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Category Archives: Business
The latest meeting of High Peak Business Club took place on the morning of Friday, October 6.
The guest speaker was Raymond Reynolds, property and business development director of Greggs and his theme was Baking Up A Business. The club’s Edwina Currie reported: “Raymond Reynolds is Scottish and very tall. And slim – if he’s eating a lot of his firm’s pasties, he doesn’t show it.
“Changing roles after ten years as retail director, he now has “a wide portfolio of responsibilities.” He’s been with Greggs since the 1980s, so he’s seen it grow and adapt as the traditional High Street has come under pressure. How does a bread shop business become the darling of the stock market?
“At High Peak Business Club as we scoffed sausage rolls from Greggs in Buxton, we realised that the firm is, in Raymond’s words, “a success story in staying relevant; you can never rest on your laurels.” That’s a pertinent lesson for everyone in business (and, dare I suggest, in politics too). Continue reading
Eventually we started using Hermes directly. Same bulk upload tools as P2G but a few pence cheaper.
Hermes are great for low value items you can afford to give some away of – because you will be doing.
The drivers routinely lose/steal stuff or deliver it to random neighbours, sometimes other addresses entirely, leave it in their car for a week if they have flu, drop it in puddles or simply toss stuff over walls in the rain.
Because of the above, tracking will sometimes say delivered but customer says it isn’t.
We found Hermes to be more trouble than they were worth eventually and preferred to pay more to get a better service.
Put Collect+ and Yodel into the same category.
>>Read about Hermes/MyHermes here<< My preferred options: We use a mix of Post Office PPI and DPD courier. Royal Mail Business. You get in touch with Royal Mail business section and tell them you want an OBA (online business account) and want to use PPI. This allows you to book your own boxes online, select Recorded etc, and drop them off at the post office in bulk done already and walk out. You pay every month by DD. You are sat at home with a glass of wine rather than standing in the PO. Now they will make you buy a £250 printer to do this now (we use the old label system still) and the software is a bit of a learning curve, but once you are doing it, it is easy peasy and a bit cheaper than the PO counter. Cons: Your local post office might sulk at taking them in pre-paid this way – ask them. They are contractually obliged to take them but many still refuse citing lack of space. You may need to remind them they still get paid if they scan recorded mail (which they do from your book 10 at a time using the bulkscan tool on their screen). Continue reading
Banking in Guernsey: That well-known crown dependency of the UK, offshore tax haven and a reliable custodian of your cash.
Or NOT as the case was.
Nestling amongst the allegedly safe banks on Guernsey was Landsbanki, an Icelandic owned bank guaranteed by its huge parent company Landsbanki in Iceland. What could go wrong? All these countries are EU, right? Icelandic banks were well-known and reliable, right? Guernsey was a world-class banking haven insulated from grasping Gordon Brown and not stupid enough to invest in US mortgage debt. Cash was safe in Guernsey everyone thought.
Iceland is not EU. Nor, technically, is Guernsey (although they bow to the EU savings directive and are a UK Crown Dependency).
Well, Guernsey is not safe any more it seems! In October 2008 the Icelandic government nationalized Landsbanki Iceland. In turn, all its affiliates and subsidiaries around the world toppled like a house of cards.
However, what of Landsbanki Guernsey? Well nobody noticed before, but Guernsey lacked depositor protection. Savers relied on its stringent financial regulation [sic] not to let minnows and “Johnny-come-lately” types into Guernsey.
However, while Lyndon Trott – the big cheese on the island – and some of his cohorts were bigging it up in the Orient on Labrador fried rice at the taxpayers expense, Guernsey was wobbling as a trusted financial centre.
Landsbanki Guernsey went into administration. The administrators have paid out 30p in the pound within a couple of weeks of the bank’s collapse, and made further payments in 2009 (25p), 2010 (12.5p), 2011 (17.5p), 2013 (4.6p) and 1.96p at the end of May 2016.
What of the 8% shortfall? Guernsey won’t pay. The UK won’t pay. Iceland has managed to slither out of its commitments abroad even though they nationalised the parent bank.
FACT: In 2016 UK-based and other international savers lost 8% of their cash in Guernsey.
Guernsey is finished as a retail financial centre – simple as that. Nobody wants to invest money in a “financial centre” where people lost their cash – it’s that simple!
If people want risk, they can get that earning 17% interest in Ukraine. They can get a government backed guarantee in Russia and 10% interest with no government stealing some of the interest. Why will they mess about for 4%-6% in Guernsey where the cash has a tendency to do a credible impersonation of Houdini?
Guernsey’s “depositor protection scheme” is worthless. That is called “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted” – Guernsey’s DPS has as much value and credibility as one from Zimbabwe.
This site says: The Guernsey Government should compensate savers for the 8% shortfall. Every other government in the world appears to be doing this in their own jurisdictions. This is called depositor protection.
Guernsey say they cannot afford to pay. Really?
They could use some of the £15m a year they make from information snooping for the tax authorities in the UK, or maybe some of the tax and other monies they made from Landsbanki to date.
Regulation appears to have been insufficient or ineffective.
Landsbanki Guernsey was poorly regulated and inadequately supervised. Until Guernsey pays the Landsbanki savers (dont hold your breath) they will pay the price with their reputation.
Don’t put your money in Guernsey, folks! Continue reading
Finding good quality long barbecue skewers in the UK can be a drag. But you are in the right place to find out more. BBQ skewers are a sector of the market that cheap Chinese manufacturers and ‘pile em high, sell … Continue reading
So you want the VAT number for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council?
So did I, they had billed me for an item I decided should have included VAT, and my accountant asked me to obtain the VAT number.
Easier said than done.
It took me some extensive searching to find it.
If you call them, they wont tell you.
There are no reverse search VAT number directories.
You can only check the validity of a VAT number you have. Not the other way around.
However, I am quite resourceful, so I eventually got it, and to be sure, I checked it with the EU VAT validation website.
So here it is: Continue reading
Let’s break down some metrics:
I live in a 2-room flat less than a 10-minute car ride to the city center (Prospect Mira for those of you who know the area).
It’s Western renovated and ran about $1330 (40k rubles) before the ruble devalued. Concurrently, most apartments in Moscow have either kept the same rental price, or have actually decreased in price in order to find tenants.
So, while someone’s income has decreased because of the exchange rate in dollar terms, so has relative housing cost; over $8k a year in my case (roughly $675 a month). That 40k includes gas, electricity, landline, cableTV/internet, trash, water and my Tajik Concierge. Great guy, and very helpful.
If I were to go back and live in a comparable flat in Los Angeles, the same cost would double, minimum.
I would also have to buy a car, so we’d be talking conservatively about another $600 for car payments, gas, insurance and maintenance for an average $20K ride. My transportation costs average about $150 a month (metro, taxis, g/f’s car, etc.).
The next biggest expense is of course food. I spend at most 1000 rubles a day. I really can’t see spending more than this, and 1000 could probably be chopped in half if push comes to shove. But for the sake of argument, let’s double it to 2000 and use this for reference.
Housing, utilities cable and WiFi internet – 40000
Transportation – 10000. Remember I’m an expat and don’t need a car here.
Food – 60000, and believe me that is an ambitious sum, more like 30-40000 at most, but again for the sake of reference. We’ll use 60k to include entertainment such as eating out, movies, theatre, etc., and a daily 300 ruble Starbuck mocha that I could easily do without, etc. This factors in a 35% rise in food costs during the devaluation period.
Restaurants/cafes prices have only increased about 5-10% during this time; closer to 5% all things considered.
Pretty much covers about everything and we’re looking at 106,000 rubles.
Now I understand that it would be nice if you could still stash away about $3k a month, but times they do change. And if you were someone who hasn’t saved for a rainy day (time), then that’s on you.
Nevertheless, that leaves us with 94000 rubles and that is still close to $1500; not bad all things considered.
If you think that things will not improve, or that your time back in the States will be better, I say don’t let the customs agent kick you in the ass on your way out. And good luck with those American women.
All I know is, given the situation, there’s no way I’m heading back, and really, why would I? Simply put, I have a wonderful life here, despite all the oppression I [don’t] feel from Putin.
Contrary to popular belief, life is good here. And it’s especially good if you’re lucky enough to be making 200k rubles a month. 98% of the working population in Moscow would love to make that kind of money. And if you’re one of the very fortunate expats to be making 200k a month or more, then count your blessings. Continue reading
The Forum Has Changed Direction a Little to Include More Travel, Culture, News and Politics.
The site was stuck in what is a dying and declining niche. When the site first started back in the mid naughties, it was firmly aimed at what some termed the “mail-order bride” niche. The FSU dating scene was then – although slowing down – still a vibrant industry. It was mostly centred on Ukraine the last decade or so, and most of those travelling there to meet women were from the US.
However, as you will know, a year and a half ago, there was a western-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw the overthrow of the elected president and the installation of a new regime in Kiev. Subsequently, Crimea reunified with Russia and the east of Ukraine broke away into independent regions. Since then, civil war has raged in Ukraine while the new borders are being defined.
Against a backdrop of significantly reduced dating-related travel to the region, Crimea reunifying with Russia, increased American aggression against Russia, US/EU sanctions against Russia, counter sanctions from Russia, civil war in Ukraine and the MH17 crash, it isn’t hard to see why the forum became quickly dominated by these topics of discussion. So we decided to roll with it and reorganise the site somewhat.
If you take a fresh look at the placement of the forum rooms, you will find the dating and marriage sections have been condensed and moved further down the page. Up closer to the top you will find Cyrillic & Language, FSU News & Politics, Visas, Travel Discussion, Travel Reports, Culinary, Culture, Russian/Ukrainian Media and Expat Chat closer to the top. While we still have a lot of chat pertaining to dating in the former Soviet Union, you will find it isn’t as dominant as it once was.
Guys, if you are already married and haven’t visited us in a while, you can tell your wife it is a political, news and travel forum more than a dating forum nowadays. We know we lost a few of the married guys as their wives objected to them participating in what they saw as a ‘dating forum’. Yes, we still have some dating ads along with other types of ads, but like any site, we have to pay the bills. There is a topic on that here: Site Funding. Supporting Members. Q&A.
We would like to give you a few links to, and a little background about some of the recent popular topics. Continue reading
So you want to buy a Dyson Airblade filter?
At last you can buy a Dyson Airblade filter online.
The difference is that you can buy these without serial numbers, registration, or anyone trying to up-sell you into a new hand dryer.
Better still, you don’t have to call anyone begging for them as you did before with Dyson. You can buy them painlessly online and get one or more delivered anywhere in the world.
Oh, you want to know where from?
So you have decided you want a Dyson DC24? The baby ball? Dyson no longer produce them new, but they are a great reconditioned/refurbished buy if you get it right. Before I explain to you where to get one from, … Continue reading
Chargeback and Fraud.
With Paypal users, all they need to do is pretend the item hasn’t arrived – and they get free cash as Paypal will gleefully refund them from your account. Simple as that. No ifs or buts.
Proofs of posting are meaningless.
The seller will always always always be in the wrong with Paypal.
This is called item not received fraud. Yes, its certainly fraud. But, its almost impossible to prove. So many of them get away with it time and time again. Its a hobby for some of them. Free shopping!
If sending untracked, buy some fake tracked barcode stickers online and stick on the envelope (yes, they exist). That will fool some and dissuade some fraud.
Americans can also charge a credit card transaction back (reverse the payment) on a whim, and on a single phone call with no burden of proof of any wrongdoing at all.
They have no grasp of Sofort, IBAN numbers or other international bank transfer systems, and will think anything other than a credit card or Paypal is a scam. So you won’t get them to pay by any secure, irreversible means.
Accept that you will be giving some stuff away and write it into your pricing.
Fear of Other Currencies.
Americans understand American dollars (Canadians grasp CAD and USD but they are pretty much the same value). And that is about all they understand. Trying to have them shop in Australian dollars, Pounds or Euros will confuse them.
They only understand dollars and will happily shop in dollars. A shopping cart in anything but dollars will result in a ton of emails asking about currency conversions, “How much does this work out to in dollars?” type questions, how to use a credit card in another currency and other silly stuff.
If it isn’t in dollars, its out of the comfort zone of most.
Charge them only in dollars to avoid that complication. If that means mirror sites or different landing pages, so be it. If eBay, list on the .com site in dollars. Don’t use the pay option on eBay of “US and Canada visibility” from the UK site.
Remember, if using Paypal, Paypal will shaft you on the exchange rate, so take that into account.
Customer Service Issues.
Another problem with selling to Americans: Americans use chargeback instead of customer service.
They have no concept of time zones outside of the US so cannot grasp why you haven’t replied their email in three minutes at 4am your time.
They will not make international phone calls, so forget that.
As demanding consumers, they expect bells and whistles, including free returns and exchanges (thank Amazon for that). Most sellers want to sell to other continents on a ‘no returns’ basis. Or at best, buyer pays return postage.
That doesn’t go down well there. You will get screamers because of that.
Remember, the first sniff of something that doesn’t suit them or is outside of their normal sphere of experience, you will get the chargeback.
If they are unhappy, and you are an eBay seller, they will gladly one star and/or negative feedback you. Bad DSR’s mean you lose your Power Seller discounts. Continue reading