About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 60-year-old Aspergic gardening CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees, but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. Likewise, I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds', to remind it why it feeds.

Monday, November 20, 2023

F is for Fleet Fell Flat!

Like Never Before!

This summer just past's hook for getting people up the High Street during the quiet month of August was very disappointing compared to previous years, and the reason seemed to be corporate laziness, relying on 'the Internet' to make the job easy?

Instead of a search for ten dinosaurs, ticking them off in your little guide-book/leaflet thing, as was the case in previous years, there were only three dinosaur models, some interactive crap, a post-box for a colouring competition (but no colouring sheets!) and a complete lack of interest in the task at hand, from Fleet BID, some retailer-funded marketing gimmick, like the old trade associations, or chamber's of commerce, but with money-grubbing Tory dogma written all over it!

You get the same problem everywhere now, we saw it here with the party covering the World's Apart - Horrible Histories figures a few years ago, young things, full of enthusiasm (and a still wet degree in marketing) on the phone, or in eMails, but with no knowledge or love of the product, losing interest and giving-up far too soon, because it’s not their product, it's not their problem and it's not their money . . .whack an invoice in, for services-rendered, and move on!

The annoyance was that everyone, including me, was still going to the council box-office to ask about the flyer, they said "We haven't got any this year, try the Library?", as it happens the library is next door, so off to them, they say "We've had loads of people asking, but we've been given no literature this year, and there's nothing on the website! But someone yesterday said there's something in the photographic shop?".

Then off to Kevin Wibbly (I think he's called, the only hint of 'community' I have - in this Stepford dormitory - is half-knowing the name of the owner of the photographic shop!) we go, where his assistant points out that yes, they do have an unhelpful flyer in the door-glass, but she knows nothing, and has been sending everyone who asks, up to the Library!

At this point, you can lose the will to live, but my life at the moment is the odd minutes of panic and a few hours of worry interspersed with a lot of spare-time, and this was that afternoon, where an answer would be found!

First thing to do was head on to the 'Glass Menagerie' as Mum's generation call it, our itty-bitty excuse for a mall, where there is usually one of the model dinosaurs/wild animals/nutcrackers situated, only to find that the station is unmanned, and there are no flyers, no colouring sheets and no model dinosaur, just an enlarged version of the window flyer!

So . . . off to the internet, ladies and gentlemen, off to get to the bottom of this phuqfest of ineptitude!

Opposite the Library, it was the Velociraptor which alerted me to the fact that this summers 'retail event' had started. It was a very good model, reflecting the very latest thinking on feathered dinosaurs, as is currently coming from the finds, out of the smooth sedimentary beds in the Gobi Desert.

Call Me Karen!

So, I found the Fleet BID Faceplant page, and the following exchange took place;

Me - So, I asked for the dinosaur map/leaflet at the Harlington Centre, they sent me to the Library, the Library had had dozens of enquiries but no promotional paperwork, then someone suggested Kevin Wibbly at the camera shop, his assistant has had to turn away six people today, and they got their poster late! Where are the dinosaurs, where is the map, where are the painting things, why do you need a QR-code reader (not everyone has a bloody i-phone) and what's going on? Get leaflets to the library! Get leaflets somewhere, anywhere, there are none with the picture post box in the shopping centre, nor is there a dinosaur? Get a grip . . . thank god it's gullible traders' money, not taxpayers!

Fleet Bid Spokesperson - There are four elements to this summer's activities which are all detailed on our website: [link] The colouring sheets can be downloaded from this webpage. The shopping centre have some and we will also be delivering some to cafes etc who have spare space to display them this afternoon.
There isn't a trail booklet as the Augmented Reality trail is QR-code based so does require a phone with the ability to scan a QR code. The ten locations are detailed on our website with a map and by scanning one of the locations this opens up the entire trail. The trail posters were delivered to businesses on 29th July.
There are 3 large selfie dinosaurs (at Pedal Heaven, by Sainsbury's and by [redacted to prevent publicity - tossers]) - again these are listed on the website. These were meant to have signs which explained the trail but unfortunately we only received the signs this morning.
There will be a dinosaur show on the weekend of 19th and 20th August with more details to be shared once we've finalised show timings.

Me - There were no colouring sheets in the precinct at 16:50 yesterday, but that aside, you have established a pattern over a half-dozen animal-dinosaur-nutcracker things, and now you've totally broken it in favour of the posh Miranda's of the Blue Triangle, at a time when money's tight for everyone, and you haven't kept the participating locations up to date . . . there are dozens of people, every day for at least a week, already, going to the Library, going to the Photo' shop wanting to know A) where are the ten dinosaurs (there are only three?), where are the maps (there isn't one?) and where are the colouring sheets?!! Not everyone has a printer, not everyone has a QR Code reader, you're supposed to be encouraging people to come to Fleet, not alienate them!

Fleet Bid Spokeperson - More colouring sheets are being dropped off this afternoon. We have chosen to do something different this year with four elements rather than just one. We have dinosaur shows happening on 19th and 20th August as well as the AR trail and 3 large dinosaurs for selfies. This information has been published and these locations have been kept up to date and published on our website since the end of July. All of this is available free of charge to people visiting Fleet. We are sorry if you feel that this is not what you would like to see, but we hope by doing more things that are free and incorporating the interactive AR element that families would enjoy something different and have more activity to keep people entertained over the summer holidays.

I can't remember if this was a 'Dippy' or a Bronty (I think it says Brontosuarus?), but it was a bit cartoony compared to the other two, and much smaller, in scale, maybe a baby! Also, I thought it was a bit pink and mammalian . . . Hippogriff!


Now, aside from the fact that I'm clearly turning into a grumpy-old-git in my dotage (a left-wing one, I hasten to add!), and allowing for the fact that my interaction did result in some quick updates to both the BID's and the Council's Faceplant pages, and hoping the colouring sheets were delivered (I wasn't after one!), I think you can see where the problems are, it's all-singing-all-dancing tech'y bollocks for people with the right kind of 'smart' 'phone, time to be where they need to be, at the times they need to be there, and therefore suffering under the twin burdens of spare leisure time and disposable wealth, i.e., the 'trophy wives' of the Blue Triangle and the larger town-houses of Elvetham!

The BID spokesperson sticking to the scrip and not really realising how they have broken a contract, established by repeat actions over several years, and somehow thinking that for five- or ten-year olds, three dinosaurs in plain site, is in some way equitable with ten you have to go search for, with a MAP!

Our civilisation is falling apart, through the thoughtlessness, selfishness and lack of imagination of the establishment, unquestioned and not countered by the complacency of the citizens. And it was clearly going-off half-cocked, with elements not in place, late, you have eight months to get ready and . . . ! Phuq!


By far the nicest of the three, ONLY three, was this rather fine Triceratops, with a metallic, rainbow-sheen on it, like oil on water!
All this saddens me, as how do you get people back to your retail hubs, when you water-down the very idea you have been establishing over the previous few years, to attract people? And no sign of a Christmas campaign yet?
And, good retailers of Fleet, if you are subscribing to BID, can I suggest that if you spend the money on Sainsbury's excellent generic four-packs of mince-pies instead, and offer one for every purchase over £5, you will probably have a better effect on your footfall, than BID's shenanigans is going to deliver in a month of Sundays!
I must check the Library for their seasonal toy exhibition, that can always be counted on! Underfunded, and mostly volunteer staffed, what would we do without them? And the Tories have closed 800+ in the last 14-years.

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