Friday, 30 October 2009

Halloween Special . . .

The unexpected darkness came suddenly. It stole away the sight of the office before me. The desks in front were engulfed, the monitors vanishing. I felt blind and paralysed with fear, but it wasn't the blindness that frightened me. It was the silence that came with it. Shrinking in my seat, my eyes glared from left to right, patiently waiting for them to adjust. Gradually the monitors came back into view, looking like hazy ghosts in the shadows, and the whole office began to reappear. I knew it was the same room, but everything looked and felt so very different without the lights on. Why had I offered to work late tonight?

Taking a deep breath, I stood from my seat. Was this a general power cut, or was there a problem in the building? I knew I should have walked to window to peer into the darkness outside, but fear prevented me from doing so. I was alone. Cursing myself for being so stupid, I forced myself to step away from my desk, and cautiously walked to the window. Parting the blinds I looked out to see the street lights glowing bright orange outside. The problem definitely came from within.

Well, that's it, I thought to myself. There was no point hanging around waiting for the electric to turn itself back on, and I couldn't do anymore work without it. Maybe it was time to call it a night and go home. Turning from the window, I walked through the darkness back to my desk to grab my belongings. The car park downstairs called for me, and I couldn't wait to be out there. The feeling in here was just too eerie for my liking.

As I began to make my way towards the exit, a suddenly noise brought me to a stop. My heart pounded frantically in my chest as my ears strained to listen. I stood in the middle of the office, feeling vulnerable and terrified. Could it be the electrics turning back on? I waiting for the buzz of life, but it didn't come.

The noise did, though. Heavy breathing and coming from around the door area - the area I needed to pass in order to leave. Someone was here with me. Controlling my breathing, trying to be as silent as possible, I stared in the direction the breathing came from. How had someone managed to get in while I was here? I hadn't heard anyone come up.

Feeling extremely frightened, I stepped back, intending to go back to my desk. I had no idea what I was to do - hide, maybe - but just as I turned I heard the click of electricity. The office buzzed back to life, filling my wide eyes with sudden light - and the horrific image of the figure that stood behind me. I screamed.

It was Andrew . . .

May the spirits of All-Hallows Eve come out and play tonight . . .

Happy Halloween.

D. Ilott
Gridstop ltd

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Looking After Nature . . .

I don't know about anyone else out there, but I'm quite fond of nature - all creatures great and small, and all that (except spiders) - and this quality does come in handy when you live in a small village. It's kind of hard to get away from it. It was one of those things that was drummed into me as a child, growing up within a small menagerie. My dad used to like birds. He still does, and still owns a parrot that he brought his mum when he was 17 (did you know parrots can live to be about 150 years old when kept in captivity, and still give a bone-crunching bite? I'll probably end up inheriting him). Because of this, I'm quite familiar with a lot of wild birds. I can tell the difference between a Great Tit and a Blue Tit, or a Crow and Rook, and so on and so forth.

And yes, during the winter I am partial to buy some wild bird food and put it out in the garden for them. During the summer, I don't do it as often. There is plenty of food for them to survive off, and it helps to encourage the young birds to hunt and forage for themselves, but during the winter food can become scarce. It's always nice to give them a little helping hand.

Up and coming to our stock, and soon to grace our website, are some fantastic bird stations. They can hold numerous bird feeders and trays for water, and are rather attractive in their designs too. They'll make a lovely addition to your garden, and if you like sitting back and watching the birds, then this will encourage them to flock back time and time again, as long as they know it's where they can find a reliable source of food and water. They'll love it.

And another thing I've always liked is seeing their little footprints in the snow . . . sweet . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cyber Virus . . .

We're in need of a Florence Nightingale. We have some poorly members of staff and friends in today.

The first is Forest, our much loved Husky friend belonging to Marie. He has spent the last week in the vets, and even though he is now out, he is still poorly and undergoing tests. Because of that he has been brought into the office for the day so mummy can keep an eye on him and give him his tablets when he's due.

Bless him. He's got bald patches all over him where the vets have been busy. He is so down, and even though we have all tried our best to cheer him up today, he just turns away, uninterested and not bothered . . . or is he trying to tells us that we're a boring bunch in here?

The second is Father. He is still recovering from the nasty cold he had last week. Even though he has managed to come from his nice warm home in Manchester, all the way down to Stevenage to see us this week, he still isn't 100%. However, we can't help but laugh at the fact that this cold has left him unable to hear a thing.

Now we've all started to act like the terrible children that we are. The jokes that are flying around this office at the moment are unheard of (boom boom!!! Did you get that then? Unheard of? Yeah?)

*Sigh . . . never a dull moment.

I just hope our need for a Florence Nightingale isn't going to last long. May everyone feel better soon . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Monday, 19 October 2009

Training day . . .

Today has been a very awkward day. Changes are being made to the way we work and communicate with our warehouse, and even though these changes will eventually be for the better and work really well, the process of getting there is forcing everyone to pull their hair out . . . is that just me? The egg shells are glittering nicely on the floor as everyone tries to walk over them without breaking any (Okay, I'm probably exaggerating a touch, but the wording I thought sounded good . . .)

However, one thing has kept us going today, and that's the new member of our customer service team. He popped in today to help out while our beloved Marsha spends her day joyfully gallivanting around. Yes, George is back. Sweet, innocent, 7 week old George.

He's being trained up very well, although he has done a lot of complaining. The headsets are just too big to fit his little head. They keep falling off, and he's having difficulties having professional conversation with customers and trying to balance them at the same time. Then, to put icing on the cake, he can't seem to control his bodily noises - and he's very emotional. He's still got a fair way go yet.

Our Drew has even sat down with him and tried to talk him through the basics, ie - typing - but unfortunately our point was proven about our Spiritual Guide when George decided to fall asleep on his keyboard.

Drew, you can't deny our point! We have photographic evidence!

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Friday, 16 October 2009

And The Winner Is . . .


I'm proud to announce the winner of our Huffy Green Machine competition!

Martin Cordall

A big well done to you!!
Your prize is being dispatched today!

He said he was `delighted to have won, but not as delighted as his son . . . `

Bless . . .

Our thanks to everyone who subscribed for the chance to win. And if you're feeling upset that you didn't, then we have some good news. We have another competition that has just gone live. Again, it's hassle free, same as the last, and this time you get the chance to win our fantastic Sunrise Alarm Clock! (I have one and I love it.)

So get subscribing people!!

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Competition Last Day . . .

Tomorrow provides the last chance to enter our competition and win a Huffy Green Machine. This offer has proven to be rather popular, and come Friday one lucky customer will be receiving a phone call to inform them that there will be one of these funky beasts on its way to them. And all because they subscribed, hassle free, to our newsletter. Could that person be you? Could it? It won't be if you haven't entered. So come on! There's still time! Get in quick before time runs out!

Subscribe, Subscribe, Subscribe!!!

And, what's more, the winner will have a whole blog dedicated to them on Friday when the winner is announced. I personally don't know what prize would be better; the Huffy or the blog . . . hmmm, such dilemmas.

I also know someone else who wants to be mentioned in the blog. He was moaning at me this morning because his name hasn't been cited for a while. He's feeling a little left out and a little unloved, bless him. So, let's all discuss Drew.

Drew, Drew, Drew . . .

Father's not well at the moment. He has a cold and so has decided to stay warm and snug at home in Manchester - which is something we'd all like to do when we have colds. Nasty things, they are - but Drew, our very own spiritual guide, is taking great delight at the moment taking the michael out of him. Talk about kicking a man when he's down . . . and this is coming from his own son! It's a good job everyone here has a sense of humour. Father may need our sympathy and not our ridicule when he's sent in for all those horrible tests and scans.

These nasty colds are no laughing matter . . .

We hope he gets better soon x x

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Monday, 12 October 2009

Deadlines . . .

We've been very busy here just recently, what with new product lines coming, the descriptions and images that have needed to be created, and then the loading up on the website (our brand new heater range will be available as from tomorrow, once yours truly can drag herself away from her other work to finish loading them and making them live). And shock-horror I almost forgot to blog! How could I forget such a thing! I'm in a state of shock!

It's just such a good thing that today is Monday, and Monday's are usually my days to stay behind late, to kill some time before I go out and enjoy what social life I have (yes, I know some may find it hard to believe, but I have one, albeit a small, almost non-existent one, but it's there) So, as 5.30 slowly approaches, one and a half hours after I supposedly finished work, I have decided to write my blog. That's how dedicated to Cybercheckout I truly am.

I still can't get over how I managed to forget to blog, though! I've been faithful here, blogging three times a week without fail since . . . April?? . . . unless there has been a major reason. Maybe I can put it down to the fact that I got so engrossed trying to write a description about an item that I know absolutely nothing about. I had to try and blag my way through to try and make it sound like I knew everything there was to know about . . . fishing. Mind you, the set we have got looks pretty good, and I can't stop thinking about a few boys who might receive one this Christmas. And it's about time the description got written. I not exactly sure how long this set has been sitting in our office for.

And on that note, I'm going to leave you with a famous quote, and one that describes me and my description work to a T:

I love deadlines . . . and the whooshing sound they make as they go by . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Friday, 9 October 2009

A Leafy Outlook . . .

I've been busy this week writing some descriptions for our new products - and some of those new products are our artificial trees.

Now, I've been brought up with someone who's had the greenest of fingers, and who practically managed to turn our conservatory into something resembling the amazon rainforest. These traits have been passed down to me, and I'm pretty good at keeping household plants - although I'm staying well away from the rainforest look. The first thing I made sure our home had when we moved in two years ago was a plant.

I love plants. I like the feel they provide the room. A home without a plant feels empty to me, and not homey at all. I don't quite know why I feel like that but I do. I also like the colour they add to drab areas. In this very office on my desk sits not one, but two little cacti. Both sit there and look pretty, and gives my working area a more welcoming feel.

But what if you haven't got green fingers? What if you want that feeling but you only have to look at a house plant and it dies? Then fear no more. Artificial plants these days look remarkably real, and can create the same homey effect, but without the hassle. You don't have to worry about watering it, about it growing too big for its pot and needing re potting, you don't have to worry about pruning it, about feeding (yes, plants need feeding too), you don't have to worry about anything - except maybe giving it a dust every now and then.

Because I've always been pretty good with plants, the thought of purchasing an artificial one seems to defeat the object for me, but as I sat here and typed their descriptions I began to see their benefits. They're also good for decorating the workplace where no one really wants the responsibility of looking after it. They're a good idea, and if I wasn't trying to control the ever growing forest in my own home, I may have found myself sold.

But then it may be in my best interesting to let the forest grow. Could be quite interesting watching Tarzan swing from the rafters in his loin cloth . . .

Grrr . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Dashed Hopes . . .

Well we've had it now. Our hopes for a cyber BBQ have been diminished. As I peer out of the window to my left, all I can see are dark, menacing clouds and puddles. Luckily the rain that graced us with its presence this morning has left us, but there's definitely promise of more. The sky won't let us down in that department.

It just means we won't be able to have our long awaited for BBQ.

We were supposed to be trying out our new portable BBQ's this summer, in our wonderfully shingled carpark below. We were going to have drinks, food, `sausage` (of the German variety just for Lisa) and a good, well-deserved laugh . . . but it never came around. We were just too busy selling items to everyone out there on the big wide internet.

Of course, the staff at Cybercheckout are big enough and ugly enough to get over this - to forgive . . . but we never forget! All our hopes were up, looking forward to a good shindig that never came around. However, we have means and we have ways of getting our own back. We are now in the month of October, and Christmas is just a mere three months away (and so is my birthday). Just like the summer, this time will fly by, and the money we saved by not having our BBQ I'm sure can be put towards our Christmas Do, ensuring that an even merrier time be had by all . . .

I just have to send out apologies to all those other people who were originally invited:
All our friends in the Leicester warehouse
All our friends at Paypal
All our friends at our sales channel
All our friends at Ebay

. . . .

The list is endless . . .

But then we are a popular bunch . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Monday, 5 October 2009

Random Blog Topics . . .

It becomes hard when everything in the office is ticking over just nicely, day in and day out, and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - going on around you that you can use for inspiration. I love blogging three times a week, I actually look forward to doing them, but sometimes it becomes a struggle to find topics. I often find myself waking up in the mornings, thinking to myself "oh, it's blog day! Just what am I going to blog about today?"

But nothing jumps to mind.

I'm sure if you're a fellow blogger who blogs frequently, you'd understand. Like some of the blogs I follow in my spare time, most of these are written by aspiring writers, who use their blogs as an exercise to ensure they keep writing throughout their dry spells. Often, when working on a piece of writing such as a novel, the mind draws a blank, and you can find yourself sitting on your work for weeks without being able to string even a single decent sentence together. Blogging is a fantastic way to keep on writing, helping you through your block.

But there's nothing to stop your blogs from colliding with that block.

What our Marie kindly suggested not so long ago, was for everyone here to write a random topic and one to be pulled from a hat, so to speak. Then, I would have my topic . . . but the challenge would be to link that with either one of our products or the shenanigans that our staff can sometimes get up to.

The idea sounds rather intriguing, and I'm sure it will be a challenge that I would rise to and quite enjoy . . .

It'll come in handy for a rainy day . . . oh! Like today!

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd

Friday, 2 October 2009

Innocent Product Ideas . . .

As I've blogged about before in the past, Winter is very quickly drawing in . . . I've felt the sudden drop in temperature at night. It's cold, it's miserable, and it seems Autumn is bypassing us altogether. The gradual release of that vicious winter is a thing of the past. It leaps on you now like a lion on a gazelle. Gotcha!!! All I can say is be prepared.

And, as if seeing a sudden opportunity to raise a sales pitch . . . we have some new heaters coming in soon. I'm in the process of creating wonderful descriptions for them, descriptions that'll make you feel toasty warm just by reading. Now there's a thing! That takes talent!

I've also heard rumour that our very own Beci is coming up with some new product ideas too. They're very similar to horse rugs, only with a slight difference. The Hoods have holes in on the forehead. Why, I hear you ask? For the horn to come through, silly. All those poor Unicorns need to be kept warm during the winter months too. They need to be considered just as much as any horse or pony.

*Rolls around the floor in a fit of giggly laughter . . .

Poor Beci, believing unicorns were real: Some people don't realise just how innocent they truly are.

And while we're on this subject, how about rugs in a Pegasus range, or little jackets for SeaHorses . . . And we better put a warning sign on our new fishing gear: "Beware of the Kelpies . . ."

Ahhh...Beci's going to kill me for this . . .

D. Ilott
Gridstop Ltd