Monday, 28 July 2014

Why does everybody try to sell everything? Is it because they can, or is it just out of sheer greed?

The supermarkets have been at it now for a long time. Once one of the big ones diversified away from their core grocery business, the rest followed.

We seem to have long-since accepted that the big supermarkets sell clothes, white goods, brown goods, magazines, greeting cards, crockery, gifts, in fact you name it, they sell it.

Originally, and to a degree still representing a good deal for the consumer - apart from their fake special offers that they always claim when exposed on the TV consumer programmes as an “error” – it would be more acceptable if they didn’t kill the local high streets and suburbs with their total unethical, and at times, dishonest attitude to the small local business.

But this can be partially explained by lack of reality and short-sighted councils who just see these metro supermarkets as reliable businesses that can and will stump up premium business rates, month-in, month-out, without question. Despite it being we the residents who pay these councils their wages.

And the National lottery is not much better, often granting these metros a lottery terminal even though they may open within 100 yards of a local newsagent who already has a terminal, yet who faces ruin by the metro supermarket’s unwanted presence.

It was interesting to see an organisation from the most untrustworthy sector in the UK as I write this, a bank, (this particular one being the one with three scandals behind it and another one on the boil) running a campaign offering one of their 7,000 digital eagles to “help Roy set up a facebook page, post a video and collect subs for walking football”.

This, at a time when there is a huge campaign to get this particular bank to stop promoting tax havens in Africa!

And bearing in mind the heartache and trouble all the banks landed the UK and its residents with as a result of their cavalier actions since 2007-08 - the repercussions from which are still being felt today - should banks perhaps concentrate more on cleaning up their act and just provide core banking services?

PPI, interest swops, LIBOR rigging, currency rigging are all still rumbling on in the industry. Perhaps cutting bonuses and to cease pretending they need to pay the outrageous salaries they continue to do under the falsehood of “paying to attract the best”.  

Just look where banks “paying for the best” has got the UK over the past seven years! Nowhere fast.

Banks should stop twee, unbelievable advertising that attempts to infer they are squeaky clean and forthright, because they are not. Very far from it.

Banks are foul, dishonest, untrustworthy pirates, and a key target for nationalisation if ever there was one. They are so plainly incapable of running their own sector, either honestly or properly.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Very stupid Facebook quizzes

If I sent you this graphic in an email to promote my business, you’d possibly think I was either mad, or of extremely low intelligence.

What’s more, with some of the acknowledged great cities of the world not having the letter “A” in their name – London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing, Delhi, Mexico City, Toronto, Moscow, Edinburgh, Berlin, Rome, Boston  - I could go on – you really would question the use of this at all, apart from irritation that I sent it to your in-box in the first place.

At the time I wrote this, it had been doing the rounds on facebook courtesy of Power 95.3 Radio, with the statement “This one is hard” (I'd hate to see something they class as easy) added by the social network manager at the station.

It had received no fewer than 260,000 ‘comments’ and, believe it or not, 30,000 ‘likes’ – that’s over a quarter of a million people reached, many presumably of average or better intelligence, who thought it worthy of sharing this nonsense with others. Others who had presumably never heard of London, New York, Tokyo, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Moscow, Sydney, Rome or Berlin.

With all those shares and  likes, comes the accolade of a message achieving viral status.  This does not take into account the number of people who will have seen it and not passed comment because they didn't want to be seen by their peers as having the IQ of a house brick.

It is an altogether remarkable achievement. That something so intrinsically stupid, worthless and a total insult to average intelligence, together with a totally puerile opinion on its difficulty, could be seen and be passed on by so many people.

Yes, OK, it has worked for them. It's given Power 95.3 some free, but not especially great, publicity, although in my eyes, if this is seen as a very hard challenge, I dread to think what the conversation of the presenters on the radio station might be like. Probably monosyllabic apart from the odd "hello inmates" now and again.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately sit down either alone, or with your ‘creative team’ (your dog and a bowl of fruit) and spend several hours trying to think up something totally stupid that you think will be passed along and guarantee you immense free publicity!

They've blown it all sky-high, without a reason why .....

The opening chorus lines of the first song the pop group I was in played in public when I was at college. A one-hit wonder by a group called Jigsaw I believe, if memory serves me right.

But I digress.

Being chased and nagged by a company to buy their goods or services really is irritating. It’s similar to when you open your email to find a “Dear Beneficiary” scam email from one of the tens of thousands of sons or daughters of the Nigerian Oil Ambassador who has picked you, from one of 65 million Britons, as fitting to receive $12million absolutely free.

I receive a physical piece of mail from Sky once a fortnight. Not to mention the pieces that fall out of the supplements and into the bin (recycle of course) from the Sunday Times every week.

While I have their phone and broadband services (please note that other suppliers are available, not that I would touch some of them with a barge pole), I elected not to bother with their TV.

I felt that it was more cost effective to watch dreadful programming and rotten repeats via Freeview. This would save my time by limiting the number of extra satellite stations of dreadful programming and rotten repeats I had to trawl through before giving up altogether and Chromecasting an instructional DIY video or concert from YouTube instead.

But the Sky mail keeps coming. Asking me to return. Telling me what I am missing. And making every offer they can to try and entice me back.

Aside from my primary reason as above for not taking satellite TV in the first place, their constant mailing has made me think about this, albeit quite negatively.

1.       Are they that desperate for customers?
2.       If I did take them up on their offer, what better offer might I miss by not waiting until the following week’s mailing or piece of rubbish to fall out of the Sunday Times
3.       They keep offering me sport programming either at a next to nothing or free addition. I do not like sport on TV (apart from athletics) and have absolutely no interest in football whatsoever (and have told them so on several occasions)
4.       I have the inconvenience of having to shred everything they send, because it contains my address and Sky account number.

So I really don’t know why they keep sending me stuff without trying to find out why, after approximately 30 pieces of direct mail, I have not already leaped at their magnanimous offerings.