Curve cards are temporarily suspended

The Curve Card

Bad news, with all the joy I have had using my curve card. I was slightly shocked to see this email from Curve yesterday. To be fair I thought it was a phishing email till I checked the site myself and looked at the twitter account.

YOUR CURVE CARD IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED – PLEASE CARRY A BACK-UP

Dear Curve Customers,

Your Curve card and all associated Curve transaction and money transfer services will be temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Please be assured, we expect to be up and running again shortly but it may take a few days. Your money and card details held at Curve are safe and secure.

This has happened because the Financial Conduct Authority* has this morning suspended its permission for Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (the company who currently issues Curve Cards) to operate, without prior notice. This action is not related to Curve – but Curve currently depends on Wirecard for operation of the Curve card.

We are already well on the way to migrating away from Wirecard but have not fully completed this process. We are now working round the clock to achieve the migration as quickly as possible and therefore expect this disruption to last for only a limited period of time.

We will continue to communicate the details of what this means for you during this interim period.

For now, please carry a backup card.

We’ll be back,
Team Curve

*Curve currently relies on Wirecard Card Solutions Limited for all its financial transactions. Until we fully migrate, we are impacted by this suspension (as are all Wirecard’s other clients to whom they provide financial transaction services).

Hopefully they can get it up and going soon, as I couldn’t remember my pin for my old card.

Every once in a while its a win win for all, except the algorithms

Tampon box in disabled loo

Every once in a while I like messing with the algorithms which rule our world. As Cory says in this critical piece, found via Ade,

Machine learning is fundamentally conservative, and it hates change. If you start a text message to your partner with “Hey darling,” the next time you start typing a message to them, “Hey” will beget an autosuggestion of “darling” as the next word, even if this time you are announcing a break-up.

This isn’t a new thing and I have to thank Miles who gave me the idea a long time ago to mess with the algorithms every once in a while.

Every once in a while, when I feel the recommendations are getting pretty good I buy something completely different. For example with Google I’ve done some very strange things, but the impact isn’t so clearly felt as with shopping algorithms.

Recently I bought tampons which were 2 for the price of 1 on Tesco online. I bought them because I wanted to screw up the algorithm but more importantly I wanted to support my female colleagues (extra special shout out to Jasmine) who have been fighting the good fight to provide women & girls with free sanitary products in BBC buildings. As they really should have!

Maybe this is a triple win, one for my colleagues, two for messing up Tesco’s recommendations and three for my pocket? What ever it is, I noticed Tesco recommendation now includes pointers to shampoo products which I certainly don’t need  but makes me laugh the algorithm is so easily manipulated.

Already planning similar on Amazon and Ebay…

And they ask, how can you judge…?

Josh (technicalfault) will never let me forget about my idles to not date anyone who regularly shops in Aldi supermarket…

After reading my latest blog post he took to Twitter to tell me I’m a hypo-critic 🙂

He then puts forward a scenario

how about this. a lady shops in Aldi so she can save money to help pay for parents medical treatment. yet you judge her!

Actually no… maybe I do but for good reason. We all have filters, preferences, likes. Like it or not, its being human

So why the dislike of Aldi? Well its a complex one, and can not be put down to some simple snobbery. Heck even I shop there between supermarket deliveries… But I don’t like it. Its about my own values…

Here’s some justification, which may make me sound like a snob but I’m not…

  1. Good food costs good money…
    I buy free-range eggs instead of barn eggs (even with the huge cost increase). Even when I was a student and had no money at all, working in starbucks coffee, I would still mainly buy free-range eggs. Very occasionally I bought barn eggs and although I knew they were basically the same, I felt terrible for doing so… That was my own values being stretched – not anyone elses. My own values tell me food pricing is screwed up… Good food should cost quite a bit and specially in the case of fresh food, the premium we pay should go to the people who help bring us that fresh food. This is why although Aldi does provide very cheap food, I’m not a fan because I feel good food should cost. (To note: I’m not saying everyone should pay that if they can’t afford it. Our values and priorities change through our lives, and right now I don’t have a problem paying for good food, I know that makes me very lucky)
  2. Quality of food…
    In my honest opinion, fresh food at Aldi is generally crappy… Things like Grapes and Apples taste really bad to me. When compared to Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Booths and even from the Arndale local Market. I can’t stand to buy fresh goods from Aldi no more after multiple tries. Maybe its just my taste buds but I believe its about right for the money you pay. Yes they have a reasonable selection of meats and cheeses but there fresh food is very poor in my view. So I would have a slightly tarnished view of people who enjoyed the fresh food… Its not me looking down, well at least no less than those who enjoy Apple products 🙂
I can go on for ever about Aldi but I just have so many problems with our local Aldi beyond what I said above…
Josh will hate my justification but frankly its a small filter and a little more context, we were originally talking regarding Asda’s supermarket dating service. I joked Asda dating (at least in Eastlands Manchester) would be a poor state of affairs. It would be like dating on Plenty of Fish while something like Sainsburys or even Booths supermarket dating would be more like dating on Okcupid. The later certainly would attract more of the type person I’d personally like to meet… Its not a snobbery thing, actually Sainsburys and Booths are both in Salford.
I’ll be hiding from the comments and twitter wraff for the rest of the week… I’m never too far from controversy it seems…

This is what £1800+ worth of IKEA shopping looks like

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The sad thing is although it was quite stressful getting the boxes neatly on to the 6 shopping carts (maximizes space otherwise I would need even more) I actually quite enjoyed it till I saw the bill at the end! By that point I was beyond caring…

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All that shopping was just the big stuff that I couldn’t carry home on my scooter. Tomorrow i’ll get the stuff which I can easily fit in a car, such as rugs, bins etc. I don’t expect it to be anywhere near the amount I spent today

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Been using Tesco shopping service for about 7 years now?

I just read Jen's Groceries on demand post

Ever since the delivery guys mistakenly pressed our buzzer instead of the flat they needed, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of having groceries delivered. I had always thought such services were the domain of the physically challenged or wealthy.
Not that I need to whittle away at my scant reasons to leave the flat already, but I felt compelled to give the service a whirl. I have a Tesco ClubCard; I have a bank card. Tomorrow, I’ll have a kitchen full of groceries carried up two flights of stairs by cheerful delivery folk.

To be honest I love Tesco's Delivery service. The day I moved out of my parents house, I was getting Tesco to deliver my monthly shopping. It made sense, because having a 125cc scooter and a hectic lifestyle (college during the day and work in the cinema at night) there was no way I could find time to act like a zombie for a couple of hours, walking up and down the supermarket shelves. Then drag all the crap home without falling off my bike. Trust me I tried. It was painful. When I lived in Bromley, I use to drive over to Elmers End's 24 Hour Tesco at about 1am and do my shopping. A couple of times I could not carry it all and ended up going back and forth to get everything home. I hated it! So I opted to get everything delivered and would only pop into Tesco to get quick bits and bobs.

Even when me and Sarah got married and moved into our own place, the Tesco Delivery contunies. Sarah did spend a little bit of time getting use to stuff from this country by wondering around the local Tesco supermarket but in the end also opted for there online delivery. However now and then she will want to go shopping, for some unknown reason.

Shopping for me is just one of those life zapping things I could do without. I don't mind so much going and picking up a couple of things but any more than 10 items and I feel like my head will cave in. I think the problem lies with me working in Tesco for over a year while studying. I worked in the Tesco Cafe till they realised I was alergic to the cleaning material and moved me to check outs. On checks out I quickly made the move to night shift to better fit with my college hours. I mean at the time almost 7 pounds a hour to work from 10pm to 6am seemed like a good idea. I only had to work 2 days a week and earned enough to do all the stuff I wanted to do. But on the downside I learned to quickly hate the supermarkets bright lighting and depressive decor. Maybe its put me off for life? Sarah will tell any of you, I turn from a nice friendly guy into a moaning pain when I'm in a supermarket. Thank goodness for Tesco delivery.

I still remember when my manager was telling me about the new online shopping service which our store (Tesco Eastville, Bristol) was going to trial. I thought it was such a good idea and hoped to be the person picking the goods for the delivery but it was not to be. I also hoped it would be a huge hit and less people would come into the store. That obviously never happened. But it would certainly seem things have changed alot. At the time (maybe 1998) only Tesco was doing online home delivery. I think Watrose and Iceland followed a year later then Sainsburys. And to tell the truth Tesco's online offerings and service went from ok to great within a few years. They even offered a website and pocketpc application early on which I could browse on my ipaq. So I could look in the kitchen and simply add stuff without being tied to my desktop machine (didn't have a laptop or wifi at the time, only ipaq and gprs). And even now Tesco are doing little things to make the whole process even easier and enjoyable.

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