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Profile for Leonard Hatred:
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Somewhere between a househusband and hifi journo. I live with the gorgeous and long suffering Mrs Hatred and write about equipment my income is unlikely to afford- still, I'll always be sent some more of it. Has the photoshopping skills of an armless Cro Magnon man so sticks to QOTW's for the most part.

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» Kids

I have little day to day contact with children
but one instance that does stick in the mind happened a few months ago.

I was at my desk wading through technical inquiries when my desk phone rang. I picked it up and answered it. I was greeted with a small querulous voice of a boy or about 11 or 12 years of age.

BOY "Err, my father owns a pair of your *********** loudspeakers (name removed to protect my anonymity) (3500) and the tweeter has been dinged, is a replacement available and how much is it?

ME "Could you define *dinged*?"

BOY "Well it had a football hit it and crumple the front quite badly."

ME (imagining the limb numbing panic that is likely coursing through his veins) "I see. Looking at the parts list here, I have them in stock- its 260 plus shipping. The chances are that the dealer will need to fit it however."

BOY- in tiny voice. "Oh."

And with that he starts to cry.

ME- "Am I to assume that your father isn't aware of the damage and probably had some strong views about footballs in the vicinity of his hifi?"

BOY- "He's back tomorrow- oh God he's going to kill me."

ME- "Generally parents don't kill their offspring."

BOY- "You don't understand, he loves those speakers. There must be something you can do."

ME- "Do you have any money at all?"

BOY- "I have 40 as an allowance for the holidays."

ME "And where are you?"

BOY "I'm in *****" (As it turned out, not a million miles from a dealer friend of mine).

Pause

ME "OK- This is what I am going to do as I have been in this position myself. I am going to ship the part free. I am going to contact a friend of mine where I suspect the speakers came from and he will come and fit the part. You are going to have to give him the 40. This will mean it is a very expensive game of football but you may escape with your life. There is one other thing you will have to do though."

BOY- *sniffs* What is it?

ME- "You're going to have to tell your Dad what happened."

BOY- "But, but he doesn't have to find out."

ME- "But then however there would be no repercussions and no lesson learned. In telling him, you can show that through creative thinking- and crying, you got the problem sorted at your expense."

BOY- "How would you know if I don't?"

ME- "I have your name and house address. I can check. Besides your Dad will ask where the 40 went."

BOY- "Oh."

Details were confirmed and my friend went and fitted the tweeter the following morning. Some days later a package with letter arrived from the boy's father.

Dear Mr Hatred,
Just a quick note to say I received ****'s blubbing confession as per your instructions on my return. I was sufficiently impressed at his ingenuity to spare his life although he is unlikely to see daylight again in 2008.

Enclosed is further proof of a satisfactory resolution to this unfortunate event.

Regards
X

It was a popped football.
(Mon 21st Apr 2008, 13:11, More)

» Call Centres

Have a phone suppprt related pea whilst I gather my thoughts

I have little day to day contact with children
but one instance that does stick in the mind happened a few months ago.

I was at my desk wading through technical inquiries when my desk phone rang. I picked it up and answered it. I was greeted with a small querulous voice of a boy or about 11 or 12 years of age.

BOY "Err, my father owns a pair of your *********** loudspeakers (name removed to protect my anonymity) (3500) and the tweeter has been dinged, is a replacement available and how much is it?

ME "Could you define *dinged*?"

BOY "Well it had a football hit it and crumple the front quite badly."

ME (imagining the limb numbing panic that is likely coursing through his veins) "I see. Looking at the parts list here, I have them in stock- its 260 plus shipping. The chances are that the dealer will need to fit it however."

BOY- in tiny voice. "Oh."

And with that he starts to cry.

ME- "Am I to assume that your father isn't aware of the damage and probably had some strong views about footballs in the vicinity of his hifi?"

BOY- "He's back tomorrow- oh God he's going to kill me."

ME- "Generally parents don't kill their offspring."

BOY- "You don't understand, he loves those speakers. There must be something you can do."

ME- "Do you have any money at all?"

BOY- "I have 40 as an allowance for the holidays."

ME "And where are you?"

BOY "I'm in *****" (As it turned out, not a million miles from a dealer friend of mine).

Pause

ME "OK- This is what I am going to do as I have been in this position myself. I am going to ship the part free. I am going to contact a friend of mine where I suspect the speakers came from and he will come and fit the part. You are going to have to give him the 40. This will mean it is a very expensive game of football but you may escape with your life. There is one other thing you will have to do though."

BOY- *sniffs* What is it?

ME- "You're going to have to tell your Dad what happened."

BOY- "But, but he doesn't have to find out."

ME- "But then however there would be no repercussions and no lesson learned. In telling him, you can show that through creative thinking- and crying, you got the problem sorted at your expense."

BOY- "How would you know if I don't?"

ME- "I have your name and house address. I can check. Besides your Dad will ask where the 40 went."

BOY- "Oh."

Details were confirmed and my friend went and fitted the tweeter the following morning. Some days later a package with letter arrived from the boy's father.

Dear Mr Hatred,
Just a quick note to say I received ****'s blubbing confession as per your instructions on my return. I was sufficiently impressed at his ingenuity to spare his life although he is unlikely to see daylight again in 2008.

Enclosed is further proof of a satisfactory resolution to this unfortunate event.

Regards
X

It was a popped football.
(Thu 3rd Sep 2009, 16:09, More)

» Stalked

Not intentionally but......
......I have had an issue recently where a series of unfortunate coincidences came together to make me look like a top grade loon. Before I start, I need to state that me and Mrs Hatred have been together for seven years and I'm a happy camper

My commute is a lengthy one starting as it does in Buckinghamshire and winding up near London Bridge. As I am not consistently office based, it has evolved into a tortuous affair where I drive down the M1 to near Stanmore station and take the long tube journey in from there. It takes an age but means I don't pay for when I don't use it.

Now it is not unusual day to day to see the same people getting on and off at various stations as is the case with any commute. Even though tubes are not timetabled as such, they are fairly consistent so naturally you see the same people. However in the case of one of my fellow passengers, it went a bit beyond the normal. I have no idea of her name to this day but she gets on at Westminster but instead of getting off at a more central station like the majority of passengers goes all the way up to Canon's Park in the same manner I do. She then gets picked up by car whilst I wander off into suburbia to pick up my car and do battle with the M1. This should not be a problem under normal circumstances but towards the end of last year for seven working days on the bounce, she boarded her tube and found me sat there. The odds are slightly long on that but not outrageously so. Nonetheless, I was concious that she gave me some funny looks and made an effort to sit further away. It was the eighth day where things went completely snafu.

I had a distributor over from abroad for some training and this went on beyond the normal finish of the day and it was gone 6.30 before I went to London Bridge to get a tube. "At least" thought I "I will not be sat waiting in a faintly menacing fashion for that girl." I boarded the first Stanmore train and realised I had left my book on my desk and the tube was abnormally free of tatty free papers so would be reduced to the iPod. I could scarcely believe as the tube pulled into Westminster that she was standing there ready to board the train. Maybe she had merely worked late, or maybe she had decided to not travel at the same time as the bloke who was always there waiting for her. Instead, here he was, an hour later, sat there without even a book to distract him. I sat very still and tried to find something remotely interesting in my bag. The 40 minutes to get to Canon's Park seemed very slow that night. I noticed she was anxious to get on her phone, the moment the tube got above ground.

Worse was to follow.

At Canons Park, we both get off and more for the desperate desire to part company, I nip off to the toilet, freshen up, and leave. I exit through the barrier and stroll briskly towards my car. There is a figure a few hundred yards ahead but I think nothing of it until I get a little closer. Of course it is may accidental stalking target walking into the maze of streets where my car is parked- she glances back as she turns a corner and of course sees me following. Now what do I do? Do I hang back and try not to look threatening or do I powerwalk past? I figure the last thing she wants to see is me accelerating behind her so I hang back and try and look happy and unthreatening. "Besides", I figure, "there are hundreds of houses here, she will go her way and I will go mine. Except of course she doesn't. Her path is exactly that of mine as she heads towards a house in a particular street.

Where my car sits parked outside.

Rarely have I seen another member of public look at me with the level of abject terror as I get in and drive away as quickly as I can. On the drive home I figure the best thing I can do is take the train the next day and reduce the chances of us meeting again to as near zero as possible. I even told Mrs Hatred what had happened lest her Majesty's finest popped by for a chat. Thankfully the following day passed without incident. The following week I was abroad and our fateful pairing came to an end.

This may sound a bit odd (and thankfully comparitively tame compared to some of the tales here) but I felt like an utter bastard for some time afterwards. This was worse when she boarded the tube just before Christmas visibly pregant. Anxious as I am to avoid being labelled a filthy stalker, I now go home a bit later and use a different carriage on the tube.

Length?- nowhere near as long as that journey felt.
(Fri 1st Feb 2008, 12:57, More)

» Pointless Experiments

Mad Max has much to answer for.
Near the start of the second film, our hero brings the interceptor to a halt by selecting reverse gear whilst the car is still moving forward. The car slows dramtically with the rear wheels spinning wildly in reverse.

This got me thinking.

There was no danger I was ever going to try this in a car I actually owned but I do get issued hire cars reasonably often and sooner or later I'd get one that was rear wheel drive (I figured there was a high chance of death if the wheels you also rely on for steering were spinning in the wrong direction). As it happened, after a few front drive cars came and went, a 2.2 litre manual Vauxhall Omega hoved into view. The test could begin!

Ever mindful of the consequences of doing this act on a public road, I elected to use one of the vast car parks that serve as employee parking for the industrial estates so numerous in my current place of residence. The test was to be conducted as follows;

Traction control switched to OFF, Car to proceed forward at 60mph in fourth gear before I stepped on the clutch and brought the gear round in a savage U shape through the protective gaiter designed to prevent you from putting the car into reverse whilst going forward. Then step off all pedals and keep the car pointing in the right direction whilst it thundered to a halt.

Essentially this is what came to pass.

The word "essentially" is important however as there were some facets of the experiment I did not anticipate. The first is that the revs do increase rather substantially once the clutch is lifted- the car had been doing 2800rpm at 60 in 4th- This increased to "Vauxhall" some way past the little "7" on the dial in reverse with the clutch off. The second is that having ceased to travel forward, the car accelerates violently backwards whilst you strive to engage neutral. This leads to the third problem- the car wasn't coming out of reverse. Eventually neutral was selected (and by selected I mean was acheived by sitting on the back seat and violently kicking the gear lever) again after which reverse was no longer an option on this particular Omega. Furthermore, a series of warning lights suggested that the engines brief foray into the upper echelons of its design envelope had not been without incident. With a heavy heart, I did what any man has to do at this point.

By which I mean, I drove it to Tesco and into a parking space. I then called the hire car company told them their car had inexplicably failed and I was stranded and very disappointed. They proceeded to apologise and send an upgraded car as soon as possible. I noted with as straight a face as was possible when the chap from the agency came to collect it he cheerfully informed me that this was happening quite a bit with the Omegas and it was a source of confusion to both the company and Vauxhall.

So there you have it. It works for Mel Gibson but is less lastingly successful in a car park in the UK.

Length?- two pretty substantial rubber lines would have greeted the workers on the monday.
(Thu 24th Jul 2008, 15:24, More)

» Pointless Experiments

One quick one.
This is a speciality of my brother.

When driving along an empty motorway and encountering a member of the middle lane owners club, how many anti-clockwise circuits (where you pull out two lanes, overtake, pop in two lanes and allow yourself to be overtaken before repeating) can you perform before the car moves in?

On one extraordinary occasion- 22.
(Thu 31st Jul 2008, 13:21, More)
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