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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.

This is how you sell a house – just ask the T-Rex

This is definitely the way to sell a house. Just ask the T-Rex, if you don’t believe me…

Trex house Texas

The blurb on the home in Granbury, TX:

Charming 2 bed 1 bath lake house comes fully furnished. Enjoy a great lake side view with room to fish and play outside. 2 storage buildings, 2 car carport, indoor fireplace, screened in patio, 2 porches, a deck. Community has its own boat slip just around the corner. All furniture, dishes, and appliances stay with the property!

Trex house Texas

Trex house Texas

Trex house Texas

Trex house Texas

Trex house Texas

Spotter: Realtor, Paul Gallagher

Posted: 24th, July 2018 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


The Aubergene Revolution – Cheltenham protests over lack of veg at Tescos

The normally staid – even respectable – town of Cheltenham is apparently in uproar over the lack of aubergines for sale in the town’s Tesco supermarket. To the point of, whisper it softly, actual complaints out loud and even tweets. Thus, to follow the Orange Revolution in Ukraine which overthrew the corrupt oligarchs we have the Aubergine one to demand their return to the fruitnveg racks.

The things is, it’s true:

Those stewing over their loss have launched an online protest and even told the police of their upset.

The furore started when an aubergine fan tweeted Tesco to ask where the veg — which cost 70p each — had gone in the town’s superstore.

A customer services rep said they’d been discontinued, adding: “I wouldn’t be too happy about this myself.”

Shocked shoppers vented their rage on the Twitter page “Bring Back Our Aubergines”.

We could make a comment or two about this. I’ve lived in the place myself and I’m just absolutely certain that it had more than one food shop. Meaning that those essential Moussaka supplies are undoubtedly available somewhere. But there’s something else, too:

SHOPPERS in a posh English town say they are outraged after its Tesco pulled AUBERGINES from the shelves.

Customers at the branch in Cheltenham were told the superstore would only restock the velvety-soft vegetable on request from customers.

Well, why would a supermarket stop stocking something? They are in the business of trying to make a profit by selling things, aren’t they? The answer – obviously enough – being that people weren’t buying them. Or not enough of them to make it worthwhile stocking them.

At which point, those complaining. Why are you complaining, given that people weren’t buying them?

Posted: 17th, July 2018 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


James Joyce crayon marked manuscripts for Ulysses and Finnegans Wake

ulysses-manuscript joyce crayon

James Joyce crayon marks on his manuscript for ulysses

 

James Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake “lying on his stomach in bed, with a large blue pencil, clad in a white coat, and composed most of Finnegans Wake with crayon pieces on cardboard,” says Maria Popova. “The large crayons… helped him see what he was writing, and the white coat helped reflect more light onto the page at night.”

His obituary in the NYTimes noted:

While living in Zurich Joyce began to suffer from severe ocular illness and eventually underwent at least ten operations on his eyes. For years he was almost totally blind and much of his later writing was done with red crayon on huge white sheets of paper.

 

joyce_ulysses crayon

 

crayon james_joyce

 

“Joyce used a different colored crayon each time he went through a notebook incorporating notes into his draft,” adds Derek Attridge in a review of The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at BuffaloThe crayons were “a scrupulousness which has never been satisfactorily explained”.

And steeped in deep meaning, of course, Unlkess the witer was a great meketeer. As he said: “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant – and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.”

Spotter: Flashbak, Open Culture

Posted: 26th, June 2018 | In: Books | Comment


Man at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden is ‘Spit’ intolerant

spit in food Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Everyone has special dietary request these days

 

To Queens, New York, where a man marking Father’s Day at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden with his daughter and granddaughter is chewing on his grub. Yum. That mayo and onions on his burger a scrumptious. And it’s juicy too, what with the added ingredient: spit.

Curtis Mays noticed that his bill included the direction: “PLEASE SPIT IN IT TOO.” Mays complained. He’s no picky eater asking for this and that. Just serve the dead cow as it comes.

The manager was called. The waitress was fired. Mays got a free meal. If you don’t want spit in your meal, please ask:

 

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Wetherspoon stops selling champagne; Primark closes Chanel concessions

Brexit continues to ripple although British society. The BBC brings news to chill the marrow: “Wetherspoon to stop selling champagne ahead of Brexit.” Who knew you could buy champagne at Wetherspoons? And no, Bronco Pete, Matt The Talc and All-Day Dave, champagne is not a nicety for Tenant’s Super in a glass. It’s the French fizzy wine. News is that Brexit supporting pub landlord Tim Martin, who co-founded the chain of budget boozers, sees the ditching the champers as part of the transition away from products made in the European Union.

“There will be an inevitable transfer of trade post-Brexit to countries outside the EU, which will reduce prices in shops and pubs,” says Martin. “The products we are now introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.”

So champagne will be replaced with sparkling wines from the UK, which the BBC tells us, “such as from the Denbies vineyard, and Hardys Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay from Australia”. Well, if Oz can be in the Eurovision Song Contest, why not consider it as part of Kent?

Champagne growers will hope to make up for the loss of trade by doing very little.

In other Brexit news:

WHSmiths stops selling Gutenberg Bibles
Primark closes Chanel concessions
Pound Store says ‘No’ to Rolex
Ted’s Second Hand Motors rejects Ferrari

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Heinz Salad Cream or Sandwich Cream: the taste of bottled jizz

Heinz Salad Cream is relaunching. The sweetened gunk is to change it name to ‘Sandwich Cream’ because, as the marketing bilge states, “millennials don’t use it on salad.” But they do pour it into artisan bread and avocado sandwiches, apparently. Minds recall the last time Heinz relaunched its product. On 23 March 2000, Denise Van Outen and Graham Norton were at  Jongulars Club in London’s Camden. Norton thought it good to present Salad Cream as the perfect substitute for ejaculating on a woman’s chest. Van Outen then smeared the gloop over the end of a priapic hot dog and offered it to Norton to suck on. Is the motto: ‘Heinz Salad Cream: tastes like bottled jizz’?

 

Heinz salad cream Denise Van Outen And Graham Norton

Heinz salad cream Denise Van Outen And Graham Norton

Posted: 7th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, The Consumer | Comment


Stanley Nelson’s film shown to all Starbucks workers – both racist and non-racist

When Starbucks stores closed for racial training – half a day training adults not to be bigots – staff watched this video by Stanley Nelson. Called The Story of Access, here it is:

 

 

Starbucks explains:

On May 29, we closed 8,000 Starbucks stores in the United States for four hours — so 175,000 Starbucks partners could come together for a conversation and learning session on racial bias.

To recap: this is your employer talking about racial bias, the people who took you on. You are not the boss’s partner.  The company’s policies are here. Staff don’t need training to be sensitive to racism; they must adhere to the simple premise for any sound business: the black man’s money is every bit as welcome as the female anti-Semite’s.

In 2015, Starbucks launched Race Together in the US. Designed to “stimulate conversation, empathy and compassion” among the races, ‘partners’ were engaged to write ‘Race Together’ on cups and talk about race with customers. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz thought it would “help bridge the racial and ethnic divides”. You couldn’t even grab a coffee without being challenged on racial differences. Don’t you dare ignore difference and just get on with your life. Talk about race with your barista / therapist; think about race as you enjoy your sugary treat; wonder if your preference for black coffee or white coffee is deep-rooted in prejudice. There was no escape. Well, there was: you could avoid Starbucks are its preaching ninnies.

Starbucks continues in its latest drive to educate:

This was a foundational step in renewing Starbucks as a place where ALL people feel welcome.

Even the homeless? The derelict? If they can pay: yes. If not: no.

Starbucks partners shared life experiences, heard from others, listened to experts on bias and racial anxiety, reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how all of us can work together to create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.

It’s not a public space. Starbucks is a shop. Punters vote with their feet. If a shop worker fails to take the money from a customer because they are upset by their gender, skin, religion or clothing, then that worker is a fool and needs sacking. The only force for social good Starbucks need concern itself with is to make as much money as possible and thereby keep its staff employed. Screw this corporatising of morals. Just give us the coffee, take our money and give us the correct change.

Via: Stanley Nelson—Story of Access

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


1979 computer shop manager predicts the future (video)

The terrific filmmaker David Hoffman made this film in which a computer shop worker predicts the future. Says David: “I was shooting a documentary called ‘The Information Society’ in 1979 and filmed this in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Compushop had just begun selling the Apple II and this guy had a keen sense of what was coming.”

You can see lots more of David’s work on the brilliant Flashbak .

 

Via: flashbak and David’s YouTube Channel.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: News, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


We’ve found the journalism’s nadir at Sainsbury’s

Journalism is not dead – it’s just waiting for Sainsbury’s to “reveal” what times its stores open over the bank holiday:

 

 

The story from investigative reporter ‘Becky Pemberton’ informs readers:

A spokesperson confirmed to the Sun Online: “All of our stores will be open this Bank Holiday but subject to changed opening hours.” It is therefore essential to check up on the individual store times to make sure yours is open.

So essential is the news that amid all the guff about bonus Nectar points and Sainsbury’s being tops for barbecues, Becky advises readers: “Many supermarkets are not changing their hours for the May bank holiday, but it is best to check first. You can do this using the store finder on their website.”

Yeah, that’s right – the Sun has “revealed” the opening times by looking at the Sainsbury’s website. And now thanks to the paper and links, you too can do just that.

 

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment


We don’t want more trains are useless; we want 21st Century technology

We have another of those calls from people who would spend our money for us. They’d like lots of it all to be spent upon trains. Lots of ’em, to cover the country with railway lines. There are problems with this idea, two of them being pretty obvious. Trains are a 19th century technology. It’s really more than a little odd to be pushing them quite so hard here as solutions to our 21 st century problems. The other is that they’re concentrating upon moving people around when that’s not the problem at all, freight is.

But, you know, they get to have fun arguing about how to spend other peoples’ money:

The UK risks becoming too reliant on HS2 to plug the gap in its national transport strategy, analysts have warned.

Transport thinktank Greengauge 21 has said that in order to develop a truly “national” strategy, the UK needs to move away from the “hub-and-spoke” model centred on London to a network that links together upgraded city centre “hub” stations.

It suggests that instead of forming a “Y” shape that will link London with Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester, HS2 should instead form an “X” shape with a new connection in the West Midlands, allowing trains to operate from Bristol and Cardiff to places in the Midlands, the North and Scotland.

Well, that does rather depend upon the idea that there are people in Bristol who would like to go to the Midlands. People who would but won’t currently, given the necessity of going toward London then taking a left. Or, perhaps, up the M5 and right.

High-speed rail connecting all of the UK mainland by 2050 would put ‘rocket fuel in Britain’s economy’, a leading transport think tank has said.

The proposed plan would be a further development of HS2 (High Speed 2) which is the new high-speed rail linking London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester, due to be operational by 2026.

The ambitious proposal by a UK think tank is to extend the HS2 line and create 1,000 miles (1,600km) of new rail network that will ‘reach all parts of the country’.

Quite why this would invigorate the economy isn’t really known. For we do that by adding value. What we build must be worth more than what it costs us to build it. And HS2 itself doesn’t even manage that. The reason being that we’ve all got other methods of both communicating and travelling now. Cars, sure, but the internet and mobile phones have reduced the value gained by faster rail journeys.

Fast train sets just aren’t worth building that is.

It would also cut road traffic and shrink a long-standing productivity gap with countries such as Germany, Italy and France, the group believes.

But wasting money on something not worth it reduces productivity, not increases it.

Now, it is about possible that more freight railway work would be worthwhile. It’s a bit difficult to say in a country as small as Britain actually, but it’s possible. But more passenger rail? It’s simply not worth it, doesn’t cover the cost of building it.

So, obviously, we shouldn’t go build it, should we?

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Philip Roth RIP – with replies by John Updike, The Atlantic and Wikipedia

Philip Roth, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998, has died. He was 85.  Claudia Roth Pierpont said his books looked at “the Jewish family, sex, American ideals, the betrayal of American ideals, political zealotry, personal identity [and] the human body (usually male) in its strength, its frailty, and its often ridiculous need.” And, boy, was he funny.

In 1996 Roth reacted to Claire Bloom’s memoir Leaving a Doll’s House. The actress commented at length on her and Roth’s marriage. “He’s tense; she’s tense,” said Gore Vidal said. “Each is neurotic. They were together 17 years; it couldn’t have been all that bad. It’s always best to stay out of other people’s divorces. And their civil wars.”

The book was trailed thus in the NY Times:

Ms. Bloom was 47 when she began her romance with Mr. Roth. In the memoir, the opening scene of their relationship reads like a parody of the daily life of two cultivated New Yorkers, with Mr. Roth on his way to his psychoanalyst, and Ms. Bloom on her way to her yoga class….

 

But soon there were signs of trouble. Mr. Roth was suspicious and mistrustful, she said, and pressed her to send her daughter elsewhere. In the memoir, Ms. Bloom expresses guilt for having done so. But the real problems began when Mr. Roth had a knee operation, she said, and became addicted to sleeping pills and an anti-anxiety drug. She writes that a terrible depression ensued, and that the couple took refuge on Martha’s Vineyard in the home of their friend William Styron, who has written a moving book about his own depression.

Later, when Mr. Roth wrote ”Deception,” he named the character of the deceived wife ”Claire,” Ms. Bloom writes, changing it only after she begged him to do so. Still, as if teasing his readers, Mr. Roth reserved the name of ”Philip” for the book’s narrator.

In 1999,  when the book came up in a John Updike essay about literary biography in The New York Review of Books, Roth wrote to the Editors:

To the Editors:

In your February 4, 1999, issue, John Updike, commenting on Claire Bloom’s 1996 memoir Leaving the Doll’s House, writes: “Claire Bloom, as the wronged ex-wife of Philip Roth, shows him to have been, as their marriage rapidly unraveled, neurasthenic to the point of hospitalization, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive.” Allow me to imagine a slight revision of this sentence: “Claire Bloom, presenting herself as the wronged ex-wife of Philip Roth, alleges him to have been neurasthenic to the point of hospitalization, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive.” Written thus, the sentence would have had the neutral tone that Mr. Updike is careful to maintain elsewhere in this essay on literary biography when he is addressing Paul Theroux’s characterization of V.S. Naipaul and Joyce Maynard’s characterization of J.D. Salinger. Would that he had maintained that neutral tone in my case as well.

Over the past three years I have become accustomed to finding Miss Bloom’s characterization of me taken at face value. One Sara Nelson, reviewing my novel American Pastoral, digressed long enough to write: “In her memoir, Leaving the Doll’s House, Roth’s ex, Claire Bloom, outed the author as a verbally abusive neurotic, a womanizer, a venal nutcase. Do we believe her? Pretty much:Roth is, after all, the guy who glamorized sex-with-liver in Portnoy’s Complaint.” Mr. Updike offers the same bill of particulars (“neurasthenic…, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive”) as does Ms. Nelson (“neurotic, a womanizer, a venal nutcase”). Like her, he adduces no evidence other than Miss Bloom’s book. But while I might ignore her in an obscure review on the World Wide Web, I cannot ignore him in a lead essay in The New York Review of Books.

Philip Roth
Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

John Updike reply was slo printed in the magazine:

Mr. Roth’s imagined revisions sound fine to me, but my own wording conveys, I think, the same sense of one-sided allegations.

In 2012, Roth had more words for the World Wie Web. He wrote an open letter to persuade Wikipedia to let him adjust inaccurate description of his novel The Human Stain. Wikipedia refused to accept him as a credible source.

Dear Wikipedia,

I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”

Also in 2012, Roth wrote to the The Atlantic over an essay’s claims that he suffered “a ‘crack-up’ in his mid-50s”.

“The statement is not true nor is there reliable biographical evidence to support it,” wrote Roth at the time. “After knee surgery in March 1987, when I was 54, I was prescribed the sleeping pill Halcion, a sedative hypnotic in the benzodiazepine class of medications that can induce a debilitating cluster of adverse effects … My own adverse reaction to Halcion … started when I began taking the drug and resolved promptly when, with the helpful intervention of my family doctor, I stopped.”

The letters have stopped. But the books remain brilliant.

Spotter: Dangerous Minds, NYRoB

 

Posted: 23rd, May 2018 | In: Books, Celebrities, News | Comment


New Look charges the fat more for their clothes

This is being trailed as something of a scandal but it’s actually just great, the way the system should work. Some people should be charged more:

High street retailer New Look has been criticised by shoppers for allegedly imposing a “fat tax” across its plus-sized range.

What’s the standard complaint from fatty lardbuckets the average sized British woman?

Here, she found that the Green Stripe Tres Jolie Slogan T-Shirt was being sold for £9.99 in the standard range and £12.99 in the Curves range – a 30 per cent difference in cost.

So, what’s happening here then?

Firstly, realise that no one does price things by adding up their costs then trying to sell them at that plus a profit. So, arguments that larger sizes require more cloth don’t work. Instead, what everyone does is look at absolutely the maximum they think they can get away with charging. Then they charge that.

Hey, that’s capitalism, every producer of absolutely everything really is out to screw you. It’s markets which temper this. So, someone realises that there’s loads of fatty lardbuckets average sized British women out there looking for clothing more attractive than a Soviet potato sack circa 1955. They go make and sell them and make a fortune doing so. They really do set out to screw those fatty lardbuckets average sized British women. And they do screw them – unlike anyone else to hear the complaining.

Then other manufacturers spot those profits and copy what they’re doing. Prices fall, the range available expands, everyone – other than the original manufacturer – is happy. That’s just how the system works. It’s also how it’s supposed to work, it’s all in Adam Smith.

If New Look can get away with charging higher prices to fatty lardbuckets average sized British women then this tells us that there aren’t enough plus sized ranges out there with decent looking clothing. And the fact that New Look can charge higher prices is what will create the competition and cure the problem.

No, really, markets do in fact work. Which is why we’re not all in Soviet potato sacks, you know, the place which abolished markets and the price system?

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


Meghan’s spare wedding dress cost £100,000 (or not)

Thomas who? Thomas Markle… Anyone? Having rolled over Megan Markle’s father, the news cycle gets to focus on the honeymoon and the dress. Not that the new Duchess of Sussex’s dress was a surprise to Daily Mail readers who on April 4 got a sneak peak of her walk-on look. Rebecca English told us:

EXCLUSIVE: Meghan’s £100,000 wedding dress revealed: Royal bride will wear hand-stitched, beaded design made by British couturiers Ralph & Russo (and paid for by Prince Harry’s family)

 

daily mail meghan dress

 

The price then doubled. And the designer changed their name. Although no longer an “exclusive”, the story remained a revelation: “Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller has been revealed as Meghan’s wedding dress designer.” There had been lots of “speculation” –  surely “exclusives”? – with with “Ralph & Russo hotly tipped”:

 

 

meghan dress daily mail

 

 

But if it’s guff you’re after, step forward and take long obsequious bow, Robin Givhan, who writes in the Washington Post:

…what was most noticeable were all the things that the dress was not. It was not a Hollywood red-carpet statement. It was not a Disney-princess fantasy. It was not a mountain of camouflaging tulle and chiffon.

The dress, designed by Clare Waight Keller, was free of extravagant embellishments. It was not covered in yards of delicate lace. It did not have a single ruffle — no pearls or crystals. Its beauty was in its architectural lines and its confident restraint. It was a romantic dress, but one that suggested a clear-eyed understanding that a real-life romance is not the stuff of fairy tales. The dress was a backdrop; it was in service to the woman.

Weekend in Blackpool, right?

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Fashion, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Mertesacker outlines his Arsenal vision

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s new academy manager, is the German known as the ‘BFG’. He’s written a book. In it he advocates yoga and using both eyes.

…I was a big fan of yoga from the beginning because I had seen that it improved stability and flexibility.

Even at the age of 33 I was one of the most flexible at Arsenal when it came to my back muscles. Hardly anyone came to the yoga sessions that the club offered. Often there were only four of us: Héctor Bellerín, Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky.

The youth players who were promoted to the first team smiled at these exercises. They thought we were meditating. They were happy with the ball at their feet but for everything else there was a lack of desire. “I play football and go to training. That’s enough.”

But no, it isn’t enough when you want to maintain a certain level for a long time or want to improve.

Either you are learning from scratch, from your parents and the teachers and coaches around you, to take responsibility, or you don’t do it at all. This is the kind of dumbing down we must fight against.

The well-rounded Per:

When I injured myself against Sunderland [in the 2011-12 season] I started working with Lars Lienhard. A former athlete, he is a sports scientist as well as a pioneer when it comes to neurally controlled training.

Working with him was a huge success. We always assume that we can run and see properly because nothing hurts. But that is a mistake. Lars showed me that our eyes are a big factor in everything, above all when it comes to our timing.

On my right side my timing was super but I had the feeling my left eye was not really up for it. Why was that? And was it possible to train and improve [the left eye] so that I didn’t have to turn my whole body in order to look left? It all meant that in 50% of the times the ball came towards me my brain said: “Hey, I can’t really see that ball so I’m not going to jump for it.”

And as my left eye was not really looking at the ball I was always twisting my neck to use my dominant right eye.

Football doesn’t really deal with those things, despite the fact they can be decisive. Players would rather lift weights, stand on their own with their dumbbells – but how does that help me on the pitch?

During the exercises with Lars one could see quite clearly that my eyes were moving differently when an object was approaching me. My left eye always remained in the middle rather than focusing on the object.

He showed me how to make my left eye stronger. I had a patch on my right eye, forcing my left eye to focus on the objects. And after a few weeks I could really notice the difference in games. If there was a high ball from the left I had a much better feeling for where it would end up.

With Lars’s help I stayed injury-free for four and a half years. Meeting him changed my life as a footballer.

 

The important thing was to do exercises myself before games as well to adjust the eyes. One example was a kind of push-up for the eyes. You bring a pencil in towards your nose and force your eyes towards the middle. When you do that at the training ground a lot of people think: “What is he doing now? Is he completely stupid?”

Mainly I was doing it at home or in the hotel room. I had six or seven exercises that I did, sometimes just before kick-off in the dressing room. I didn’t care what the others thought or if they laughed. But you saw again that something new, something unknown, led to laughter rather than people asking: “What are you doing there?”

The Idlers:

Footballers are used to working only three hours a day. And out of the three hours they are at the training ground they are on their mobiles for half of that.

We have all the money in the world but do not realise how important the body is. A player on average has a seven‑year professional career, 10-15 if everything goes right. You have to do everything possible to be at your maximum.

Weltmeister ohne Talent by Per Mertesacker. Via: Guardian.

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Books, Sports | Comment


The Prince Harry swimsuit features a Ginger Chinge

It’s the mankini for women – and Stage dos. The Prince Harry swimsuit features a Chinge – a Ginger Chinge, naturally.

 

 

 
prince harry swimsuit minge fail

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Royal Family, The Consumer | Comment


Things that exist: teeth nails

Teeth nails exist. Russian salon Nail Sunny has created fingers that can bite and scratch at the same time.

 

teeth nails

 

Spotter: BB

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Fashion, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


The scandal of Motorway coffee costing more

motorway service station coffee

 

The Daily Mail has noticed that a coffee at a motorway services station costs more from McDonalds, Costa or KFC than it does from the same outlets not at a motorway services station. The explanation for this is really very simple – rent – and it’s the one explanation that we’re not given. Which is a pity because it is a very simple explanation.

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

How desperately awful, eh?

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

We’re given varied reasons for this, including the station operators claiming that it’s more expensive to operate such stations than general run of the mill services so therefore prices are higher. But it’s why costs are higher than matters and that’s rent.

The basic underlying story here goes all the way back to the very dawn of economics when David Ricardo published his book on rent, in 1817. If you can produce more crop from a piece of land then the rent on it will be higher than land that produces less. We can say the same thing by insisting that the cost of the land will be higher where there’s more money to be made. A third way of saying just that same thing is that the landlord always gets a chunk of whatever can be produced from a piece of land.

This is actually why Starbucks was making no profit – thus paying no tax – a few years back. They had lots of leases on lots of buildings that would be good to sell coffee out of. Because the landlords get a piece of that action places good to sell coffee out of have higher rents. Starbucks wasn’t making a profit selling lots of coffee but the landlords were doing just fine.

But that’s where there are lots of shops around. Starbucks couldn’t raise the price of coffee in those expensive places because if they did then we’d go to the one around the corner. Where prices were lower because they were paying less rent. That landlord’s share was thus coming out of Starbucks profits, not ours, the customers.

Now replay the same game but where there isn’t another shop just around the corner. We all know that lots of money can be made running a services station. Once people have decided to go there they’re a rather captive market though. So rents are high. But instead of those high rents coming out of the profits of the operators, they come out of our pockets in the form of higher prices. Because once we’re there we cannot go to another coffee shop.

There is no solution to this either. Just because there are only so many service stations, and once we stop at one we’re going to be doing our buying there, there’s lots of money to be had from running a service station. That means high rents – and that will, because of the lack of competition, lead to higher prices.

It really is all there in Ricardo’s book from 1817. It’s about time everyone understood it too, isn’t it? Two centuries being long enough?

Image: The Drive of Our Lives – The Heyday of the Motorway Service Station

 

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


Subbuteo and the FA still still women’s football as a marketing gimmick

subbuteo-women game

 

In readiness for the 2018 Women’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal, Subbuteo have produced a limited edition first all-female set. Marzena Bogdanowicz, the FA’s head of marketing and commercial for women’s football, tells us:

This new, all-female Subbuteo set is a reflection of the rapid growth that women’s football is seeing in the UK right now.

It is? Does anyone still play Subbuteo?

We aspire to greater equality all the way from board games to boardrooms, and every day we are striving to transform the future of the women’s game on and off the pitch.

 

The very first #Subbuteo advert ever seen in #Shoot! 1969-08-16

Subbuteo advert – Shoot! magazine – 1969

 

James Walker, of Hasbro, which make the table-top football game, adds:

We are incredibly excited to work with the FA to place focus on female footballers in this special edition of Subbuteo. Subbuteo has a rich heritage that reflects the nation’s love of football and this all-female playset is recognition of the vital role that women’s football has in our culture.

This is a little undermined by the fact that the set is not being offered for sale. You can only get it via competitions on the FA’s social media channels. The feeling is that Hasbro and the FA see women’s football not as a viable sport, rather as an opportunity to blow their own horns about equality, and that ‘women’s football’ is something apart from ‘football’.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Age of Abstinence: Tesco makes bottles smaller to charge more for your wine

It’s not exactly a surprise that food portions are getting smaller. Public Health England is insisting that we should all be eating less, drinking less. We should all be having less fat, less sugar, less alcohol. So, what is a supermarket or food producer to do? Some things just cannot be made with less salt – it’s essential to make bread rise for example. And there’s really not that much point in an energy drink like Lucozade if it doesn’t contain any sugar. Nor, obviously, booze if it doesn’t contain any booze.

So, what to do? Why, just make the package size smaller of course! Which is exactly what Tesco is doing with it’s own brand wines:

One of Britain’s biggest supermarkets has announced shock plans to make wine bottles smaller.

A new 50cl bottle contains the equivalent of four or five glasses of wine while a 37.5cl one – half the size of a standard sized bottle – holds three or four.

It means shoppers will be able to crack open their favourite tipple without being tempted to drink a full sized bottle.

Well, OK, those for whom own brand Tesco wine is a favourite tipple – rather than an any port in a storm sup – have their own problems. And the idea that a half bottle holds four glasses is true only of those who serve in sherry glasses. Actually, I’ve found that full bottles of sherry can hold only six glasses but there may be an influence of journalists and booze occurring there.

It is however The Sun which manages to get things entirely wrong here. For it’s not just smaller portions leading to less consumption going on. There’s also the manner in which things become more expensive:

The 50cl bottles are cheaper – the Rioja Reserva is £6.25 and 75cl is £8.50. But it remains to be seen whether shoppers will be tempted by the slimmer containers.

Well, no, the smaller bottles are more expensive. The full bottle size is 1.5 times the 50 cl one. 1.5 times £6.25, some quick mental maths, umm, £9.3750 for the same amount of booze we can get in the 75 cl bottle for £8.50. That’s more expensive, right? 87.5 pence more expensive in fact, and to pull out the calculator, that’s 10.3% more expensive.

Which is why we’re not hearing all that many complaints from the supermarkets about the insistences of PHE. For PHE have indeed said that their demands that we all have access to less sugar, less fat, less booze, can be met by portions becoming smaller. Without the correct reductions in price to take account of how we’re getting less. The supermarkets love this, they get to sell us less food at not a correctly less price, that means profit! And everyone else has to do the same because it’s the public health wallahs insisting upon it.

The worst part about this rip off is that we’re paying for it through our taxes. Yup, you pay taxes, I do, to pay for Public Health England, who then demand that the supermarkets make our booze and sweeties more expensive. Be easier and simpler, surely, to bypass the bureaucracy and w all just eat and drink what we want, no?

Posted: 1st, May 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Margaret Calvert creates Women At Work

Margaret-Calvert-Woman-At-Work

 

Margaret Calvert has produced her first print. Called Woman at Work, the print riffs on her fonts for British Rail and designs for the UK’s road signs with, such as ‘Man at Work’ – that silhouette of a man digging inside red-rimmed triangle.

Calvert has said of the man digging: “Man having difficulty with a large umbrella… Of course, once you see that, it just looks like a large umbrella, but I don’t mind that.”

“Not every project I’ve been involved in turns out as brilliantly as my Woman at Work print,” says Margaret, “having started life as an abandoned roadworks sign (jokingly referred to as a man having difficulty with a large umbrella) and ending up as a painting in the Royal Academy’s 2008 Summer exhibition. Now translated into a magnificent print by the superb skills of Matthew Rich, giving it a completely new dimension. The experience of working with the Jealous team has been inspirational.”

Spotter: It’s Nice That, Flashbak

Prints at www.jealousgallery.com

 

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: The Consumer | Comment


This might be the greatest bodywash commercial of all time


Japan raise the bar for soap and bodywash stuff. (Although I did think the supebaddie wold mutate into mom).

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: The Consumer | Comment


These standing seats are the plane travel of the grim future

Aviointeriors

 

No worries if you didn’t book a seat on your budget airline and don’t fancy the scramble to get one. This is the Skyrider 2.0 saddle seat, positioned by Italy’s Aviointeriors at “the new frontier of low-cost tickets”. The new frontier looks a lot like standing.

On the plus side, travellers sat on something that looks like those plastic mantlepieces you get to ‘rest’ on at bus stops need not worry about deep-vein thrombosis, biting their knees and asking other people to move. The Boston Globe says the Skyrider 2.0 (an upgrade on the Skyrider 0.0 (cross-legged on the floor) and the Skyrider 1.0 (tied by the wrists to the roof)) “makes perfect sense… the design allows a 20 percent increase in passengers per flight. It also weighs 50 percent less than a standard economy seat, lowering the fuel cost per passenger.”

Seats are now just 23 inches away from the row in front. More people can get on the same-sized plane.Smell that? That’s progress – and you stuck in an overstuffed flying tube like a flaying carcass.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: News, Strange But True, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


What do 10,068 radiated turtles in a small home smell like?

What do 10,068 live radiated turtles in a two-floor home smell like? It was the stench that alerted the authorities to the home in Toliara, Madagascar. Soary Randrianjafizanaka, of the country’s environmental protection agency, the home was stuffed with the critters.The smell was “overwhelming”. But not in a lip-licking way – unless you enjoy the stink of urine and worse.

 

radiated turtle

 

 

National Geographic has more:

Randrianjafizanaka helped count them as rescuers loaded them onto six trucks that made several trips to Le Village Des Tortues (Turtle Village in French), a private wildlife rehabilitation facility in Ifaty, 18 miles north of Toliara. It took until early the following morning to transfer all the tortoises to the rescue center.

Turtle village?

The majority of the turtles taken to the rehabilitation facility are doing well, now that they’ve been cleaned up, moved into more suitable quarters, and provided with veterinary care. Unfortunately, close to 600 of the turtles have died since being removed from the house, due to dehydration or infection – the result of their long neglect.

Trading in rare turtles is outlawed in 182 countries.

“The rate of hunting of radiated tortoises is similar to the hunting pressure on American bison during the early 19th century, where they were nearly hunted to extinction when they once numbered in the tens of millions,” said Brian D. Horne, turtle conservation coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Species Program.

Of course, once upon a time, Westerners loved eating turtle. And if it was a local source of meat, surely many of us would eat them now. This story illustrates how something illegal creates a risky black market.

It wasn’t ever so:

During the Great Depression, gopher tortoises became such an important source of meat for rural Southerners that they earned a new nickname, “Hoover chicken” that honored, so to speak, our president at the time, Herbert Hoover. That species is now federally threatenedin Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama, and is under protection everywhere it occurs. Diamondback terrapins, the beautifully patterned turtles inhabiting brackish waters along the East Coast, were harvested so heavily for food that the U.S. government started to get concerned about their vastly depleted populations more than 100 years ago.

Turtle is food for the masses:

For centuries, the flavor was legendary, and, really, nothing said American democracy like turtle. The poor man could often find a few slow-moving specimens hanging out at the backyard well, even as the privileged man sought out its refined flavor. Two days after voting for independence in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776, John Adams celebrated with a bowl of turtle soup; when the war was over, George Washington met with his officers at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan for a farewell frolic; and Lincoln celebrated his second inaugural with terrapin stew. Before Aaron Burr murdered Alexander Hamilton, both were members of the elite Hoboken Turtle Club.

More turtles is desirable, then. Let’s get farming…

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment