Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where credit’s due

Maybe it’s human nature to complain rather than compliment. It’d be easy to get that impression readings blogs, some of which seem to exist for little else. But I believe in giving credit where credit’s due, so I thought I’d present some bouquets.

From waist to waste

I enjoy some reality programmes. Some of them, however, are of seriously questionable merit. In the “good” category is a new reality series, Wa$ted, on TV3.

The premise is similar to a series they ran last year in which they went into a person’s home, fixed their diets, added exercise, and watched the particpant’s weight go down. That kind of show always makes me uncomfortable because of the unintentional messages they send that thinness is all that matters.

The new show is way different. They look at a family’s home and way of living, including how much rubbish they throw away, and how much of that could be recycled. They also examine how much energy they waste. The show’s experts provide solutions, ranging from switching to compact florescent lighbulbs, adding insulation, using cloth nappies (diapers) instead of disposables or getting a worm farm to compost food scraps.

Near the end of the episode, they calculate how much money the family will save over a year as a result of the changes and then give the difference to the family as a prize. Potentially, it can be several thousand dollars. Much better that fostering questionable body image.

Sky TV gets it right (when prompted)

Let’s begin this compliment with a brickbat: Sky TV did a really dumb thing.

Beginning March 1, they’re rearranging the channel numbers on their digital satellite service to make room for more channels, they say. However, they offered only two ways to find out the new channel numbers: A flyer with the monthly bill or in their programme magazine, Sky Watch.

Trouble is, customers who don’t order pay-per-view don’t get a monthly bill; they get one only when there’s an increase in the monthly fees, so they get a statement only a few times a year. Sky Watch is optional, and costs extra. Without either of those, there’s no way to find out the new channel numbers since there’s nothing on the Sky TV website.

So, I emailed them to find out how I could see the new channel numbers. They responded that they’d send me a free copy of Sky Watch. That arrived yesterday.

Now, this is a bit of a back-handed compliment, I realise, but these days it’s rare for a commercial company’s customer service to agree to do anything for a customer, let alone actually do it (for example, read my friend Jason troubles with DirecTV). So I think they should be publicly applauded for taking care of this customer’s needs.

Still, none of it would’ve been necessary if they’d published the new channel line-up on their website. A little more pro-active customer-centred service would be nice.

The New Zealand Black Caps

This is a cricket compliment, so mystified Americans or grieving Australians may want to skip over it.

New Zealand’s national cricket team, the Black Caps, yesterday completed a clean sweep against Australia in the Chappell-Hadlee One Day International series. In the process, New Zealand helped Australia to five consecutive One Day International (ODI) defeats.

I didn’t see yesterday’s match, but Monday’s was brilliant for both sides—it’s just that New Zealand was a little more brilliant. Monday's match required a huge run-chase for New Zealand, but yesterday's had the second-highest run chase in ODI history.

Now, Australia’s media is “roasting” their team. This happened to New Zealand as well after a lacklustre performance in the Tri-Series in Australia against the Aussies and England. It seems to me that the criticism for both countries is a bit over-the-top. An excellent critique of the anti-Black Caps media hysteria is available from Radio New Zealand National, the Mediawatch programme for 18 February (available as an MP3 download or podcast).

So, two compliments here: Well done to the Black Caps! Also, well done to Mediawatch for their fine, as always, analysis of media coverage.

No comments: