Posted in CBW, Photo challenge

CB&W: People at work



“Better the butcher than the meat.”

~ George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons


Check out the other entries at Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge


Posted in Photo challenge, Squares

Pretty in Pink, window shopping



One of the cutest shop windows I’ve ever seen.

Posted as part of #InthePink

Posted in Photo, Photo challenge

Travel theme: Merchandise

Her merchandise: delicious nuts, seeds, dried fruit and many other healthy snacks. On second thought I’m not 100% sure about the healthy, but 1000% about the delicious!

140906merchandiseclick for a larger view



   < For more merchandise, visit Ailsa’s Travel Theme Challenge. 

Posted in Six word story challenges

Six Word Story Challenge: Shopping

Seventh heaven? Or the deepest depths of hell? How do you feel when you go shopping? Is it a blessing? Do you dance across town or the supermarket? Or do you hate it and drag yourself from one shop to another like a zombie; perhaps race through it all to escape as quickly as possible?

Shopping is the examining of goods or services from retailers with the intent to purchase at that time.


It sounds very easy, but things can get in the way. Funny experiences. Success or failures 😉 I’d love to hear your story!

The challenge for you:

Write a story about SHOPPING in just six words. Let a photo or image inspire you to write a story. Or first write the story, and then make or search for a picture to go with it.

Here’s a Six Word Story by Ernest Hemingway.


Such an impact and unseen images in only six words…

Publish your Six Word Story on your own website/blog and paste the link to that post in a comment to this one here at Figments. I will include your contribution in this post, forming a list of stories.

Will you join me? Will you? Say you do. :) And share the challenge news!

I look forward to your stories.



The next challenge will be published on February 19. Doe je liever mee in het Nederlands, ga dan naar Verhaal in zes woorden met beeld: Winkelen.

Older stories:
130226 – Poverty
130313 – Spring
130327 – Writing

130410 – Light
130424 – Music
130515 – Transport
130529 – Pets
130612 – Regret
130616 – Inspiration
130703 – Commercials
130814 – Vacation
130829 – Memory
130911 – Terrorism
130925 – Youth
131030 – The Weather
131113 – Film
131127 – Art
131211 – Food
131229 – Retrospect
140122 – Puzzle


Posted in Books, Humour, Music, Technology

Virtual Assistant

Online shopping is one of the comforts of modern life. A new book, a CD, dress or shirt is only a few clicks away. You do not need to drive to town, avoid a traffic jam, find a parking spot and fight your way through crowds of talkative people, who decide to catch up on things in the middle of the sidewalk. Only to find the object you want is sold out. Or not available at all. Even the shipping costs are covered by the parking fee. A win-win situation!


For years I have been buying books at, a Dutch online store. Sponsoring them! Their service is excellent, swift, reliable and they have a wide variety of books, games and music. If you order current books before 9.30 pm, they will be delivered the next day. Seems almost like magic. And I would recommend to anyone, if not for Billie.

Billie is a merry looking chap in a blue suit. He is in a winning mood. This man is always ready to talk to you, even in the middle of the night. His manners are impeccable, he is polite and will never raise his voice. I, on the other hand will – loudly – for Billie drives me absolutely NUTS. I would like you to meet Billie, the chatbot.

He looks like a real friendly fellow eh? Well, looks can be deceiving. Some months ago had a special offer: order three ebooks for the price of two. And my Sony was eager for food. I found some interesting titles and placed my order. Click click click, YES, onwards to download! Two ebooks snuggled with my ereader, but the third one halted. Seems it was not ready for its new home. Within ten minutes I received a mail, telling me the book was not available. Well damn, I had already paid for it! Or was this the ‘free’ book and did I have to pay full price for the two books anyway? That was indeed a special offer!

In search of the Customer Service on the site, I stumbled upon mr. Billie. Just type your question and Billie will reply. Indeed, he did.

Billie says: Welcome, I’m’s virtual assistant. How can I help you?

Hello Billie, I ordered an ebook, paid for it, and suddenly the book is not available anymore? What happened?

Almost immediately he replied.

Billie says: Could you rephrase your question please? How can I help you?

Alright. Apparently that had been too much information in one sentence. I hit the brakes and start anew.

It’s about ebooks. A specific title is unavailable and I have already paid for it.

Billy says: Would you like to order a book?

A light irritation blossomed.

No. Book has been ordered. Not available. Want money back!

Billy says: How can I help you?

Moderate irritation.

Now listen to me, I want to speak to a HUMAN damn it!

Billie says: Could you rephrase your question please? How can I help you?

Zen. Yin Yang. Failure!

After a while, all I typed was ‘Aaaaaaaaargh’, ‘$hH873*^$%(*^$&()&’ and ‘Stupid thing SHUT UPPPPPP’… until suddenly, out of the blue, Billie said

Would you like me to e-mail the Customer Service for you?

Quiet. Then ‘YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS’ as my answer, after which Billie said ‘Could you rephrase your question please? How can I help you?’ Big sigh. After giving my personal data, I could finally compose a (limited) message. Next day Customer Service e-mailed me, suggesting I should contact them in stead of Billie. That Billie was not meant for complicated questions. NO KIDDING!

Everything was tip top after that: apologies, money refund and even a small voucher as compensation. I immediately ordered a new e-book of course.

The next order failed again. A spontaneous present for my friend Suzan: Sara Bareilles’ CD Kaleidoscope Heart. Item – check; different delivery address – check; text – check; blue gift paper – hand wrapped by Billie 😉 – check; payment through Ideal – check; back to site for confirmation – … … … no check at all. The screen would no refresh. I waited ten minutes and then visited the site. And there the CD was, neat and snug in my Shopping Cart?! Another ten minutes of F5’ing later I got pissed and fired up good old Billie to my Gmail to contact the Customer Service directly. No no no Billie, not a second time! I explained the situation in my e-mail and hit send. And received an automatic confirmation my original order had been received. Argh. My e-mail had been unnecessary: all was OK.

Four days later and still I had not heard from Suzan. And that was strange, because I was sure she would call me immediately upon receiving the surprise CD. Perhaps she didn’t like Sara Bareilles… I sent a text message.

And sweetie? Very curious! What do you think of Sara Bareilles? I loved to share this CD with you, bought it myself too. Am at Chinese take-away, just finished work.

Hi Mar. Have it myself too. Like it. Bon Appetit. Hugs.


ROFL you’d better yes, for I have sent you this CD as a surprise birthday present!

Ring ring, Suzan on the phone, who told me she had not received anything, plus she already had Kaleidoscope! Aaaargh.

Customer Service was delighted to hear from me again. Another mail – somewhat longer this time – to tell everything that had happened. And again a great and quick reaction: the money would be refunded, plus Free Shipping for my next order.

Let’s hope this series of bad luck is over, so I can look forward to years of happy book and CD ordering again., it is truly fine to be online, as long as you stay out of Billie’s hair 😉

Already posted @ Doldriest in Dutch.