I thought I’d document my recent experience of getting a local SIM for my mobile phone for use in the USA whilst on holiday.
Best Buy – a US clone of Curry’s – offer a range of SIM only options. The SIMs ranged from 1$ up to about 10$ with no obvious difference. I went with the Total Wireless “Bring Your Own Phone” CDMA SIM Kit which was fine for an iPhone 8. It cost $1+tax = $1.06 in Massachusetts. I went on-line using wi-fi to add an unlimited voice/texts and 5GB data package lasting 1 month. This cost $38.42 and would have been a bit cheaper if I’d opted for auto-renew, but that sounded like a recipe for being charged when I forgot to cancel, so I didn’t.
It gave me a fully working phone on the Verizon network for under £30 for a month. I didn’t check the actual usage, but used the phone extensively for three and a half weeks without any problems.
The only glitch was having to list a US address and phone number, but I see no reason why you couldn’t just give a hotel or friend’s details – they didn’t get used or checked against the card used to pay. Actually getting the data to work involved a call to their customer service, and then sort of ignoring their printed instructions, but this didn’t take long.
I really don’t understand the thinking behind the NHS in practice stopping doctors prescribing more than one month’s pills in one go. Now I don’t pay for prescriptions, I’ve no financial incentive in wanting this changed, but this week my local pharmacist did make me wonder.
I have a regular prescription for statins which not even a more healthy weight and lifestyle has been able to reduce the recommendation for. It’s been unchanged at a low dose for some years now and every year I get a set of blood tests to check. So every four weeks I get a box of 28 pills.
There’s a branch of Boots in my village – one pharmacist and one shop assistant, so not a large branch. Boots the corporate parent pushes their we’ll get repeat prescriptions and text you when they’re ready service. It’s convenient, as I walk past the chemist several times a week. The only problem is that they can’t cope.
So yesterday, after yet another failure to notify me that a prescription was ready, I complained. The pharmacist explained that they get 300 prescriptions a day and just can’t keep up, as they can’t send the text (which they effectively do manually) until they’ve prepared and checked the prescription.
So, assuming a good proportion of that 300 prescriptions per day are repeats and constant over a significant period, why not do them 2 or 3 monthly and cut the workload – and frankly the cost to the NHS in admin overhead, which is probably higher than the actual cost of cheap generic statin pills.
When I did pay for prescriptions, I did complain to the GP, who referred me to the regional health authority who bounced the responsibility back to the GP. maybe I’ll have another go.
£20 compensation for stupid banking – from Santander, which makes a change from Lloyds. And, I may say so, a much better experience than with Lloyds. They managed to send me a letter that was in all respects wrong and told me to fix this on online banking by following a series of steps that ended in an entirely function free page. To quote their digital complaints specialist – “I’ll be writing this up to improve the customer experience since yours was, to be honest, terrible.”
What happened was that a few months ago a banner appeared in my statement telling me I’d get 5% cash back if I bought a train ticket on The Trainline. This isn’t a supplier I’d typically use for train tickets since they charge an exorbitant booking fee, but for 5% cash back, I’ll be their customer for the day. So I bought the ticket and got another statement flash to say that I’d got £6.86 cash back. Then today, I got a letter telling me off for crediting the cash back to the credit card account I closed over a year ago. It generously told me that it had this time paid it into the current account (my only account, the one for which the statement advised me of the offer and of its success), but also that I should change the account retailer offers were paid into. Unfortunately those instructions ended in a page that told me I could select the account, but gave me no way of doing so.
The digital complaints specialist was competent in working through their website and suggested I follow another process to correct their (clearly broken) record of my data. That unfortunately ended up in freezing my session on their website. But starting again seemed to confirm that it had worked. And finally, after thanking him for explaining, I said that it shouldn’t really take 40 mins of my time following incorrect instructions in an incorrect letter, so he offered £20.
Waitrose have announced that they are going to phase our non-recyclable drinks cups with their free tea and coffee. Also, that because they’re upgrading the coffee they sell in the cafés they won’t be able to serve free tea there any more.
I think this is a cynical ploy to save money hiding under a cloak of greenness.
Too early to say. Delay Repay with a 15minute threshold for compensation is definitely an improvement, as is direct payments into my bank account. But, within only a few months of operation they’ve got so that other enquiries get a “Our Customer Service Centre is experiencing extremely high volumes of correspondence and on average responses are taking longer than normal. … Please be assured we will respond to you as quickly as possible and we manage cases in date order.” response after their promised response time of 15 days.
Now their Delay Repay website won’t let me log in. It complains that my email address isn’t known. Clearly rubbish as that’s cached on the browser. I’ve reported it, but let’s see if it gets fixed.
And curiously, a completely random £3.66 payment turned up in my account from them today – not from Pingit, as previous SWR delay repay refunds have been but from SWR and unrelated to the non-delay repay claim I have outstanding and with no covering email. Bizarre!
Now some of my favourite recipes from over the years, some nicked from friends, are on the site.
This new site for locomotive.com went live on 2nd April 2018.