Covid confessions

Here we are then. As of today, Tuesday December fifteenth, all the non-essential shops are closed. As of tomorrow, all schools are closed. We’re back in March, but then worse. There is nothing intelligent about these measurements. It’s brute force to prevent viral spreading. I’ve seen it coming.

For the coming five weeks, it’s back to entertaining a four year old and doing a bit of work in between. Biggest difference will be the weather conditions, meaning that it will focus more on playing inside instead of outside. In anticipation of this we already bought some new games in the past few weeks to play together as a family.

It’s not optimal, but doable.

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Gründlichkeit (346)

Three weeks ago I ordered a few t-shirts at Uniqlo. Within two days I received a message that they handed over the package to PostNL and I could expect my package soon. After two weeks the tracking code showed the message that PostNL was still waiting to receive the package. I therefore decided to contact Uniqlo. It took me a while to find out how the contact the company. In the end I found the contact form to send in my complaint. I entered all the relevant details in the contact form, applied ‘send a copy’ to my own e-mail address, hit the send button, and then nothing happened. Instead, the web page reloaded and returned an empty contact form. No confirmation message, no copy in my inbox. I tried another browser and failed again. I tried a third browser and, indeed, failed again. I came to the conclusion that the reCAPTCHA button is missing in all my browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Safari).

A screenshot from the contact form at Uniqlo. The reCAPTCHA was missing in three commonly used browsers.

Uniqlo doesn’t provide any other option to contact customer service than this contact form. What?! The Man suggested to use Twitter. So I did. There is no Dutch twitter handle for Uniqlo, but there is one for the UK, where Uniqlo Europe is registered as a company.

@UNIQLO_UK I tried to send the customer query form on your website (twice) and failed. The reCaptcha doesn’t show (tried three browsers). Didn’t receive a copy in my e-mail either. How else can I contact you? It’s about a shipped order I still haven’t received (after two weeks)

tweet sent Dec 8th

Three days later and I’m still waiting for a response.

And then this morning the package from Uniqlo got delivered. All the barcodes were covered and this extra message was added, in German:

The message reads that this package accidentally got in the wrong sending stream. DHL received it instead of their competitor (PostNL). A hand-over was impossible and therefore they sent it back without costs.

Thanks to German gründlichkeit my lost package returned. Contacting Uniqlo has proven to be impossible. That’s one store I will never order from again.

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For avocado fans (343)

An interesting message on nos.nl today. Plastic surgeons make an appeal not to use knifes to remove a pit from an avocado. They see too many patients with cuts in their hands, sometimes with irreparable damage to muscles or tendon, after preparing an avocado. Use a spoon instead. Or a nifty little kitchen device like this doctor uses. I would opt for the spoon, though. Safes a trip to the store and a lot of space in the drawer. Or a very very very blunt knife.

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Covid Confessions

I got myself tested again. Daughter fell ill on Friday (with a fever) and I felt my throat turning a bit sore. Therefore I booked an appointment. In contrast to the previous test, the process went smooth. On Saturday afternoon I logged into the site, got offered an appointment for 10:15 the following morning in my home town. When I arrived at the test location (De Rijtuigenloods, a former train warehouse turned into event space) there were about five cars waiting before me. It looked like a busy morning. Within ten minutes it was my turn. The swab in my nose was significantly less pleasant than the previous one. It took about an hour to get rid of the feeling that something invaded my nasal cavity. After returning home I spent the rest of the day doing nothing special. This morning at 7:23 I received an e-mail that the testresults were in. Negative. All cleared to step out the door.

Mentally it’s getting tougher to cope with the absence of change of scenery and little human interaction. The weather seems to have a significant effect on the mood of the day. When it’s grey and rainy, I feel sad inside. When the Sun is shining I feel cheerful. I haven’t experienced these mood swings for a long while and I don’t like it.

As the number of infected people is not really going down, rather going up again, I expect to celebrate the holidays just the three of us. Our annual trip to Switzerland to visit friends will not take place. I knew that in April, but it still sucks. We do intend to visit my parents at the very end of Daughter’s school vacation. As she has two weeks off, it offers an opportunity with limited people interaction on her side. That’s something to look forward to. Fingers crossed we all stay healthy so Daughter can play with Opa and Oma.

Now that Sinterklaas left the country we can perk up the home a little. The Man and I invented a word for that: Swedify. It was when we visited Umeå in the Fall many years ago that we noticed how the Swedes use candles and fire baskets in abundance to brighten up the extreme short days. Since that visit we use significantly more candles and decorative lights in our home, especially in December.

So yeah, overall I’m feeling a bit gloomy. Despite the hope vaccines offer for 2021, it doesn’t change the fact that today and tomorrow will look generally the same as will 25 December and 24 January and 6 March. Mass vaccination is expected to start in August, but I don’t mark that down in my calendar. So many things can change between now and then. I do have some hopes for the coming months: that Winter brings snow so I can build a snow (wo)man together with Daughter; perhaps a week or two of skating on the local canals; an early Spring so we can enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family.

This gap year is now nine months on its way. At least four months until 15 March 2021, a year after the day we were ordered to work from home. Our gap year doesn’t end on that date, but at least we’ll have Spring to look forward to by then. And perhaps a jab even. Until then, I’ll just focus on one day after another after another after ano….

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Adverteren zónder persoonlijk gedrag volgen. Het kan én werkt beter.

In deze aflevering van De Technoloog legt de algemeen directeur van Ster (NPO reclame) uit hoe het loslaten (onder druk van de AVG) van het gepersonaliseerde advertentiemodel hen juist meer opleverde. In plaats van data over kijkers verzamelen, zijn ze de inhoud van programma’s gaan analyseren. Dat was mogelijk dankzij de ondertiteling die al gemaakt wordt bij de programma’s. Deze teksten zijn ze gaan analyseren en segmenteren en het bleek uiteindelijk meer op te leveren voor Ster. Hun model wordt nu met belangstelling bekeken, van Italië tot de VS.

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