Spoiler Alert!!! This is one hell of a rant….

I am going to try very hard whilst I write this to refrain from using profanity, not raise my blood pressure to the point of giving me an embolism, despite the fact that I nearly had one earlier this afternoon. And to try and get this rant out as articulately as possible…which will be helped (hopefully) with a few glasses of wine. I need the wine or at least the alcohol content in it to calm my nerves and get this out.

Now, if you are awake or have been reading my Blogs, then the following paragraph is going to bore you shitless as I repeat an obvious tin foil hat statement (that by accounts in present day is rather looking like an “I/we told you so”. But there are still a huge amount of people ‘out there’ that have no clue or inclination as to what is going on and what we are facing in the future. So this is for my new readers (the few I gain with each post).

Without going into detail here, we are being threatened and promoted to go forward into a digital way of future life and part of this plan will be to eradicate cash. Already we are seeing many well known companies adopting the technology that is supposedly and sold to us (the peasants) to make our lives easier. Tescos are now looking at using facial recognition as a means to pay for your food and goods at their supermarkets. Apple Pay and digital wallets are already proving the popularity of this lazy, convenient way to purchase goods. Buying online, ordering food to be delivered to your door – online and paying for it – online. As we continue to support this, our need for cash will become obsolete eventually; as you will end up having to order your ambulance –online, to order the crane – online, to peel your fat arse off the sofa to get you into hospital for your monthly jab of Covid and monkeypox drugs or whatever the next pandemic BS they will create after that (with the prescription and booking of said drug addiction appointment made – online).

Which reminds me of a children’s movie that came out about 10 or more years ago called WALLIE. This cute little Bot roamed around on his own on heaps of trash left behind by filthy humans to fall in love with a wandering alien Bot. Somehow he ended up on a cruise ship in space surrounded by fat, lazy, privileged humans that flew around in back to the future style air armchairs, ordering anything they desired from the consul. That is the part of the movie that I remember…..and when I first saw it laughed at the insight of what the future human would be like. It was genius! It was also a very ugly portrayal of what the human potential could become. The horrific part is that some of us are already there, even if space travel isn’t available to us yet.

But this idea of a cashless society is being forced upon us, whether you realise its happening or notice the big changes that are making cash more inaccessible (such as bank branches rapidly closing and the push to have apps on the phone to deal with all your banking needs), because it is…and if you really pay attention we are in this in-between phase of it being phased out…and if you haven’t noticed, then pay attention to everything you do after reading this. The human element to solving your human problems is getting harder by the day.

My warming you up to my rant is my warning on how we are being phased into this digital framework and how cash is being surreptitiously erased from our lives. And already there are problems, big fucking problems, that will only get worse. And control is one part of the nuance of this new fashionable forward techno advanced society we are merging into.

And now I will (long windily get to the point)!

As many of you know I live on an island, I am in the hospitality business and have two very fine properties which I rent out for tourism. This is my foundation business as I do/did (until recently) a lot of other stuff. I have been in this trade for some 13 years and when I started out, it was a very human experience, and a business that was conducted on a model that has worked for hundreds of years. And it sounds old fashioned now as I will explain it.

I started out roughly at the same time that Airbnb launched their new business which was on Facebook when that was in its infancy. It was a really good idea and I joined and it took off. I was happy with the way their model worked as they were very much in support of the owner/host and offered a better rate to most of the other companies that were around. I used at that time, holiday rentals UK, Homelidays and a few lesser known names, which have now all joined one big company known as VRBO. I had a very bad 6 month stint with Booking.com later on and will not touch that company with a barge pole, but the point being the other companies I dealt with were fair with their advertising costs and I was in control of my business.

And the control I had was that all these sites would bring me clients, because I would pay for an advert on a yearly basis. I could set up my own rental nightly rate, terms of conditions and deposit value and time line of payments…with the most important part of this being that I was directly dealing with the client and dealing with the money. Back then, if a client cancelled within 6 weeks before their arrival they lost the deposit, as back then people would book some 3 months in advance of their designated holiday slot. Back then I had zero cancellations.

But as these companies grew, so did their greed and so did their disappearance of allegiance to the people that gave them that business to start with. And the bigger companies came in and saw the global potential of huge profits and swooped up all those little companies. So now, dealing with those same names who are now owned by one big organisation, I still pay for one property for the annual advert and with the other I pay a higher rate on commission for the pay by client booking BUT I now don’t get any say with any policy on cancellations, receive no booking deposits and pay more in commission fees, I pay 3% and more on the credit card transaction the client pays for booking with me that automatically gets paid to the company, and I don’t receive payment until AFTER the guest has arrived! I have NO control over MY business and over the years I have been phased into and at the mercy of the big corporation that took over all the individual companies that had an ethic I agreed with. They now control me completely and I as a host have no power over a client who will complain at the slightest thing who will be issued an immediate refund, having had the goods already. Plus that booking company get paid both ways …but the supplier gets left in the mud. That’s me.

But thankfully this isn’t a problem all the time as I am a premium host with VRBO and a super host with airbnb, which in another world is BS as well as that is all based on your booking and enquiry performance which they can rate if you tow their line by replying to your enquiries within a certain time frame (assuming you live on a computer all day) if you miss that timeline deadline your points rating declines and your score goes down as a host. You then get penalised by this and your listing is moved further down the page.

What a great way to whack the pony that makes you money!

Quite simply we are being conditioned and threatened by the way, that if we dont respond to an enquiry in a given time frame, we are penalised and then pushed to the back of the queue. If we perform and earn the points, we are rewarded with a higher ranking metric that then means our advertisement is seen at a better level than the other monkeys like me who didn’t pull their finger out. And I pay them for the fucking advert and the commissions for every booking and the credit card fees of the client and I get paid last. I am now that person who is not in control and am governed by a company that dictates to me my own business…and if I faulted with their rules, I am penalised. There is something VERY WroNg WITH THIS. And yet this is exactly what everything will be like in the future.

They call it incentives.

They call it rewards.

They call the shots now.

We keep hearing of the Chinese system and yet for me, I see my business being pushed into that way already and has been for a few years. I have been forced into using a global corporate power to continue it, because they gobbled up all the independents and then trashed the very fabric of the way it worked, for a faceless entity that is computerised and modelled on scores and ranking. The human element has been removed.

So, maybe this is why I am so resistant to the BS of the last two years as I have been frustrated already before all of you over a move in a sample of what life is to become? And I am only just getting started with my rant in this field of business!

Right now VRBO owe me a staggering sum of 12,101.34 euros.

I have clients arriving next week worth just shy of 1000 euros for their booking. I am about to make their holiday turn into the disaster from hell as I’m going to cancel them if this is not resolved by tomorrow.

Can you believe that this problem has been ongoing for the last 6 months? I bet half of you are wondering why I continued to honour the bookings in the last 6 months and I’ll tell you why I did.

I am not in control, I have to abide by their ranking metrics and respond during a given time. I have been promised a resolution to the payment problems and told it takes 10-14 days to resolve with each request and complaint I’ve made. Madeira has suddenly gone nuts in bookings, all within a few weeks ahead. I have never in the 13 years of this business had last minute bookings on a short time frame. I believed the company would resolve the payment issue as I never had an issue over payment before now. I got busy, I had to fly back to Uk a few times in the last 6 months…life gets in the way. I am chasing them all the time. They never say hey, we’ve got your coffers building up into our account, how can we pay you!

And today the fuckety fuck fuck came with my what seems like the 100th call to them over this.

And if you want to beleive that getting rid of cash or relying on a payment system to work on the internet will make your life easier then you are a fool. If I drop dead tomorrow from a stress induced heart attack I hope you will all take part in a class action suit against every embodiment that advertises that this is the future and way to move forward with our lives. The VRBO debt to me is at the behest of the very technology they want to promote and have you entangled into because they say it is easier. FCUK that. It’s the complete opposite.

In December last year I received a complicated booking. The family that rented my house through VRBO booked it for half the amount of people that were staying in it. (another thing that customers have cottoned onto and can bypass with this is to book for a certain number of people and then pitch up with more). And this is a problem when you pitch a price based on a minimum person occupancy. So to simplify, if you want to book my 5 bedroom villa that overlooks the Funchal harbour, has a beautiful garden, view point and is detached……for two people to have that space is cheaper than if 5 people want that space. The price reflects the number of people in occupancy which accounts for the extra linens required and resources used, so it is a scaled pricing – which is the norm! This couple wanted double the number of occupants, but halved the number to book, bacuse they took it for a month and those people were coming at differing times. I could have been an arsehole and insisted on full payment, but I met them half way and let the booking go ahead. They, after their trip had the ordacity to ask for a partial refund after they stayed stating they had over paid because half of their tribe didn’t end up coming to stay there because of Covid. I still haven’t been paid by VRBO for that stay over the most sought after dates in the calendar of Christmas and New year.

Two weeks ago I had a similar situation with a booking of Spaniards, that when I offered to organise their taxi to collect them from the airport did it come out that there were more people coming than booked with the disgust at me for pointing out the surcharge for the extra person that they would be bringing with them. I had to rally around them when they arrived making up an extra room. They were rude and treated me like I was some subservient cleaning lady, but when they realised I was the owner they became less threatening. I was plagued with calls the following day when not one of their group could fathom out how to turn on the hob for their breakfast. I was about to get in the car and drive 35 km’s to go turn the fucking thing on for them when I got a message back saying they had sussed it. They had demanded I go there and replace the unit as they said it didn’t work and was broken.

We have a saying, when on holiday tourists leave their brains at home.

I digress. I have not been paid for their stay either or the previous guests that have stayed since December. It costs me money to host. I have laundry, lots of laundry, a gardener and help as I have two properties and sometimes people arrive on the same day in both places and I cant be in both places at the same time. So I have costs and lots of them to make this business run. Water, electctic and I pay a huge lump sum each year for insurance on both properties . I also have to pay a company each year to check and ensure that the fire extinguishers are legit along with the fire/smoke alarms and first aid kit comply with the laws…I pay a higher rate of property tax, water and electricity because it is a holiday rental. I have incurred 6 months of running costs for a business I run, but I haven’t been paid yet. And to add insult to injury this business woke up after 2 years of fuck all because of Covid crap and I am one of the few that has been able to jump back into it, as many didn’t this year which has further pressured the island with the lack of availably in all things…accommodation, car hire, restaurant staff etc etc etc.

So why, I bet you’re asking, why are you still doing this when you haven’t been paid? I use airbnb as well, so its swings and round abouts. I uploaded the same info to them and had no problem and the payments come through so the income from the other site has been carrying VRBO who hasn’t paid and has enabled me to continue, plus each person who works for VRBO that is seemingly most helpful and promises to resolve the issue buys them more fob off time. But let’s get back to VRBO. I’ve been chasing their arses for the last 6 months when I had to update my business details in January to their site according to new rules over a new thing called ‘Know your client’. Apparently this is a new law designed to eliminate any hint of money laundering or making money at all that isn’t declared. I read that these companies actually have no right within the law to require this information, however I have nothing to hide and tried to update the information they required. They already had it on record and this was meant to be an affirmation that I was who I said I was to continue with the payment schedule. But eerily the website developed some glitches. The pages wouldn’t load and for weeks both ends (host and guest) couldn’t write more than 2 sentences or the send button wouldn’t work. I went through the enormous task in January of ringing the UK number to go through their myriad of automated options, to either get cut off mid way through and have to repeat the process several times to actually get through. Then that person who I spoke to eventually is not in the Uk at all, but working from home in India using their headphones and laptop to tell me they have a case number and will forward it on the appropriate department. And this is pretty much how the last 6 months have gone by…. I call the Uk number and speak to an Indian person, get a new case number and a promise, then a week later I call again and speak to someone in America and get the same response and promise, Last week I have no idea what county that chap I spoke to was in, but it was a difficult call as his TV was in the back ground at such a loud volume that didn’t even drown out his kids. Earlier this week I was in America and today I was in St Lucia. Each time I call, they go into the system and into my dashboard and there is a different reason given that I haven’t uploaded some part of the information and each time I am screaming at them back, they have it all!

I AM BEING TOLD IT IS MY FAULT!

And then today, which will attribute to my death tonight (don’t buy it that I over drank on the wine), whilst on the phone today to the latest rep in St Lucia, I checked my account and was horrified that all the pending payments of the last 6 months had been wiped. After the long hold she had put me on, I told her to check my dashboard and she said, are you sure you are owed money? There are no pending payments in your account! So like that on their computer system, suddenly 12,000 euros has been scrubbed from my account and reset to last July.

I have no words…I feel sick.

I pleaded with this Carribean woman to give me a number of some one in authority, some one who worked in a building that housed a human being that worked for VRBO…and she couldn’t. All she could give me was another fucking case number and promise…and I got another fucking automated email that said contact VRBO as your account has been suspended and will no longer release payments. This is a forever loop of crap that has no end in sight and cannot be resolved. Because that is the system we have with VRBO but is in my view a mirror of what is to become more of in the future with everything else.

I’ve just lost 12 grand to a corporation that is so big it doesn’t even have an office……. and now go back to my rant on digital nomads, because that’s where this all falls apart. We are in that phasing out mode and NOW IS THE TIME to ReSIST. Because if we allow THIS to take over our old way of human business dealings and switch over to tech as we are now being herded toward, heart attacks won’t be feasible to being blamed on climate change (cos they can’t admit to the fucking jab being the cause of that epidemic or the dizziness of sudden adult death syndrome)…but I’ll have my heart attack now as 12 grand got wiped out of my account today and there is no human around that can look into this. And this is acceptable. Along with the vaccine injured, the kids that are being pushed to change gender along with the discussion that no one can describe what a woman is…POINT BEING….every single attribute of normality has been fucked with…..and there is no one to look to anymore. Ethics and Morals are gone. The human race is rotten to the core. I want no part of this new world order.