium rare … this is a rookie mistake, I think my 7 year old boy could have prepared a better steak.

9:01 Wine is finished and we haven’t even started main – and this is supposed to be one of the top restaurants in Johannesburg?? Oh dear, maybe it was just “one of those nights”…

9:15 Seconds out! Round number 2 : Mains arrive … again. With apologies that “we will be sorted out” – I’m thinking “Oh crap, they going to call in bouncers?”, but no – desserts wine and desserts will be on the house. I’m dreading the fact that we may have to wait an hour for that… Steak was mediocre. Couldn’t get through the 2nd round of creamed spinach, butternut and chips (Butternut and Spinach??? Is this a canteen or a fancy restaurant, I double check, but yes still at Mr. Maxwells Bistro).

9:45 Mains removed and complimentary dessert and ports delivered.

9:50 Maitre d’ informs us that the wine will also be on the house!

10:00 Dessert removed and cup cakes delivered. Yes cup cakes – as a farewell gift? As a peace offering? Not quite sure.

10:05 Being avoided by all and sundry, we leave. Did we vow never to go back? Nope. Will we go back? No. In their defence, they knew they cocked up and tried to make ammends. Maybe it is just that we are quite demanding, but I don’t think so – maybe it’s just that consumers today accept mediocrity and are too afraid to complain.

Our quest continues…