2006 — Day 16 - on being an IBM pensioner

Reading, as I have just been doing, the latest newsletter of the Association of Members of IBM UK Pension Plans (AMIPP) several things strike me:

  1. To dispense with the most trivial first, the use of Microsoft's "Comic Sans" font produces (in me at least) a feeling that this is an amateur production. Font selection (like font design) is an art, not a science, but I suspect Jakob Nielsen would have a few words to say on the subject.
  2. Reading as a pensioner (technically, maybe, not until January 2007) rather than an employee, the effect on the blood pressure is (I'm sure) unhealthier.
  3. The content is harder-hitting than I ever dared to be in any of my published Mole Reports, but none the worse for that.

I felt almost proud to be classed as one of the 40,000 or so "dormant accounts" that First Direct has been trying to shake off by charging them £10/month for a very mundane current account. I like to think I was one of the first to phone up to cancel, certainly. Judging by radio and press comment in the last five days they could be on the point of a bit of a PR disaster. Their managing whatsit was forced onto the BBC "Money Box" show to suggest people could retain free banking by opening a separate savings account and keeping just £1 in it — that's got to hurt!

The smile was wiped off my face, however, when (on reading the small print associated with my Alliance & Leicester EasySaver account) I discovered that each cash withdrawal from the nicely handy ATM machine just up the road will cost me £2. Readers with total recall will already know that that currently represents nearly 10% of the total balance :-(

I am delighted and grateful to report that I have now turned another retirement gift voucher into the following worthy bedtime reading and watching:

The Chandlers Ford Chainsaw Massacre

Christa, meanwhile, is out in the garden using the B&Q power lopper alligator chainsaw thingy to slice up various bits of tree, dead or otherwise. She loves it!

19 November 2006