Dear Renew-it Rivonia

If you follow me over on twitter , you’ll know by now that over the last two and a half months I’ve had a rather awfuldelightful” run-in with a local repair company. Knowing what I know now I wish I had included all of the car related tweets in a single thread to make it easier to follow, but unfortunately I ONLY started doing this on 21 January 2020…the partial thread is still however rather amusing (in retrospect) and tells a story of broken promises and awful service.

At the time (and for various reasons I won’t go into here) I decided to keep their name off social media while they were still in possession of my vehicle and while I was trying to get them to fix the mess they made. But now that my vehicle has FINALLY been returned to me, in what appears to be the condition it should be, it’s finally time to tell the whole story. In fact, at this point I actually believe that it is my civic duty to warn other people against this company. Trust me…whatever you do….don’t make use of Renew-It Rivonia. I’d also like to warn you that this is a long read and if you’re not interested in the details you can just skip to the end…but facts are important.

It all started on the afternoon of 25 November 2019 when a random entitled idiot decided he had the right to invade my space and tried to break into my car. He was, thankfully, unsuccessful, but left me with a small dent and a messed up lock. While the locking system still worked, I was unable to lock/unlock the vehicle using the key, and the dealer informed me that they couldn’t replace the lock without the dent being fixed.

Car4

As the excess on my vehicle insurance is extremely low I immediately contacted my insurance company to log a claim…It was my first claim through them and it was (as insurance companies go) pretty painless. They provided me with a list of dealer and insurer approved repair centers to choose from. I scanned the list and picked the supplier most conveniently located for me based on the location of my home and my office. What I probably should have done is googled my chosen supplier…..this would have saved me a lot of anger and frustration. Instead, I foolishly assumed that a company endorsed by my insurer should be able to deliver a fairly reasonable service. Experience would teach me that this was a mistake…one I will never make again…I assure you.

The next two and a half months can be summarised as follows:

  • 27 November 2019 – Tried to make a booking online for a quote from Renew-It Rivonia through their website as I had to provide a quote to my insurer.
  • 28 November – 1 December 2019 – Unsuccessfully attempt to get anyone from Renew-It Rivonia to respond to my online query.
  • 2 December 2019 – Travel to Renew-It Rivonia, march through their doors and request someone to assist me with a quote. Which they finally do (HURRAY). The quote is for all of just over R12k, but as my excess is very low and my insurance does not have a claim free bonus clause, I was happy for my insurance to take this one. The quote is reviewed by an assessor and shortly afterwards approved by my insurer.
  • 5 December 2019 – Book my car in at Renew-It Rivonia. Before I book in my vehicle I confirm with them that I require my vehicle to be ready for collection no later than 19 December 2019, as we will be traveling quite extensively in my vehicle over the holidays. Accommodation had already been booked and paid for. They promise that the work should take an absolute maximum of 7 working days, which is well before the 19th. I go on my merry way and collect my insurance provided courtesy vehicle.
  • 6 – 9 December 2019 – Receive absolutely no feedback from Renew-It Rivonia. I finally managed to get a hold of someone during the course of the 9th and was merrily informed that my vehicle would be ready for collection on 26 December 2019. I politely declined to accept this and stated that the vehicle will be ready on the 19th as promised when I booked it in. The Customer service agent claims to know nothing of this deadline but stated that she would get back to me. (of course no one got back to me and no one responded to my multiple messages for someone to contact me with an update as promised)
  • 10 December 2019 – Finally receive a call from Renew-It Rivonia stating that the vehicle will be ready on 13 December 2019 for collection and they will update me on a daily basis.
  • 11 – 12 December 2019 – Absolutely no updates with no-one returning any calls or responding to emails.
  • 13 December 2019 – Vehicle is not ready as promised. I only know this because I called several times (note that no one ever returns any calls/emails and no one ever calls you as promised). I’m informed the car will be ready on 18 December 2019.
  • 14 – 17 December 2019 – No updates from Renew-It Rivonia
  • 18 December 2019 – I receive a call during the course of the morning informing me that my vehicle will be ready for collection after 4pm. I make arrangements to return my rental vehicle. Literally as I leave the rental agency (15mins before i’m supposed to collect my vehicle) I receive a call from Renew-It informing me that during Quality Control they noted that the INCORRECT LOCK WAS INSTALLED IN THE DOOR. For the love of apple pie…can someone explain to me how that even happens? (Although currently i’m pretty sure this was a lie to try and delay my collection as the vehicle was in fact not ready). I’m told that the car will be ready at 18:00 on the same day as they have already sent someone to purchase the correct lock (yet another lie i’m sure). At 17:30 I receive another call informing me that the car will unfortunately not be ready but that I can collect it at 09:30 on the morning of the 19th.
  • 19 December 2019 – Surprisingly i receive no calls trying to cancel collection of my vehicle. However, upon arrival they delayed with over an hour before I was finally taken to my vehicle (clearly they still weren’t ready for me). As I approached my vehicle I actually started laughing. There were so many obvious things wrong with the car that I found it ludicrous that they were trying to claim it went through a quality control process at all. The snag list included:
    • A “kink” towards the bottom middle of the driver door (which they claimed was a paint issue (SPOILER ALERT: it wasn’t)
    • The lock and handle wasn’t installed correctly and was misaligned and looked completely warped
    • Paint defects on the door itself and the adjacent panels
    • Scratches on the inside of the door
    • Deep scratches in the pain on the frame of the vehicle where the driver door goes
    • The door itself was not installed correctly and was completely misaligned with the dashboard inside and the other panels on the outside
    • Door seals not re-installed correctly
    • Auto-close on the electric window was no longer working.
  • Considering that we were heading on holiday with my vehicle I was informed that I could take the vehicle and book it back in upon our return to JHB to fix the workmanship issues. I decided to do exactly that as we needed the vehicle for holiday purposes and at least it could lock and drove just fine. At this point I notified my insurer of the shocking service and workmanship and informed them that the vehicle would be going for rework at the cost of Renew-it.
  • 20 December – 5 January 2020 – HOLIDAYYYYYYY!
  • 6 January 2020 – 8AM: Contact the customer service agent assigned to my case directly via email in order to arrange for the vehicle to be booked back in. The service agent only got back to me around 4 that afternoon stating that the work would only take 1 day (SPOILER ALERT: it didn’t) and as such no courtesy vehicle would be provided. I respond to inform her that I highly doubt their estimated time frame due to the nature of the issues and insist on a courtesy vehicle as I simply can’t be left without transport.
  • 7 – 8 January 2020: I try to call/email Renew-It Rivonia several times without any luck. As previously mentioned nobody is ever available when you call, nobody responds to messages left with the receptionist and no one responds to your emails.
  • 9 January 2020 – (very late in the day) I finally receive a response insisting that it would only take 1 working day, but that i would be updated should there be a delay. I’m informed i can book my vehicle in on the 14th of January, but unfortunately they would not be able to provide me with a courtesy vehicle.
  • 10 January 2020 – I inform them that i can book the vehicle in any time but that based on past experience I must insist on a courtesy vehicle. The agent responds a few hours later and informs me that she would contact me on Monday the 13th to confirm details as there are currently no vehicles available.
  • 13 January 2020 – Surprise surprise, despite a promise to get back to me to finalise arrangements I didn’t hear from them and no-one responded to my calls/emails. I’m subsequently notified that i can book my vehicle in on 16 January 2020 and that a vehicle will be provided.
  • 16 January 2020 – I go to book in my vehicle.
    • This process took them over 1.5 hours…how is this even possible
    • Once the customer agent inspected the vehicle with me she proceeded to inform me how it is human nature to exaggerate and over react. Now what I’d like to point out is that up until this point (and honestly right up until the point when I finally collected my vehicle) I had been nothing but professional and cordial. While I have made it clear that their service has not been great I have never shouted, never been rude, never called anyone names or acted like a complete bitch. And while you may think whatever the hell you like of me you do NOT tell your client that they are over reacting and exaggerating when YOUR company screwed up (even if they are over reacting – which I didn’t). I calmly proceeded to confirm that all these things that I pointed out were in fact wrong with the vehicle….which she confirmed. I was not happy AT ALL. But I decided to keep my cool and deal with this at a later stage. This was not the time for this argument.
    • She once again insists that the issues are minor paint problems and that I would receive my vehicle back within one working day.  She once again confirmed verbally the same promise I was given in several emails – They would be in contact if for whatever reason there was any delay.
  • 17 January 2020 – Now…for any normal person one working day would equate to 24 hours later as long as it was business days right? So….as the 16th was a Thursday I was fully expecting to have my vehicle back by the same time on the 17th that I booked it in. For good measure and, because I’m clearly too nice, I was quite happy to collect it by COB on the 17th (technically more than a working day but acceptable). Great was my surprise (no not really) when by 17:00 on Friday the 17th I had not received a call or an email with any update on my car. And of course at 17:00 you can no longer reach anyone by phone and no-one had responded to my emails.
  • 18 January 2020 – This place is also open on a Saturday. So at 9am I started calling them in the hopes of being able to collect my car. When asking for my allocated service agent I was informed that she was busy, but that they would give her a message. I called again an hour later and  was informed that she wasn’t there. I calmly requested to speak to a manager. I was informed that the manager was unfortunately busy but that they would take a message and ask her to call me back (yeah sure). An hour and a half passed without any feedback so I called again. When I got the same story I told the receptionist that unfortunately, since no one ever calls me back, I will not be leaving a message. I need to speak to the manger NOW. At which point my call was promptly transferred and the manager answered (so much for not being available). Once I explained my situation as calmly as I could I was informed that while it wasn’t an excuse my agent had been rushed to hospital the day before as she collapsed at work. This would probably explain why my vehicle fell through the cracks and no one contacted me. I’m sure by now you would excuse me for not quite being willing to believe this story. It was just too convenient. Not to mention that even if it were true, surely any company worth their salt would have sent a notification to all affected customers on the system??? Instead they left me with no idea where my vehicle was or when I’d get it back or even a notification that somebody would be in contact. The manager however had no idea what was happening with my car but assured me that she would contact me on the Monday morning. She even provided me with her mobile number and requested that I send her a Whatsapp when I can’t get a hold of her.
  • 20 January 2020 – Of course I don’t get any feedback from the manager until 19:30 that evening (of course I had tried reaching out after lunch as I was promised feedback that morning). Supposedly there was something wrong with the lock but she would confirm the details first thing in the morning and contact me. Now…if you know there is something wrong with the lock and if you committed to giving the client feedback…how can you tell me that you don’t know the details of the problem???
  • 21 January 2020 – The manager contacts me during the morning and confirms that my vehicle will be ready for collection at 16:30. By now I know better than to get excited or believe anything these people say and as a result I was not at all surprised when I received a call after 14:00 informing me that the car would not be ready. Not only won’t the car be ready….no, they now have to replace the ENTIRE DOOR. They’re unable to explain the problem exactly but inform me that they’ve logged a request with my insurer to approve the replacement and confirm that the door has been ordered. They insist that the door has to be replaced as a result of the original damage from the attempted break in. It was at this point that my calm exterior probably started to crack just a little. For one….they were perfectly happy to return the vehicle to me as “fixed” on 19 December 2019 and had I not pointed out the multitude of issues, everyone would have believed the vehicle fixed. How on earth do you NOW want to claim that this was caused by the original damage??? Secondly, (refer to the image above) the damage was at the top of the door and so very minor that I fail to understand how this could result in a whole new door being required. I was convinced that the new door was required as a result of the “kink” we identified on the door which they caused and which they were now unable to fix.
  • Having had quite enough I typed up a long email to my insurer with all the details informing them of my concern. I don’t understand why my insurance (and indirectly me) should have to foot the bill for the new door. At this point I begged them to step in as honestly I no longer wanted to deal with these people, but I also really needed my car back.
  • 22 – 23 January 2020 – No feedback from Renew-It Rivonia on the status of my vehicle or when I can expect the door to arrive despite numerous attempts from me to contact them.
  • 24 January 2020 – Confirmation that the door has been ordered but no estimated date of arrival and no feedback on when I can expect to get my car back.
  • 28 January 2020 – I finally manage to get a hold of someone to find out what is happening and I’m told that they would need to consult with the parts department. I’m promised that I will get a call on the same date. Of course they did no such thing.
  • 29 January 2020 – The manager confirms that the door will be arriving on Friday 31 January 2020.
  • 31 January 2020 – Despite numerous attempts from my side during the day to confirm if the door arrived I am unable to get a hold of anyone.
  • 3 February 2020 – I leave a Whatsapp message for the Manager to call me as I have been unsuccessfully calling and emailing. I receive a reply with a promise to call, but of course I do not receive a call.
  • I should probably point out that in-between all of the above I’ve been following up with my insurer on the matter since the 23rd of January.
  • 4 February 2020 – I receive a call from a Senior individual at Renew-It Rivonia. I’m informed that they have been in discussions with my insurance and that my insurance have not yet approved the replacement of the door. He alleges that Renew-It has proof that they originally requested approval for the door to be replace and the insurance company did not approve this request and instructed them to repair the door. When asked why I was never informed of this or why they were quite happy to provide me with my door “fixed” (not so much) in December he stated that it was a mistake. He stated that they would be negotiating with the insurance company. I insist that the dispute between Renew-It and the insurance company really has nothing to do with me and that they would need to fix the door regardless as there were no issues towards the bottom of the door when I handed in the car and they already “fixed” it. He agreed and assured me he’d be in contact later on the same day to confirm a collection date.
  • Directly after this call I receive a call from the head of Quality Assurance at my Insurer. He apologises for the fact that I’ve had to deal with this issue and assures me that I can sit back and relax. They will sort it out for me and get my car returned as soon as possible. He informs me that Renew-It is now claiming that there is structural damage to the door as a result of a previous incident and previous repairs I had done somewhere else and supposedly this was already a problem before I booked the vehicle in the first time (a claim the guy from Renew-It failed to mention). This of course is a ridiculous statement. I bought my car brand new, it’s been insured with the same insurer since I bought it and I have never claimed anything from my insurance for the vehicle (not to mention that there have no accidents or attempted break-ins ever). Now you could say that perhaps there was damage that I paid for myself and now i’m trying to hide it. But the fact is my excess is all of R500 and I don’t have a no claim bonus on my policy. So why on earth would I pay for any kind of damage myself??? The insurance guy thanks me for confirming what he already knew and told me to sit back and relax.
  • The rest of the day was filled with a bunch of emails flying around between the repairer and my insurer and I’m pretty proud to say my insurer pretty much shut them down. Renew-it is responsible for the “kink” a.k.a structural damage to the door and is responsible for repairing it at their own cost. Honestly…it was nice to be able to step back and have someone else fight on my behalf.
  • Receive a call on the afternoon of the 4th as promised from Renew-It (you’ll pardon me for nearly falling over as this was literally the first time someone did as promised) accepting responsibility for the cost of the new door and informing me that they just ordered the door and it should arrive by COB the same day or the next morning. Now hold up……Renew-It already told me the door was ordered on multiple occasions somewhere between 21 and 24 January 2020. With follow up feedback on the arrival of the door. When this was pointed out to the manager at Renew-It he explained that this was impossible. The door definitely wasn’t ordered previously because they were waiting for approval from the insurance company. I informed him that he just confirmed (again) that his staff lied to my face on several occasions. He obviously had no explanation (the lies are par for the course at this stage though).  He informs me that my car will be ready on Thursday 6 February, alternatively Tuesday 11 February as he would like to be present when I collect and unfortunately he isn’t available on the Friday and the Monday. He promises to inform me of any delays.
  • 6 February 2020 – To absolutely no ones surprise not a peep was heard from Renew-It Rivonia to confirm that I can collect my vehicle or to notify me of a delay. Thankfully my insurer has been physically inspecting the vehicle daily and sending me photos. As a result I knew that my car would not be ready, but this did not take away the responsibility of the repair center who promised to update me should there be any delays.
  • 10 February 2020 – Receive a call from Renew-It Rivonia informing me that my car would be ready for collection by COB on the Monday. As the manager specifically requested to be present I arrange to collect it on the morning of 11 February 2020.
  • 11 February 2020 – I arrive at 8am (as I confirmed with them the day before) to collect my vehicle. They make me wait for nearly 20mins before eventually helping me. As I walk up to my car I notice an issue with the paint on the rear panel and the seals around the window on the driver door which had clearly not been installed correctly. While the paint issue appears to be minor and could likely be polished away, I find it astounding that something as obvious as a seal sitting all strange was not picked up during quality control. They ask me to wait 15 minutes while they fix these issues. Which, to their credit, they manage to fix in about 10 and I was on my merry way.
  • FINALLY after 2,5 months I have my car back.

I realise that this is a very long post and most of you probably gave up on me ever getting my car back somewhere along the way. But I needed to explain the whole situation and give all the details. It’s been one of the most frustrating service experiences of my entire life and I will never EVER make use of Renew-it again. I will also be more vigilant with performing research on companies before I make use of them.

I’ve embarked on a bit of a process about my experience. Step one was putting the whole series of events down on “paper” (this post) which will be followed by a post on Hello Peter and a detailed letter of complaint to my insurance company.  I’d usually say it’s too much effort and let it go because I have my car back now. But the fact is I can’t let this one go without speaking out and let someone else go down the same route.

Bottom line: Steer clear of Renew-It Rivonia at all costs.

 

A few days in the life of..

So the past few days have been pretty interesting. Life has a way of coming in swings and roundabouts, but the truth is: it ALWAYS evens out in the end, and we have to learn to take the good with the bad. I know this better than most and have a rather amusing set of stories to add under this little file divider. I’ve also long since established that some days I can only say “this shit ONLY ever happens to me” and count on the fact that at least half the people who hear me tell the story won’t believe me….I’m OK with that. I don’t particularly care about your opinions anyway, so if all you take away from it is an amusing little story, that’s fine by me.

So here are a few things that happened during the course of the last 10 days:

  • When I returned from a 2 week out of country work trip the Friday before last, the Gypsy kindly offered to bring groceries and cook me dinner. While he was busy in the kitchen and I was happily sipping on a glass of wine I decided to switch on my “media setup”. This consists of a TV, PS3, Apple TV, Speakers and a laptop. So I plugged everything into the socket and flipped the switch and BAM! Flashes of light, smoke, loud exploding noises and a few shrieks from me before the electricity tripped. GREAT! I had no idea what exploded at the time but had been convinced that all of the above equipment would need to be replaced after that. I followed the smoke and found that the laptop’s charger had quite literally EXPLODED O_o How? I have no idea…but i’m very grateful that I’m pedantic about unplugging and switching off everything except the most essential things when I leave the house. Could you imagine the chaos and potential fire hazard if this happened while I was away? The explosion burnt my floor *facepalm* and the laptop is no longer usable (fantastic) but surprisingly enough everything else seems to have survived the onslaught.
  • On Tuesday I paid a little visit to my dentist as my dental implant (a long story in itself but it cost me a fortune, involved several bone implants and a piece of my jaw removed) felt slightly loose. It wiggled….like a loose tooth about to be pulled. The dentist very kindly tightened my screw and then indicated that he would like to replace the screw as it may have suffered some metal fatigue as a result of the wiggling….I made a follow-up appointment for the Friday.
  • On Friday i returned for a half an hour appointment to replace the screw. Let’s just say it did not go according to plan. DID YOU KNOW: A dental implant can experience a mechanical failure???? The dentist had to completely break the “tooth” of the implant apart in order to remove it. At this point I didn’t know whether i was supposed to laugh or cry. I had paid thousands of rands for that thing and here the dentist was kindly breaking it apart. Not to mention that this whole process took 3 hours. And trust me after 3 hours of someone messing about and “rukking” and “plukking” your mouth in order to try and break the “tooth”, your jaw and mouth in general is pretty damn raw, tired and sore. Then I learnt something new AGAIN. DID YOU KNOW: A dental implant comes with a warranty? I couldn’t stop laughing when the dentist informed me that it was definitely a manufacturing error and that I would no doubt be able to replace it under the warranty. The entire tooth has to be remade, so I will be returning in two weeks to have it replaced….at zero cost to me or my medical aid.
  • On Monday morning I had to head out of country again for yet another business trip. I always use Uber to take me to the airport and I’ve never before experienced any issues with the app or the service. I usually go online to request the uber about 10minutes before I have to leave home for the airport. I also make sure that, bearing traffic at that time in mind, I have more than enough time to get to the airport and drop off my bag etc. I generally don’t cut things close when it comes to flights. But the app had a problem. It simply refused to process payment, which means it refused to get me an Uber. I restarted the app a few times and even downloaded the 163MB update in an attempt to make it work. By now it was already well past the time I was supposed to leave home. I decide to add a different card as payment, but the app wouldn’t even let me do this and just continued to tell me that there is a processing error. In desperation I even tried to pay for the ride in cash…NO LUCK. So I finally gave up (by now running very late) and called a metered taxi service (which I HATE using). Unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to reach my home until only an hour prior to my flight. I would NEVER make it. As a last resort I loaded my suitcase in my car and drove myself to the airport….this will mean an astronomical parking charge, but what else could I do. By now I’m stressing about missing my flight as the traffic at that time is way more hectic than when I was supposed to leave home. I finally got to the airport and dropped my bag off with like a minute to spare prior to check in and bag drop cut off time. PHEW! And then the super nice lady behind the counter says “oh shame mam, you look so stressed. I’ll tell you what. I’m cancelling your online check-in and moving you to a business class seat.” Bless her cotton socks! I managed to make it through security and immigration and walked onto my flight with a few minutes to spare and then I was spoiled with excellent service, WAY better food and a ton of space.
  • When we arrived here the airport had another surprise for us….the immigration queue was literally running outside of the terminal building. Three international flights arrived at exactly the same time due to delays and the airport is simply not geared for that kind of traffic. It was going to be an incredibly long wait. Then a sweet old man in front of me starts asking the officials where the SADC line is. From experience I know there is technically a separate line for the SADC countries, but that when it’s this full nobody adheres to these rules and the immigration officers don’t enforce it either. But the old man spotted my SA passport, grabbed me by the arm and told me to follow him. And within minutes we were right in front of the queue and we sailed through without any hassles.
  • But without a doubt, the highlight of my day was last night. My SIL sent us a little photo of my littlest nephew in a superman shirt looking grumpy and miserable. Apparently the little man was also having a bad day, just like his aunty. So I asked my SIL to give him a big hug from me.  A few minutes later I get a message from my SIL saying that superman asked her to tell me that the hug made him feel better. *heart melts* That right there tops EVERYTHING. Nothing that happened in the last 10 days could spoil or top that moment….nothing. Family is everything.

So life comes with its ups and downs all the time. It’s up to us what we choose to focus on.  All I can say is…life with me = never boring.

I would make a terrible feminist

Now before everyone gets all up in my business for making that statement..please read the post.  I would make a terrible feminist, a terrible activist, a terrible lot of things actually. I recently read a post written by a friend of mine about his little girl, and that’s what got me thinking about this topic.  In this post he refers to an article written by a feminist:

“Here is an example from Devorah Blachor’s New York Times article titled “Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler Into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps“: “Propose that the hatred that Anastasia and Drizella feel toward Cinderella is not the fault of the step sisters, so much as it represents a complete indictment of Western society and its attitudes toward feminine beauty. Suggest that all three women might be victims of the same impossible societal pressures. Work in this timeless Naomi Wolf gem: “The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically.”

So, here is my issue with what she proposes.  While it might be true that society often discriminates against less than beautiful women, do we then condone or justify the fact that the 2 ugly step sisters were mean to Cinderella simply because she was beautiful and they hated her for it? I mean surely that’s just doing the exact same thing in reverse? And how does that teach a little girl anything but totally skewed values?

Here’s the thing…when everyone is getting their knickers in a knot about the fact that only 10 of the 50 journos invited to an event were female, I sit in the corner rolling my eyes…loudly. I have many reasons for that and I’m going to try to explain at least some it to you. I don’t believe in women’s rights. THERE I said it.  The simple fact is…I don’t.  What I do however believe in is equal rights.

True, historically (and often still today) females have been severely discriminated against purely because they weren’t male. The same is true for skin colour and many other things…..And this should be fixed.  But to let the pendulum swing in the complete opposite direction and to therefore allow women certain benefits for the pure and simple reason that they are female does not solve this problem…it just creates a new one, building on the already existing problem.  All this serves to achieve is to make sure that a bunch of idiots who can’t do the job are placed in positions of power, which very quickly escalates into chaos. How ridiculous is that?

The problem won’t be fixed until a balance can be achieved…a balance where nobody is discriminated against.  I don’t want to be chosen to do something because I’m female. I want to be chosen to do something because I’m good at it and I deserve it.  I don’t want to constantly fight off people’s opinions because they believe I got something for the pure and simple reason that I’m female.  I’ve been told on many occasions that my opinions would be different if I had ever been the victim of discrimination.  NEWSFLASH: I work in completely and utterly male dominated world where the general male opinion is that I have hair, boobs and a bum and I wear high heels and therefore I HAVE to be stupid, my opinions don’t matter, my ideas are never good, I should be bringing them coffee and I can’t ever be as effective as they are. (Please realise that while I refer to the general male opinion I most certainly do not include all males)

The kicker here is that while it is frustrating and while I have to work twice as hard to prove myself, I kick ass at my job. I’m good at what I do and I constantly prove that. And while it would be nice to be treated as an equal by all my male counterparts I refuse to be treated differently or better or to be given a promotion because the percentage of females in the profession isn’t high enough. I want the promotion because I deserve it.

So here’s what I propose….equal rights.  Give promotions and jobs to the most deserving candidates based on qualification, experience and compatibility.  Give it to the hard worker who towers over all the competition because that is the person who deserves it, regardless of whether that person is male or female.  Sex, race, skin colour, etc should never even feature in this decision.  So returning to my scenario about the 10 out of 50 journos being female….send the 50 most deserving journos, or the 50 most well-known journos or the 50 journos with the biggest reach.  Or randomly select them. But for crying in a bucket please don’t ever send me to an event for the pure and simple reason that I’m female and exclude someone who deserves that spot about a million times more than me. THAT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The above only serves as the tip of the iceberg as to why I’d be a terrible feminist. The fact is, I also like it when a man opens doors for me, offers to carry a heavy package, offers his seat to me when there are no other seats available and allows me to walk through a door first. Why you may ask.  Well while everyone is freaking out because they feel like the guys are saying they can’t do it themselves, I’m standing over here going: “Thanks dude!” I feel respected and cherished, I immediately assume that the guy probably has impeccable manners, that he treats his mom like solid gold and that one day he will move mountains to make his wife smile. (yes yes, I realise this isn’t ALWAYS true, but you get my point) You see, my dad does all these things for my mom, and whenever I’m around he does them for me too.  And when a guy does these things he automatically scores points in my mind, because he is a gentleman. And we could really do with more gentlemen in this world, except that the few that we have are almost too scared to be nice to women because they get accosted by the feminists.

And the kicker.  If one day I should be blessed with a little girl I will tell the feminists to stuff it. If she wants to be a fairy princess and wear pink tutus and crowns she may, and if she would like to do so while yielding a sword or a light saber I will cheer her on and if she chooses books and jeans over tutus and crowns I will applaud her choices and encourage her to be the best damn princess/warrior/bookworm/superwoman she can be. And If ever I have a little boy I will teach him to be nice to little girls, to respect them, to see them as equals, to understand that nobody is better than anyone else, to open doors for all females, to offer his seat for the little old lady and to let even the most insignificant looking girl walk through the door ahead of him. I will teach him that he never has to apologize for being male. Because one day my child will be one kickass gentleman.

So hate me if you will and call me what you want. But the cycle of discrimination will never stop if we keep swinging the pendulum back and forth from one extreme to the next. At some point someone needs to reach out and bring it to a standstill right smack bang in the middle. Equal rights for ALL!

P.S.  Guys, I realise that this is my opinion and other people have different opinions…and that’s ok.  Imagine how boring life would be if we all thought about things exactly the same way.  I also realise that while I’ve expressed my thoughts here this is only the tip of the ice berg and does not include all my reasons or arguments for making certain statements.  If I were to include it all here you’d be reading one post for WEEKS.

Dear Negative people

Sometimes I wonder how many of us stop to think about what we say/tweet/blog.  I wonder if some people even realise just how negative, whiney and full of complaints they have become.

I’m (mostly) a very positive person.  And even though my job often makes me cynical with regards to trusting people and just how screwed up the justice system is everywhere, I tend to be the person who sees silver linings, generally sounds annoyingly chirpy and also the one who gets stupidly happy at the tiniest things.  Don’t get me wrong…some days I too feel down in the dumps, some days I complain and some days I whine (especially when I’m sick…I’m completely miserable and pitiful when i’m sick) but this is not an everyday occurrence. And everyone is entitled to complain or a whine or to a negative day from time to time.

But I’ve noticed that more and more people are constantly negative, constantly complaining, constantly whining and constantly a pain in my ass.  Every single word that flows out of their mouths/fingers laced with the toxin more commonly known as negativity. If you let it run your life for too long you stop realising that you’re being negative, you fail to recognize the amazing things in your life and you spread negativity to the people around you.  You become an increasingly horrible person to be around.

There are few things that annoy me as much as someone who has amazing people in abundance, amazing opportunities and just honestly so many blessing rained on them only for them to not once be grateful, not once say anything positive or happy…just negative negative negative!  The sad part is that the external parties are not the only ones to notice.  These amazing people who you have in your life…they notice it too.  They feel that you don’t value them and that you take them for granted, because if you’re this miserable all the time, surely the people who surround you must feel that it is somehow their fault? And not only that..spending too much time with a negative person is emotionally draining, exhausting and quite frankly unpleasant and because it is so toxic, some of these people will, in time, also become negative. A negative person is also often extremely self-centered.  Everything is a crisis, everything is horrible and in everything they ARE the victim, not because they’re actually the victim, but because they choose to act like the victim. There are days when I feel like saying “Get your head out of your ass, it’s not a hat” (to quote Pitch Perfect).  I mean if your head is up there to begin with, I suppose it makes sense that you have such a crappy outlook on life.

After putting up with a lot of the negativity from a lot of people over time I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to do what makes me happy.  I need to, at least to an extent, distance myself from the negative people in my life. Guys, I love you dearly, but realise for once that life is not that bad.  Make a point of noticing at least one good thing a day, because I can guarantee you that your life does not suck, you just choose to see it that way.

Love
Ruby
xxxxxx

Dear Ignoramus

I realise that none of us know everything or at least something about everything…it’s just not possible.  But what used to just annoy me has become a giant festering thing inside of me.  Please, for the love of apple pie…stop spreading your opinion about something that you CLEARLY know nothing about, as fact.  The sad part is that other ignorant people will grab what you stating as a fact and run with it because they don’t know any better and so begins the snowball effect of ignorance.

I’m so tired of people who think they know everything about everything.  So tired of people who start a debate or an uproar because they have a rather wayward opinion on a topic they know nothing about.  Sure, you’re allowed to have an opinion, and you’re even allowed to discuss it.  But don’t act like an arrogant idiot and a) spread it as fact or b) be indignant when people take you on about it.  If you want to start a debate at least be sure that you’ve checked your facts and done some research on the topic.  The same goes for jumping on some band wagon.  Boy, do people LOVE band wagons.  Most days I sit here in my quiet little world and wish the band wagons would just spontaneously burst into flames or something and take all its passengers with it.   If you’re going to jump on the band wagon at least make sure you know what the situation really is before going about and possibly ruining someone’s life/reputation/business.

Don’t be the Ignoramus.

Regards
Ruby

 

Dear license renewal people

On Monday morning I decided to embark on an adventure.  I had to renew my driver’s license.  Fun right? So after I spent the morning sleeping through 3 alarms, setting off my house alarm, knocking my shoulder alarmingly hard against a door frame and launching a mad search for my ID book which suddenly decided to disappear I finally ventured to your offices.

Your staff was less than friendly from the get go.  No clear directions on where you are supposed to go or who you are supposed to speak to could be found.  After pulling a ditzy blonde move some other victims of the system indicated where I had to go wait in line.  It was a LOOOOONG line.  I was quite happy to stand and wait my turn…but then I was instructed to “SIT DOWN!!!” rather loudly.  I gave the filthy, sweat and germ infested fabric coated chairs a swift once over and politely declined, stating that I’d rather stand.  A rather intense tongue lashing quickly changed my mind and I found myself balancing right on the edge of the chair, trying my best not to actually touch anything with my bare skin and cursing myself for wearing a short little dress.

But this was only the start.  It was HOT and there was not a fan or an aircon in sight.  I feel for the staff…I really do…it can’t be easy having to work in those conditions..but trust me..they sure as hell made sure we understood what an absolute pain it was for them to work there O_o.  After not moving at all for what seemed like an eternity, the line finally started moving.  This meant more filthy chairs, more balancing acts and, in an attempt not to be bored to death, chatting with the people sitting around me.  I was then shouted at for talking to much by one of the people working there…REALLY??

When it was nearly my turn for eye tests etc. I had the unique opportunity to tweet the following:
(Arch being catch of course) Yeah that was pleasant…NOT.  I had absolutely no idea how to react.  Do I ask him what the hell he’s doing? Do I shout and throw a little tantrum and risk getting shouted at again? Do I make a joke about it?  I just didn’t know how to deal with it…but was luckily saved from having to deal with said neighbour for much longer when it was my turn.

I smiled all friendly like, said “Hi” and started asking the guy behind the table a question.  Right in the middle of my question he started talking.  Then proceeded to shout at me saying: “Stop talking when I’m talking!!!”.  Excuse me??? I was talking FIRST! I think you could literally HEAR my jaw dropping when he followed that up with a “Now be quiet!”.  Really? Firstly…you interrupted me and then you shout at me??? What the hell?  I could have sworn I had walked into a parallel universe when I entered that building.

So I promptly snapped my mouth shut and listened to his instructions very carefully.  Pull the little lever in the direction of the solid line.  That shouldn’t be too hard right? Except that he informed me I needed glasses and failed the eyetest completely.  It was at this point I finally snapped, figured out he explained the procedure to me incorrectly and then told him in no uncertain terms that he better allow me to do the eye test AGAIN or I would make the rest of his human life a complete and utter misery.  I was allowed to retake the test…my eyesight, as 5 years ago, is perfect.

I was then sent to a new line in order to pay…oh joy! another line of dirty, sweaty, germy, fabric covered seats….at this point in time I was tired of being surrounded by freaks taking pictures of my feet, the heat and being shouted at…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The payment line went smoothly and quickly except for one incident where the girl working in front stepped out to shout at EVERYONE waiting in line telling us that we’re useless because ONE guy didn’t have his R300 ready and waiting when he got to the front.  He had to actually take it out of his wallet… SCANDAL!

So guys…please…train your staff…send them on a people skill course…clean your waiting area….allow people to stand if they so choose and for goodness sake install some aircons or fans in that place!

Regards
Ruby
xxx

Dear Diary

I learned a couple of things this weekend.  It wasn’t pleasant…in fact…it was awful, mostly….

1.  People are cruel
2.  Being snubbed by people who used to call themselves your friends hurts
3.  It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked to get where you are…some people will always try to break it down
4.  No matter what you do…for some people it’s just never good enough
5.  It hurts when people who were once close to you takes everything you’ve worked so hard for because you were working towards a dream and with one foul swoop of their tongues diminish it to superficial things you do to impress superficial people
6.  People who claim to be non-judgemental can be awfully judgemental
7.  No matter how many times you tell yourself it doesn’t matter and no matter how well you KNOW that you shouldn’t let it get to you….it hurts
8.  Realising that you’ve outgrown people is both freeing and sad
9.  Having your best friend give you a hug and comfort you makes it a lot better..makes you more grateful…and makes you realise what you do have.  I am happy, I’m working towards my dreams in a big way, I have friends who care about me more than I can ever realise, I have a family I love and adore.  So you know what…take your superficial little friendship and your little clique and go play all by yourselves in your limited little world.  I’ll stick to being happy and chasing my dreams and having people around me who care about me, thank you very much.

Regards,
Ruby