Category Archives: Uncategorized

Watching the 2012 Olympic Torch


Today, probably for the only time possible in my lifetime, I got to see the Olympic torch pass near where I live in South London. Below are two videos I took as the torch went by on Acre Lane, in-between Brixton and Clapham.

Build-up to the torch-bearer arriving:

The torch-bearer goes by:

by Jake McMillan


What’s the Point of Money Vouchers?



We’ve all been given them and we’ve all probably bought them at some point, but if you think about it vouchers are ridiculous. All they do is make giving someone cash seem a bit more like a present than actually just giving them cash.

In reality, they are much more useless than cash as you can only spend them in one place and sometimes only for a limited amount of time. Whereas cash is a voucher you can spend anywhere!

“Ah, but it’s nice to receive a voucher”, some people say. No, it is not, it is annoying and insulting.When someone gives you a voucher what they are really saying is one of two things:

(a) They could not be bothered to think or spend the time to get you an actual present.

And/or

(b) They didn’t want to give you cash as you can’t be trusted not to spend it on booze, gambling, whores or chocolate.


Vouchers are a great money-spinner for the companies that dish them out as they know only a percentage will get used.

So, please don’t go up to that counter to pay good money to give a friend or a love one bad money. That money, that gloriously universal cash you were about to use to pay for that voucher, why not give it directly to the person? Why do we need a middle man voucher?

When did society decide it was wrong or poor etiquette to give someone cold hard cash? This is absurd and I think must only have been started by the people who produced the first voucher.

If you are somehow still deluded or brainwashed into thinking vouchers are nice, try this very simple experiment. Next time you give someone a voucher, also hand them the cash equivalent and ask them to pick only one. You know full well which one they’ll pick.

We all know vouchers are shit, so please, can we all just stop buying them?

Jake McMillan

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Coal Respond to my Complaint


by Jake McMillan

My ever so slightly sarcastic complaint to Coal Grill and Bar in Wimbledon triggered 2 responses from them.

The first response, later that day, was a polite but generic response from the Wimbledon branch of Coal:

They did misspell my name, but it was a quick response and I appreciated the acknowledgement of my complaint. However, there was no effort to get my custom back again?

The following day, 9th September 2011, I got an email from John Gater the Founder and CEO of the Coal Grill and Bar Group:

I was actually quite impressed that I got a personal email from the CEO stating that they were looking into it and would get back to me in a few days. I thought fair enough, every company dips in service now and again, has a bad day and/or makes a mistake. They deserve the chance to rectify it and show that it was not their normal standard.

John Gater

Over 3 weeks later, however, and I have heard nothing from John Gater or the rest of his staff. Coal staff in the restaurant were slow to actually respond but once they did, they actually did something. Whereas John was quick to respond but has been slow to do something.

I found this article written by John Gater in December 2007 regarding the difference in service between USA and the UK following a recent visit to the US:

It’s a bit frustrating on returning to the UK to find that the word “service” in the hospitality business here doesn’t seem to have the same meaning. …

Perhaps the answer is to ship loyal crews to the USA to give them first-hand experience in the art of meaningful service. If it weren’t for the cost, we’d probably start tomorrow.

On second thoughts, maybe the cost would be justified after all. I’ll see you at the airport.

Fast forward four years and perhaps John should take his own advice?

I get the feeling that John genuinely does care about good quality service for Coal customers and for whatever reason this is not being carried out well at the Wimbledon outlet.  If things are improved or I just happened to go on bad nights, then I would be very happy to hear back from him.

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