27 February, 2009

Letter from one of our readers:

I have worked in customer service for over 12 years of my life.
I new I had seen it all but its different working in customer service than being a customer that requires service.

My experience at the NIKE store on line gave me a new meaning of customer service.
At my former employers we were always told to go above and beyond to help the customer and as well make sure we rectify a situation especially if we can see that it is our fault.
Obviously NIKE does not operate on the same code of ethics.
Its bad enough that this is the same company that was underpaying overseas employees that were children
but to also give bad customer service after rebuilding your name is really not the smartest thing to do.
My experience with NIKE has been the worst experience involving customer service in my life.
I went to NIKE’s website NIKE.COM and ordered a pair of shoes as a gift for a close friend of mine but I put in the wrong size.
Read Whole story here:


3 November, 2008

Since same-sex marriages were legalised in July 2005, 188 gay couples have tied the knot in Malaga province, according to Justice Ministry figures released by Malaga’s Gay and Lesbian Collective. There were more gay marriages in Malaga capital, followed by Torremolinos, Marbella and Velez-Malaga. For some reason, all the same-sex marriages in Coin were between women, while the ones in Fuengirola were all men.


3 November, 2008

The government announced last week that descendants of Spaniards who left the country for fear of political persecution between 1936 and 1955 will now be able to apply for nationality before 2011. The decision will affect an estimated 500,000 children and grandchildren seeking to return. That number is believed to include 300,000 people in Argentina alone. The measure is part of Historical Memory law passed last year that aims to compensate and rehabilitate victims of the 1936-1939 Civil War. Elderly former members of the International Brigades, the collection of anti-fascists who travelled to Spain to fight Gen Franco’s forces, will also be eligible for citizenship under the new law, without giving up their original nationality as was required in the past.


27 October, 2008

A 16-year-old boy from Granada has ruined his family by running up a €48,000 debt on his parents’ credit cards playing at a virtual casino on the internet. A spokesman for the Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers, FEJAR, said such incidents are common because the virtual casinos cannot see or check the age of the players. He said it was getting so common as to be ruining some people’s lives forever. He said the latest figures showed that the amount gambled on the internet in Spain is up five-fold since 1997, and could reach €5 billion. He said FEJAR estimates that some five percent of the Spanish population could have a problem with gambling. The spokesman also warned about the amounts now being spent by some children on their mobile phones, especially if they have access to the Internet, with bills of €300 or €400 a month not uncommon. He said some children already suffering from deformed hands from sending so many text messages.


27 October, 2008

A Madrid court has granted paternity leave of 13 days to a lesbian after Social Security had told the woman she was not eligible. Carmen Diaz married her wife in 2006 who gave birth in February 2007 to a son, who she adopted. The Workers Commissions union said that when she applied for paternity leave, the Social Security Authority had made extra demands which were never made when men claimed, A union spokesman said it regretted what he called “these situations of discrimination”, and considered the court’s decision an important one because it would encourage gay and lesbian couples to apply for the paternity leave which they were entitled to.


6 October, 2008

According to the National Employment Institute (INEM), more than 4,579 people in Malaga province lost their jobs during the month of September, the highest figure registered for that month since INEM records began in 1996. Just over 30,000 people have lost their jobs since last November, bringing the total number of unemployed to 115,895. The worst hit sectors are services – that is, hotel and restaurant workers – which accounts for just over 56% of the unemployed, and construction, which accounts for just over 25%.


6 October, 2008

More than 300 self-employed people a day have stopped making their Social Security payments in the past five months, according to ATA, the national federation that represents them. An ATA spokesman said self-employed people were particularly hard hit by the current economic crisis because of a drop in sales and an increase in losses. Added to that, they cannot obtain loans to keep their businesses afloat from banks which are loathe to lend money in the current economic crisis. The spokesman said “worse was to come”.


29 September, 2008

Retirement beginning to bore you? Liven up you life by going back to school at the U3A – University for the Third Age – in Fuengirola. Registration is now open at the Ark Christian Fellowship Hall, Las Rampas, from 11 am to 1 pm, on September 30th and October 2nd and 3rd. You can also register on Enrolment Day on October 6th. Courses range from Scrabble, Poetry, Health and Your Body, Computer Improvers Workshop, Spanish for Beginners, Patchwork, and Golden Age of Spain, just a few of the 40 courses on offer. One novelty this year is a series of talks on the Spanish Civil War, to be given by Muriel Pilkington from the Town Crier. Membership of the U3A costs 25 pounds and entitles members to participate in as many groups as they wish. More details are available on U3A’s website:


15 September, 2008

The El País newspaper has reported that thousands of people descended from the owners of the cargo of gold and silver coins which are now in the hands of the US company Odyssey Marine Exploration can claim their share of the wealth. The coins come from a shipwreck which Odyssey lifted from the seabed early last year. Odyssey claims the ship was lying in international waters “somewhere in the Atlantic” and that the booty belongs to the company while the Spanish government claims the ship is Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes, a warship which was sunk by the British in 1804 off the Cadiz coast, and that the booty therefore belongs to Spain . The newspaper sent a reporter to the Archivo de Indias in Sevilla, which contains thousands of documents dating back to colonial times, to get to the bottom of the matter. He discovered that the larger part of the coins, 697,621 pesos, belonged to 130 Spanish merchants and that only 253,606 pesos belonged to the Crown, according to first hand accounts of the ship’s last fatal journey. By law, the merchants’ direct descendants can now claim their share. The case was complicated a few weeks ago when Peru claimed that the coins were minted from silver and gold mined there and form part of that country’s patrimony. The Peruvian government has said it will make a formal claim to the booty if this turns out to be the case. Will the Brits now put in a claim for “spoils of war”? The saga continues.


1 September, 2008

By the end of last week, the government’s fears that it would not be possible to identify all the victims of the Spaniar crash proved to be unfounded. By Saturday, all 154 bodies had been identified and were being escorted by grieving families to their places of origin for burials that were attended by hundreds of people. The Spainair flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands crashed shortly after take-off on August 20th. Only 18 of 172 passengers and crew survived the accident. One of the air hostesses who survived told investigators a passenger who was a pilot remarked as the plane went down the runway that there was something wrong. The MD82 plane veered into a dry river bed just after take-off from Madrid’s Barajas airport. It then broke up and burst into flames, setting light to surrounding vegetation. Experts had to use DNA analysis, fingerprints and dental information to identify some of the badly burned bodies. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said last week that was the main reason why the identification process was taking longer than expected. Reporting to Parliament last Thursday, Development Minister Magdalena Alvarez said Spanair had considered switching the aircraft at the last minute after the flight had been delayed for about an hour because of a problem with an air temperature gauge. She said Spanair “told the airport control centre that it had decided to continue with the plane, which is the one that crashed”. A Spanair spokesman said the company had at no time considered changing planes but had merely told the control centre that another plane was available if necessary. According to the newspaper El Pais, sources close to the inquiry have said the plane may have lacked sufficient engine power during take-off. The paper reported that video footage showed the plane travelled much further along the runway than normal before getting airborne. The government has promised a full investigation into the crash, which is the country’s worst air accident in 25 years.


1 September, 2008

A survey by El Mundo newspaper has shown that almost 90% of Spaniards do not think they would be getting bargain if the Spanish government gave Melilla and Ceuta to the Morocco in exchange for Gibraltar. Just over 70% said two cities are as Spanish as any on the mainland, and 5% said they should be handed over to Morocco.


1 September, 2008

The more than 200,000 owners whose homes in the Valencia region are in danger of being demolished under the Coasts Law have said they are going to stop keeping up their mortgage payments and will send all their money to foreign banks if the government in Madrid does not do something to help them. The president of the National Platform for People affected by the Coasts Law (Pnalc), Carmen del Amo said it made no sense to carry on paying for a house that is going to be demolished. She said Spanish banks, many of which are currently suffering a liquidity crisis, will be badly hit if the Platform’s members carry out their threat. Some 85% of those affected are Spanish, while the remaining 15% are British or German. The Coasts Law was passed in 1988 to stop construction close to beaches which was destroying the country’s coastlines. However, very little effort was made to enforce it until last year, when Environment Minister Cristina Narbona began what the members of the Platform call her “crusade” against them. Last July, the Platform took the case to the European Parliament’s Petitions Commission which has called for an investigation. The law affects not only private homes but hotels, restaurants and a variety of businesses.


1 September, 2008

Increasing numbers of disgruntled bank clients are deciding that enough is enough, and are taking steps to make banks explain all those little commission charges which keep popping up in their statements. As one client said: “Who’s going to make a fuss about such small sums?” It’s an attitude the banks have been able to take advantage of, until recently. A spokesman for the Spanish Confederation of Consumers and Users (CECU) said more and more people are now taking on the banks. One Madrid businessman has managed to force a bank to reimburse €27 when it couldn’t tell him exactly why he had been charged that amount. The CECU spokesman said complaints against banks doubled last year, when the Bank of Spain ordered banks to return €1.43 million that they had charged “unduly”. Those small sums add up, said the CECU spokesman, and why should consumers help to make banks even richer.


1 September, 2008

An official EU study, released last Tuesday, shows that Europeans will begin their long foreseen demographic decline – when deaths exceed births – in just seven years’ time and that some rural areas – notably in Poland, Bulgaria, Eastern Germany, northern Spain and southern Italy – would empty out completely. The report does not explore the reasons for differences in European fertility, but it does hint at the profound economic and social changes likely to unfold during the next half century, as the proportion of older people grows steadily. The document did not spell out these likely shifts, but they could include reduced funding for schools, heavy burdens on welfare and social security systems, and perhaps even a political push for much larger immigration, which is currently deeply out of favour with most European voters. According to the report, Germany will lose its status as Europe’s most populous nation and several East European nations will experience a sharp drop in numbers, with populations shrinking by a quarter or more. By contrast Cyprus, Ireland and Luxembourg would all boost their numbers by at least half. The report said immigration would not, on current trends, make up the shortfall in the working age population. EU officials stressed that the European projections should be treated with caution because they assume current trends continue and that there is no change of policy to deal with the looming demographic crisis. But for Europeans the economic implications of an aging population are stark. The Eurostat report says that in 2008, in the EU’s 27 nations, “there are four persons of working age (15-64 years old) for every person aged 65 years or over”. In 2060 “the ratio is expected to be two to one.” Amelia Torres, a European Commission spokeswoman, said the EU needed to stabilize its finances, increase employment and make structural reforms related to pensions. Last week, German researchers from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development said that without immigration, the EU’s population will shrink to 447 million by 2050.


25 August, 2008

More than 11,300 people in Malaga province are using the Equality and Social Wellbeing’s home assistance service, out of a total of just over 75,000 people in Andalucia as a whole. Figures show that eight out of ten people who have the “panic button” are over 75, 82% are women and two thirds live alone. The service started a year ago when the Law to Promote Personal Autonomy and Attention to People in a Situation of Dependence came into force. More details about the service are available on 902 50 65 65, at the Provincial Delegation of Social Wellbeing in Malaga or on the web page


25 August, 2008

The president of the Partido Popular in Andalucia, Javier Arenas, called last week for a wage freeze for all civil servants in the region, and a reduction of provincial delegates from 110 to 65. His plan to save the Junta de Andalucia €8.5 million a year also included reducing the Junta’s councillors from 15 to 11. He accused the Junta of “sailing in a sea of opulence” at a time when 24 people lost their jobs in Andalucia every day. He said Junta president Manuel Chaves “deserved a gold medal for wasting money”.


18 August, 2008

So much for those pessimists who claim that printed newspapers are on the way out. The latest survey by El Mundo newspaper in its “30 years of Democracy” series shows that a third of Spaniards trust their newspapers more than television or the Internet. However, over 75% said the media in general is pro-government and more than 80% said the media were only interested in getting larger audiences or increasing their circulation. Give with one hand, take away with the other!


18 August, 2008

The so-called Baby Cheque of €1,500 for each child born after July 1st last year has already spawned an Association of Families discriminated against by the Baby Cheque Law. One paragraph in the Baby Cheque Law which did not get much publicity was the one that excluded children born to Spanish fathers and foreign mothers who have lived less than two years in Spain, even though the children will have Spanish nationality. The Association’s spokesman, José Luis Gil, said: “it should be called the Mama Cheque because it does not take into account the father or the child. According to the National Statistics Institute, just over 25,300 children born last year had foreign mothers and Spanish fathers, and Sr Gil estimated that some 15,000 families could be adversely affected by the Baby Cheque Law. He said the Association has already collected nearly 250 complaints but was being given the run-around: “The Equality ministry sends us to Education, Education sends us to the Labour ministry, where they tell us it’s a tax matter.”


18 August, 2008

Volunteers from the Madrid-based animal shelter, El Refugio, have just completed a 3,500-km-long tour of the beaches of Santander, Barcelona, Valencia and Cadiz, accompanied by 14 dogs, in an effort to convince local authorities to set aside areas for people and their pets. Currently the vast majority of beaches are no-go areas for canines, but a recent survey indicated that just over half of beachgoers are not bothered by the presence of well-behaved dogs whose owners clean up after them, and many in fact complain that they can’t take Fido with them when they go on holiday. One person surveyed pointed out that humans dirty the beaches more than dogs do, with their beer and soft drinks cans, cigarette ends and left-overs from meals and snacks. On the whole, the group reported that they had been well-received in most places except in a beach in Barceloneta, Barcelona, where the Guardia Urbana were called in to expel them. The group also took advantage of their tour to remind local authorities of their responsibilities to abandoned animals under the Animal Rights Laws which have been passed in most of the country’s 17regions. The group is currently seeking support for its plan to ask the regional governments to adopt a single law to replace the existing 17. For example, only Catalonia prohibits putting down animals for which homes can’t be found. It is also the only region that wants an outright ban on bullfighting. The group said that last year 15,000 animals were abandoned in Madrid alone. In all, 109,000 dogs and 24,000 cats were rescued last year throughout Spain.


4 August, 2008

Figures show that the Basque regional government has spent €126 million euros so far this year – 4% more than last year – on promoting the Basque language when only 11.5% of the population speak it as their first language. The number of Basque speakers rose slightly between 2001 and 2006 but according to the company that carried out the survey, the Basque government’s determination to impose the use of Basque in all government offices, hospitals and other public buildings, has created a rejection effect. A company spokesman said people are studying the language because they are being forced to do so, but they don’t use it. Another problem is that there are several dialects which the Basque regional government has merged into one known as Batua, and many of the older people don’t understand it. The spokesman said: “You can’t go against the fact that we already have a communication tool, which is Spanish, a language that we all speak.”