Posts Tagged ‘Guildford’

Experience Guildford rigged Consumer Service Awards

August 10, 2022

A nice little shindig, pat each other on the back, hand out worthless Consumer Service Awards, all paid for by struggling local businesses through the BID Levy.

Rigged Customer Service Awards.

Stitch up.

No corporate chain should be shortlisted.

Waitrose and M&S obscene use of over-packaging and plastic packaging. The service in M&S Food Hall is appalling.

Pho, fake Vietnamese street food, service terrible, food terrible, short listed.

Pho is located opposite Ben’s Records, part of the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Zero footfall. Only time see anyone when used as a shortcut during inclement weather. Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre sits on the board.

Ben’s Records promotes the Consumer Service Awards on behalf of Experience Guildford, shortlisted.

Ben’s Records does provide excellent service, but by promoting this award is pissing off other businesses who see Experience Guildford as a waste of money and wish to see wound up.

Bear Garden sits on the board, shortlisted.

I rarely see this shop in Jeffries Passage open I thought they had closed. They win the award every year bar one

In Jeffries Passage, excellent skateboard shop, excellent Korean Restaurant. A couple of streets down, another excellent Korean restaurant, with excellent service.

Loaf, not as the name would suggest a bakery, shortlisted. Loaf located in the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Tunsgate Quarter sit on the board.

Award shindig to be hosted by Yvonne Arnaud, sit on the board.

It is the norm, a body granting the award, agency promoting the award, not eligible for the award.

There are many excellent local businesses in Guildford, all are struggling to pay the BID Levy. Thank them, give them a 5-star review on Google maps.

A worthless Consumer Service Award, is no guarantee of good service, especially when the award is rigged.

Let us look a little closer at a few of the other shortlisted entries.

Coffee shops: Fresco Deli Kafessen, Caffe Nero.

Fresco Deli Kafessen, not a coffee shop, serves disgusting catering supply coffee, outside sit Greek students smoking, an embarrassment for Greek food.

Caffe Nero, corporate chain serving disgusting undrinkable coffee.

Krema, excellent coffee and cakes, staff passionate about coffee, always friendly and helpful. Not shortlisted.

Takeaways: Meat the Greek, Taco Bell.

Meat the Greek, takeaway an embarrassment for Greek Food.

Taco Bell, a rubbish chain.

Two excellent Korean restaurants in Guildford also takeaway, Hanki and Atto, excellent food, excellent service, staff go out of their way to be helpful. Not shortlisted.

There is a pattern here. Experience Guildford Customer Service Awards doing a great disservice to the many excellent local businesses in Guildford. Maybe I will produce an Alternative Customer Service Awards. Nominations welcome in the comments.

We are in the midst of a Cost of Living Crisis, and it will get worse. People are cutting their spending to bare essentials. The BID Levy must end. There is a vote in October to determine if Experience Guildford may continue. Local businesses should follow the example of other BIDs, Vote No for Experience Guildford to continue extorting money from struggling local businesses.








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Jeffries Passage

July 19, 2022


Experience Guildford invites us to take a stroll down Jeffries Passage, with a cringeworthy video and dreadful music. Another example of how Experience Guildford squanders money extorted from local small businesses to give the impression of doing something.


Jeffries Passage, a narrow alley that connects the top of North Street with the High Street.

A Save the Children charity shop, opens on a whim, rarely found open.

There used to be an excellent Thai restaurant, destroyed by the ignorant rude staff. It is now an overpriced Indian restaurant. Always empty when I pass by.

There used to be an excellent Chinese restaurant. Now sitting empty. Forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic when the greedy landlord doubled the rent.

There used to be a coffee shop. No surprise closed as always empty. Their coffee was terrible, never saw the same staff twice. For a brief period sublet (the lease does not permit subletting).

Hanki, a little Korean restaurant is excellent.

The bear shop I thought had closed, as never found open.

What is noteworthy of this cringeworthy video, it fails to mention a skateboard shop, very popular with skateboarders. Why no mention? Could it be, the owner has been a vocal critic of Experience Guildford, has demanded transparency and accountability, refused to pay the BID Levy?

I am blocked from their Instagram account therefore cannot comment, but several have, highly critical that no mention of the popular skateboard shop.

This is how childish and petty Experience Guildford, yet more reasons why local businesses should vote No in the ballot in October for Experience Guildford to continue their extortion racket for a further five years.

It gets even more interesting when look at the featured bear shop. On the board of Experience Guildford, win year on year one of their worthless consumer awards. Strange for a shop never find open, wins a customer service award, being on the board that hands out the awards a mere coincidence.

Update: Cringeworthy video deleted. Once again Experience Guildford are running scared of criticism. They are paranoid. By deleting the video, following critical comments, they have drawn attention to their guilt. They have been caught.

Update: Did Experience Guildford really think they would get away with it? A cringeworthy video of Jeffries Passage that does not feature the skateboard shop, then when widely criticised, delete the video.

Vote No in October to rid Guildford of this parasitical self-serving entity. 

Experience Guildford Customer Service Awards

June 12, 2022
  • silence critics
  • collect customer data
  • pretend to be doing something

The BID Levy is a high price to enter a lottery to win a worthless award.

Customers have to nominate a local business for a CSA. Those with the most nominations are placed on a short list. The winner entirely at the whim of Experience Guildford. Somehow I cannot see a business that has been blocked from their Instagram page, called for them to be wound up, getting onto the short list, let alone receiving an award.

Businesses are enabling collection of data on their customers. To nominate a local business are required to send a text with a code. How is this data used? Or use an on-line form providing:

  • name
  • telephone number
  • business nominated

Two pieces of information linked to your name, your phone number and where you shop.

It is another example of Experience Guildford trying to justify their existence.

Never participate in competitions where hand over personal information.

On Facebook never

  • quiz
  • survey
  • game
  • apps

Where does the information go, what is it used for?

There are now so many awards they have become meaningless.

The next time you see ‘award winning’ ask for details. There is high possibility worthless Great Taste Award. These are the little black stickers seen on too many products. The companies pay for the award. It goes on crap. That is not to say the product is not high quality, but a high chance it is not.

A few years ago Coffee Bobbins won an award from Good Taste Lincolnshire as the best tea or coffee shop in Lincolnshire. Strange as was not the best in Lincoln, let alone Lincolnshire, and served disgusting undrinkable coffee. The award was sponsored by Lincoln Tea and Coffee, who also advertised in the magazine that handed out the awards. Coffee Bobbins just happened to source their black, oily, over roasted cheap crap catering supply coffee from, yes, you have guessed correctly, Lincoln Tea and Coffee.

If wish to support local businesses, support their services. Post a review on Google maps to share your experience with others. But don’t hand your contact details to Experience Guilford. Explain why to local businesses.

Here are a few excellent local businesses in Guildford, by no means an exhaustive list, but recommended by this writer, thus worth paying a visit.

  • Ben’s Records – music – Tunsgate
  • Krema – coffee shop – Tunsgate
  • Food For Thought – grocery store – Haydon Place
  • French cheese stall – North Street market Friday and Saturday
  • fruit and veg stall – North Street market Friday and Saturday
  • Hanki – Korean restaurant – Jeffries Passage
  • Atto – Korean restaurant – Swan Lane
  • Partisan Cheesemonger and Deli – Chapel Street
  • La Casita – Spanish restaurant – Chapel Street

There are many excellent indie businesses in Guildford. Please support them.

It goes without saying, avoid corporate chains.

Experience Guildford exposes its own failings

June 8, 2022

If the measure of success of a BID is a thriving town centre, then the number of empty retail shops in the centre of Guildford is a measure of the failure of Experience Guildford.

Posting on Instagram, Experience Guildford graphically illustrated its own failings. Note the empty shops in one short street. From my own survey end of last year, there are many more empty shops in this one short street. And it is not atypical. Every street I surveyed, including the High Street, row after row of empty shops.

We have a domino effect. Every shop that closes its doors, less reason to visit Guildford, fewer people will visit, fewer people shopping, eating out, drinking coffee. There are always 10% of businesses that are marginal. Lower footfall, they go under, even less reason to visit Guildford, further pressure on those that remain.

Remember the good old days of the Soviet Union when a leader would be elected with 98% of the vote?

Experience Guildford carried out a survey of local business.

Over 95% find stated that they find our marketing, promotion and events programme (such as Street Festivals, Markets, Seasonal Events and Trails, Healthy Guildford Day) are important to their business.

Really, over 95% happy with the performance of Experience Guildford?

It was not an independent survey, it was carried out by Experience Guildford, thus worthless. The respondents were self-selecting, which again renders the survey worthless.

We do not know what the questions were. It is all too easy to get the result you wish for with carefully crafted questions.

What then is the truth on the ground? From my own random sample, wandering around talking to a range of different local businesses, 100% opposition to Experience Guildford. Not a single business wishes to see them continue.

Of the businesses I have spoken to, I have yet to find any who support Experience Guildford, and there is now talk of refusal to pay the BID Levy. Businesses object to an enforced levy, little more than an extortion racket, for which they see no benefit.

Across the country, and it is growing, a refusal to pay the BID Levy. Enough is enough.

Carmarthen 57 refuseniks refused to pay the BID Levy. Summons issued. Case successfully defended in Court. They won. The Court ruled they do not have to pay. The local council has indicated it will not try to recover the monies not paid. The lawyer who took the case will now on their behalf, file in the High Court for the BID to be wound up.

Markets?

In Guildford there are two regular markets. North Street market, a very popular weekly market every Friday and Saturday, cheese, fruit and vegetables, fish, cakes. A monthly farmers market in the High Street, the first Tuesday of the month, with occasional extra markets, seafood, paella, cheese, coffee, meat, fruit and vegetables, cakes, bread, wine, gin, chutney, jam. An occasional craft market. These markets are run by the local council.

A well run market is an asset to any town , it brings folk into town, everyone benefits. In London successful markets have been established by individuals and volunteers, not bloated parasitical entities. These new markets have revitalised dying town centres.

Experience Guildford are even claiming credit for the Guildford Book Festival. A book festival long before Experience Guildford existed and I am sure will be there long after Experience Guildford has gone.

If local businesses wish to sponsor events in the town, either individual or collectively, that is for them to decide. It does not require an enforced levy.

Unlicenced unregulated private security roam the streets, no consultation, rarely seen. Very camera shy.

One of their roles is to deliver an Experience Guildford propaganda sheet to local businesses. On receipt it goes straight into the bin. An obscene waste of trees. How much to print, publish and distribute? What is its carbon footprint?

At the weekend I learnt a local business had been blocked from accessing the Experience Guildford Instagram page.

I checked, to find I too was blocked.

Accountability, transparency?

The level of corruption within these organisations needs to be investigated.

One BID held their AGM on-line. Only the board were present and re-elected themselves. This may not be an isolated example.

Struggling local businesses in todays harsh economic reality, cannot afford the luxury of a BID Levy, especially when they see no tangible benefit. The BID Levy can mean the difference between employing a staff member or not, between remaining in businesses or not.

Guildford has a ballot in October.

Experience Guildford this month are holding a series of workshops to obtain a YES vote to remain in business. That is they are using money extorted from local businesses to secure a YES vote to continue extorting money from local businesses.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CeOZnwsotNI/

#BID#ExperienceGuildford#fail#AgainstBID#Guildford

Guildford upper High Street empty shops

November 30, 2021

A continuation of last week in the High Street, photograph the empty shops in the upper High Street.

This is not at the level of Aldershot, but no other town centre I have visited has this number of empty shops. It only serves to highlight the failure of Experience Guildford and why it must be wound up.

I only noted from Jeffries Passage upwards. The upper High Street where I rarely venture, I did not count, found as many empty shops as North Street.

What can only be described as perverse, Experience Guildford fly post many of the shop windows of the empty shops to highlight the scale of retail devastation.

Experience Guildford and Town Rangers hide behind a faded red door in Tunsgate.

What must be a very rare sighting, as Town Rangers are very rarely seen, a Town Ranger was spotted mid-afternoon in Tunsgate headed for the faded red door. If spot one, please take a photo of a rare sighting and post on social media.

If Experience Guildford is not wound up, which is the preferred scenario, then there must be reform, board removed, senior management fired, town rangers fired, and one vote one business.

Are the local community aware Experience Guildford place a levy on every local business in the town centre, a levy in today’s harsh retail environment which local businesses can ill afford, a levy for which they see no return? Are the local community aware of how votes are distributed based on rateable value, corporate chains have more votes even though they have no interest in Guildford other than the wealth they suck out of the town centre? This is like a rigged election in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, fair elections are held, only Putin decides who the candidates will be. Should HSBC have a seat on the board when they finance fossil fuel companies which is contrary to the declaration of Guildford as a green borough?

Not recorded last week, empty shops in Swan Lane.

Atto

November 30, 2021

Atto, a new Korean restaurant in Swan Lane where once Costa. Hanki in Jeffries Passage closed Tuesday lunchtime, give atto a try.

Lunchtime busy, but not too busy, about half full, a steady flow of customers taking their lunch out.

Staff pleasant and helpful, described all their dishes, food was good, reasonable portion size if not generous, I had to stop the girl piling more in my pot. I had sweet and sour chicken on a bed of rice. The juices from the sweet and sour, seeped down into the rice.

Unlike disgusting Pick A Bap in Farnborough, the food looked fresh. The girl said they empty after three hours, clean out the tin, bring out fresh food. Whilst I was there, chef added fresh food, stirred the tins.

Only too happy to give me a drink of water, filtered water.

Not sure what to do when finished. Are we meant to clear the tables? There was a box for cutlery. I did what others did, tidied up, left on the tray.

Covid biosecurity good: Tables clean, staff wearing masks, hand sanitiser. It could be improved still further by making Deliveroo wait outside and handed their delivery, if enter, wear mask and remove crash helmet.

Guildford cold damp last day of November

November 30, 2021

A cold damp day, 10C not as cold as a few days ago, but nevertheless felt cold.

First day mask wearing mandatory in shops and on public transport. Nowhere 100% compliance.

Shop displaying sign mask wearing personal choice. No, it is mandatory, £200 fine.

Illustrates yet another Experience Guildford fail. Could they not have gone round and advised all the small businesses mask wearing mandatory, £200 fine? Even better, run off posters, Mask Wearing Mandatory, £200 fine?

Lunch at atto, new Korean in Swan Lane, formerly Costa. Staff pleasant and helpful, described all their dishes, food was good, reasonable portion size, if not generous, I had to stop the girl piling more in my pot. I had sweet and sour chicken on a bed of rice. The juices from the sweet and sour, seeped down into the rice.

Unlike disgusting Pick A Bap in Farnborough, the food looked fresh. The girl said they empty after three hours, clean out the tin, bring out fresh food. Whilst I was there, chef added fresh food, stirred the tins.

Only too happy to give me a drink of water.

Not sure what to do when finished. Are we meant to clear the tables? There was a box for cutlery. I did what others did, tidied up, left on the tray.

I followed up last week, photographed the empty shops in the upper High Street.

On my way to Krema, a very rare sight, a Town Ranger. What are they for? No one knows.

Cappuccino at Krema. They now even have guest coffee.

Look in M&S.

Wait at Costa, before cross over to my train.

Yobs in my carriage, feet on seats, no masks.

— to be continued —

Zero

November 23, 2021

Zero, a community hub cum zero waste shop with focus on climate.

ReSpace in action, a large empty retail unit, recycled on behalf of the local community, run by volunteers, lots of little areas suitable for informal meetings, a small stage to host talks, a little eatery (but by no means a coffee shop), a zero waste area (but so far no stock), a seed bank, books, visual displays.

Very much work in progress, my thoughts should therefore bear that in mind.

Please no, the sweets, the only stock in the zero waste zone, focus on quality, loose nuts, cereals, grains, muesli, rice etc. In addition, washing up liquid, shampoo. Never loose coffee beans. They oxidise.

Olive oil and rapeseed oil is a possibility, but I have reservations. It very quickly goes rancid. I would rather see high qulity cold pressed, extra virgin, rapeseed oil and olive oil in bottles.

I buy green olive oil in Athens, it is the very first pressing, and it will have a provenance of where it came from.

A visit to Hisbe in Brighton to check out what they do, is a must.

Serious thought needs to be given to an in-house coffee shop. But not easy. Needs a crowd funder to buy or lease a decent espresso machine (cheap machines a waste of money). Then need a skilled barista or baristas. Would there be baristas in Guildford willing to put in a few volunteer hours? They in turn could show others how to, a valuable life skill. Next it would need planning consent for A3 use. Currently a bean -to-cup machine, a stop gap but by no means ideal.

ReSpace: We recycle materials, why do we not recycle people and buildings? A planning designation, owner pays no businesses rates, peppercorn rent, building brought back into productive use. For the owner, if the building in use, it does not deteriorate.

Guildford High Street empty shops

November 23, 2021

Walking up the High Street, I did not count, but shocked by the number of empty shops.



This is not at the level of Aldershot, but no other town centre I have visited has this number of empty shops. It only serves to highlight the failure of Experience Guildford and why it must be wound up.

I only noted from Quarry Street to Jeffries Passage. Had I wandered further up the High Street where I rarely venture, I would have found many more empty shops.

Experience Guildford and Town Rangers hide behind a faded red door in Tunsgate.

Sightings of Town Rangers are very rare, if spot one please take a photo and post on social media.

If Experience Guildford is not wound up, which is the preferred scenario, then there must be reform, board removed, senior management fired, town rangers fired, and one vote one business.

Are the local community aware Experience Guildford place a levy on every local business in the town centre, a levy in today’s harsh retail environment which local businesses can ill afford, a levy for which they see no return? Are the local community aware of how votes are distributed based on rateable value, corporate chains have more votes even though they have no interest in Guildford other than the wealth they suck out of the town centre? This is like a rigged election in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, fair elections are held, only Putin decides who the candidates will be. Should HSBC have a seat on the board when they finance fossil fuel companies which is contrary to the declaration of Guildford as a green borough?

Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre rarely a soul to be seen, useful short cut during inclement weather.

Maybe next visit, North Street.

Damp cold November afternoon in Guildford

November 19, 2021

Misty, cold and damp.

Annoying I can no longer walk along the river into the town.

A new coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee due to open bottom end of North Street. Yet another crap corporate chain. Do not waste your hard earned pennies boys and girls. Visit Krema end of Tunsgate.

Fruit and and vegetables off the top market stall.

Cheese off the excellent cheese stall.

A stall selling coffee. Avoid. A plastic pout over gadget Stall holder had no idea what it was or how to use. It is a cheap rip off copy of existing pour overs. He did not even know need a swan neck kettle and there is a skill in pouring, or need correct filter papers. He said pour straight out of a kettle. Er no. A Del Boy to be avoided. Buy coffee from reputable vendors. Try coffee from Krema or Coffee Gems in Farnham.

Empty shop unit, sticker from Experience Guildford. Beggars belief, could not make it up, parasitical Experience Guildford preside over destruction of Guildford town centre then highlights the empty shop units.

Is this why they have changed their name to Experience G’ford, they now have such a bad name? Why will they not answer questions on their finances? Why is the useless failing Reach Group turning a blind eye to a scandal under their very nose.

I was going to eat in Hanki, Korean in Jeffries Passage., until I noticed the time.

Headed to Krema, a bowl of soup, sausage roll and coffee before they closed.

Cheese shop end of Chapel Street.

Looked in zero waste shop cum community centre due to open bottom end of North Street. Very depressing, will be serving cheap crap coffee. There are more than enough greasy spoon cafes serving cheap crap coffee in Guildford. If they really cared about climate change as they claim, they would be sourcing coffee from reputable roasteries, direct trade, not promoting the Fair Trade scam. People who mean well too often do more harm than good. They open Saturday. I will pay a visit next week.


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