Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Heroes and Villains

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  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Jo (I think) in Whitcoulls Southcity a couple of Sundays ago. I was looking for a book for my six year old who reads at about twice his chronological age but won't touch anything he even suspects of being scary*. Jo seemed to know every book on the shelf and in moments had pulled out a pile of things she thought he might enjoy. He selected Because of Winn-Dixie from the stack and absolutely adored it. I was really impressed with Jo's knowledge and enthusiasm.

    *Book suggestions from PA readers gratefully accepted too

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Book suggestions from PA readers gratefully accepted too

    Try the classics - Moomintrolls, Swallows and Amazons are two I can think of off the top of my head. I'd say the Hobbit too, but some bits of that can be a bit scary. Chronicles of Narnia maybe?

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I'd say the Hobbit too

    He's definitely not ready for the Hobbit yet and when he is that will be a read-aloud family event.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Moomintroll series *do* have the odd wee scary bits (I Love 'em tho')- is he interested in natural history? If so, might I reccommend Rene Guillot? Who based several books in Africa, on African animals. I paticularly remember "Oworo" (about a chimpanzee - I was nuts about chimps, elephants and dolphins as a kid - still am)- sad in parts but not scary. There are several others...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I would like to thank the robbers, the murderers, the rapists the generally violent, the selfish and greedy and all those considered by most people of society as being scum. They make me realise that I am a pretty good guy.

    I love the averasctic money grubbing currency traders with their seaside mansions, their 40 metre gin palaces, their cars that cost more than my house and their smug attitude. The religious fanatics that look down their nose at me as if I were a failure and a sinner and believe that they will be "Saved". These things and more make me realise that Winston, Helen and I are not the devils spawn.
    That prize belongs to those that believe that John Key is our new, and improved, savior for they shall suffer the most when all their baubles turn to dust.

    I would also like to thank the Aucland City Council for havnig great customer service, in spite of that fellow John Banks.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I would like to send a shout-out to the owners of my favourite bakery, the little one at Five Cross Roads next to the Lotto shop.
    They always have a smile and an actual. genuine "have a nice day". Plus they make damn fine cream donuts, and a very tasty ham bun.
    I'm not their most regular customer, or their biggest spender, but when the owner saw me across a crowded carpark at Pak N Save, he recognised me, waved and said hi. Lovely, lovely people.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Oh, and ups to the IRD. When one can get through to them (which isn't really the fault of the C/S staff), they always sound like they want to help you.

    Yes IRD were very considerate when I mentioned my dilemma ( which involved late tax). They asked if I had a moment, why yes I replied. They asked a set of questions. I responded. They explained they thought I had been through a bit. I agreed. They suggested a break might be of help . I nearly cried.They informed me my tax would be wiped. I choked. I wanted a name to send a card of appreciation. They didn't know who to nominate, (it had never happened before) I pulled out my cards and posted a beautiful card (Diego Rivera),It was an image of workers rights with the sun shining.It felt most appropriate, it made my year :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Also got some good fix-up action from the IRD recently. It took a bit of doing but they came through eventually. I took care not to take out my difficulties on the call centre people, but rather write a polite, detailed letter, which did the trick. Solving a problem via letter really made me feel like a grown up and the service was good, I definitely felt like I was talking to people.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    @ verbwrangle

    Quite right.

    @ Damian

    All of your emails/letters are being cleared through legal/PR & just because they're called PR don't expect it. They have had a rocky road with the media, being failed/past members of it.

    Can I suggest again "Travel Insurance" for all Int tvl & if you carry expensive stuff Domestically!

    And while the flowers are flowing.
    AA + Ashley Tow + McGirr Motors for picking up my car after it rattled and then steering got stiff, so I stopped and rang AA. They then rang me and advised arrival time, opened the hood and pointed to the shreaded wire and rubber (I had looked but had not seen this) made a quick call and 1/2 hr later the car was picked up and dropped off at McGirr Motors. That was Sunday & by Monday my car had a new WOF & two new belts for $220.00, which I'm sure is a good price but it was even better service.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Shot out to the barista's and chefs at cafe mode in kelburn.
    not only is the food and coffee awesome
    one of their barista there has the amazing skill of writing upside down, so you can read your order as he writes it.

    Now that's customer service

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Venetia King,

    Love this idea - I can think of quite a few times I've thought "that was really great service". Don't know that many names though (sorry about the bolding but I wrote too much & am hoping that makes it easier to skip through).

    Hilary mentioned Thorndon Pharmacy earlier - I'd just been in today. Took my purchase to the counter, was asked what I needed it for and shown a less expensive item that was more suitable. They're great.

    Also in Thorndon, the man at Molesworth Shoe & Bag Repairs not only does an excellent job but is just generally helpful. I took a vest with a stuck zip in one day & he unstuck it, no charge. Then I went in looking for inner soles and he pointed me at the ones that are just the heel so my toes wouldn't get squished.

    Gail [sp?] from the BNZ Fraud Team rang on Friday to let us know that some villains were charging false online transactions to our credit card, and sorted everything out for us quick smart. Ricky from the same team has also been very helpful.

    Andrew Bain from Fur Patrol emailed me on Monday to let me know that Smoke CDs were not getting their shipment of the new album that day after all (due to a production fault apparently). How many band members would do that for a fan?

    The English guy who was working at Pasta Pasta on the Terrace knocked a dollar off my stuffed potato when I didn't want any 'extras' (e.g. sour cream, plastic container, cutlery...). Yesterday I saw they'd closed down, where will I find the best stuffed spuds and Russian fudge in Wellington now?

    Kate and Joe of Aubergine restaurant on Tinakori Road serve some of the finest food in Wellington (try the duck confit!) and they know how to make their regulars feel special. They even gave us some of their moon cake for the Chinese mid-autumn festival this year - an acquired taste I think, but it was really thoughtful of them.

    I've been lucky so far with my baggage, the only time it's gone missing was when it stayed in Paris without me on the way to Copenhagen a couple of years ago. The Copenhagen airport people were brilliant, had everything tracked and traced and my bag arrived at our hotel that night.

    Graeme's story about the bus driver reminded me of the Cable Car operators who often used to clip your ten ride ticket over an existing clip. I guess it can be a lifesaver for a cash-strapped student but it eventually occurred to me they could be doing their employers out of a fair amount of money. Never quite worked out how I felt about that (and can't remember who owned the cable car at the time which would influence my thoughts on the matter).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    Ansett would still be my favourite airline, if they hadn't gone bust.

    Several years ago my grandfather died. I called Ansett and booked a flight from Dunedin to Auckland for the next day. Next day I called a shuttle service so I could get to the airport. They told me they'd collect me a 1pm and I'd be at the airport by 1:30pm to catch my 2:30pm flight. All good. Except of course they didn't show up until 2pm!!! I called Ansett about 1:45pm and said "I'm going to be late". They said "no problem, with no bags to check we'll get you on the plane, as long as you're here before the flight takes off". Despite the shuttle being late, and then taking the most bizarre wrong turns on the way to the airport, I made it.

    I ran into the airport at 2:28pm, the woman at the departure gate had my boarding pass in her hand and I kept running. Plane took off on time, everyone was happy.( Except me, who had paid the driver despite everything just so as to get off the shuttle and into the airport with no fuss.)

    Moral: NEVER NEVER have checked luggage. (This moral fits earlier tales too, I'm in favour of economising.)

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    The nice Lufthansa people at Frankfurt airport were very helpful when it turned out that my flight home had been cancelled out from under me. When the woman at the counter took a look at my flight details and grimaced, I knew something was up. It turned out that I had been booked on a new flight already - one that arrived in Shanghai and hour after my flight to Auckland was due to leave. I immediately assumed the worst - I was going to have to book hotel rooms at no notice and spend extra days in a city I knew nothing about etc etc. She took me over to another guy, who shook his head and made a few "what monkey booked this?" remarks, before sending me home on a nicer flight through a nicer airport (Hong Kong) in the emergency exit seats, with all the hallowed leg room they entail. I imagine it was a pretty routine thing they did - must happen all the time - but it made a big difference to me.

    This was all conducted in perfect English, by the way. The only time I was forced to rely on my half-remembered schoolboy German was in a little hotel in Berlin. The woman there spoke no English, but very good German-for-people-who-speak-hardly-any-German. Despite having last taken German lessons 13 years previously, I found to my surprise that I could follow everything she was saying.

    Sorry, that's not true - the other case on that trip when I had to deal with a non-English speaker was on a train. The conductor made an attempt to tell us that we were in the wrong place, and went off after he'd said his piece, despite our blank stares and "kein Deutch"es. Luckily for us, a nearby passenger (a German man whose wife was apparently Australian) overheard and came over to explain everything to us. It turned out we were in the wrong carriage - if we hadn't changed at the next stop, we'd have been on the way to the wrong city when it separated...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • The other Paul C,

    The best i've witnessed was by a guy named Jason Yu. This chap single handedly broke down a whole lot of prejudices of mine. A young Asian male, who also happens to be the best damn nurse i've ever seen. He and the team at North Shore Hospital nursed my dying grandfather a few weeks ago. The rest of the crew there were pretty good, but this young guy did everything and more. He got to know Poppa quite well by the end and even sat and held his hand for several hours one night after Poppa woke up disorientated, upset and in pain. He was also very compasionate and helpful after Pop finally passed away, even though he was obviously upset himself about it.

    That sort of humanity should really be paid better.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Oct 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • David Hay,

    If they haven't been mentioned before, I'd like to send a bouquet to the Public Trust, who I find are very good at keeping things simple, and have the most user friendly telephone manners of any public company I know - prompt, cheerful and informative.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Art and my life,

    In addition to my nomination of AMI Insurance ladies, I have received some amazing customer service this week so beyond the call fo duty that I'd probably get the guy in trouble if I explained it.

    Also the staff at Casa Java in Raumati Beach are AWESOME.

    I like this idea as too often we focus on the negative

    Since May 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Nobody seems to have taken up my idea of acknowledging the great work that some politicians do on our behalf. It is easy to criticise them, particularly at election time, but our politicians are our ultimate public servants and some of them work incredibly hard on our behalf. I know my local MP Marian Hobbs has done so for the last few years and mostly on the little things that others never hear about -for example helping with housing issues, supporting families with disabled kids to access education, sorting problems that immigrants and refugees face settling into a new country etc etc.

    I would like to hear about some other good deeds politicians have done for us citizens.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Janette Mason,

    yeah...it's funny, but I don't have 1001 happy politician stories bursting to get out, I'll work on that one, and try to be more appreciative.

    Travel stories, as we've seen, do lend themselves to this sort of thing...
    ...such as the time my train home to London from Paris was late and I'd missed my connecting train home. My then-boyfriend slept through my multitude of phonecalls and failed to come to my rescue. Not being able to afford a taxi from the centre of London to the border of Kent, I took a train that seemed to go in the same general direction, but then veered off (it's so hard to tell from those stylised tube maps!) so I jumped out at some very dodgy part of London and was absolutely packing myself until this very nice mini-cab driver, who had actually clocked off for the night and was on his way home, stopped and offered me a ride home for 10 quid. I don't think he realised *quite* how far we were going, but he was being very helpful, and I appreciated it.

    Another story that touched me lately was actually the best 'sorry I'm late' excuse I've had in a while - a friend of mine is a doctor and she had a patient that was incredibly distressed about being admitted to hospital because there was no-one to feed her cat. So my friend, risking being late for the play we were going to, drove halfway across town after work and fed this stranger's cat for her. Nice, aye? That's what I call holistic care.

    Then there was the time that I lost my house/car keys at the beach and some nice young man drove me home and helped me break into my house in order to retrieve my spare keys, then drove me back to the beach to get my car. Ok, that could have gone terribly wrong .....but it didn't.

    And Bryan, the bouncer from the Matterhorn could do with a mention. Living down the road from me for a few years, he always allowed me to hitch a walk home with him at the end of a boozy night. And has been known to escort us ladies through left bank to our cars when there have been dodgy guys hanging about.

    There are a lot of good people doing good things out there - it's really cool to hear them get a mention : )

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • littlehigh,

    My experience of Air New Zealand is slightly more nuanced. I fly up and down the country a lot, and find the cabin crew and check in staff just brilliant. Really helpful.

    However, when something goes wrong - it all turns to custard - their feedback number aka known as their complaint line is just rubbish - on the three occasions I have used it - nothing - thats zilch - nada has ever happened - no follow up - resolution, contact.

    I have tried to tell them this - but guess what - no reply!

    So - if anyone from Air New Zealand is reading this - and its to be hoped that someone in there is smart enough to know they made Public Address for all the wrong reasons - big ups to the checkin/cabin crew but can you please sort the complaints side - it really is rubbish!

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I'd like to thank www.crocs.net.nz who went out of their way to locate the right colour/size and style from their shop when the website was out of stock - every email was answered within about 30 minutes and I got my shoes really quickly when the other retailers I emailed didn't even reply.

    The staff at Lush in both Northlands and Cashel St who always take ages chatting to my boys and don't mind if they spend half an hour playing with all the testers. And usually send us home with lots of little samples too.

    Also Pub Charities who have twice given me funding to attend La Leche League conferences and who have really easy forms and fast reply times.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There's been a couple of powercuts here, over the past 2 days: I heard enough ominous thunder faraway enough to close down all the electronics (5.08 am) for the first one. It was after 1.50pm before the power got back on-I'd gone into FJG to have breakfast because my gas-stove wasnt working & I didnt want to make the fire that early(10ish-)

    but shit o dear! There were slips on the road; it was violent damaging weather. And there were the people in their flourescent hazard vests
    busy with their machinery (and manhandling stuff too) anonymously restoring us to our expected comforts when I drove out from the beach - and the power was back on when I arrived back home.

    There are armies of these folk - the power people, the roadies, the telecom revivers- they're just 'doing their job.' Which, for one, I truly appreciate, commend them for - but cant name names.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    The second one came out of the black & killed one of my machines. Aue, that's sort of ordinary for this area - I crawled off to bed, knowing it wouldnt be warm, but was woken at 3am by the power being re-established -again, people were up and about in the interim just doing their job - which deserves far more kudos and salutations and outright money than bloody politicians-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There's been a couple of powercuts here, over the past 2 days: I heard enough ominous thunder faraway enough to close down all the electronics (5.08 am) for the first one. It was after 1.50pm before the power got back on-I'd gone into FJG to have breakfast because my gas-stove wasnt working & I didnt want to make the fire that early(10ish-)

    but shit o dear! There were slips on the road; it was violent damaging weather. And there were the people in their flourescent hazard vests
    busy with their machinery (and manhandling stuff too) anonymously restoring us to our expected comforts when I drove out from the beach - and the power was back on when I arrived back home.

    There are armies of these folk - the power people, the roadies, the telecom revivers- they're just 'doing their job.' Which, for one, I truly appreciate, commend them for - but cant name names.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ooo-err- Apple-lemon at it again - sorry

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lara H,

    I'd have to agree that the guys fixing the power lines up and down the country in horrendous conditions are about near the top of my list.

    Also the person at varsity who handed in my lost bike glove-hero-it was the middle of winter and COLD. Lots of good people there, especially those that give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Finally, a good police story: A couple of years ago I woke up freaked out at an odd noise outside (sounded like a kid screaming their lungs out every five-ten minutes) and being a little paranoid, rang the cops. I got a very helpful call centre lady, the police turned up and I didn't have to go outside and wait for them at the gate. Being a scared fourteen year old who didn't like the dark, that was the best thing.

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

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