Sunday, December 07, 2008

Never mind the credit crunch, here's what really matters

IN THE midst of a constitutional crisis, with the police wandering in and out of Parliament willy nilly seeking to stifle Opposition MPs who’ve been embarrassing the government, it’s always good to know that Wee Gordie Broon has got his priorities right. So what’s he been up to (apart from turning a blind eye to the excesses of the Met)? He’s been writing letters to X Factor finalists. No, really.

It turns out that our Prime Minister has found time amongst two major wars and the worst financial meltdown since the 1930s to pen personal notes to all 12 wannabe wasters polluting our Saturday night telly. Why on earth would he want to do that?

We know that Princess Tony would do anything to enhance his image – remember Cool Britannia, anyone? – but I thought the stern Scot was made of tougher stuff than that. And even if he was such a big fan, why would he then allow the news of the correspondence to leak? Is this some pitiful attempt to soften the image? Frankly it beggars belief.

Mr Brown has a reputation for going missing whenever the brown stuff hits the fan. He might well think that placing touchy-feely stories like this in Her Majesty’s Press deflects attention from the fact that the police, clearly at the behest of NuLabour, are now using anti-terrorism legislation to gag their opponents – as they have been doing to some journalists for the past couple of years. Banana Republic, anyone?

THE COPS have clearly been busy elsewhere as well. The organiser of the local bonfire in Elwick, Cleveland, was rather taken aback when police turned up on his doorstep two days after the event, arrested him, held him at the nick for 20 hours, took his fingerprints and DNA and then charged him with arson, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Seems a trifle harsh for co-ordinating sparklers on the village green.

Lorry driver Brett Duxfield, for it is he, had apparently incurred the wrath of the parish council, which had banned the village green bonfire back in 1994 after rowdy behaviour. The fact that it had been held peaceably for the past four years, with organisers even replacing charred turf, doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone.

As ever, the police revert to that jobsworth monotone: “We are duty bound to follow through a complaint,” says Inspector Tony Green of Cleveland Police.

Well, no, you’re not really, are you? You could just say “Go away and don’t be silly” the next time someone makes an entirely facetious and stupid complaint. Instead we end up with a village at war, Mr Duxfield on bail, and the law of the land being portrayed as a complete and utter ass.

I SEE that furniture company DFS – home of the ever-present sale – has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for using special effects to enhance the size of its sofas in television adverts. In simple terms, the huge leather monstrosity you saw in the ad was somewhat smaller when you turned up in the store to buy it. Either that or they used midgets to represent those happy cuddly couples who only ever exist in TV Land.

I am assured by an insider that this isn’t the only instance of such malpractice. Rumour has it that the next advertiser in the dock will be a certain hotel chain which is thought to have built an entire set representing a larger than life room to accommodate its larger than life comedian star in relative comfort. Watch this ever-expanding space.

STILL IN these difficult times for the retail market, it’s good to see that our big High Street stores are doing their bit.

Take Habitat, for instance. A friend recently went in to buy a piece of furniture and asked how much it would cost to have it delivered to his home. “£65”, he was told.

“But the table I’ve bought only cost £50. How can it then cost £65 to have it delivered?” he reasonably asked.

The callow youth behind the counter yawned and said those immortal words: “Flat rate charge. Company policy.” End of sale.

IKEA is even worse. For years they didn’t even offer a delivery service, so you’d be stuck there after the checkout with a bed, a wardrobe and several Billy bookcases staring glumly at your Fiat Panda and wishing that Paul Daniels would appear out of nowhere and make it all fit in. I will confess to having abandoned my wife and child in their car park before now while making shuttle runs to home and back.

Then they did offer delivery, but you had to pay up front and if they didn’t turn up – a distressingly common occurrence – then you had to trail back to the shop and claim your money back. (Mind you, you were probably already there trying to get hold of the missing parts.)

ONE CUSTOMER service sector that has been reformed is that of prostitution, with Jacqui Smith’s new laws suggesting that the men who pay for sex from a ‘trafficked’ woman should be liable to prosecution. Now I must say straight away that this will not inconvenience me in any way: I am not a customer, nor a lorry driver.

But the practical problem for those who feel the need to avail themselves of this service is obvious – how do you know if your lady of the night is home-grown or a recent import?

I suggest some kind of kite mark tattooed on their backsides – maybe something like that little tractor they put on British food. What? What? It’s only a suggestion …


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of DHS - I bought a sofa there years ago and 7 weeks later when it was delivered I thought it had shrunk so I measured the seat of it. 12inches.

Then went to the store a measured it - 18inches. Needless to say I spassed out and got a huge refund - lying bastards.

Oh yeah and hey I bought mine in November and it came first week of January - now when my friend bought his is December, they said he could get it before Christmas - and they did (somewhat smaller of course).

Lying cheating bastards

8:33 AM  

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