The Consumer Category
We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
The David Bowie shower curtain.
Buy yours at Fine Art America
Would you buy fish from a door-to-door salesman? To Lancashire, where Marion and Alan Johnson, aged 85 and 88, agreed to buy £24 of fish from a man on their doorstep.
Marion explains what occurred:
“We had just been to the doctor’s and I wasn’t very well. When the men called, we just wanted £24 worth of fish and I asked him to put it in the kitchen as I sat in the living room. I paid on card but when they left and we walked in the kitchen I’d never seen as much fish in my life. I checked the receipt and we’d been scammed, paying £204. The fish wasn’t even labelled so we didn’t know what type it was.
“We didn’t have anywhere to store it so we had to go out and buy another freezer to store it. We ate some of it but then saw on Facebook people were saying it wasn’t safe to eat. There’s now just have loads of fish we don’t know what to do with and we feel really dumb because we fell for it.”
The scammers are swine. But the pat about the couple going out and buying a new freezer to store their unwanted fish in puts the tin lid on the story.
Paul Noone, head of Trading Standards for Lancashire County Council, advises: “The best place to buy fish is from a local fishmonger at an established shop or stall or from a regular local roundsman. You are taking a risk by buying on the doorstep from an unknown trader as this fish may be of poor quality, misdescribed, or overcharged. We are currently investigating cheap fish sold as sea bass, farmed salmon sold as wild, short-weight sales, and Preston cases where a vulnerable lady paid £404 for seven packs of fish, and a retired couple paid £360 for a bag of unlabelled fish.”
frozen cold callers.
See more photos of the great artist Frida Kahlo experimenting with the fluidity of gender on Flashbak.
You can own a map of Middle-Earth annotated by Tolkien. Some lucky so-and-so found the map slipped inside a copy of Lord of the Rings. It’s yours for £60,000.
It shows what Blackwell’s called “the exacting nature” of Tolkien’s creative vision: he corrects place names, provides extra ones, and gives Baynes a host of suggestions about the map’s various flora and fauna. Hobbiton, he notes, “ is assumed to be approx at latitude of Oxford”; Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.
The novelist also uses Belgrade, Cyprus, and Jerusalem as other reference points, and according to Blackwell’s suggests that “the city of Ravenna is the inspiration behind Minas Tirith – a key location in the third book of the Lord of The Rings trilogy”.
“The map shows how completely obsessed he was with the details. Anyone else interfered at their peril,” said Sian Wainwright at Blackwell’s. “He was tricky to work with, but very rewarding in the end.”
He also drew these maps:
The many faces of David Bowie by Helen Green:
In China you can buy a Nazi figuring that looks like Manchester United’s German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Yeah, that’s what we thought: who in China buys Nazi figurines? This one costs HK$958 (£80).
Schweinsteiger is upset enough to set his lawyers on the Hong Kong-based company, makers of ‘Bastian’, the one-sixth lifesize doll. They say it’s pure coincidence the doll looks like him. all Germans look the same, see.
“We have no figure which is based on a football player,” Patrick Chan tells Bild (not to be confused with the Vőlkischer Beobachter). “It was pure coincidence that the ‘Bastian’ figure looks like Schweinsteiger. The figure is based on the typical German. We believe that all Germans look like this.”
They do. Stick this one in a dress and it’s Heidi Klum.
Adidas know their market when it comes to flogging footy gear to the new fans. The firm’s new line of retro Manchester United kit includes the ‘1985 track jacket’. For a mere £65 the jacket goes well with the Chelsea sweatpants.
Lou Reed wasn’t everyone’s best pal. A new biography by Howard Sounes labels Reed a racist, a sexist and a wife-beater. Reed was a man “with so little personal charm he would be regularly discharged from private gatherings.
“I loved his music, but you have to go where the story goes. The obituaries were a bit too kind, he was really a very unpleasant man. A monster really; I think truly the word monster is applicable.”
The Squatty Potty is a $28 footstool that slides under your toilet. You use it by squatting on the toilet. This, we are assured, is the best way to take a dump.
To illustrate this marvel, the,Squatty Potty hired a unicorn who had sworn off piles.
In 1942, GIs in England were given a handbook. It instructed the visitors how to behave and consider their hosts. Fast forward to 2015, and Scott Waters, a 66-year-old from St Augustine, Florida, is on his fourth trip to England for the fourth time. He went on Facebook and wrote his own guide:
There are no guns. No quite. there are guns. It’s just that they not a rite of passage. And you have to wonder where he went to find no mixer taps? And the trick with trains is not to rely on them. But, still, nice one, Scott.
Inappropriate toy of the day: the 3D Magic toy (and not a butt plug).
Jasemin Stephenson says she never order 800 rounds of 9mm ammunition for Toys R Us. She only wanted the Minecraft Foam Diamond Sword. But when the order arrived to her Virginia Beach, Virginia, home, the free ammo was with the sword.
“It is very shocking. You are ordering from a Toys “R” Us store, you don’t expect to get ammo in a box of toys.”
Well, not with a foam and diamond sword, no:
Happy Traveler “all Natural” calming chews reduces your nervous or anxious cat or dog. What’s in this “all-natural herbal calming formula for stressed, nervous, or anxious pets?” And where can we get some?
St. Johns Wort
Female masturbation is presented as a good thing. Men who toss off are, well, tossers but in the mainstream media dildos and all manner of devices are symbols of female emancipation. And now there is the Womanizer. Yeah, there’s a masturbation aid named after a man who uses women.
And get a load of those adverts. Only young, fit women use the vibro toss:
Use the womanizer® for orgasmic stimulations – alone or together with your partner, on the go or at home. You will always experience a novel feeling of lust – persistent and intense.
On the go?
Women witness waves of ecstasy which cause moments of absolute loss of control. The womanizer lets your body quiver with excitement.
Use on the go? But first check no-one’s stood behind you on the escalator (and your laces are done up).
For $70 that’s less than you pay your Mexican gardener, right? – you can buy a saucy Donald Trump outfit. What straight, red-blooded American male doesn’t look at Trump and think, ‘Boy, I’d sure like to make sweet love to him but I don’t wannabe a gay’? Well , now you guys can get a woman to play the Don and make real your sexual fantasy.
CNBC has more.
According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Monday, political costumes tied for 10th place in its annual top costume list for adults (though this likely wasn’t what they had in mind).“As we’ve seen for several years, Hollywood and pop culture both have a tremendous impact on how adults and their children decide to dress the part each Halloween, and it’s evident some of the biggest newsmakers of the year will be out in full force this fall,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin is a man for hire. Anyone seeking mates and funsters for a Stag Do can hire the former children’s telly entertainer:
He’s been at the top of his game since he first burst energetically onto the screen in Swap Shop and remains one of the nation’s favourite stars.
DJ, presenter, host, actor singer and raconteur, Cheggers is one of life’s natural performers and a top bloke to have as part of your stag party. His boundless energy, quick fire gags and fearless attitude make him the perfect guest at any gathering. He also has a reputation as something of a party animal and will fit in happily as ‘one of the lads’.
Why? It’s utterly bizarre, no? I love star spotting. If saw Cheggers in the supermarket or pub I’d nudge whoever I was with are invite them to share my enthusiasm. But to actually have him come over and sit with you, play games and lark about is weird and desperate. It might work if you all get Keith Chegwin masks, including him.
You decide your activity, tell us your destination and we’ll check availability to include Cheggers as a surprise guest to join in one of our great stag challenges such as;
Clay Pigeon Shooting
You can line up for action alongside this TV icon and set Cheggers as you [sic] target of excellence, those that score more than Keith or post a faster time are safe, but anyone who gets beaten by Keith has to pay a Stag Forfeit.
Beaten By Keith. Now there’s a Stag Do TV-shirt. As for Keith’s own love-life, you can see his wedding to Maggie Phibin here. It ended in divorce.
If you ordered zebra and received horse, would you notice? Is the marbling different – the zebra being the more stripy meat? Watford’s Steakhouse eatery has been fined £4,000 after steaks it served as “zebra” and “wildebeest” turned out to be horse and venison.
The Standard says food inspectors “noticed a ticket in relation to their order which read; ‘1 venison, chips and salad; 1 horse, chips and salad” with no reference to either zebra or wildebeest, St Albans Magistrates’ Court heard.”
No horse meat featured on the menu. But 22kg of horse meat was in the restaurant’s freezer.
Sir Alex Ferguson today “reveals the real reason for his retirement as Manchester United manager” to the Daily Telegraph. It’s an “exclusive“. But really it’s just part of Fergie’s marketing for his new book, Leading. And is the news a revelation? Not really, no.
Sir Alex Ferguson would have stayed on as the most successful manager in English football history, but for the death of his wife Cathy’s twin sister, Bridget Robertson, which persuaded him to retire to be by her side.
Says the great manager:
“I definitely would have carried on. I saw she [Lady Cathy Ferguson] was watching television one night, and she looked up at the ceiling. I knew she was isolated. “Her and Bridget were twins, you know?… When I told her this time I was going to retire she had no objection whatsoever. I knew she wanted me to do it.”
And that’s it.
In his last autobiography, Sir Alex told readers why he left Manchester United:
The seeds of my decision to step down had been planted in the winter of 2012. Around Christmas- time the thought became sharp and clear in my head: ‘I’m going to retire.’ ‘Why are you going to do that?’ Cathy said. ‘Last season, losing the title in the last game, I can’t take another one like that,’ I told her. ‘I just hope we can win the League this time and reach the Champions League or FA Cup final. It would be a great ending.’ Cathy, who had lost her sister Bridget in October, and was struggling to come to terms with that bereavement, soon agreed it was the right course. Her take was that if I wanted to do other things with my life I would still be young enough.
Contractually I was obliged to notify the club by 31 March if I was going to stand down that summer. By coincidence David Gill had called me one Sunday in February and asked if he could come to see me at home. A Sunday afternoon? ‘I bet he’s resigning as chief executive,’ I said. ‘Either that or you’re getting sacked,’ Cathy said. David’s news was that he would be standing down as chief executive at the end of the season. ‘Bloody hell, David,’ I said. And I told him that I had reached the same decision. In the days that followed, David rang to tell me to expect a call from the Glazers. When it came I assured Joel Glazer that my decision had nothing to do with David relinquishing day-to-day control. My mind had been made up over Christmas, I told him. I explained the reasons. Cathy’s sister dying in October had changed our lives. Cathy felt isolated. Joel understood. We agreed to meet in New York, where he tried to talk me out of retiring. I told him I appreciated the effort he was making and thanked him for his support. He expressed his gratitude for all my work. With no prospect of a change in my thinking, the discussion turned to who might replace me.
One great difficulty, in the days around the announcement, was telling the staff at Carrington, our training ground. I particularly remember mentioning the changes in my life and Cathy’s sister dying, and hearing a sympathetic, ‘Aaah.’
Not quite the revelation it’s billed as, then.
To Tesco , where a marketing wag has replaced the usual product information guff with rare insight and wit.
Malbec wine is: ‘Full of tangy clagnuts with a smooth hint of disco and funk. Great with Jaffa Cakes. Taste guide: Studio 54.’