A personal post from Graham Ellis
Lisa and Graham live in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))

Kiss - Keep It Simple, Stupid!

The days of the British Railways sandwich, with curly edges and no sell-by date, are long since gone. Station buffets and other food outlets were privatised long since, and at the most major of stations such as Paddington and Bristol Temle Meads, you've got multiple commercial enterprises competing with each other. And they're also competing with nearby off-station outlets which probably have lower costs premises, meaning that their prices can tend to be a little on the high side. Some franchises (such as McDonald's, I think) require outlets to sell at a fixed price - otherwise, how would their "99p" adverts work. Others (such as Burger King) allow at least premium site outlets, such as stations to sell at a higher price. All of which leads to an interesting set of metrics, and the customer who's cost conscious having to shop around at stations, yet sometimes not having the time to do so at stations they don't use regularly.

Friends on the Great Western Coffee Shop have talked fondly of the beer served in Bonoparte's in Bristol Temple Meads, and indeed I find the atmosphere in there pleasant, and have enjoyed an all day breakfast before at times you wouldn't normally associate with breakfast, so when I saw those friends saying "you need to change your BITE Card to the new one", I thought "why not get one" ... duly applied online, duly received my card a week later in the post.

From their terms:

"Holders of a BITE Card are eligible for a 20% discount off purchases of food, hot and cold drinks and alcoholic beverages when they present the BITE Card at any of the following branded outlets located at mainline UK railway stations ... Bonapartes"

"The 20% discount offer does not apply to the following product categories, : confectionery, crisps, ice cream, newspapers, magazines, books, cigarettes, tobacco, telephone cards and such other product categories notified to BITE Card holders from time to time." Fair enough - they don't have the markup on them, and it's made clear.

Yesterday evening, there was a pub quiz at Bonoparte's in aid of The Railway Children Charity, and as the C++ course I was running finished on time, I was able to get over there and help form a "Coffee Shop" team.

Big advertising banner "Curry and a pint - £8.95". Hmmm - with 20% discount that's £7.16 - I'll go for that. First issue - only one of the 4 curries that was being shouted about was actually available. OK - Chicken Tikka Massals it is. Second issue - the pint is beer and can be substituted by a coke. And that's 16 fluid ounces rather than a pint (20 fluid ounces). Third issue - "we can't accept BITE cards on a special deal". Hmmm - don't see that in the terms and conditions, but I suppose it could come under "and such other product categories notified to BITE Card holders from time to time" and they had just notified me. Left a sour taste in my mouth, though. Left me feeling I'd been a bit hard done by. But I might have left it at that until ...

I bought another four-fifths of a pint a little later, and noticed something about the prices. On it's own, the curry was £6.95, and the code £2.05 - just 5p more than the special deal. So I had been charged for a special deal which gave me 5p off, whereas I could have saved £1.75 on that had I been charged separately.

Back to my subject line, "Keep it Simple, Stupid". Two clever deals - the BITE card which could be useful, and the special deal which really wan't special - interacting in such as way that they produce a real negative.

To raise or not to raise with the staff? On my own, I would have let it go. But with Justin's encouragement, and knowing I would want our customers to raise any unhappinesses with us, I went back up to the counter. The lady running the quiz turned out to be the manageress, and complimented me on how clever I was to have picked up the issue (!), but then cheerfully and helpfully set about correcting it (and at the same time, we noticed that my previous receipt showed the £8.95 being discounted from a higher priced, alcoholic product ... another "naughty"). And - at the end of the paper trail - I put the refunded difference into the charity pot; I was more concerned at the principle than the amount.

And - truth be told - I left Bonoparte's feeling a little guilty that evening. I had gone there to support a charity quiz night, but our group won, and I ended up not giving, but receiving. Raffle prize too ... and the end of an enjoyable, and eventful, evening.

Yesterday evening was also a chance for me to try out the camera on my phone - upgraded recently - so see how it would do in the good and the fading light; I'll leave you to judge from this series of pictures.

Ahead of the trip, I hadn't realised that a steam train was due to arrive in Bristol while I was there and - dodging the hoards of photographers - I had a chance to take a few picures.

Finally, a puzzle - can you spot the picture that was NOT taken at Bristol Temple Meads? (I'll give you a clue - the picture beside / above this paragraph IS at Bristol!)

(written 2012-04-28, updated 2012-05-05)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z950 - Purely Personal
  [1014] Christmas Season Piccies - (2006-12-30)
  [1051] Too busy to blog it - but it's great (mostly) - (2007-01-24)
  [2195] A two day gap - first time in five years? - (2009-05-24)
  [2547] The great thing about snow .... - (2009-12-23)
  [2698] Ruth Davis, 1916 - 2010 - (2010-03-28)
  [2886] Congratulations, Kimberly - (2010-07-25)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [3034] Birth Notice - Aeryn Cassandra Ellis - (2010-11-07)
  [3037] Looking back and forward personally - 6 years each way - (2010-11-08)
  [3055] Zyliana Kyrei Cox - (2010-11-16)
  [3108] My First Christmas - (2010-12-26)
  [3224] Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31)
  [3240] Melksham Town Council - vacancy in the Spa Ward - (2011-04-10)
  [3283] The juggler - (2011-05-08)
  [3298] Quiet Monday in - (2011-05-23)
  [3413] If its Sunday, must it be Weymouth? - (2011-08-30)
  [3450] A threat in the post? Poor marketing practise from Smiletrain? - (2011-09-19)
  [3511] Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06)
  [3556] Aeryn at 1 - (2011-12-19)
  [3566] Initial thoughts - response to GW Rail Franchise Consultation for Wiltshire - (2011-12-31)
  [3602] Emerging proposals for land to the east of Spa Road, Melksham - (2012-02-03)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [4111] Zigzag bus - forward for the future, or decaying service? - (2013-06-09)
  [4157] Wedding Photos - Kim Ellis to Kyle Londors, 22nd August 2013 - (2013-08-23)
  [4165] Improving travel advise information in Wiltshire - (2013-09-06)
  [4187] Not treading water, but not risking the ship for a 0.5th of tar either - (2013-10-06)
  [4201] Looking to the future at Melksham Station - (2013-10-26)
  [4221] Celebration of the fruits of LSTF, and of the people who have helped and are helping - (2013-12-15)
  [4235] Sharing my personal best of 2013 - (2013-12-31)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4281] A different vision for the future - (2014-07-09)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4308] What can you and I learn from online quizzes? - (2014-09-27)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4600] A big change in August - (2015-12-25)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4657] Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect - (2016-03-01)
  [4658] The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234 - (2016-03-02)
  [4669] Buses - how did we get into the situation we are in? - (2016-04-02)
  [4698] Lisa writes - on the referendum vote today - (2016-06-23)
  [4714] The technical article feed continues - personal updates more proactive on Facebook now! - (2016-10-30)
  [4728] Visiting Los Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - (2016-11-23)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
  [4737] Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)
  [4756] Learning how to be a more effective community partner - (2017-07-15)
  [4759] Sale of effects and furniture - 12th and 13th August 2017 - (2017-07-25)
  [4761] Looking forward to the autumn. - (2017-08-19)
  [4767] Some thoughts on 2017, and looking forward to 2018 - (2017-12-31)

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Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local??
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Horse's mouth home
Forward to
Some unpublished and historic pictures - Museum of Melksham
Some other Articles
Changing face - Filton
Just 12 winners? Or 371 or more? Town Centres.
Verticals ... last month
Some unpublished and historic pictures - Museum of Melksham
Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local??
Queen to visit eight Wiltshire areas - will she know what she misses in the other 13 areas?
Strawberry Cream Teas in Melksham - available every day this summer
Converting codons via Amino Acids to Proteins in Perl
An exciting Chamber of Commerce AGM - sound like an Oxymoron?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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